Thursday, July 30, 2009

In Death There Is A Sadness


I am playing chess with Death. I'm no good, of course, but that's fine. It's just practise.

____"I have to be able to beat the 'no good' too, don't I?" – he says. "Now stop asking questions – I'm a busy man... Or a skeleton... or something."

It's a lovely set he has, this. Exquisitely hand-crafted. Death made it himself.

But Death isn't fond of the word lovely, and Death has access to a lot of bones. So on balance he's probably right.

_____"Carrion!" – he says, suddenly. "Decay! Cadavers! Ineluctable decline..."

Death has a sort of death Tourette's.

_____"Shush" – I say. "I was about to move."

_____"Ineluctable, though" – he says. "Come on – in-e-luc-ta-ble... Blissful! Like rolling a lychee across your tongue!"

_____"Lychees make me think of eyeballs" – I mutter.

Death laughs. Like tombstones tumbling. It's usually him who's the morbid one.

There is a word that Death can never understand. Perhaps it's the most beautiful there is.

(Say it now. Say it for yourself. Say it slowly, softly, tenderly, say it out loud: pusu... pu-su... Feel how your mouth moves. Feel how it forms the action, forms the word, forms a kiss – that's what pusu means, that's what pusu is).

But Death knows Finnish. He just doesn't have lips.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

If only we'd run in the other direction...


The sea has stopped.

Or was it the moon? Is the earth still turning?

Now the sand ripples, the pebbles rear up in terrifying waves, high above our heads seaweed dangles in Hokusai tendrils... and we take to the sea.

In what was once the surf, we try to look on the bright side: At least we understand now how the desert began, says one - but we push her off her pedalo: she needs to understand that there are certain things you just don't say when you're the only one who isn't up to her neck in it.

Just saying, we hear, much later, quietly. I was just saying, that's all. We know, we say, and in the dark we huddle all together... And we wait for the end.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Tragedy Artist


“COME SEE THE TRAGIC MAN!” said the signs, and so we did, buying popcorn and drinks in the lobby, and renting opera glasses – or not – as seating allocations dictated. Something will befall him soon, we think, in the hushed darkness. Surely something will befall him soon.

On stage, the man smiles nervously and shifts in his seat.

Time passes. Again the man smiles and shifts nervously.

On the third time, he adds an apologetic little shrug, a wipe of his brow... but a crowd only has so much patience. Drinks, popcorn, opera glasses, anything to hand, all begin to rain down upon the stage, “Boo!”s emanate from the assembled, “Rubbish!” they shout–

“Stop!” the man pleads, from somewhere beneath his arms. “Stop! Is this not tragedy? Is this not what you came for?”

And for a moment the barrage ceases...

Is he right?

“But now we feel the joke is on us,” comes the rejoinder and it begins again – we are tearing seats from the aisles, we are destroying the place, we are destroying him, and only when the man is dead and the theatre almost as ill-built as it was as a child do we stop and wonder if we have gone too far.

“We had only meant to watch... we had only meant to watch...” we say. “And now this... and now this...”

And in the burning box office all hope of a refund goes up in flames.

"Curse you!" we shout. "Curse you, David Blaine!"

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's not just telly that's gone downhill

It appears I did some dreaming last night.

Dream 1: Sit in a very large pub; get slightly bored.

Dream 2: Murder someone; on the way home, realise it was probably all a bit of a misunderstanding; feel slightly embarrassed.

Dream 3. Suspect that I may have some paper cuts; look at finger; see lots of paper cuts; mutter something along the lines of "Cuh! Those'll annoy me later..."

Sometimes I worry about my unconscious... No sense of drama. It barely even manages nightmares.

Case in point: it once dreamt about being chased by zombies - three very, very slow zombies. Basically the dream consisted of me sitting around having a nice read, but every so often having to go outside and sit somewhere else, before I could return to the more comfortable seat indoors, until the zombies eventually and inevitably shambled back into view again and I had to move again. Repeat ad nauseum.

At some point in this tedium I think it hit me that "Oh. This is going to make for an interrupted night's sleep...", but even that low level of dramatic tension was instantly dispersed: "Actually, never mind. If I just go far enough, and perhaps by bike, not only will I buy myself a good few hours kip, but after a few weeks of this nonsense I'll probably have lost weight."

And then back to the near-endless game of non-musical chairs.

Apparently my unconscious, at some point in my past, must have mistaken zombies for some form of book-averse personal trainer; which, if this confusion is also occuring in reverse, would at least explain my attitude to exercise...

But then again, it probably isn't; so it doesn't.

I don't know. Maybe I should just start watching more horror movies?

Monday, July 13, 2009

More nonsense from the notebook


- Your mobile phone has been disconnected, sir. It has been bothering people.

- How has it-

- Been bothering people?

- Yes.

- We hoped you wouldn't ask.

- But I have.

- And you will not retract?

- No. Why should I?

- Because your question is bothersome. We don't like bother. Surely you have realised?

- But what has this phone of mine been doing?

- It has been bothering people, sir. We have covered this.

- But that isn't my phone. It has arms and two legs and a tiny crying head.

- But it is bothering people, yes?

- Oh yes. Myself included.

- Then in that case, sir, we apologise. It is not your phone that has been disconnected.

- It's...

- Yes?

- Why do you call me 'sir'?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Something about nothing


In town there is a shape... No, it's more of an outline – somewhere a shape once was.

Within the outline is nothing.

_____What should we do with the nothing? – the men ask.

_____Why must we do anything? – the women ask.

I'm bored – say the children.

The nothing is taken away.

_____What did you see? – says the Judge.

And later:

_____Can you offer anything in your defence?

Witness and defendant answer nothing - it is an open and shut case. Sentenced to life, and having none of its own, the nothing swiftly becomes host of a popular daytime talk-show.

_____After the break – says the host – we'll see who the real father is.

_____You're scum! – says the host. Beneath contempt.

_____Blimey, this is the best thing since bear baiting! – says a Judge.

In the host is a shape... No, it's more of an outline. Within the outline is nothing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I am, however, increasingly spherical

Have decided this blog shall be a place to make my mistakes in pubic.

On reflection, this is something I probably should have mentioned 3 years and 153 posts ago.

In other news: I have apparently been reflecting. I am a veritable disco ball. Yes. Woooo-hoooh! Watch... me... SPIN!*

*Or don't. That would be quite a lot of exercise. And a bit like dancing. In either case, quite improbable. Quite, quite improbable.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

More prose pottery


Little Stan, who is of a literal and logical slant of mind, hits upon a plan. Swiftly adopted, it pans out thus:

"What day is it?"


"Yes, but what day is it?"


As children our days shall not be numbered and time shall last forever and eventually most of us will learn how to spell Wednesday. (Stan does so on a 5-day, with the help of a patient teacher, two months and a fortnight to the day when his dyslexia was at last diagnosed. Alas, time has begun to pass, Stan is no longer little, and always there will be a part of him now that is just counting down the days).

Saturday, July 04, 2009

And in a similar vein...


A barista, absently clearing an empty table, tuts, and lifts the left behind man up onto a spare picture hook. Above and to the right of him, a photo of another to whom the first bears curious resemblance may well be the source of the boy's mistake.

Look at him! Just look at the brute! This was my misfortune. Why must he always steal my thunder? – broods the man's wife, who, more alike than she will ever care to admit, was already to be found hanging opposite, in mounting fury.

(Nearby, a small birdlike woman twitters, sighs, twitters again, finally resorts to Facebook to publicly register her amusement. At the counter I order a double-shot of silence).

At dusk, setting the alarm, the barista leaves. Draped in aprons as one might darken the cage of a canary, and to equal effect, the bickering couple snores gently on its hooks while below them the day's lost children, all neatly swept up and bagged by the door, shiver in dread at the breaking of universal laws on argument, sleeping and sundown.

I helpfully pen a note that will benefit no-one, slide it beneath the door, then leave.