Thursday, 28 July 2011

He looked across the table. The table, too polite to voice a dissenting opinion, allowed him the freedom to gaze.
 The woman opposite was striking. Obviously a great beauty in her youth, the flame of a pleasing physique still burned in her ivory skin and golden locks. A careless smile greeted him as he met her eyes, a match-head burning down behind her pupils. Then she stopped, and wrinkled. She was getting old, he though. We all are.
 He reached across the table, touching her arm. When he had first met her, 40 years ago perhaps, she had been soft and supple. Of course, she was harder now; more jagged. He knew, of course, that as a woman aged, she began slowly to turn to rock. It was common knowledge. But still, he had expected something more... shimmering in this case. An amethyst or shining geode.
 Now that the light was dying down, he saw her skin free of illuminating reflection. She was greying, lichen and moss growing in the creases of her skin.
 He chuckled as he looked at her - he was a fine one to talk, after all. Ageing had been kinder to him than to some, but he knew he was no Adonis. His fingers were long and damp to the touch, and fish swam the lengths of his shoulders in the evening breeze.
 "What are you laughing about?" She asked at length.
 "Just thinking." He replied. "We're old, you and I. Remember when we first met?"
 He needed say no more. The very idea that they would grow old at all, when they had first met so many years ago, seemed ridiculous. But now, the long years had taken their toll.
 They left the café, with a generous tip for the waiter, and strolled down the path beside the river. Reaching a bench, they stopped and sat quietly in the park. The sun set and the night closed around them, and the fireflies buzzed gently. Then the sun rose again, and dawn broke the night's peace quietly.
 They held hands on the bench as the sun rose. Then, as it reached the highest point, he turned to her.
 She shimmered in the light. Perhaps, he though, he'd been wrong after all. A hint of quartz. He smiled to himself, chuckling at length. She would have liked that, perhaps. Quartz.
 He kissed her forehead. She didn't move, it was beyond her now.
 Leaving her where she sat, immobile and immovable, he walked to the fence beside the river. He leaned over it and waited.
 No point in making a mess, after all.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Dogs in funny clothing. I've given up on good titles. I wish I was dead.

The doorbell rang. I can't even be bothered writing the onomatopoeic words to describe a doorbell doorbelling any more.

 On the step, a pair of small dogs stood looking up expectantly. They were kind of cute, but I detected an edge of cynicalism, as if they harboured a detached, dangerous view of the world. One of the dogs, taller (They were on hind legs) red knickerbockers, blue pork-pie hat, offered a tin towards me.

 "Would you like to make a donation, sir?"

 "Sure." I replied, fishing for my wallet. "What are you collecting for, the dogs' home?"

 "No." Replied the first dog. "I've started an awareness campaign to raise awareness about the lack of suitable clothing for dogs. You see, people aren't aware that there isn't much clothing for dogs - sure, there're some novelty hats and little costumes and things. But on the whole, there is little clothing that allows a dog to remain both stylish and warm."

 I nodded.

 "I didn't think dogs really liked clothing. I mean, you've got those little tartan coats for the rain, what more do you want?"

 "Look," He replied in a patient-yet-weary tone, "See Tim here? He hasn't got more than 3 shoes in the world. It's all very well, you saying he should get a job, earn some money, buy his own sewing machine and make his own clothes, but how can he expect to find employment with only 3 shoes?"

 I looked at Tim. Stupid name for a dog, I thought to myself, but I kept quiet. A moment ago I'd apparently given a tirade against dogs not working for a living, so I didn't know what I might say next.

 "Besides." Said the first dog. "Look at this picture. This is your grandmother, isn't it?"

 I looked at the picture. It was true - a stylish sepia print of my grandmother hunting game in Montecristo was being thrust in front of my face.

 "Your grandmother. She likes to keep a clean lawn, doesn't she?" The dog asked, with the rising inflection of a seasoned talking dog blackmailer.

 I hastily pulled out 67p from my pocket and gave it to the dogs.

 "Good man." The dog who wasn't Tim said. "Now, unless you've got anything to bark at, we'll be on our way."

 I told them I didn't, then went back inside. Even though I'd met their blackmail demands, I didn't trust the two dogs. Loading up my shotgun and fetching the cat's revolver from behind the stairs, I set off to Grandma's. The cat met me there, having picked up some bear traps at the fish market. We waited until dawn, but there was no sign of the dogs. Satisfied, we prepared to go home. Spotting us as she went out for her morning jog, Grandma invited us in for Currie and vodka. It was a good day, and only one passer-bye got caught in the bear traps.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

It takes all kinds...

Early morning gloom blocked up most of the light, but through the shadows I could see two other figures in the bar with me. One, a  large man in a suit far too small for him, was combing his hair obsessively, using the back of a spoon to style it. His breakfast drinking companion, a 5-foot tall Chinese version of Sylvester Stallone, was reading the cocktail menu and tutting in contemplation.

 Time passed as I watched the unlikely pair order something, then settle back to wait. After more of the aforementioned time passed, the suited man turned and caught my eye.

 "We're not together!" He yelled out, panicked.

 I smiled politely. I couldn't care less.

 "And we don't drink this early!" He continued. "It's just that our coffee machine is broken, and raccoons stole our cereal!"

 I continued to smile politely, turning my straw this way and that as I drank my bucket of vodka.

 "We're not homosexuals!" He yelled, determined to make the point.

 I smiled some more. As long as they weren't owl rapists, I didn't bother me.

 Chinese Sly looked up in confusion.

 "I am." He said at length.

 "What? You never said!" Yelled the suited man, evidently scared that he might have caught something from sharing his breakfast with a gay man.

 "I thought this was a date." Chinese Sly mumbled sadly.

 I continued to watch the drama play out in front of me. After a while, the pair left awkwardly. When they were out of sight, I scurried over to their table and began to nibble at the crumbs of food they'd left behind.

 Don't judge me, a bucket of vodka a day is an expensive habit you know. I've got to make savings where I can.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


  Over dinner, I stared into her eyes. Cold, emotionless. She stared back for a while, nibbling at her food.

 "We never talk any more." I said. What I meant was that she never talked any more. I still talked.

 "And we don't go out. I don't mind curling up in front of the fire, but we have to go out sometime. We never see anyone any more."

 She said nothing back. I was unsurprised but disappointed.

 "And you only show me affection when you want something. You showed the postman more affection last week."

 Still nothing.

 "And when you go to the toilet in the garden, I'm glad you cover it up, but could you be more careful in future? You dug up all my petunias.

 She meowed back at me.

 I smiled. It was progress.

 "You're a good girl really." I said, patting her on the head. "I just wish you wouldn't scratch the furniture."

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Vicious, peace-loving bastards.
 The guests were fleeing in terror. I didn't blame them. Nearby, a couple recoiled, cowed by fear, as a ferocious swan pecked and honked in their general vicinity.

 Around us, the other eleven swans created similar mayhem, biting passers-bye and flapping their wings on occasion.

 "So, how did this work out? You know, in your head?"

 "Well," Max replied. "The Bride and Groom exit the Chapel, and I open the cage."

 "Yup. With you so far. Then the doves should fly out, making everything magical and dove-like?"

 "Yes. Except, as you can see, I couldn't get my hands on any doves."

 I nodded.

 "And why, Max, why did you think swans would be a good substitute?"

 Max shook his head sadly. "No idea" was the only answer offered. I nodded some more, adding the pursing of the lips to my head-based motions.

 "Why were you even allowed to handle such a delicate task? Have you been telling people you're a professional dove-wrangler again?"

 Max shrugged. After a moment, he turned and walked away, at some speed. The wind carried words back to me, and they sounded like "don't look in the van".

 I looked in the van. It was a small, white unassuming van, with the words "Professional Dove-Wrangler" painted on the side in big letters. Underneath said script lay a smaller message, explaining the owner of such a van would use doves, and not swans. I opened the van.

 Inside, tied and gagged, lay a professional dove-wrangler. He seemed rather annoyed, and explained what I'd already guessed as I untied him: Max, probably on the ether again, had attacked the man on the street, tickling him mercilessness. When he collapsed in forced mirth, Max had tied him up and stolen the van. Obviously.

 "So what about the doves?" I asked. "Surely you must have doves of your own, being a professional and not a swan-vendor."

 Sadly, the man explained that he had eaten all the doves prior to his kidnap. I nodded, finding this answer acceptable. Then I drove the van home. It's mine now, and there's nothing any of you can do about it.

Monday, 4 July 2011

No man is an island, part 3

For Harold, the Island was starting to lose its appeal. Certainly, the alluring palm trees still waved seductively in the wind, and the crabs danced dances of titillation and excitement. But overall, Harold missed his home.

 A gentle breeze carried itself across the beach, listlessly caressing the ragged remains of Harold's shoes. "Maude", the breeze seemed to whisper.

 Well, though Harold, I think that was her name. Maude. He'd been married, he thought. Or she'd been at the bus-stop. Either way, his missed her hair, coloured in a particular fashion as it had been, and also her face, which had probably been very pretty, or at least lacked hair in the right places.

 Yes, he thought happily. She'd have never stood for this kind of thing. Kept a clean house, Maude probably did. No sand around the place. Yes, beautiful as the island was, Harold (Oh fuck, I've just noticed the names are 'Harold and Maude', Like that film. I wasn't going for that. I was just thinking of Maude Flanders. Like any young man. Well, I'm too lazy to use another name. Let's just plough on).

 Yes, though Harold. The Island was beautiful. But he'd trade it all for Maude, just to see her again. He missed her more than anything.

 A gentle current stroked its way up the beach. Harold leaned back in the sand, and wondered if he'd actually been gay. Yes, that seemed familiar. The sun beat down on him from on high. Sadly, Harold wondered who Maude was. She could have been his hairdresser, now he thought about it.

 Islands aren't fun, kids.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Ok, I've actually gone mad. I have no idea what any of this means.

"You still got that guy stalking you?"

 I sipped gently on my coffee as I contemplated Max's succulent question. 'Yes' I would answer in time, 'yes I have'. But for now, the possibility of giving forth such an answer seemed slim. The coffee was hot, my tongue was burning, and my thoughts were far away.

 My house was still burned down. That's a recap, for those of you who are new here. If you are new here, I'd stop reading now. Go away, play in the sun or something. Eat some grapes. I don't really care. But don't lose your house in a fire. See, we've gone full circle. You're happy now? Good, let's continue.

 "Yes." I answered Max. "Yes he is."

 "Well, I know how you feel. I've got this guy following me, you see. He's very cunning, he's everywhere I go. Well, everywhere with a reflective surface."

 I nodded wisely. Surely, I thought to myself, the joke here wouldn't be that Max had mistaken his reflection for a stalker of some sorts. Surely the readers of this illustrious blog deserve humour more sophisticated than a man being scared of reflection, refraction and reduction. You deserve the works of Sartre, distilled with the finest champagne, served on the back of a moose. Or something of that ilk.

 "Max, are you sure you're not just thinking of your reflection? Because that's not a stalker; it's just science. Which, in general, is actually far scarier." I replied, the memory of failing Higher Physics still ingrained in my psyche.
Herbert Otto Gille. He looks a
bit like Max's new reflection.

 "No." Replied Max. "I thought that at first. But I remember my reflection, and it looks just like me. I've never worn an SS uniform, for one thing."

 I nodded. A few moments passed, then I looked up in the comedic stylings of the man who has just thought about what he's heard.

 "An SS uniform? Like the Waffen-SS? You have a Nazi reflection?"

 "Yea. Now you mention it, that is really weird, isn't it? Look!"

 Max, in a fit of excitement, was pointing at his coffee. For a moment, I caught a glimpse of a uniformed figure making rude hand gestures, then in our excitement, we shook the table and the reflection wobbled away.

 "That's pretty unusual Max, even for you." I offered cautiously.

 "Yea, I mea... Wait, wait! He's back!"

 Max had grabbed a spoon in a further fit of excitement, turning this way and that while yelling.

 "Look, the crafty bugger's upsides-down now!"

 "Ya!" yelled the figure from the spoon, in a particularly reflective German accent. "ve have occupied your spoon!"

 Nearby, a waiter was cleaning up tables diligently. Overhearing Max's spoon, he approached the table with a stern look on his face.

 "We'll have none of that talk here, sir!" He snapped.

 "It isn't my fault!" Max yelled out. "Nazis have occupied my reflection."

 "Look," replied the waiter, "this is a neutral café. We're like Switzerland, except without the Alps. I hate the Alps. Take your little conflict elsewhere."

 "Look," replied Max unoriginally, "We've paid for these coffees, we'll damn well finish them!"

 "And I'll have none of that language! This used to be such a peaceful café, before you came and ruined it! Get out, before I fetch the teapot!"

 "NO!" Yelled a voice from the café. A young woman, dressed in an apron, ran from the establishment. "You promised we would leave the violence behind. You said there would be no more teapots!"

 "I know my love," the waiter replied. "But I cannot stand by. I cannot allow this to go on, not in my own home!"

 For some time now, I had been sidling away. To be more exact, I'd been gently rocking my chair backwards across the terrace and onto the sidewalk. Now, I shuffled backwards into a taxi and set off for home. I didn't know how Nazis had taken over Max's reflection, and I didn't understand what had gone on in that café. All I knew was that I'd sacrificed a perfectly good scone, a brave fighter left behind, a tribute to the Gods of Old, to allow me to escape. And I wouldn't let that sacrifice go unremembered.
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