Sunday, 27 March 2011

Weird is weird

The world is a weird place, but then it's hard to say in what way, for it's not obvious what we're supposed to compare it with.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


After the sun had sweated off the morning dew and shadows began to draw back their claws, Sheriff Clay stopped to release the canteen from its hold on the saddle and took a spill of mountain water to ease the parch. He'd been chasing the fugitive bankers across state lines a score and single; now closing in on the thin end of a month. Since the trickle of defaults had turned to deluge, they found the money changers had been undercutting prime rates on ranch land, selling to any old hand, and then passing the deeds onto each other at premium. The house of cards on this particular poker game eventually collapsed and they were caught with their Johns down, well, not exact caught, in the intervening shock of exposure, they had made good their escape plans.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Now just a couple of more questions before I close this interview. We're looking for someone with moral character and, so if you don't mind, I'd like to ask you about some hypotheticals.

Sure, go on.

You said you were married.

Right, I said that.

And child.

Said that too: daughter, almost three years of age.

So what if your house is on fire; wife and daughter are in different rooms; you only have time to rescue one, which one do you save?

Strange and, if you don't mind my saying so, a question of dubious taste.

We all, in our time, come across difficult circumstances and, while we can't always predict ahead of time what we'll do when confronted with them, your dealing with them don't come out of nothing; the ways we live our lives shape us and, out of those forms, comes the raw substance that is the measure of a man.

I suppose.

So back to my original question: who do you save?

Hypothetically speaking?

Hypothetically speaking.

That would have to be my daughter.

Because she is a child? Innocent? Has not even had much of a life yet worth reflecting on?

All of the above, I guess; and that's what my wife would have wanted me to do.

How do you know that?

That's what I'd have wanted her to do, given the roles were switched.

I see.

It's not just about what I want; it's what I can and can not do.

That's very commendable. Now lets just change the variable a little here and see if we can look at the same circumstance from a slightly different angle: now suppose it was your daughter in one of those rooms and, let's say, the managing director of this corporation - a man whose work ethic, ingenuity and plain sweat puts food on the family tables of thousands of ordinary workers across the country - in the other … wait, now hear me out …

I'm going to leave now; as far as I'm concerned this interview is over … but before I go; just to let you know, if there was only one room with you burning in it … guess what? … I ain't taking the piss.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Early retirement

It got worse. The handshakes are no longer subtle. Shot to shreds. Thread-end tethers. Uncertain contacts. Random sparks. Interference crossing over the ambient edge. Failure to communicate. Actions lost down the lines. “Sell before” precedes “use by”. There's a in-built lifespan anyway.

Where's the remote gone?

Claustrophobia isn't just about physical confinement – intense situations, complex circumstances and contexts with more angles than answers, can just as well squeeze you in the middle so your gut squirms sending bidirectional pressure outwards from the abdominal core till your head weighs a bowling ball and legs too weak to lift against iron drag-chains of gravity. Everything closes in cos you know you're not – can't – go anywhere but here. And then the shaking takes possession with a will of its own. Fright, with no chance of flight. Heart and lungs beat away at the rib cage. The throat cuts off. And all one can hope is that the black, bottomless relief comes soon.


... are you too happy with your own existence? Feel like you need a dead end job to dull the sharp edges off your five-point-star self-worth? Then join the rest us in reality.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Hubby, you know the semantic root for “wife” is said to derive from ”veiled person”; some say, further back, “shame”?

Sure I do, wifey; you know my fondness for etymology, as surely as you know I know the derivation of “husband” comes from “master of the house” and, digging further back, to “manage thriftily”; be a “steward”.

Does that bother you?

Things only matter when they do.

And you matter me.

And I hear your substance and I'm not ashamed to say I'm not the boss of you; this ain't no arrangement of biblical or commercial convenience.

Good, 'cos you owe me for groceries.

While standing on their heads

Bullshit always rolls down the hill, never up.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Blind justice

There's a spectrum: at one end there's white; the other black - you know that only one of those extremes is actually a colour?

Your point?

Black is not a colour.


So don't give me no jive about me arresting you on account of you being coloured.

Are you serious?

I don't like being called racist.

So how you explain yourself picking me up on account of nothing?

You looked suspicious.

How come you see me if I ain't got no colour?

Fair point, I'll note it my report.

You are serious, seriously crazy.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

And you wonder why?

You're about the loveliest thing I ever set eyes upon.


As a compliment; though granted, unsolicited. And by “thing” I invoke the most general and unspecific categorisation of existence available to our conceptual repertoire. In a way, I'm saying I find you the most pleasing thing upon which my gaze has fallen among the spectrum of all possible forms, at least thus far.

You're creepy.

That's what my therapist tells me.

And how's that working out for you?

Apparently, not so good.

And why did you qualify your opening gambit with “about”?

Aesthetic hierarchies are notoriously difficult to justify – in the eye of the beholder? Wait, don't go!

@ reception

Can I help you sir? Perhaps that's too difficult a question to answer right off the the bat. I mean, there's a multiplicity of variables to consider. You just wandered into reception. You're not in my appointment book and then there's the problem of how we both estimate each other's capacities and needs. I don't know what you want and you don't know in what way I can help, given we have never met before. However, there are certain assumptions we can both make, for example, presuming you want to find a specific person, I may be able to help, but how do I know you've got the correct building? May be you have the correct building, but the wrong name. It happens. Or may be you've just been in an accident, which resulted in acute trauma to the head and, with the ensuing concussion, your memory is temporarily off-line and you recall nothing of the events leading up to this moment, in which case, I may be able to help in a very general sense - direct you medical facilities - but not the specifics, such as how did you get here or what your name is or what you had for breakfast. In short, what I'm trying to say is, when I ask if I can help you, I need you to think really hard about your reply, because the considered response could be of the utmost importance. It could mean life or death. Or may be not. I'm in no position to judge these things. I just work reception. I'm new by-the-way. My name is Richard. Others call me Dick.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Banking on it

You're just being paranoid.

Jeremy, Jeremy Jeremy. How long have we worked together in investment banking?

Three months. Give or take a lost weekend to cocaine and strip bars.

God really? Seems much longer. The point is - the point I'm trying to make is - well, it's all gone a bit tits up.

Really? Because I know you're prone to exaggeration.

That kind of goes with the job, but look Jeremy, I want you to do something for me; I want you to open the blinds and look down out of the window at the street below and tell me what you see.

This one?

Yes, that one will do. What do you see?

I see people running about with improvised clubs battering each other; some of those on the wrong end of the battering look like they might be already be dead. Oh, and I see overturned vehicles, smashed shop windows, looting and fires. It's all a bit chaotic.

You see my point? This could severely limit future investment opportunities.

Why do you always have to look at the Molotov cocktail half full? They'll run out and somebody will bail us out. They always do. We're indispensable.

Never underestimate the power to adapt

The power outages increased in frequency and duration; however, if anything, these unscheduled interruptions to daily life rekindled the human spirit to arise to the cold realities of a mightily inconvenient challenge. Indeed, if humanity had a motto, it would be something like: “If you don't like your environment, then change it.” - though, admittedly, that environmental challenge was often met by concreting over landmasses and then poisoning its water bodies. But back to the blackouts: as ever, technology had found a way and, thanks to increasingly efficient solar panels and energy cell storage, people could still watch their televisions and miss not one second of their favourite game shows, soap operas and adverts. This probably explains why there hadn't been large-scale scenes of social unrest, though there was one curious phenomenon to emerge: when the lights first began switch off en masse, groups of people were to be seen leaving their homes to stand in the streets and stare at the night sky only to obverse in wonder with their own, naked, eyes - many for the first time outside of technicolour facsimiles - the Milk Way, upon whose spiral arm their collective galactic home was cosseted against the infinite void (at least the one outside). The novelty soon wore off.

Divorced and sharing

Do you want anything from the shops? I'm just going to get one of those ready meals for when we watch the match later.

Okay. No. I'm just going watch this programme about about cars. I say cars, but that's only the superficial premise for its existence, it's actually about watching middled-aged reactionary men with beer paunches hanging over their too-tightly-belted blue jeans with iron creases running down the fronts pontificating about girls and immigrants and political correctness gone mad, while the audience - in this case, ostensibly more middle-aged men like us - sit in semi-darkness on the couch superimposing our hollow fantasies on their blank, empty faces; all the while thinking: where did our lives go wrong such that it's not them watching us on the television?

So you don't want anything?

We could do with more toilet rolls – running low, oh, and get me an eight-pack. Something cheap. You know: stuff that tastes like engine cleaner. We could do with a new kitchen sponge too – the green scourer bit is beginning to fall off.

Friday, 4 March 2011

No flavour

So you going to shoot me; get your piece of revenge pie?

No, I ain't going to shoot you. It's not like that. What good would it do anyway?

May be you like to roll in the justified glory of revenge.

If I thought that … look, you don't even get your lifestyle is its own punishment.

So what's it going to be?

I guess I'll just have to settle for the fact that you can't taste your own dessert.

You happy with that?

No, but neither are you.

Customer service line

Sir, if may be so bold as to step-right-past your disparaging remarks regarding my visage and get right to the matter at hand, once the egg-timer has been surgically removed from the lower bowel, the manufacture’s guarantee is null and void as it constitutes a clear and present breach of the package-stated safe operating parameters. However, we thank you for your patronage and urge you to consider some of our other home and kitchen products.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Poetic injustice

TAKE NOTE: The Dictator - "the decider" - don't take too kindly to dictation, at least insofar as others' dictates are concerned. Better there was no written record anyway. No trace of transactions. No names attached to numbers. No serial branded shells to match to successive multiple murders. No receipts to deceit. Only dig silent graves, so-to-speak.