Saturday, 30 April 2011

Natural disasters

It appears that nature has gone wild, but that would be a tautology.

The Judge

Who deigns it fit to intrude upon the private bathings of a man of decent standing in the civil environs of this here town of simple God-fearing folk?

I came to lay mine own eyes upon a once kindred and marvel in contempt at the wretched works of accident or design of eye that led him so far from our common crucible.

It was by mine own hands by which the straps were hoisted upon the boots whose imprint marked the passage of mine own deeds.

As he said and spoke so, the Judge palmed the bare beacon of his hairless dome, splashing upon it the solution of his own dissolved filth - together with red stain of fallen slain - as if to defile the sacred baptismal ceremony itself; then, by dint of star-shooting sparks from a quick-struck flint, relit perched cigar on tin bath rim. Lungs billowed. Smoke rhythmically ascending. Ceiling.

Deal with it and move on, he said; beat.

Friday, 29 April 2011

A game of numbers

Upon watching a documentary investigating the origins of the universe, it was stated that the universe, “appeared nearly 14 billion years ago out of nothing”, a number vastly smaller than the monetary sums laid claim to on one small, mostly blue, planet.

A Right Royal Event

Motes of dust glittered in Brownian motion as if heaven-sent confetti caught in the broad shaft of light that beamed its presence from above the alter and fanned-out among the chattering hum of the excited congregation and co-mingled with the gently churning organ as it piped out psalmic hymns. And then their notionally appointed spiritual leader of ceremonies sprang forth from a hydraulic plinth within a candy-rock swirl of white and purple vestments, jogging up the semi-spiral of steps to attain his singular elevation above the sea of upturned faces. Pausing only for composure, he tugged on the silvery bramble of his beard, raised the thatched arches of his brows; eyes searching out a higher power as if to re-invest himself with the pre-ordained righteousness of entitlement. Silence fell with axe drop of his outstretch arm thwacking the rim of the pulpit; the sound ricocheting between the walls of surrounding public amplifiers. He cleared his throat manfully, but was suddenly caught off-guard with the wailing of orgasmic frenzy emanating from a barrel-shaped woman, housed in a marquee of a Sunday-best dress, clutching at her air pipe between gulps, as waves of ecstasy ravaged her body and soul. Her husband, or at least an individual standing next to her willing to do what was necessary to maintain the sacred probity of the occasion, cupped her mouth and nose with one hand; then reached-round to clamp the other atop, till her eyes bulged like billiard balls and face turned from red to purple to royal blue and her flaccid body slumped down, smacking pews and proximal congregants along the way. The front-row celebrities wrenched their necks to fire stabbing glares.

Now that I have your full attention, I would like to say some prefatory words regarding the role of faith in these increasingly secular and, no doubt consequentially related, hostile times. I say unto those nay-sayers - the heathen party-poopers - those that turn their cheek to the institutions of God - Satan is waiting to score their flesh with his talons, rub salt upon the racks of their ribs, and crisp their flesh to crackling, whereupon his minions shall feast in the sans-implement gobbling of their God-less table manners.

Moving on.

Lest we forget, we are joined here today to celebrate before God's witness the holy union of this smiling harpy of a social climber and this very definition of male mediocrity - if it weren't for the archaic coincidence of genetics and tired traditions.

Let the world-wide television rights bring bounty upon this great nation and fill the Lord's coffers so His work may continue through His officially appointed channels.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A funny thing happened on the way ...

I boarded the bus and took the isle seat next to a man who appeared to be sweating like a cold can straight from the fridge on a humid summer's day, except this was the middle of winter, and he was repeatedly muttering some mantra to himself under short breaths while rocking back-and-forth in a jerking motion.

Are you okay? Look: I know it's not the done thing to strike-up social conversation on public transport and/or associated infrastructure such as queues at road-side shelters and/or end-of-line terminals, but dude, you are seriously unnerving me. Are you about to have a turn? I mean, are you epileptic or something? Out of politeness you should really inform me about these things so I can like prepare myself, or move seat, or whatever.

His fear dilated eyes met momentarily with mine before lowering towards the trembling movement of his hands unzipping down the front of his puffer jacket to reveal of a series cuboidal blocks of incendiaries fitted laterally, at regular intervals, all about his waist and interconnect with a mesh of wires seemingly randomly knotted as if a kitten had been at it.

You are not worried?

Say, you're not from around these parts are you?

What was it that tipped you? He stammered. The foreign accent, the dark skin, the beard, or all of the above?

Relax, this isn't Hicksville buddy – look!

I opened my own jacket to reveal a near identical explosive configuration straddling my midriff, I then tapped the shoulder of the old lady sat in the seat in front; explained the situation; she hoisted herself up by holding onto the support rails and slowly turned round, opening the front of her floor-length coat with the one free hand, revealing her own belt. Clearly these events hadn't gone unnoticed by the rest of the passengers and, following, they, one-by-one, displayed each of their own similarly fashioned belts in turn.

There was an unfamiliar yet welcome sense of camaraderie as each passenger, including the old lady, sat back in their seats and resumed the rest of their journeys, each in a consensual bubble of silence.

See? Nothing to worry about. You did the right thing. Sensible precaution. It's your civic duty; would be impolite to demonstrate less. Can we relax now, finally?

Friday, 22 April 2011

First sight

I stole a glance. Theft? I don't quite know. Only it felt wrong to feel right that way. Like we might have and shared. Like she could have cared. And may be the balance of contact, when our eyes met, favoured me. But she didn't give me and I didn't ask permission. I dropped the stock cubes into the bachelor basket and switched isles.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


It was hard to place Vincent on the optimist-pessimist scale, let's just say he was more a glass half-smashed into your face kind of guy. Steroid abuse, bullied as a youth at school and on street, a knuckle-dragging IQ score and an aversion to being looked at or spoken to the wrong way – “wrong” here not to be confused with a consistent, standard bearing, signifier – tends to do that to some men. The clumsy approximation of tribal war tattoos across his face and shaven scalp, no doubt, were intended to add to the singular furrow of menace he tried his best to cultivate. He was unaware of just how ridiculous he looked, largely because no one thought to mentioned it, at least on the basis that anyone so stupid as to have such ludicrous markings permanently etched into their visage, was bound to be dangerous; so, after a fashion, he'd achieved the desired effect. But for all Vinny's faults, he stuck by his friends through thick and thin, for better and worse, can't even say that about most marriages these days; he was oddly old-fashioned in that way.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Grey gardens limited

The unforgiving freight-train pounding pistons and levers working weight to wheels on burnished sheen of steel rails bullets past the deserted station platform. I stand back in the wake of its irresistible come-hither suck of the siren's song. Breathless. I shake some in the cellular vibrations fear-soaked with fright hormones as they give way to a strange euphoria and the humming silence that falls somewhere just below sound. And the pristine snow compressed beneath my feet. Is cold a feeling, or merely an absence? In any case, I'd invalidated my ticket by getting off at the wrong stop and found myself stuck between nowheres without an immediate plan, except for keep moving. Zero bars, yet the obligatory screen alert of "emergency calls only" belied the prefixed promise of "mobile" to "phone". Even amidst the all-pervasive network of social infrastructure it's surprisingly easily to fall off the grid. I scoured the frost-framed schedules for pick-up stops amongst the off-season services. Luck, but not within the next five hours. Light fading fast on visible distance between steps.

Monday, 18 April 2011


Perspiration beads and cascades from the silvery crown roots down His neck, soaking side-burns burn and beard and pooling in cup of ears, running rivulets off sloped forehead and dripping from sponge brows, splashing lashes and searing sensitive pink lid-ends exposed where they meet denatured white-albumen of eyeballs.

Blinking blind.

The finger-tips tingle from engine vibrations transmitted through handles shaking flesh to gelatin numbness.

Jelly nerves.

The unconscious leaned-into postural slope and aching arch of muscles thick and heavy set against lift.

He kills the mower motor.


Stalled. The sonic hum still resonates round His skull like swarming swamp gnats. And now the uncomfortable adhesive cling of clothes to skin and viscous slick between sole and sandal squeaks in semi-frictionless slips.

Sun falling down.

Close to eve, He realises He can't keep this up; He needs to add “Ams” to continue the work.

Tender is the night.


Friday, 15 April 2011

There must be some kind of way out of here?

It helps the therapeutic process if you don't treat your psychiatrist as a hostile.

Even if he is?

Some would call that paranoia.

Some of those callers could be right or, on the other hand, paranoid.

I see I'm going to have to take a different tact.

Like you just figured you brought a knife to a gun fight?

I don't catch your drift.

Not so fast. I saw that sideways look when I mentioned the gun. Notice I said “the gun” this time; not “a gun”? There, in your desk draw. From across the desk no one could see, even standing, what you were reaching for unless they were leaning right over but, before that happened, your finger would've already been tugging at the trigger.

You seem confident of yourself. Perhaps we should take a look?

No need, we won't find it there. You taped it to the underside of the chair instead. You then deliberately continued to exhibited the non-verbal tell-take ticks that would lead me to believe it was still in the draw from our previous sessions.

So sure?

Yes, because I broke into your office while you were out to lunch and found your draw empty.

This is extreme paranoia.

Why don't you check under your chair, or are you afraid?



The psychiatrist will see you now.


Please, there is only one of you. And don't pretend to stick your gum underneath the seat. Don't deny. I saw you earlier. What you don't know is that I already knew you were double bluffing at playing the multiple personality schizoid when you really were a multiple personality schizoid who invented me as distraction for the fact that the gum was really in the draw; when both of us knew you and I were I all along.

This is worse than the plot to Shutter Island.

I think you've made your breakthrough.

Who said that?

You did.

Bait and switch. Switch and bait.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Roam free

Nation states are just the front for the new breed of "international" business men, the kind elected "representatives" like to accept invitations from to stay on their yachts.

It's the Roman Empire all over again, except with flip-flops instead of sandals.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Aboard the straight-talking train

Blowing curlicues of smoke after the fashion of an old time train, and pausing only occasionally to tap away dead finger-ends of ash, the sheriff once again struck up conversation, which he always prefigured with a contrived facial spasm loosening his reading glass so as to initiate unmediated ball-to-ball contact.

You're about the best deputy I ever had.

I appreciate that Sir, I surely do, especially since how's it coming from someone I much admire such as yourself.

But you're too much the butt licker. Save your candy and flowers for the whores.

The sheriff lent forward into the light to reveal purple thread veins vine weaving under pocked pores and punctuated the ensuing silence by stubbing the smouldering cigar stump into the tray with slow, deliberate twists of the wrist.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


The atonal cacophony somehow melded into a rhythmic mesh of the familiar big-city street-side scape song. The vertiginous walls of skyscrapers and sun slabs punctuating through blue sky gaps. The dervish whorl. The syncopated beat of computer-controlled traffic lights, the co-ordinated flows of traffic by foot and by wheel. Preoccupation, occupation and on the up and on the down-and-out. The second hand pushes to compete with the beat of many watches and time is essential but without essence.

Saturday, 9 April 2011


You couldn't kill me, come, come.


You're not the type.

I'm the type that belong to all the rest, including you.

Yes, but think ahead – could you really imagine living a world after pulling that trigger? The implications; the full meaning of it all?

I can't that imagine world, not fully; at least not in every detail. The "not fully" clause implies that I can at least make some approximations, say, like the world won't end, but it would for you; you can't imagine that world because you wouldn't be there to do it. It's not that can't do this from lack of imagination, it's impossible; it's unintelligible. Your efforts to do otherwise are futile and meaningless though, I guess, not entirely meaningless in that we can try to make sense of things we can't explain while we can. Think: if we were to rationalised everything, explain it and place it securely with the grand scheme, what joy would there be in it? There's no mystery; there's no hope because there's no “don't know?”. So, now you tell me: do you know with any certainty I won't pull the trigger? Is that a risk you're willing to take? If so, I respect that.

Okay you win, you win. Well played. Lucky for you I'm your smarter-than-average law-breaker. I'm putting it down, slowly, on the table – see my hands? Slow movements. Very slow movements.

I forgot to mention the flip-side. The less you know – including what you think you know but, in fact, don't – the more dangerous it gets. Roll on dark ages.

Would you really have shot me?

I still might.


You're dangerous. You think you know more than you do and I don't.

You talk too much; I'd kill you already.

Yeah, so do you but for different reasons.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Where's Wally?

Where are you?

In this room.

Which is where?

In such and such a building on such and such campus.

Which is where?

In such and such a city.

Which is where?

In such and such a country.

Which is where?

On Earth.

Which is where?

In the solar system.

Which is where?

On a spiral arm of the Milky Way.

Which is where?

In the universe.

Which is where?

Well, the universe is everything?

Which is where?


So you are telling me you are everywhere?

I suppose so, if you put it like that.

You put it that way, but I couldn't possibly comment from where I'm standing. Now what time is it?



Which now?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Don't get into strange cars occupied by heavy-set strangers

There's that phrase “to hit the ground running” which invokes – at least to my mind - the immediate biomechanical jolt transmitted from terra firma in equal but oppositional reaction to the slam of the leading foot; indeed my thoughts turned to the re-coining of such a notion in order to account for some of the more chaotic forces encountered in life, especially in the context of my just having been jettisoned out of a fast moving car, which I just had. The sensible thing, perhaps, would have been not to get into the car in the first place; however, four heavies tooled-up with devices specifically designed to inflict pain – hold on, does a baseball bat with the nails embedded the wrong way round count as multi-purpose? - anyway, can be pretty persuasive, even in retrospect. The resultant enforced exfoliation by asphalt had proved much rougher than your average beauty treatment, though certainly the after-effects went beyond the merely skin-deep; let's just say my fat-slack ab-slabs would be the least of my presentational worries conspicuous when housed in my beach suit briefs.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Femme fatale

Pretty. Ash blonde. Too much eye-shadow though. Summer sky cyan. And the floral dress swishing at the tanned ankles, crimped in all the right places.

I've come about your husband.

I know, it's not my custom to welcome the unexpected.

So his missing is an accident?

Not as a matter of carelessness, if that what your implying.

I'll save implications for when I'm in full possession of the facts.


Always, save for when dispute calls for immediate action.


When the situation calls for hands-on.

Good, my husband was a man's man.


I hired you with the “is” in mind.

Good to know.

Will you take coffee?

With pleasure.

Let me guess: black; no sugar.

Called it. Mind if I smoke?

Not unless you mind my bearing witness to slow suicide.

Can handle that.

The long goodbye

Day break when we reached the border. Tijuana. Sun bleached asphalt segregated by smile-white confident correctional dashes and double punctuated by the odd coal-raked ruby of break-lights ahead. And the sky soft marshmallowed above. My friend had – and I use that epitaph sparingly – visited unannounced towards the single digit end of the night; I'd passed out after losing the thread in some detective novel when the empty bottles reached double digits; when I saw the familiar face wedged between the cautious gap of door and frame, I let him in. The grog still hung low over my senses; I wasn't taking in his words framing circumstances – something terrible; something needing distance, etc., etc. If the price of friendship is, on occasion, not having to ask the questions, it's the admission I'm willing to wave for reciprocal consideration – they say, “never having to say sorry”. So I'm the facilitator in an escape from what, I don't know, and the path of friendship has taken me to forced severance. I dropped him off at the guard booth and turned round for home. I didn't look back in rear mirror, perhaps out of misbegotten faith, though I have a tendency to not let things go. He killed his wife. It seems impolite to ask about the money.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Genetic inheritance

They were not your typical hands, the pinky ring alone sat tight as a gold tourniquet on a corn-beef complexion sausage finger and would probably have run hula-hoop round the the ankle of your typically atrophied catwalk model. They were definitely working hands, or had been, evidenced from the whitened scar pits where flesh gouges appeared to have been extracted by the bite of determined predators.

You've noticed my hands. Never bite the feeder they say, but when the feeder is as old as I am, the whipper-snappers tend to look past the distributor to eye the stash more directly. They don't bother me no more like they once did; no, they just go sidle round the back-door with their promises of protection, knowing full well that the only folks I need protecting from are them themselves.

So you have enemies?

Hell, everyone's an enemy as far as I'm concerned. You yourself are an enemy, you may not perceive that fact yourself as yet, but I do and, in time, you will too – after I have sanitised you that is.

Am I to take that as a threat?

No, no, my dear boy, just as a precaution – I have no reason as yet to wish you in the way of harm.

That's not exactly reassuring.

As I understand, that's par for the course in your line of work.

It is, but I like to get a play of the field before I commit.

Oh you will commit; I can see you already have.

You're very sure of yourself.

Do you think I got here by doubt? Look around you: this house; these grounds; the pools; the stables and so on and so on. Could a doubter have accumulated so much worldly evidence of his insecurity?

True to an extent; however, you've got the place rigged like a fortress; isn't the reason I'm sat here talking to you a matter of security?

That it is, that it is, laddie.

So what can I do for you?

I need you to eliminate my daughter, call it a precaution against patricide.

I think you misunderstand the nature of my profession.

Ha! Ha! Ha! You must forgive my penchant for the dramatic turn of phrase; I merely want you to neutralise her as a threat; not kill her.

And why would I help you do that?

The money, for one thing, but also so that you can help an old man retain his dignity before twilight sets shadows over his final resting place. I've earned my wealth, perhaps not always with a level of desert that I would have hoped for, nonetheless, it was my toil that claimed it. When you merely inherit such wealth, well, it can strike some, such as my daughter, as a slap of familial humiliation. And boy, is she sore. She wants to stake her own claim now and not wait for the succession of the inevitable. In short, she wants to take back all that she has and, in time will be given, for her own self-worth.