Thursday, 27 December 2012

Cooking with the author

In this festive season, many people like to cook. Perhaps you enjoy cooking, or suffer from a form of masochism. Either way, it seems unlikely you're as perfect as me in any way, so here are some cooking tips and an interwoven recipe.

Step 1: Preparation

 The most important part of any cooking enterprise is good preparation. The second most important part is to use edible ingredients, not tinfoil and caterpillars, but we'll talk more about that later. Firstly, gather all your  utensils and other kitchen equipment together in a heap. This should include items you have no intention of using, as it allows you to get more items dirty at a quicker pace. This is the real secret to cooking.

Step 2: Cooking

  The next step is to actually cook your dish. In this scenario, you are making some pesto, because I did that earlier. Take some basil leaves, an indiscriminate amount of pine nuts, parmesan cheese and some olive oil, and blend in a food blender. No, I'm not going to tell you how much of each ingredient you will need. Numbers are an illusion from which you must free yourself.

Step 3: Sobbing

 Collapse on the floor crying. Your dreams will never come true. Weep, weep for the death of your innocence, and because you have a lot of washing up to do later. Your pesto is unpleasantly green and lumpy, and your life is going nowhere. You will never recapture that sense of belonging, that happiness and completeness you felt in a dream last Thursday. Is there a word for that? There's probably one in German, they're good at words like that. Also, if you're that kind of person, you could make a joke about the War. It's been a while though, and almost everyone involved is dead. You should move on.

Step 4: Washing up.

 Wash the plates, utensils and beloved pets you used in the cooking process. Be sure to leave smeary streaks of olive oil on your glasswear, and basil leaves in your sink. This will add to the aura of your being. Imagine you have taken your worries out of your head and placed them in an basket. You have tied the basket to a balloon, and you are watching your worries float away. Eat fibre to avoid constipation.

Step 5: Mixed herbs

 Add some mixed herbs. A 'real' chef would use specially-chosen, fresh herbs. However, this is actually a sup to Cthulhu, the being of infinite horror to which all Chefs pray. Avoid involving the notoriously troublesome entity in your cooking by using a tub of mixed herbs from your local supermarket. Their green bittiness will enhance any meal, even if it is a test-tube filled with custard.

Step 6: Pray and Order a Takeaway

 This is the last step in any successful cooking ritual. First, offer a prayer to God. As per the Old Testament  do not offer your young to Moloch. Prayer is a strong force for good in the world, and if you're lucky, God might give you Clip-Clop, the pony you always wanted. This done, use a telephone or the internet to demand someone else brings food to your house. Or just eat raw meat. Perhaps you could go outside and take bites out of a hedgehog? They're hibernating right now, so you should be able to get past the spikes easily.


 This concludes "Cooking with the author", an exciting new blog feature that we shall never speak of again. Follow these six simple steps and you could soon be starving to death. Amaze your friends! Fuck off! Do something in between!
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Monday, 12 November 2012

Norman Vs. Nature.

 Sipping his takeaway coffee gently, aware it was still hot, and reading his newspaper in the midday sun, Norman felt content. The park - his standard lunchtime haunt for the last few weeks - had recently been renovated by a team of doctors, heart and lung specialists mainly, and the flowers looked particularly beautiful. Taking another bite of his sandwich - egg and cress, wholemeal bread - Norman sighed contently and watched birds frolicking naked in a nearby birdbath.
 A small, scuttling noise disturbed his revelry. A squirrel, twitching and scurrying his eyes, had mounted the bench and began a detailed investigation of Norman's abandoned sandwich wrapping.
 "Hello, little fellow." Norman said.
 The squirrel gave him a slow, calculated look.
 "What's that supposed to mean? 'Little fellow'?"
 "Oh, sorry," Norman replied, "I didn't... erm... Well, I just meant..."
 "Look," the squirrel interrupted, "it doesn't matter what you meant. There was no need to say that. I've got a genetic condition actually. It shortens my lifespan by around 15 years, and it makes it very hard for me to get squirrel clothes that fit. I  have to shop in the children's department. And it really takes a lot of confidence for me to come up to a complete stranger and look for crumbs."
 "I... Well, I didn't... I didn't mean to cause offence... I was just being friendly..." Norman replied.
 A small crowd had gathered, watching the scene with interest.
 "Friendly? You think this is how to be friendly?" The squirrel yelled. "What the hell's wrong with you? I've seen you here before, and you always feed those ducks and the sparrows. But the second I come near you, bang! You turn into a dick. Is it because I'm a squirrel? Is that it? You've got a problem with squirrels, haven't you?"
 "Well, no, or course not. What a ridiculous thing to say!"
 The crowd had grown in size now. A few people were shaking their heads at Norman in disgust, and a mother was covering the ears of her child.
 "Ridiculous? So I'm stupid now? A stupid squirrel, is that it?"
 Norman had risen from his seat, trying to back off with some dignity.
 "Yes!" Yelled the squirrel, "You run off! Run back to your human world, where you only have to look at squirrels if you run them over."
 The crowd parted to let Norman pass, pulling back as if he was infectious. A little old lady spat in his direction, and a man held back his friend, a red-faced brute cursing and hissing with hate. The number 47 bus pulled up, and Norman quickly boarded, passing the driver his return ticket and sinking into a seat near the back. The bus left, the crowd angrily watching but, fortunately, taking no further action.
 Norman watched as the park disappeared behind a bend in the road, being replaced with a microwave shop and a small office block. He sighed, taking out his map of city parks and plazas, and stroked the park off with a red pen. That made seven now; seven parks where he had accidentally racially insulted a talking animal. Lunch time was becoming more of a burden everyday, and he was having to take increasingly long routes in the morning to avoid all the places he had caused offence. 
 Of course, he could just eat in the office, but that would mean using the staff dining room, and there was a good chance one of the Belarusian workers would sit near him.
 Fucking Belarusians.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Ride The Moustache

A man with a distinctive moustache. Photograph...
A man with a distinctive moustache.
 Photographed June 3, 2006 at Galesburg,
Illinois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I reread the sign, slowly. "Ride The Moustache." I paused, contemplated, and poked my contact lenses to check they were working. Candy floss staining my eyeball, I rereread the sign, mulling over the message in my head.

 I realised I don't wear contact lenses first. Secondly, I realised it said, "Ride The Moustache." The sign definitely invited me - and, I presume, anyone else who could read - to ride the moustache. I examined the ride, nodding thoughtfully, sucking on my teeth, even humming cautiously at one point. It was, to the untrained eye, a teacup ride. Except, the teacups - and they were teacups, once, because they looked like teacups with the handles broken off - were moustaches. Crude moustaches made of teacups, parts of brooms and a lot of black paint, but moustaches none the less.

 "Ride the moustache, good Sir?" Said the portly gentleman manning the stall. He was a typical carnival man, short, squat and dressed in yellow tweed - tweed jacket, tweet waistcoat, tweed plus-fours, tweed deerstalker, tweed monocle, tweed so on and so forth. My eye worked my way up his body, past his tweed and his shirt and bow-tie - both, also, tweed - and eventually, I focused on his moustache. It was not tweed, instead, it was hair and large and bushy and well-suited to a man dressed entirely in tweed.

 For a moment, I froze. "Ride the moustache?" He asked again, his mouth actually obscured by his own moustache. "Ride the moustache?" The giant moustache asked. Slowly, time slowed. I know that sounds stupid, but it got gradually slower before settling into one speed, slower than normal. You understand, yea?

 The lights dimmed. There was nothing but me and the moustache. "Ride the moustache?" He asked again. "Ride me?".

 "I...I, what?"

 "Ride me!" the moustache yelled. "There is nothing but me!"

 "What about the other moustaches?" I asked, knowing the question to be folly. There was only darkness, and the moustache, floating in the air, bands of colour emerging from the hidden face behind and psychedelically slinking into the air.

"RIDE ME!" The moustache yelled again. I can't, I wanted to reply, I don't want to. I've just bought new heads for my razor, and they cost me an extortionate amount of money, so I can't go getting involved with moustaches right now. Leave me alone, I wanted to yell. I stayed quiet. The moustache continued to stare at me.

 I shook my head, and it faded like a dream. Time resumed, the moustache shrunk and returned to the tweed man's face. Noting my disinterest, he turned and headed towards new potential customers. I held my head in my hands and wept. This was getting too strange for me. I must stop huffing bacon-double-cheeseburgers from a spongebag before I go to the fair.
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Friday, 14 September 2012

On the Road again.

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 08:  An empty road leads...
The Road. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
"Yes, it really was an awful game." I said to the bartender. "Our team certainly did abysmally."

 We shared a laugh. I tried, once again, to trust my money upon the man, hoping that I could escape this torturous interaction before anyone realised I had no idea what sport we were talking about.

 "Ok, here you are." He said, placing my drink in front of me. "Anything else?"

 "Well, I'll take another for the road." I replied.

 "Thank!" Yelled the road, "You're a good sort... Much better than Franco. Stupid dictator, never bought me any flowers."

 I nodded politely. I hated the road, but he was married to my sister and I was socially obliged to spend time with him. Of course, he was all right sober, but as soon as we reached the bar, Oh! He'd left his wallet in his other layby, would I get this round and he'd get the next? "Oh, I'm sorry, I meant to pop round Tuesday and repay you for the drinks, but I had to wait because some workmen were coming to install some traffic lights on me."

 "Thanks... Thanks again, Alan," he belched and mumbled on my return. "You're a good man, but you'd... you'd better not hit me drunk. You know? Hit the road? Like driving? But drunk, so drunk driving? You know, so you shouldn't drink drive? It... it is a play on words?"

 I agreed, it was a play on words. It wasn't a good play on words, and it hadn't been the first time he told me that joke in 1987. And my name had never been Alan.

 I fucking hate the road.
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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Breakfast, Or Keith's Unfortunate Meal, Volume 1

Some Sexy Porridge
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 Keith stirred his porridge idly, his eyes gazing across his paper carelessly as he digested oats and news. In time, Keith finished his breakfast, neatly folding up the newspaper and carrying the bowl to the sink. A relatively tidy, if somewhat lazy man, Keith noticed he had left the package of porridge oats sitting half open besides the sink.

“Ooh”. Said the oats suggestively.

Keith paused. He scrunched up his eyebrows and flexed his eyes while he contemplated the package. Obviously, the oats hadn’t just sighed in pleasure. Keith hadn’t gotten much sleep last night and that, he decided, was the problem. Just his mind playing tricks on him. Looking around for the clip he used to keep the porridge packet closed, Keith brushed past the foodstuff.

“Yea! Yeaaaa”. The Porridge moaned.

Keith checked his watch. 10 minutes until he had to leave for work. Picking up the bag of oats, he headed towards his bedroom. Then, he turned off into the bathroom. After he’d strangled the oats, he cut off their head, hands and feet to prevent anyone identifying them, scribbling over the brand name and barcode on the packaging. Then, he dug a hole in his back yard, pouring the oats into the whole, and filling it with topsoil. Quickly, with the poise and speed of a seasoned expert, Keith cleaned up the kitchen, hiding any evidence the porridge had ever been there. That done, he fixed his face into a practised smile and headed to work.
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Monday, 9 July 2012

A Drawer

I wrote this post over Christmas. I takes place in the past, but I'm sure you'll cope:

I'm tidying out a drawer in my room at my parent's house, full of things from when I was 10-15. Yea, that's right, I'm posting a list of things I found in a drawer. If you don't like that, why not just buy a bloody yacht? Anyway, here's some stuff:
  • A recruiting leaflet for the British Army. Surely there're some ethical issues with giving these to children? It proclaims that the Highlands produce the best soldiers. Jingoism is always a good way to get kids into the army. I joined when I was 14, and I never looked back.
  • A leaflet about things "below the belt", sent by my doctor's surgery for my 14th birthday. I now understand that I have a penis. On page 6, a remarkably sinister boy explains how he masturbates, and on the next page, a diagram explains its normal to fantasise about your naked body being nibbled all over by rabbits. I have never fantasied about lying naked in a field, having rabbits chew on my extremities, probably because I'm a sexual deviant. 
  • A fluffy sticker of Gnasher, Dennis the Menace's dog. It has googly eyes, and probably fleas. 
  • A Lizard. It's a toy, made of plastic. You rarely see lizards in Scotland, during the winter, in bedroom cabinets. I did see one on the garden fence once though. He had a long tail. If I kept a diary, I would have made a note of it under the title, 'Lizard!'
  • A notepad, blank except for two pages with drawings on them. The first drawing shows a Giant, smiling and holding onto a bridge, fighting a dozen tiny people as they attack him with rockets, inexplicably wielded by hand. The giant has a cross pattern on his chest, which made me think it might be a political satire in which the giant represents Britain. Then I realise its just an explosion. The second sketch is stranger; a warhead of some sort extends its hand in peace, but no-one will receive it. Alternatively, its some guy in a cloak.
  • 4 wax crayons. I'm keeping these, they taste delicious.
  • A flier advertising a free toy that accompanied some Walker's Crisps - a coloured piece of diamond-shaped card. Apparently, the objective is to buy lots of crisps and get many different coloured bits of card. They seem to slot together to make a big piece of card, made of different colours. From now on, whenever people tell me toys were better when we were growing up, I will stab them in the appendix.
I now move onto the second drawer:
  • Mostly Star Wars stuff. A Phantom Menace "Data file". Its half-diary, half Star Wars facts. The diary section is untouched. I may keep this and use it in my day-to-day life. It will prove useful if I ever see a lizard again.
  • A Colin Mcrae rally print, with a printed signature, from 2005. Unsurprisingly, it pre-dates Mr. Mcrae's death.
  • A World of Warcraft poster, again with printed signatures. I played WoW once. A rat beat me up and laughed at me. That was during the download process.
  • A book called "Christmas Cats". It features a lot of cats doing Christmas things, like stabbing a stranger in a shopping centre because you both want the last hand-knitted sweater that your husband Ian has been just dying for. Actually, they're just standing under mistletoe and wearing hats, that kind of thing. I tried to put a hat on my cat once. In the ensuing struggle, I lost a nipple. I'm joking, but not much. I am scarred.
  • Star wars again: this time, a "Official 20th Anniversary Commemorative Souvenir" magazine. It cost £4.95, which was a lot back then for a magazine. I think I bought it with a £5 book voucher I had for WHSmiths. It features a lot of information about where the cast are now. Most of it is probably wrong by now, especially the info about Sir Alec Guinness, who is in Heaven.
  • An assortment of Star Wars paperbacks by Timothy Zahn, including the Thrawn trilogy. Also, some Star Wars cards. The front shows a photo of a character, and on the flipside, an illustration. The illustrated character is generally unrelated to the photographed, leading to wonder what the point of the whole thing is. Life is futile. Still, the shot of Carrie Fisher is nice. I would still do Princess Leia.
  • Severed Star Wars character heads. I think they used to hold sweets. Two Chewbaccas, two Yodas, one C-3PO and one Darth Vader. Ideally, I would have 2 Darth Vaders, even if it meant sacrificing a C-3PO. I would also have rather R2 D2, but I suppose the way the sweet containers are designed would make that unfeasible. I would still do R2 D2
The third and final drawer.
  • More Star Wars. This time, two small picture books, one for A New Hope, and another for The Empire Strikes Back. I prefer the Empire Strikes Back book, as it has a photo for the cover, and seems more professionally made.
  • The script and accompanying photographs for a presentation I gave on Red Squirrels in second year. That is, second year at Academy (Aged about 13), rather than my second year of University, where I believe I gave a presentation on Hugh Trever-Roper,  Baron Dacre of Glanton's Scottish history. I didn't think it was entirely prejudiced-free. Trever-Roper was a noted expert on the last days of Nazi Germany, but discredited after he 'verified' the forged Hitler diaries. He knew little of red squirrels.
  • Dust. There's a lot of dust. It's like someone cremated my memories and stored them at the bottom of a chest of drawers. But they didn't, that would be stupid, and this is just dust.
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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Sexy hijinx

I discarded my keys in the bowl beside the door, removed my hat and coat and let out a satisfied sigh. Another hard day at the... Well, I don't really do anything. I go out, smartly dressed, and eat sandwiches for 7 hours before walking home. But I digress.

 After a hard day at the, well, park bench I liked to sit on, it was nice to come home and relax. Of course, and you're probably ahead of me here, I was not to receive the pleasant evening in front of the television I'd hoped to enjoy. In my kitchen I wandered lonely like a cloud, hoping to make myself a refreshing cup of coffee to feed my horrible addiction. The addiction is to heroin rather than coffee, of course, but I buy strange, opium-based coffee beans that help me get through the day.

 But I digress again. In the kitchen, there were two men. They were large, handsome muscular men wearing only tight trousers and braces that crossed their oiled, well-toned chests. On their heads, they had little yellow builders hats. I assumed, therefore, they were some kind of sexy builders. Or someone had sent me man-strippers again. It happens remarkably frequently.

 "Evening," I addressed the men casually. I wasn't in the mood for their well-toned, homoerotic shenanigans.

 "Evening," One replied. The other smiled and nodded politely, "Your conservatory's coming along nicely, we should be finished by Friday."

 "Oh," I mumbled weakly, "That's good."

 Excusing myself, I slipped into the back yard. Nope, no half-build conservatory there. I checked the rest of the house - nothing on the side, on the garden shed, or on the roof. No-one was building me a conservatory. None of the neighbours were building me a conservatory. There was no conservatory.

 I returned to my house, angry and confused - like every other time I see an attractive, semi-dressed man I suppose - to confront my intruders.

"Alright gaffer?" The builder greeted me. "Happy with how things are coming along?"

 "Well lads, sort of. I was just wondering... There's, erm... There's no actual building work going out there. And I don't remember hiring you or anything."

 The men recoiled, their faces convulsing in terror. Shocked, pale and panic-stricken, they raced to the back yard.

 I watched from my kitchen window as they raced around my back garden. They were still very greasy and very half-dressed, and a few passers-bye had stopped to watch the hi-jinx. A passing cat hopped over my fence and stopped as well, watching the scene for a few moments before turning tail and fleeing. The builders, having fallen first into a furious row over who was to blame for the lack of conservatory, had now fallen onto each other in the middle of the lawn and engaged in a spirited wrestling match. Their greasy bodies sweating and bumping together, they disrupted several of my garden gnomes and flattened a rather promising ant-hill. The onlookers had started to cheer and take pictures as the fight continued to unfold, and a small bus filled with elderly nuns had stopped nearby. I shrugged, and having made myself a cup of coffee, folded out a lawnchair and sat down to watch.

 Time dragged on, and day turned laboriously to night. The mysterious guests wrestled long into the evening, and around midnight, I fell asleep. When I woke up, they were gone, and to this day I still know not who they were or why they came to my house. There was, however, a freshly-built conservatory attached to my house in the morning. It's really very nice, and no-one charged me for it.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Women, eh?

The sun was just setting when she came up to the bench and sat down beside me. Five-foot-three, with fiery black hair and shoes to match, she folded legs far longer than her height would allow and placed herself uncomfortably close to me. I mumbled a greeting nervously, as I've never been comfortable around women, or men, or carrots for that matter. The last rays of the day caressed our faces, and she turned to look at me.

 A moment or two passed. My ear, uncomfortable under her gaze, heated up and began to glow. I turned to meet her eyes, as one does, and smiled the small, polite smile of a serial killer. She met my gaze and held it, and I in turn could not look away because of terrible neck cramp. The sun continued to set, and was very bright in the corner of my eye.

Time passed, then at last she opened her mouth. Her voice was golden like gold or wood covered in gold-leaf paint, and she spoke thusly;

 "Do you like ants?"

 I pondered the question. It was, I decided, pretty cool how they worked together and carried really heavy things like leafs and baby elephants. Yes, I decided, they're ok. My mind made up, I dedicated my rhetorical skills to the subject.

 "Yes, they're ok." I replied.

 She smiled.

 "So do I." She said. "Look!"

 She took my gaze, and brought it to focus on her necklace. It was made entirely of ants, each tied by its front legs to the rear legs of the next. I looked in horror at the creatures, their broken legs twisted beyond repair, their eyes crying softly out to me, begging me to end their suffering. Shocked, I watched the necklace for perhaps an hour. Around us, it became dark.

 "Why... Why would you do that?" I asked.

 She just smiled. At length, she faded like mist, evaporating in the dying rays of the sun. I sat a while longer on the bench, pondering the things one ponders at times such as this, and then ate a sandwich. I never saw her again, and wonder to this day if she even existed.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

It is Wednesday night.

Sure, Wednesday isn't exactly your big night for socialising. It hasn't the pretension of Saturday or the sheer end-of-week joy of Friday, but its a good night. So, taking into account that I'm young and handsome. Well young and relatively unscarred, with a selection of waistcoats, how am I going about painting the town red?  It's pretty obvious how. I'm in my pyjamas, drinking blueberry vodka and lemonade and doing a crossword. A crossword, alone and drunk. And I'm not doing well. The crossword is alone, papery and defenceless against my drunken advances. I have a small pencil flopping around in my hand, and the internet to help me pin the crossword in place and... Wait, I don't like the direction this metaphor is taking..
 Well, the point is I'm a smart guy and I'm cheating, and I can't finish the crossword. I'd say it's frustrating, but that opens the doors for another unpleasant metaphor.

I used to be someone. Not 'someone', in an important sense - I was never the mayor or a timelord or anything like that - but I used to be a person. Now I'm just a gelatinous blob, devoid of form or bones, a giant pink sticky ball that keeps sticking to things and smudging the print on my newspaper.I had such dreams, and now I just lie around worrying, knowing the next time I have a shower I could disintegrate and wash away, the next time I stand next to an industrial fan I could be sucked up and sprayed across a wide area like pink jelly thrown inaccurately at a cat. My hands, although much better at cleaning surfaces of dust and surface debris are formless and without worth. My opposable thumbs, so long the topic of idle boasting at the zoo, are slimy and ungripping, no longer worthy of the jealous stares of chimps and gazelle.

Hear my lessons and learn well from them children, for I was once like you - vain and arrogant, with firm bones and a solid if comfortably proddable body. I have been cursed for my hubris, regressed like the primordial slime from which we once emerged. No more shall I know what it feels like to gently caress a pakora or stand on a grating without oozing through it and entering the drains.

Go quick from this place children! I already feel my form hardening, my jelly-like mandibles freezing like cement. Let us depart, and may my draining life-force be used to fill in a pothole while I still have some worth.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


There was a small, balding man on my doorstep. For once, this isn't a doorbell story, because the man was just standing there when I opened the door. To be fair to him though, his arm was extended, his finger pointed and ready to caress the buzzer afixed to my wall. I had merely stumbled upon him, hoping as I was to slip out in the early morning dew and dispose of a body.

 Not, I should point out at this juncture, a human body. Just a Rhesus monkey. I strangle Rhesus monkeys sometimes, but I'm planning on giving up after Easter. Anyway, dressing gown barely covering my dignity, dead monkey wrapping in newspaper in hand, I met this strange little man on my doorstep. I recognised him; his name was Brian or Barry or something like that, and he worked in a corner shop a few streets away where I sometimes bought glue. He had a nervous looking face, and little round glasses.

 "Oh, hello" He mumbled, the initial shock of our meeting having passed.

 "Good morning!" I replied unnecessarily loudly. "Can I render unto you assistance?"

 "Well, I was just wondering if you might want to have a look at these fliers?"

 Nervously, he presented me with some fliers. On them, I noticed a large cross, and assuming them to be religious, smiled politely and took them. With any luck I could avoid a theological debate, I hoped feverishly.

 But I was wrong, and BarryBrian continued to stand, hoping from foot to foot with a look of expectant optimism on his face. I smiled politely again and looked at the fliers. The first thing I noticed was the crucifix. Secondly, I noted it was upsides-down. Underneath was the message, "Hello! My name is Barry, and I'm the Anti-Christ".

 "So Barry, you're the anti-Christ then?"

 "Oh yes!" Barry replied, "That's me!"

 I waited patiently, expecting him to capitalise on this opening and tell me more.

 "So. I'll bet that keeps you busy, doesn't it?" I asked, my face a mask of pained enthusiasm.

 "Oh, you'd think." Barry replied, "But actually, I've not got a lot to do really."

 "Right." I replied.

 A bird began to sing in the distance, and a chill breeze passed us by.

 "I'll just be off then." Barry said.

 "Great stuff." I yelled, my mouth contorted into a grin of unbearable enthusiasm. "Right so, have a good day."

 Barry smiled politely and turned to leave. I watched him as he walked down my path, crossed the road and approached the house of old Mrs. Aaronovich, who probably wouldn't put up with any Anti-Christ nonsense.

 I began to scan the leaflet unenthusiastically. Really, there was very little to it. ("Hello" I heard in the distance."I'm the Anti-Christ.") Largely, it contained poorly-Xeroxed exerts from negative reviews of the local Church's performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. (Across the road, the voice of Mrs. Aaronovich cried out in protest that she didn't believe in Jesus, let alone anything else.) Underneath the almost unreadable reviews there was a crudely-drawn picture of what I assumed to be Jesus, underneath which was the message, "You suck!". I retired into the house, dumping both the Rhesus monkey corpse and the leaflet in the corner.

 I very much doubt Barry, a 45 year old man with thick little glasses and a cardigan, was the Anti-Christ, but to be sure I'll sneak into his house later and shave him of what little hair he has left, just in case. Then we'll see who has numbers on their head.

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Monday, 2 July 2012

Once upon a time in the Kitchen.

Alphabetical refrigerator magnets.
One of them Fridges what I've been talking about. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A gentle breeze wafted through the kitchen from the open window, a soft caress of air fondling itself across my chest. The sun was shining happily and I was did likewise, emitting a piercing heat that destroyed anything in a nearby radius. Well, that part was a lie. I was actually washing the dishes, my mind wandering and skipping through happy fields of thought as I scrubbed and scoured. My idyllic sluicing was disturbed, however, when a voice called out from behind me.

 "Hey, hey you!" It shouted in the manner of one recognising an old friend.

 I turned, happily, and gazed at my fridge.

 "Fridge!" I exclaimed, "You've taught yourself to talk!"

 "Yup." Fridge replied, "Sent off for some books and stuff, picked it up over the weekend."

 "That's great news." I said, "So, what's up anyway? Bet you've got lots of things to tell me."

 "Nope." Fridge replied. "Just been sitting here, waiting for you to open me up and stick your hand inside."

 I nodded. Now, as the situation dawned on me, I had absolutely no idea why I'd been so happy my fridge could talk. Even in the best-case scenario, there was some lettuce in the vegetable crisper that was probably a  little too crisp to say the least, and a lot of almost-empty jars of jam scattered around the innards of my now vocal refrigerator. But now, of course, the fridge had manifested itself as some sort of sexual deviant. I mean, this is probably more of a reflection on me, and I'm sure it wouldn't take much of a psychologist to read something in my homoerotic overtones. But anyway, let's return to the real problem here, talking fridges.

 "Oh, right. Well, that's... That's great fridge."I lied.

 "Yup." Replied Fridge, "You're running low on Tomato Ketchup by the way. Might want to stock up before your fancy dinner party."

 Damn, I thought, he was right. I was having a fancy dinner party this weekend, and I would need a lot of cheap, store-brand ketchups to feed my guests. I was pondering this thought, and wondering if I could just keep everything in the cupboard from now on (I'd cut out its tongue months ago), when another voice interrupted.

 "Oi! What's all this then?" The new, icy voice called out.

 "Well, well, well, look who turned up!" Shouted Fridge, "Finally got your act together, did you, you bastard!"

 I watched in horror as my Fridge-Freezer began to argue with itself, both components vying for superiority. Slowly, I began to edge across the room, hoping to reach the plug for my nightmarish white goods were happily plugged in. Suddenly, as I reached out my arm, they realised what was happening. Cries of indignation rang out, and a half-eaten tin of chopped tomatoes and a small pile of ice-cubes were launched in my direction. Shielding myself, I fled the room to jeers and taunts, which only ceased 5 minutes later when I cut the power to my house.

 Sadly, I unplugged the Fridge-Freezer and reconnected the electricity to the rest of my home. Dragging the verbal behemoth outside and into the boot of my car, I reflected sadly on how this seemed to happen every few months. Shaking my head sadly, I began to forge a suicide note in my best fridge handwriting. Tomorrow, I would put the Fridge-Freezer in the driving seat and push the car down off a cliff. I was beginning to wonder if the police would ever find out. Probably not, I'd tell them my car had been stolen along with my Fridge-Freezer. In a few days, they'd turn up and I'd show them the suicide note I 'discovered' recently, and they'd believe me, and that would be the end of that.

 Slowly, I returned to the house, checking no-one was watching. I'd ditch the car later, when it was dark, and then in a few days I'd file a new claim with the Insurance people. And no-one would ever be the wiser...
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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A Heartless wizard of Oz parody (Because no-one's ever done one of those before)

Tin Woodman.png
He's all like, "Arrgh! I haven't got
a heart!" Image via wikipedia

 The hospital was bleak, dull and ironically lifeless. An attempt at Christmas cheer had been made, garlands in brightly-coloured bunches hung from the walls, moulded plastic decorations grinned at us from walls of grey breezeblock. With Christmas long over, it would have been appropriate to take the decorations down, but no-one had done so. A thick coating of dust had settled on the icy iconography, a testament to the cleaning staff of the hospital. The decorations themselves, dust aside, were disturbing on their own merits, and regrettably, I locked eyes with them.
 I looked into the cold, dead eyes of a Snowman, looking back at me with the emotionless grin of a psychopath from beneath a warn top-hat. Stick-arms gripped a broom, his twigs curling around the handle in what I took to be a dark parody of hands. His coal eyes fixed on me, following me around the room, burning with a hatred I found frankly surprising. I wasn't even sure why a snowman needed a brush. He couldn't move, for one thing, and what was there to sweep away in winter but snow? His body was made of snow. It would be like us sweeping human flesh from our driveways, making small mounds of the stuff and laughing happily as our children threw it at each other, if snowmen were allowed to sweep up snow. Probably.

 With time, my gaze rolled away from the snowman, returning at last to the only occupied bed in the ward, in which my friend slept. His face to one side, his hands put together as for prayer under his head, he looked peaceful for a moment. Better to sleep, I supposed, than sit here cold and alone, and contemplate Christmas decorations.

 Dully, a CD looped behind us. Christmas songs are one thing, acceptable in their place and so on. But the CD was stuck on Wham!'s Last Christmas, repeating over and over again. And besides the insanity-enduing monotony of the whole thing, the song wasn't entirely appropriate. As I mulled this over, the sleeping figure stirred. Seeking to spare him the musical hell, I leapt to the CD player, and tempestuously switched it to radio.

 "What's happening?"

 I looked to the bed, "Nothing Nick," I replied. "Go back to sleep."

 "No, why're you jumping around? Are there flying monkeys?"

 "No, don't worry." I replied, patting my friend's outstretched arm. A hollow echo reverberated throughout his tin limb, "I was just fiddling with the radio, that's all."

 "Oh, right. Any news on a donor?"

 I shook my head sadly. Despite the assurances given to my manly tin friend, it turned out in the long run one cannot live without a heart. I mean, he didn't need it for any emotional reasons because that's not how biology works, (Yes, I'm objecting to the idea of emotions coming from the heart, but not the idea people can have their bodies replaced with tin and keep on living) and he didn't need a heart to pump blood or anything. Regardless, he needed a new heart for some reason I didn't understand. I'm not a tin man doctor, leave me alone.

 We sat in silence. Truth be known, I didn't really know the tin man very well. I'd met him a few years ago at a counselling session for the survivors of flying monkey attacks, and when I heard about his medical troubles, I'd come to visit out of sympathy. However, he didn't have many friends in the area, so I'd continued to visit regularly, a grim experience which out-of-season decoration did little to improve. (I met a tin man once before. Clearly, it was a different guy. If you wanted a consistent narrative, you've come to the wrong place)

 Behind me, the radio blared on. My mind drifted, then centred on the lyrics. Tina Turner's, What's Love Got to do with it?, just arriving at the chorus. My mind focused, and my eyes widened.

What's love got to do, got to do with it? Asked the lyrics.

"So, Nick, want to get out of here?"

What's love but a second hand emotion

"I'm in a hospital." He replied. "I haven't got a heart. Where would we go?"

What's love got to do, got to do with it

Too late, I thought to myself. Desperately, I tried to think of something to say, hoping to drown out the next line. But it was too late.

Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?

I panicked. Nick Chopper, his mind elsewhere, didn't even hear the line I was so worried about, but I didn't realise that at the time. Instead, I threw out the first thing that came to mind.

"Why do you rust? You're made of tin! What's wrong with you?"

 The tin man cried. Small, oily tears streamed from his eyes and streaked his face, staining his exterior and dripping onto the bed linen. This continued for a few minutes, an unremitting sadness carried out under the watchful eyes of a stern Santa head you wouldn't let near your children. Time passed, and so did the tears. The tin man addressed me thusly:

  "Why are you my only visitor anyway? What happened to all my other friends, and where are my Winkies?"

 But his question remained unanswered. Visiting time was over, and I was too busy laughing at the word "Winkies" to offer any reply.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The time I met Hitler's cat

There came, with eminent foreboding, a knock upon my door. Nothing new there then.

 Upon opening that dreaded portal, I fount 'twixt my door-frame a small cat. I could tell he was down on his luck, because his suit was rather worn and tattered. It was an unusual suit, resembling the kind of thing you might see on an 80s business man. A grey jacket adorned his shoulders, a white collar on a blue striped shirt affixed with a yellow tie. As he bowed down and his arms parted back and pulled, I even made out braces. Red, burgundy perhaps. But his suit was worn, torn and unloved. And, suit or not, he was a talking cat; that's always worth a laugh or two.

 I smiled politely at him. A cold light shined on us from the sun. Probably a little bright, if I'm totally honest. He spoke:

 "Hello. May I come in and have some tuna? Perhaps a little warm milk, or even some clean water?"

 "Well," I said, "I don't know. Have you had all your jabs?"

 "Please sir. I used to be Hitler's cat, you know."

 He left that piece of trivium hovering in the air between us, shimmering in the early sun. I looked down at the cat.

 "Oh" I said at length. "I didn't know Hitler had a cat."

 "Well no." He replied. "I try to keep quiet about it. I am ashamed."

 I nodded wisely.

 "What's your name?"

 "Mr. Socks." He replied abashed.

 I let him in, and he ate some tuna. After 2 hours, he had even taught me how to use a tin opener. Then he left.

 Later, I discovered him to be nothing more than an illusion, a fiction I had dreamed in the midday sun as its gentle rays caressed my face and affected my brain. Cats don't live to 70 years old, and Hitler didn't have a cat. But if he had done, imagine what new light Mr. Socks could have thrown on the Third Reich.
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