Monday, March 26, 2007

story three# meretricious mister marvellous

*i have edited this quite heavily, the original is a bit longer and will be included in some compilation or other at some point.*

It wasn't what any of them had expected, although they had talked of nothing else for weeks. In it's conception it had begun as the smallest thing, the embryo of an idea, taking shape and manifesting into cream teas and jumble, tombolas and raffles. No-one could have anticipated it. Least of all the Women of Perranarmykle, the closest thing the tiny town had to a village committee. Now they sat, the nine of them, heads lowered, wondering how to fix things. Sue spoke first, Sue, founder of the sponsored knit-a-thon and the primary school bring and buy.
"There must have been something we could have done."Margaret’s eyes had taken on a dull sheen of disbelief. A coil of hair hung, unchecked, across her lined brow.
"It's not as though we could have prepared for it."
"Perhaps," said Helen, her glasses reflecting the light, turning her eyes into blank, silver pennies, "Perhaps it'll blow over.""Blow over?" Clare's voice was guttural, she who orchestrated the Best Dressed Dog Contest.
"There's no need to shout." Sue said rudely, and took a pinch of the Finest Cake Winner.
In the village hall the light was dim and growing dimmer, the sun a dizzy red ball hanging low in the sky. Shadows slid easily down the walls as though greased, oily, slippery dark matter which congealed in corners. No-one noticed.
A small town, a nothing town, a small clench of houses surrounded by the looming spectre of a church, hedgerows trimmed within a pubic inch, manicured privet and fern. The sign which told you as you came in, ‘Welcome To Perranarmykle’, and was so scrapingly grateful as you left, ‘Thank You For Visiting Perranarmykle’, now hung, corners drooping in easy rust. The scandal of '84, when Sarah Thornbow had eloped with the Pastor Crane had sent a shudder through the village, but that, eerily like everything else, had been powdered and sugared, pinked and dusted down by the nine to nothing more then a fragrant memory. The sign in the muted church hall read "For We Alone Must Fight", but now in the dying light - the ochre and amber of a weary day - it looked like ancient parchment, something used up and dried out.
The darkness shadowed their faces further, made them look rangy, like kicked curs.
"He asked me," Helen said into the gulf of silence and heads turned, almost creaking on tired tendons.
The afternoon had begun with an un-forecast spring chill, a brisk April breeze, causing metallic clouds scutter across a drab sky. On that wind the scent of spring rain, and something darker, less fluid, the air had seemed to thicken and grew musty, like pulling canvas away from senescent, brittle furniture. Helen had been bent over the tub of money, a bright sign reading "50p All Ages" which shivered briskly in the breeze when the stranger had approached, his oilskin raincoat buttoned up to his nostrils and hanging down to his knees. He bent over, leaning in towards her and Helen instinctively drew back, recoiling so fast she stumbled back a step or two. His breath was warmed veal and low, greased spices.
"How much for a stall?" he'd asked.
"I - I -" Helen felt her hands flutter to the scrag of her throat and she forced an insipid smile "It's full. I'm afraid.""Don't be afraid." he'd said and tossed a coin into the pot. She couldn't be sure, but later, as she was counting them out, she found a coin of soft ruin, bruised and knuckled at the edges, and blamed him. It was Sandra who'd noticed the dark stall hung in fluttering canopies of greys, the colour of diseased oysters. As she watched Edward Pascoe, clutching his young daughter Posey by the hand, lifted the flap and ducked under the awning. Later, Clare said she'd touched one of the billowing dark curtains and said it felt wet, dense and moist,
"Like sealskin," she offered.
It had been a small tent, propped up on warped sticks of willow, with a clumsy entrance slit from top to bottom in jagged strokes, and a listless flag the colour of maudlin funerals. Despite it's height of merely six feet the top and edges of the flimsy roof were gilt with frost, as though at a mountain's peak. The shape was square but seemed to waver before the eye, growing and shrinking in equal measure until your perspective throbbed like a diseased tooth. Outside, no signage, just a steaming copper kettle hung over a slump of glowing coals.
It was Johannah who had noticed when the candy floss machine, unchecked, had begun to spew its cobwebby innards all across the counter and onto the grass where the wind blew it in gossamer strands across the near deserted field. In the distance the carousel ground it’s pirouetting horses to a slow, laboured halt, and the music ebbed into an uncomfortable stillness.
“There’s no-one manning the raff-” Johannah began and stopped at the flat, loose expression on Sue’s face.
She was stood three feet downwind of the black tent and as the flaps lifted daintily they caught a scent of exotic secrets, dusty spices and dark, obsidian runes. Johannah started forwards but Sue put a hand on her arm.
“Don’t.” she said firmly.
"Are they all gone ?" Marie asked listlessly, leaning forwards and scattering notes on Best Fern before her. A twitch had begun in the fleshy pouch beneath her eye, but she seemed not to notice.
The nine, adumbral
in the gathering folds of the evening. Outside the hall a long stretch of silence. Even the twilight birds were still.
"All gone." chimed Alice, and turned her head to the dank orb of sun.
"They all went in. They didn't come out."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

harbour of evil wind

falmouth, yesterday morning, six of the clock. me, stumbling about bleary-eyed and horrified by the hour of day. my hair, seemingly embracing the moist atmosphere, turned into an afro, my smart ‘ ideal for interview’ dress is revealing a lot more of my breasts then is mannerly and in reaction to the lack of sleep my tongue has turned into a bloated, slumbering beast and refuses to allow me to speak properly.
this was not the best start to an interview and it only went downhill from there – spangled the i.t test, told them my biggest weakness was ‘inability to make a decision’ and then laughed a little too brazenly at a weak joke one of the interviewers made.
i blame my naivety in these situations – it’s been several years since i’ve had a ‘proper’ job interview and the inexperience makes me nervous. that and the tiredness. oh, and the caffeine jitters.
it’s all very well moving back to cornwall to edit the novel, and make progress with the second (slow, laborious inching progress it may be, but it’s still progress) but without food, clothes, a house and booze money – not to mention the Mighty Fund for Fun Nice Things – it’ll never happen. ergo, (magnificent, poncey word which is underused, i feel) i need to find a job – because the booze money is really, really vital.

Monday, March 19, 2007


the bloggers book is out - here is the link to the site, buy! buy! buy! pay top dollar, it’s all in a good cause.... clearly it was a real struggle to get this book published in one night, so huge well done to all involved....
....great, now back to me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

looks like I picked the wrong time to start worrying…

…five in the am to be precise. perhaps it’s just the restlessness, the lying awake, the night on the cusp of dawn, or perhaps it was the dream i was having about david bowie (married to each other, kept dogs, lived in small terraced house, hid from photographers, cleaned his sparkly platform shoes etc,) but as soon as i woke up i knew, knew, that i was going to start worrying; upcoming job interview-what if i say the wrong thing or swear (likely) or spit while i’m talking or get distracted? moving house, moving counties, leaving friends, money – there is never a good time to worry about money granted, and i never have enough anyway, but money worries are always floating in the flotsam of my thoughts, waiting for a passing anxiety tide to drag it in – work, the Book, do I drink too much ? must cut down smoking, what if my dead leg means i’m paralysed ? did I switch off the gas ? by the time my alarm kicks off two hours later i’m such a neurotic wreck that i turn up for work looking like marty feldman with hair by tina turner.
at this juncture i found the recent photograph i'd taken of perranporth beach (left) and slipped reality aside for a moment. ahhhhhhhhh.

that aside, i made a small detour through town today - it was sunny and i’d two hours to get to work on account of my feverish morning – and found myself on an entirely new street which appeared to have sprung fully formed out of the ground between my place and the train station complete with flats and a sainsburys – i think it was under development prior to my going to cornwall and been completed and polished while I was away. i made my way through the deserted, eerily quiet new street, glancing in the windows of the new flats as i did so (at least those on the ground floor, i’m not the bfg)….how cosy they looked, mellow lit kitchens, espresso cups on the side, in another a pair of slippers lurked beneath a table and then i realised, with something like dawning horror that they were all fake – it was like westworld except without yul brenner (pity) – and the most sinister thing i’ve ever seen. no-one is making tea, yet there’s a pot and a cup and saucer on the table, even a bowl of sugar. phantom feet have kicked off slippers underneath a table and in another cosy, spotlit-yet-empty flat i passed there was a row of three orchids lined up in order of diminishing height. the most sinister thing i’ve seen in a while (reena and finch I hope you get back in time to see it in the grey light before people actually move in) and i urge any-one with spare time on their hands to go and view a ‘show-home’- if you don’t get a shiver at the stylised ‘features’ and lived-in touches then you are either (a) ill or (b) steven seagal (i.e soulless. dead eyed. inanimate).

Monday, March 12, 2007

warm, like a pasty

just back from the badlands of kernow, feeling as though I’ve had the equivalent of a mental colonic irrigation. (just read that back and that makes it sound as though cornwall was uncomfortable, undignified and ultimately pointless, which of course, i don’t mean), and came across this on someone else’s blog….

which is a genius idea, and without all the usual bumfoolery that usually accompanies fundraising – i gave my post about the cuntsil – now starting to think that surely uneccessary swearing has not, nor ever will make me popular, and should have left it.

not big, not clever.