Saturday, 31 July 2010

Something is still happening

Slipping into the building though an air vent had been easy. Dropping through the ceiling had been easy. Knocking out a guard who was already asleep and stealing his security pass had been easy. This, however, was not easy.
 The door had said "Secret! No entry!", so I'd entered. Seemed the logical choice. Now, however, I was trapped. Two guards, apparently called away for some reason, had taken up posts outside the door, and seemed to have no intention of leaving. They hadn't noticed me, but it was only a matter of time. The logical course, then, would be to keep going into the secret passage. Of course, life is not simple like that.
 The chains creaked, a wave running down their lengths to the wall. The brackets holding them in place gleamed, new I assumed, and therefore secure. Hopefully. Another wave snaked down the chain, leading the eye to the occupant of this fiendish ensnarement. There, restrained in the middle of the corridor, and elderly man. His body rippled and flexed as he moved, his aged grey skin stretched tight over the muscle underneath. Another of the elderly inhabitants of this place who had been cruelly experimented on.
 Searching out the maker of dimly-heard noises, the octogenarian guardian peered at me through his thick glasses. I acted quickly, fearing his reach from within his confinement of loose chains, or that he might alert the guards. Reaching into my pocket, I found some hard candy, which I threw past the aged beast. While he attempted to negotiate the wrapper of a Werther's Original, I sprinted past and headed down the corridor.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Something happens.

Sitting in the early morning sun, itching myself occasionally, but generally staying still, I watched. I'd heard that some mystery surrounded the local nursing home. Old people acting peculiar, even for old people. Strange equipment was taken to and from the place. High staff turnover, and a few disappearances. A huge satellite attached to the roof. Nuclear warheads placed underground as a self-destruct fail-safe. You know, the usual mysterious signs that could only trigger the suspicions of a genius like me.
 Dressing the blind alsatian man in my clothes and sending him to a coffee shop, I managed to doge my suited followers. Camped out near the carehome now, I searched the area with binoculars, looking for any signs. Any clues that Max could be here.
 After about an hour, something happened. A wall near what I understood to be a harmless genetic manipulation room (I understand old people often need such manipulations to jeans) exploded open in a shower of bricks and plaster. A giant figure, 20 feet tall, burst forth on muscular legs. Pulling with him a colossal zimmer frame, the Goliath Grampa made an energetic hobble for the exit. A team of armoured men ran from the hole in the wall, jabbing at him with stun batons or shooting tranquilizer darts. Another group ran from a doorway to cut him off, offering a similar treatment to the geriatric giant. Eventually, the figure collapsed, smashing a small car and a wall on his decent. Lashing him with ropes, the security guards dragged the ancient big person back into the facility.
 I sat back, putting the binoculars down. That, I'll admit, was rather strange. Still, this wouldn't be the first time I had to infultrate a carehome that experimented on the elderly, and it wouldn't be the last.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

The interviews continued...

Like the X-factor from hell... Well, like the X-factor if it was from a worse hell... I continued to receive auditions from people wishing to replace Max. Even setting aside the issue of how these people knew about Max, and why they would audition for the role of someone's friend, the process wasn't going well.
 The skinhead in the vest had turned out just to be a big racist. I wasn't surprised. He possessed no interesting or redeeming features, just a burning hatred of the Aztec people. The second candidate - the vampire-pirate - was also unexpectedly boring. Being a vampire, of course, he couldn't go out in the day, or enter water. As a pirate, of course, he was expected to spend his days on top of a ship in the water. So he had obtained a job with Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue department, while keeping his cultural identity by dressing as a twat.
 The faux-blind man turned out to be the most interesting, purely on the grounds that his dog savaged me and stole my wallet. I shall not be considering either for the role of Max. I sometimes miss him, but then I remember everything.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Hating Predators is like being racist or homophobic.

You get a lot of people saying, "They killed and skinned
PREDATORS living in urban areas are
at their most aggresive, ripping open
gang members and physically attacking
Danny Glover.
Apollo Creed" but this isn't really a big thing in the grand
scheme of things.
    Predators could have been on this world for 20 million
years. That's a lot longer than cities.
    And, if you think about it, the amount of predators on
this planet is nothing if you think about the amount of
people they've killed over the years.
    They are here and they have been here for a long time,
and it would be a tragedy if they disappeared from the
    I don't really understand the distinction between jungle
and urban Predators.
    The urban environment arrived a long time after
Predators. They would not choose to live there, if it were
not for the vast amounts of potential prey.
    What right have we to judge how they find sport?
    Just because they are not as pretty as some other
aliens, and commit a lot of murders, this does not give us
the right to hide in mud and kill them.
    More often than not, it is the human "behaviour" that
drives Predators to their aggressive behaviour. Often, the
 choice of humans to sport weapons or not be pregnant
drives the Predators to aggressive action.
    Slowly there appears to be a move towards attacking
Predators, such as shooting them with shotguns or
attacking them with muscular men.
    However, the Predators do not chose to act in ways
that disagree with humans. Like being gay or Mexican,
Predators do not choose to be Predators. Instead, they
are born Predators. Indeed, if it were not for the fact that
humans choose to have heads and attached spinal
columns that make such good trophies, it seems unlikely
that we  would even be bothered by Predators.
    So, the next time you encourage the actions of men
like  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Glover, Adrien
Brody, and  whoever was in the AvP movies,
remember; Predators don't choose their nature. So if
you're going to defend yourself from one of these
creature's fearsome plasma caster, ask yourself, "would
 I eat a Mexican gay woman?". If the answer is "No!",
as it should be, maybe you should just accept your fate.
   After all, better that than being some sort of
alien-hating speciest.

Also available on Bukisa

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hating seagulls is like being racist or homophobic

I stole this from Iced Tea and Sarcasm. I don't even know where it's from originally. Oh well.
Ok, so I seem to have been getting a lot of traffic from people interested in the whole hating seagulls being like racism or homophobia, so I feel I should offer an opinion. Since this is a blog, I've decided that rather than reading the article and writing a balanced, considered response, I've decided to make uniformed commentary. On one level, hating seagulls simply for being seagulls is, of course, speciesism, (or something). And I suppose it is comparable - hating all seagulls because one defecated on your grandmother is like hating all black people because one... defecated on your grandmother. Or whatever. But there are differences - in my unnecessarily scatological analogy, an entire race was judged on the actions of one person. However, seagulls do shit one things, indiscriminately. So it's not a prejudice; it's based on fact gained from experience, not assumptions made without study. However, the main issue is, I suppose, the hate of seagulls for being something they couldn't help but be. At the end of the day, we have to remember that no-gull chooses to be a seagull.  Maybe we should say no to hate, and the next time we're pooped on from up high, remember that it wasn't our flying friends' fault.

Now, where to I sign up to get those Mallards? Bloody queers.

Monday, 26 July 2010

There's still no sign of Max...

But I keep seeing shadowy figures from the corner of my eye - black cars parked on street corners, suited men watching me from cafes and smoothie bars, strange fat kids attempting to skateboard even though they clearly lack the skill or dexterity, and so on. Still smarting from my last, tattoo-based encounter with Max's possible abductors, I've decided to cut my loses and look for a replacement cliched foolish sidekick friend.
 (Ah, the old strikethrough trick. Never gets old.)

I took another look across my living room. The assembled cast left something to be desired: a fat alsatian sat on my priceless rug, a family heirloom inherited from my grandmother. On his face, a look that said: "I'm not incontinent. Yet". Attached to the dog by way of a lead was a large, hairy man wearing a pair of dark glasses. Despite the impression he clearly knew he was creating, he appeared quite capable of sight, and was right now devouring a magazine with his eyes. Beside him, a large skinhead in a vest. The third candidate for my replace Max competition appeared to be a pirate. I smiled politely as I caught his eye, and he grinned back, revealing the fact he was also, apparently, a vampire. My smile wained, and I headed back into my office, ready to interview the first applicant.
 I don't really have an office. I was the toilet. I was making them sit in the hall. I just wanted to impress you all, and not let you know I take strange men into my bathroom.

Sitting down (yes, on the toilet. But I threw some drapes over it and put a cushion on the seat to make it homely) I prepared to interview the candidates.

(Image stolen from devepxp)

Sunday, 25 July 2010

"Are you number one?"

"What? Currant bun? Speak up."
 Max sat back down in his comfy chair. He'd been held in the village for 3 days now, without rights or reason. He didn't know what this place was, or why he was here, but he felt sure that someone wanted information from him - every day, he would receive both the carrot and stick treatment; rigorous tortures to break his willpower, and sexual thrills from young women to lower his resolve. Awoken early and dressed in a thin robe that exposed his flesh degrading, he would be forced to swallow pill after pill and strip down. Then, he was lured into a bath and bathed by attractive girls dressed in skimpy whites. Afterwords, he was submitted to hours of mind-numbing boredness, forced to watch endless loops of countdown, or make one incomplete jigsaw with the other inmates. All this time, his captors would call him "Mr. Wright", insisting everything was "Mr. Wright's" - "Mr. Wright's pills," "A visit for Mr. Wright," "Mr. Wright's grandchildren" - all part of some diabolical scheme to confuse him, Max was sure.
 But for now, there seemed no escape - the door, heavily guarded by the receptionist, was locked at nights, and a large, burly nurse with fire in her eyes patrolled the floors looking for trouble. Only last week, old Mr. Johnson had passed away in his sleep. Or so they said. Besides, it was Bingo on a Sunday, and Roast beef for dinner.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

I've spent two days looking for Max.

Two days! All I can say with certainty is that he's not being held captive down the back of the sofa, or on the front lawn. With any luck, he's being imprisoned in a camp like the one used in The Prisoner. He won't take that well - Max is, of course, afraid of number designations. As for me, I have a far bigger problem. This morning, I awoke to find myself on a strange medical table set up in my living room. A discarded bottle of chlorine and a handkerchief doused in the stuff confirmed my suspicions I'd been knocked out. Struggling up, I tried to search my body, to see what had happened to me. I confirmed everything was where it should be, but noticed a pain spreading across my shoulder blades and back. Dragging myself to a mirror, I turned this way and that to make out what had happened to me.
 Reading slowly, I read a short paragraph crudely tattooed across my back. Of course, I quickly recognised the description of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment scrawled across my flesh. On the mirror, there was a note. On the note, a message:
 this is a warning. If you continue you search for the prisoner Max, we will tattoo more than just blurbs to your body.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

I was naked, rubbing myself all over.

I was in the shower, you see. This isn't going to be an erotic post, I've only opened with the shower thing so you know why it was Max, still in my house for reasons unknown, as usual, who answered the door and not me. After the first few seconds of continuing my relaxing wash, the thought of Max talking to, well, anyone who could call on me solidified in my head. Rushing from the shower in an cloud of steam and soap, I grabbed a towel and headed for the door.

 Norman checked his Ohmmeter. Yup, he had everything. Swinging happily from the van, clipboard in front of him for a final check of name and address, he headed up the drive to the house. This was his last stop for the day - just get the meter readings, then he was off to France for a long weekend. Whistling happily, he strolled up to the house and rung the doorbell. After a few moments, the door opened a crack to reveal a figure within, peering at Norman with distrust. Norman, undeterred, began.
 "Afternoon Sir, here to read the meter."
The figure within narrowed his eyes.
 "The Agency sent you?"
 "Well, if that's what you want to call them." Norman replied.
 "General X sent you? To bring me back in?"
 "No." Norman replied again. This wasn't normal. "Mr. Patel, for your meter readings."
After a pause, he gestured his tools, and added hopefully, "The electricity?"
 Seeing his toolbelt, Max recoiled in horror.
 "Torture devices!" He yelled, "I told them I quit! QUIT! You'll never make me go back!"

Soap still lathering me, I skidded into the hallway, rushing for the front door. On the doorstep, Max appeared to be garroting an electrician with his belt, while the confused man flailed at him with a screwdriver. As I tried to figure out what to do, a van pulled up on my front lawn, unnoticed by the struggling Max. Two suited, shaded figures emerged and crossed the lawn quickly. Leaning close to Max's ear, one whispered something about being sent by General X. Stabbing Max in the back with a taser, the Man in Black dragged him into the van. The other suit stuffed a wad of notes into the pocket of the electrician.
 "You didn't see anything." He instructed.
With that, he returned to the van, and drove off swiftly. The electrician did likewise. I returned to the shower. It was safe there...

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Vaguely mad ramblings.

Max is feeling somewhat better. He is, at least, relishing his freedom, sitting on my sofa, eating teacups whole. Only Max could needs to be freed from proletariat chains of oppression and unite with his fellow bourgeois against the tyranny of honest labour...
 In other news, I've moved into my new flat. Real me, not me and Max me. This could get confusing... A sensible person would make separate posts for these kind of things, but I am no such person! I haven't unpacked, but I've used some boxes to make a table for the TV. I haven't got a TV license, but I'm not using it to watch TV anyway. So you don't need to call the police.
 I would have unpacked my books at least, but the bookcase seems wildly unsafe. A mere touch makes it shake violently for up to three-quarters of an hour. It needs tightening, but there appears to be no allen key in the flat. I looked in some drawers. There's a manual for the toaster, which has no features whatsoever, but no allen key. The girlfriend says she has one. She'll lend it to me, she says. I really must get 'round to learning her name.
 I need a bathmat though. For the shower. I'll probably get one today. But I wouldn't hold my breath, if I were you. I'd probably look at myself in a mirror in a shocked way, and poke at my face. Then spend all your money.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Max is out of the closet.

Purely in a literal sense. His sexuality is not a matter I wish to consider. Anyhow, I've taken to asking him about his week. He keeps mumbling and shaking, huddling himself into a little ball in the corner. I gather that his time away on other blogs did not go well, and I blame Ben.
 "Why were you late back then?"
He looked at me, big puppydog eyes wide and big like the eyes of a puppydog:
 "Tried to leave. Had to run away, so I went to sea..."
He started to sob again.
 "What?... What happened?"
 "Came ashore, we all went to the pub. Drank a little to much, and passed out. I got press-ganged!"
 "What? Onto another ship?"
 "No!" He went on, "Into the fruit and veg trade!"
Max talked long into the night, his story punctuated only by sobs and explosive vomiting. I gathered, at last, that he had awoken to find himself chained to a stall in the East End of London. There, he was forced to fake an accent, and sell fruit and veg in the persona of a lovable cockney rogue. Understandably, the experience had been rather traumatic on poor Max.
 However, it isn't all bad. His experience seems to have gained him a new job, cameoing on Eastenders. I think he's going to play a carrot.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The picture of some darkness has little to do with this post.

"Darkness. Tight, small darkness. In it, and once the eye has adjusted, we can make out a figure. Crouched in the void, waiting. His name is Max. He has no surname. You don't if you're raised by wolves. You don't have a first name either, but that makes it hard to introduce yourself. So Max had crafted a name, using only the dirt and leaves, as nature intended names to be made. The void, all of time and space, all that can be, and will be, and was. All of it. And Max has journey through it, searching. Suddenly, a light. Probing. Scanning across his features like a demented cat. Erratic, jumping, scratching claws of light down his face. Nearby, in the tight confines of the endless void, as if outside, thuds. Footsteps on the endless face of God, resonating through the woody flesh, reaching out..."

I opened the wardrobe door. Max sat excitedly in the middle, a sheet shawled over his head and shoulders, a flashlight shone on his face. He was talking to himself again, muttering about time and space and other blogs. Still, I suppose it'll be good to have him back.

Actually, the novelty's worn off already. Would anyone like to buy him?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Counting down the days...

I took another sip from the drink. Blood didn't agree with me, but it had seemed rude to complain. The sad figure hunched opposite me tipped up his hipflask, more whisky flooded into his sanguine, and he drank.
 "And, boyo, you'd never catch me sparkling like that in the sunlight!"
 It had shocked me a little to find out The Count was secretly Welsh. I mean, his apparent alcoholism wasn't that surprising. The whole number thing had suggested an addictive personality to me anyway. But this was a new low. Why did he have to be like this every time he didn't get a part in a film?
 "3 movies now! 1! 2! 3! AH AH AH AH AH!"
I'd pointed out that I could count to 3 easily. At least 3 times. 1! 2! 3! But the evening had continued well into the night. My once well-stocked alcohol cabinet had not, however, lasted that long.
 "And water! I melt in water! Count that!"
I declined to count the world's water supply. It was a stupid idea. The Count, drunkenly, had began to stagger around my house, singing Land of My Fathers badly and poking my possessions in a misjudged attempt to count. This was ridiculous. At least this time, the count was clearly more suited for the role he'd missed out on - he'd visited a few years ago, complaining Christian Bale had stolen the role of Batman from him. I'd tried to explain that the role had not been available only to Welshmen. The Count, arguing it was, tried to claim argue Bale had dressed as a vampire to imitate him, and thus steal the role. I didn't even bother to argue with that point any more. But now, this was different. The count was ideal to be in the Twilight sage. His repeat visits to me had certainly proved he was annoying enough.
 In the distance, I could hear the count attempting to count the tiles in my kitchen. Breaking a chair-leg over my knee, I headed for the kitchen myself.
Good thing I stocked up on feather dusters recently...

Monday, 12 July 2010

The competition is over!

So, with great relief, I can stop reading the many hundreds of angry, sexual entries sent to me for this year's first and only Dog in the Water Pipe annual writing competition. With so many splendid entries, I find myself forced to award separate prizes in the fields of fiction and poetry.

1st place in the DogintheWaterPipe's Paul Blanchard isn't quite dead yet memorial poetry writing competition goes to : Lauren Salkin!

Max. Max. Max.
What are going to do about Max?
He's a flack and a hack and looks for trouble at the oops I lost it, drop of a hat.
So, WTF are you going to do about that?
Max. Max. Max.
He thinks he's cool, but he's just a tool.
He likes to spy, likes to hide and suddenly he's in your face like a scary ride.
Max, go home. Be alone.
From now on we just do business over the phone.
Thanks to Lauren for that poetic entry, reminding us all that the best thing to do is really to just avoid Max. Lauren, I'm working on drawing some sort of crude prize as we speak, so that should be with you soon! Everyone else, if you haven't already, should visit Lauren over at Think Spin!
1st place in the DogintheWaterpipe's annual fiction award open to anyone and it would be racist to suggest Ben won it just because he's from a several racial minorities  goes to: Ben Tyson! Ben wowed us with a sporting outing featuring a visit from our favourite fool:
Having foolishly agreed to look after Max while Paul was experimenting with Microsoft Paint, I decided to treat him by taking him to Wimbledon. Whilst there, Max was struck on the head by a flying bowl of strawberries and cream (don’t ask. It was a typically ridiculous occurrence, however, I can assure you). When he regained consciousness several minutes later he came to the conclusion that he was at wimbledon so, therefore, must be a tennis racquet. He then insisted that two very scared and confused twelve year-olds use him instead of their traditional metal and string jobs. Unfortunately, their nearby parents saw only a strange man asking their children if he could hit their balls. This, as you can perhaps imagine, did not go down well. I imagine the situation could have been rescued were it not for Max’s decision to wear assless chaps to ‘upset the traditional order of Wimbledon’. As it was I could only look on as the fathers grabbed him by his dog collar (again, I have no idea why he was wearing one) and proceeded to beat him up till they got bored and went home. Nearing dusk Max finally awoke from his second trip into unconsciousness. Before we left I popped to the toilet. Upon my return I could see a large hairy thing on the grass some way in the distance, but no sign of Max. Becoming worried that I would have to explain to poor Paul that his fictional creation had been eaten by a bear in South London, I decided to look closer at the hairy thing. It was Max. Picking up rubbish. In a womble suit. Growing tired of his antics I forced him into the car and went home. I felt womble was significantly better than tennis racquet so I didn’t bother taking him to hospital, but dropped him off at Paul’s house glad to be rid of the strange man. I never did get to see any of the tennis…

Ben's work can be viewed here. Ben, since I'm lazy and live with you, you're not getting a prize.

So thanks to everyone for entering, and please continue to do so. Even though the competition is closed, if you send anything in, I'll strip Ben of his prize and award it to you.

Friday, 9 July 2010


My exciting, superb, half-arsed competition closes tomorrow. Or was it today? Well, I'll give you until tomorrow anyway. So come on, write a story featuring Max - perhaps in surroundings unique to your blog, perhaps in a windmill, I don't care. If you enter, you're almost guaranteed to win, because I want Ben to be thoroughly beaten! So come on, win some glory, upset a 20 year-old!

Observations about gravel...

Gravel. It's not overly exciting, is it? I mean, it serves its purpose well enough - covering a drive or path, sprinkling on cereal or porridge for trolls, burying grandma alive in - but generally, you wouldn't consider gravel a hot topic of conversation. Not so at my home. "Come and visit us!" My parents encourage me. It is, after all, summer. And I was in between houses for a few days, so it made sense.
 "We're getting new gravel!" I'm told. Right, I think, good for you. And I expect this to be, largely, the end of the subject. Perhaps I will be occasionally reminded the gravel arrives on Friday, or asked if I'm still free to help spread it or so on. But that should be it.
No such luck. Gravel appears to be the happening thing. Yesterday, we prepared for the gravel's arrival. We cleared the drive of weeds and ridges where the old gravel had compacted, we swept away leaves and twigs, we set out balloons and hung streamers. My grandparents called. I heard dad on the phone to them, "Yes. 8 tonnes. Oh yes, about three-quarters of an inch. Yes, about an inch-and-a-half covering"
 The gravel arrived this morning, 9:30 sharp. We'd been out since 8, preparing for the arrival. My father talked to no less than TWO people about the gravel before 10. Admittedly, one was our neighbour who noticed our preparations, and the other was the man delivering the gravel. Then we spread the gravel. The gravel said nothing. It didn't even touch the jelly we prepared for it, just sat around expecting us to do all the work. I was not allowed to set fire to it.
 But, it's over now! No longer must I hear about the topic of gravel in great length! No more will I bore my girlfriend with technical details and specifications about gravel! No more must I blog about such subjects! I'm free!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

I opened my eyes, and the world swayed as one.

Rocking, slowly, from side-to-side, I noted that my room shouldn't sway as such. It dawned on me, as it often does in such circumstances, that it was not the room swaying. It was I. It furthered dawned on me that, for once, I was not drunk. It similarly dawned on me that I was surveying my room from a high shelf. It dawned on me also that I shouldn't fit in this space, unless I had shrunk. The reason for my tiny swaying head also dawned on me. I was a bobblehead.
 Dark magics are at work here...

 Don't forget folks, still time to enter DogintheWaterPipe's Excellent Competition

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Something about coffee. I was in a coffeeshop

And, to be honest, it seemed kind of boring. I hadn't seen Max for a few days, he'd said something about "wanting to see other blogs", whatever that meant. So I'd gone out for coffee. Don't get me wrong, of course, it was nice to get up in the morning and live without fear. For instance, I could shower without the fear of Max - desiring efficiency - having electrified the shower. I looked around the coffee shop, noticing for the first time the rows of fish tanks that filled the back wall. Finishing my coffee, I went for a closer look.
 The tanks, varying in size and shape, were all full of typical fish decorations, little divers and gold chests and castles and the like. Full of water, air filters filtered away, little pebbles covered the bottom. But no fish. That was the interesting thing. Intrigued by this obvious flaw in an otherwise flawless display of the life aquatic, I enquired about the fishlessness of the young coffee-server.
 Nearby, a newspaper obscured the features of an onlooker. As I enquired about fish, please imagine the camera panning to him. On the word, "fish" the newspaper is quickly pulled down so the onlistener can listen better (As it is commonly known that newspapers impair hearing).
 Unseen by me however, the mysterious stranger followed me out. Disappointed that no-one could tell me where the fish were, I planned to go home. I take fish based disappointments hard. At least, I thought I did. But, compared to some people, they bothered me no more than the genocide of strangers bothers people who can't see it.
 Following me into a nearby alley, the stranger quickly covered the distance between us.
 "So," He called out, "Coming into the cafe like you're the big fish around here, aren't we?"
 I paused. I wasn't sure if that was a rhetorical question or not. I wasn't even sure what he meant.
 "Wanting to make a big splash, weren't we?" He enquired further.
 Clearly, he wanted an answer. Furthermore, I assumed he was one of those people who used "we" as an impersonal pronoun when addressing someone else. Or maybe not, I'm not entirely sure I remember what a personal pronoun is properly. But you get the idea. He certainly didn't mean "we" in the sense I would use it anyway. I certainly had no intention of going 'round, making splashes with this man.
 He had picked me up now, gripping my collar with two Popeye-sized fists and holding me to the wall.
 I decided to reply. Cliches seemed appropriate:
 "I have no idea what you're talking about!" I replied. Well, kinda squealed. In a manly way, of course.
 "Really? So I suppose we just 'happened' to wonder where the fish were, while we were enjoying our morning coffee. Perhaps we have nothing to do the biggest fish kidnap this century!"
 He looked rather smug now, as if he'd made and proved a point at me. Well, maybe he had. I still didn't really know what was happening. I struggled on, speaking as articulately as possible, in the form of cliched, made-for-TV dialogues:
 "So, you're saying someone kidnapped the fish. I'm innocent. Innocent, I tells you!"
 "Hmm, maybe so. We don't look like the fish-kidnapping sort, do we? We look more like a wet fish!"
His use of 'we' was getting annoying now, as was his use of fish-related phrases. But he was a big guy, so I tried to keep him calm.
 "Who are you anyway?" I asked.
 "Isn't it obvious?" He replied. "I'm the marine biologist."
I paused, taking a look at the bulging muscles on the man, the crew-cut, the tank-top.
 "When you say 'marine biologist'?..." I hesitantly asked.
 "Well..." He replied. "I'm a biologist. I'm also in the marines."
Yes. It was pretty obvious now he pointed it out. Of course, I could have taken him down there and then. You know, if he fell and concussed himself, I could have taken him no problem. Instead, I decided to spare him and play along. He sent me home. He told me he'd be in touch soon. Someone had to deliver the ransom, then he'd get the puffer fish, he said. I think 'puffer fish' was an insulting term for the kidnappers, but I don't really know. I went home.
 I miss Max.

Friday, 2 July 2010

A COMPETITION!!! Because I was bored...

Yes, that's right folks: it's the first annual (maybe) Dog in the Water Pipe competition! Gather round, one and all, gather round!
 The rules are simple: I want you to write me a story featuring our dear friend Max. Hell, it doesn't need to be a story even - draw a picture, write a poem, make a short film demonstrating his quirkiness through expressive dance! Whatever... Then, after you've composed this masterpiece, post it on your blog! (Or tattoo it on a cow, I don't care) Explain what it's all about, and leave me a comment linking to said piece of artwork!
 So, Max can be doing whatever you want - maybe you've got a fictional character on your blog you want him to interact with, or an account of a holiday with your friends and family you want him to ruin. Hell, maybe you take pictures of bridges, and just want to crudely photoshop a stick-figure into one. Whatever, as long as you remember to make Max stick to his rigidly defined character! The best piece(s), as judged by me (and Max, of course) shall be declared THE WINNER!

Prizes: Apart from the FAME and GLORY you will surely gain, you will receive a handsome mention from me! And, a computer-drawn piece of artwork created specially to commemorate the occasion! It will, of course, be crap. But that isn't the point. There may even be runner-up prizes.
The Closing Date is a week tomorrow, the 10th of July!

So come on, enter now! Maybe you've ALREADY WON! (No, you haven't. Not yet...)

Disclaimer: This is not a real competition. I mean, I intent to do all the crap I mentioned above, but if I don't, you can't sue me. Your work remains your own property, and any subsequent republication will only be done with your permission. You know, in case I write about this day so our children may know of the glory we shared on the field of literature.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The fog machine had gone, so had the whore. It seemed logical to assume one had stolen the other, so I assumed that was what had happened. Max, tired of his role-playing, had resorted to a superficially-similar subject; that of board games. Right now, he was in the basement, modifying his set of Monopoly. I still don't know why he always uses my house for his stupid antics, he's got a perfectly adequate house of his own, even if it lacks in walls and ceilings. But whatever...
 I settled back into my comfortable armchair. Ah, this was relaxing. Max hadn't disturbed me for a while, and I looked like I could drink some tea in peace and watch the news. For dramatic effect, I took a large mouthful of the aforementioned tea. Then, cheeks bulging, I paused as a thought occurred to me. "Modifying the Monopoly" he'd said. And he'd taken a lot of wires and crocodile clips. But no, that wasn't what was worrying me entirely, and the tea just dribbled inefficiently down my chin. Shrugging, I sank back into the chair and once again hamstered my mouth with boiling water. Then, it hit me. Tea sprayed from my mouth, covering the television, embracing and drowning pictures on the wall, dripping like the blood from a cosh, recently used to knock out an elderly man. Dripping like the blood from a cosh recently used to knock out an elderly man like the one Max had dragged into the basement.
 Rushing downstairs, I found a scene of unexplainable horror. Indeed, if I were to explain it, I would say Max had gone back to role-playing. But he was playing the role of GOD! Strapped to a chair in the middle of my basement, the elderly man. A pale moustache the only substantial hair on his head, he struggled to keep his head up and his consciousness conscious. "Urrgh!" He moaned crucially at me. Nearby, Max. Hunched manically over a sewing machine, he created. A suit. Trousers. Nearby, a top hat stood to attention, waiting for the right time. Nearby slightly less near, a dazed dog, a boat, a double-decker bus.
 Waiting, frozen, I saw Max make Mr. Monopoly in front of me. Taking his semi-macabre figures, he wandered over to a giant Monopoly board set up in the corner of my basement. Laughing an insane laugh, he produced giant dice.
 "Want to go first?"
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