Wednesday, January 31, 2007

the goon squad

oh god - an oversight on the part of the council means that the payments i have been making to them have somehow become lost in the convoluted network of their systems...naturally when i indicated that i had been making payments for a month or more they requested to see the bank statements as proof.
"please highlight the neccessary payments" said the automaton.
"no problem" i breeezed until realising i'd credited them on my bank statement, in a fit of pique, as "brighton & hove city cuntsil."
i'm pleading dyslexia. i hope they believe me.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

story one# the pursuit of melancholy

His name was Jack but we all called him Slim on account of his shape. His pores wept a sour smell of defeat, and a permanent cold hitched the back of his throat, plugging his speech, making it sound thick and laborious. Slim had once given me a necklace but I had told him it wasn’t my size and he had taken it back, swallowing it up in his clumsy hands. Slim had a hooked nose and trousers which finished an inch or so above the ankle and a scalp of tightly coiled curls.
“Talk to me.” He’d said one day in the canteen, leaning forwards.
“No.” I’d replied and felt a warm jolt of pleasure as dismay punctured his face.
But one day Slim showed me. One day Slim showed me everything.
School camp found us spending four days in a draft-speared farmhouse on the lip of a valley. Overhead, pewter clouds plundered the humidity, leaving us clammy and irritable, stung up the backs of our legs by nettles and flayed by thorns. The third day was a ramble through woods which carried us three miles along the spine of hillside and towards a giggling river, shimmering with minnow flashes. Slim had held back in the group, carefully picking his way through the ditches and around the steep mud banks lining the edges of the slurried pathways, lined with a gleaming mulch of leaves and peaty bracken. Occasionally he would incline his head towards a birdsong, writing notes in his careful, joined up hand on the back of his clipboard.
When Slim went missing on the return journey it was me who spotted him ten minutes later, standing in a small clearing almost hidden from the path, a grotto formed by the drooping branches of trees. I was tired, the light almost leeched entirely by the sky, and the insect bites on my ankles were starting to itch. That might have been why I grabbed his bony shoulder harder then I meant to, startling him into an awkward jerk backwards that nearly sent us both sprawling.
"Everyone's looking for you," I said, "and it's nearly dark."
"I know." Slim said.Slim remained where he was, knees folded, head stretching forward like a vulture.
"What you doing ?"
"Come and see."
I bent low and shuffled further into the hole. Something squelched wetly beneath my boot."See ?" His fingers indicated a bud, a folded white heart about the size of my fist attached to a thick green vine.
"Very nice, Slim."
"Wait." Slim said, and then again, "Wait."
I leant back a little, scratched my bites, peered at a fresh scratch on my wrist. Slim said nothing, Slim was waiting.
Eventually, alarmed by the thickening soup of shadows pooling around my feet I said,
"They'll be wondering where we are.""Not long now. Besides," Now he looked up at me, his smile a dark slash in the fading light. "You can't get back without me."
He showed me the back of his clipboard, where he had drawn a map.
"Sit down."I felt the first twinge of fear, the primitive fear of being alone in a creaking, darkening forest, alone with a gawky stranger who, after all that time, had me right where he wanted me. So I sat, and I waited, and as the moon rose I fell into a mild doze.
"Wake up, Daisy, wake up" Slim was saying and his face was dark hollows.
"I mumbled muzzily but Slim was dragging me upwards, voice tight with excitement.
The floret, the tight white heart was unfurling, petals curling back with elegant speed, revealing dazzling yellow at the centre.
"It's a night bloomer." Slim was explaining, "They only bloom once a year."
As each unfolded itself, showing a pink-tinged underbelly, they drifted to the floor. I saw the sweet curl of white flutter past me, a feather, a flower feather, my thoughts were giddy and so Slim had to say it twice.
"Lean in." I did, and caught a whiff of it's perfume, spiced and mildly exotic. The sylvan flower now in full bloom, a coronet of white in the darkness, petals arching back.
"Thank you." I said, to him, and meant it. He smiled and nodded.
Above us, the black sky, and a jangle of stars.

Friday, January 19, 2007

engage your mandibles

i dreamt last night that i headlined the main stage at glastonbury playing guitar with led zepplin.
that aside, i also wanted to draw attention to the fact that i have written a book - naturally, this is in itself no great feat, but for anyone who knows me, knows the slack, lackadaisical, usually half drunk manner in which i write, will know that this is some sort of miracle. not, obviously a very good miracle, with slightly less spiritual importance and special effects then most, and now i think about it there's not even a lousy smoke machine for chrissakes, whaddayagonnado ?
tell you what i'm gonnado, i'm going to get a project started called 'just once '* (with the brainlaser crew, naturally) whereby you have a 'just this once' first thing which you have never done or would concieve of doing (possibly on the grounds that it is (a) illegal or (b) moronic). on monday i'm inventing a language (i say 'inventing') which will be a mix of the elongated japanese sounds and the stutter and pulse of swedish vowels and pretend it is a legitimate language from an actual (also made-up) country....somewhere north of finland. the object is to convince someone of your bi-lingual ability. i suggest not a spouse or family member, at best they'll laugh - then get fed up and slap you. that's at best, at worst they'll haul your broken bones over a cliff.
incidentally there is no point or purpose to 'just once' '', as long as it's not something you've done before, and possibly something you can only ever do inventive as it's possible to be.
mercy me.
*incidentally, if anyone can come up with a better name then 'just once' then for the love of jay-sus please let me know.....