Monday, November 30, 2009

Starfish In A Jar

Once, when the sun was shining brightly upon the Earth, a young girl went to the beach with her family. She played amongst the waves that ran their fingers along the sand, again and again. And soon, she went exploring and found a rock pool. In that rock pool, she found a starfish.

The starfish was not afraid when the young girl took it out of the water because it could sense the overwhelming love and wonder in her. This was innocent curiosity personified.

The young girl, wanting to take a part of the ocean home with her, put the starfish into a jar with some sand and some water.

At home that night, the starfish sat alone in the jar. A fly flew overhead.

“You are dieing beautiful starfish. A jar is not the ocean. Soon you will leave this place and go to the ocean that sits above the clouds. Soon your five legs will be still. Soon you will be no more.” Said the fly.

“You are correct, fly. I am dieing. I have lived a good life though and I am happy that at the end of it, I could satisfy the curiosity of a child. I do however, have one regret.” Replied the starfish.

“What is your regret starfish? For though you and I are both very different, I am a good fly and do my best not to bother the animals around me, even the humans. I wish to help you.” Said the fly, buzzing over the jar.

The starfish laughed (as only a starfish can).

“You cannot help me, well-meaning fly. My regret is that I cannot dance one more time. Because to live in the ocean is to dance, constantly, to sway back and fourth with the waves and the currents. To dance is to live. And the only other animal a starfish can dance with, is another starfish. And I am alone in this jar, where I will die.”

The fly stopped buzzing, thoughtfully, and settled on the lip of the jar.

“I will do what I can beautiful starfish.” He said. And he flew away.

There was a corner in the house that no one ever looked. And though the fly knew that all his sisters and his brothers had always told him to stay away from that corner, he knew it was only in that corner that he could find help.

“Hello spider.” Said the fly.

“Hello fly. Have you come here to die?” Asked the spider.

“It is not my time to die. It is another’s. And they require your help to die.” Replied the fly.

“Why should I help another?” Laughed the spider. “I have all I need here in my web, I owe no one and nothing any favours.”

“Yes.” Said the fly. “But you are lonely in your web. You have everything you need here, except company.”

“I eat my company.” Said the spider.

“Yes you do. That is why you are lonely.” Said the fly.

“Fine. I am, indeed, lonely. But how will helping another keep me from being lonely?” Asked the spider.

“Because helping others is to help yourself. There is a dieing starfish that requires a last dance before it passes on. You are the only animal here that can dance with it. I know you have never danced or met a starfish before. This will ease your loneliness, if only for a while.” Replied the fly.

The spider scowled as it was not used to having conversations with food.

“Enough of your lies. Either join me in my web or leave. I am weary now and wish to be alone.” Said the spider, skittering back to the center of the web.

Sad, the fly flew away and left the spider to its loneliness.

Alone in its web, the spider thought and thought and thought about something it had never thought of before: being alone. Slowly and cautiously, it left the web.

If you were lucky enough to be in the house that night, you would’ve seen a spider crawl across the ceiling and slowly, delicately lower itself into a jar with a starfish in it.

And if you were lucky enough to be in the house that night, you would’ve seen how a starfish and a spider can dance (the two extra legs on the spider’s part allow for some truly spectacular moves).

And if you were lucky enough to be in the house that night, you would’ve seen them dance until there was no more night to dance in.

And if you were lucky enough to be in the house the next morning, you would’ve seen a young girl crying, holding a jar. A jar with a dead starfish in it. And a drowned spider. Both smiling in the way that only a dead starfish, or a dead spider, can.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Somewhere On The Other Side Of The Sun

“And, how does the report look?”

“Interesting if nothing else.”

“I see. Proceed.”

“They haven’t reached Level 5 yet so that’s a bad thing.”

“They still favour certain patches of dirt over others?”

“Worse. They create what they call ‘Flags’ for each patch of dirt. It’s basically a set of colours and one or two graphic elements which represent what patch of dirt you belong to. And they appear to be quite willing to fight over it. That and colour.”

“They’d fight over colour?”

“Yes, colour, even the nuances of the sounds they make or ‘accents’ as they call them.”

“How bizarre. So no real overall governing body, no true word-wide leadership?”

“No, there are one or two that claim to be but they’re largely ineffective.”

“Nice thoughts and nothing more?”

“Yes, that sort of thing.”

“I see. Art?”

“The number one image the entire population of the planet has been exposed to is something called ‘The Dynamic Ribbon Device’ which represents some sort of energy-giving elixir they drink on a regular basis.”

“Their art is based around something they drink? Fascinating.”

“I told you it was interesting. Wait till you hear about food.”

“Go on.”

“Mainly dried out strips of starch sold to them in packets, at least the ones in the major

“Crazy. What about religion?”

“Their gods are named ‘Shit’ and ‘Fuck’ or at least those are, from what we can tell, their sacred words. You can’t say them in public without fear of reprisal and they’re all incredibly sensitive about them, which usually indicates some kind of reference to a god of some kind.”

“I’ve heard enough.”

“Come back once it’s done another lap around the galaxy?”

“Yes. We’ll come back then. Put it down as ‘can do better.’”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gator In A Bar

You call it killing but it’s really just fighting till one of us dies. So I fight and I kill. And I’m a gator so you call it hunting because I eat what I kill. Would you feel better about yourselves if you ate what you killed?

But humans are family, so one of your brothers kills it or invents something that kills it and then gives it to another brother who gives it to another and another until you eat it and so you don’t think “you” hunt.

I don’t hunt anymore. Not since you took me from the swamp. Put me here in this bar. In the pit. In the middle. And you wrestle me. Thinking you’re tough. That wrestling a wild animal when you’re drunk enough, out with your buddies or your bitch, makes you a man. From the sounds of things, that’s something to be proud of. Doesn’t really count when you’ve ripped all my teeth out.

I’m an animal so I don’t know if I’m capable of hate but if I am, then I hate you. You have become more than food to me. And I’ve noticed in the fractals of your behaviour, the way you slouch against the bar, eyes like a cows, that you are lazy in the short term and in the long term. I smiled even though you wouldn’t have noticed it, even if you’d looked. I smiled because I felt what could’ve been some miracle new tooth growing or maybe it’s just bone rubbed free and clear from my featureless gums.

But it’s there. My tongue knew it was there.

Which is why, now, while you clown around, putting your neck in my mouth, I’m getting ready to draw that sharpness, that last tiny spark of me still alive, across your throat. Then as you die, I will die. Shots ringing out will be the last thing I hear, your blood will be the last thing I taste and then I will be back in the swamp. Beneath the water. Forever.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

End Of A Rainbow

And we will speak in no more tongues and you will not understand me, nor I, you. We will yell and scream and bang on invisible walls with bloody knuckles, like visitors in a prison. You may crow that you have won and I might do the same. But really, there are no victors here. Only those who once could’ve been friends.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We Write And We Read And We Wait

And we struck a giant stone disk through the center of the world and started it turning, it took a while for someone to figure out that whatever they wrote at the outer edges of the disk would eventually travel to the other side of the world and back but they did. And so every day, millions crowd the slow rotating surface, some writing (but only as long as they are willing to walk and follow the slowly turning disk), some reading (but only as long as their eyes still see), across its circumference around the globe, some searching its outer rim for messages from the missing, the far away and the not heard from for too long. And some, writing messages to the same.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Everything Is Disgusting. Part 8.

"So." Said Weatherson. Eggbert gave him a blank stare. Then suddenly remembered why he was there.

"Oh! The campaign." Eggbert shuffled the boards into some semblance of order. The suit had left a big puddle of drool over them. It was kind of disgusting. But then, this was advertising. Everything was disgusting.

"Never mind about explaining it to me. I already know what it's all about."


"Shut up you stupid little man. Tell Johnny I think it's great and that the ape can tango however he wants, as long he keep raking in the cash while he does it." Now Eggbert was really confused.

"I told you Eggbert. You'd be surprised what I bug."

Eggbert made his way back to the agency, the suit drove them in his Porsche (creatives get awards, suits get paid). Eggbert fed him a banana and thought about what had just happened. Did Johnny know Weatherson was bugging the agency? Did he mind? If he didn't, how would he react. Eggbert's stomach did a back flip with a half-turn into splits. He hadn't signed on for this. He just wanted to know how to make good ads. The ones that made him laugh when he was a kid. He wanted to make kids laugh too. He wanted to think of funny things to say about other people's things. He wanted to sit in a room and get paid to daydream. Not get involved in all this stupid intrigue. Eggbert sighed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everything Is Disgusting. Part 7.

"So, tell our listeners about the new campaign, you in the suit." Said the DJ. Thank God thought Eggbert. At least he was asking the suit. Suits never knew anything.

"Well, it all has to do with the intrinsic benefits of children's deodorant." Eggbert heard a "thump" as people across the country let their heads hit the table in front of them. Eggbert snatched the boards out the suit's hands, lest he by some miracle actually give away some real information.

"Mr Weatherson, we've got to-" Eggbert began. But as he began, Weatherson shoved his hand in his face in the standard shut the hell up manner. Weatherson pointed towards the door to his office. A small, round man with neatly trimmed blond hair and a skin-tight neon green vest walked in. He looked like a penguin who didn't get the memo about the death of rave music. Sitting down at the mike opposite the DJ, he opened his mouth and began to talk. But it was Weatherson's voice that came out his mouth. Eggbert did not understand.

"Yes Mark. You see I take pride in all my products, and the one's that we make for kids are especially important to me." The small round man rattled on. Weatherson slowly led Eggbert into a side room. It was small and quiet. There were two chairs, a table and not much else. It wasn't the sort of room you'd expect to find in building like Yum MacYummy Head Office.

"What's going on?" Asked Eggbert, forgetting himself and his place for a moment.

"Well, I'm sure you wouldn't want me to blurt all the juicy details of our latest ad campaign all over the air." Eggbert shook his head.

"Rod is my voice. We like to call him the metronome. Well, at least that's what the guys down in sales and distribution call him. I hear them talking about it in the bathroom sometimes."

"You bug your own bathrooms?" Asked Eggbert.

"You'd be surprised at what I bug Mr Eggbert Romel." Eggbert twitched. No one had said his surname in so long. Since he had arrived at the agency, no one had asked. Eggbert decided this was all a little bit too strange and it would be best to get the hell out of here as soon as was humanly possible.

"So what does… "Rod" do exactly?" Why, he asked himself, oh why, was he asking more questions he didn't want the answers to.

"Well, on days when that infernal DJ as he likes to call himself comes round and we do "A Day With Weatherson" he goes in there and pretends to be me. He fools everyone. He's been trained since birth to say absolutely nothing."


"Yes. Nothing. He can go on for hours about it. You could spend the whole day talking to him and learn absolutely nothing. He's great. A bit round and penguinish but great none the less."

"That's…amazing." Said Eggbert, wondering how mad this person really was. Quite mad his brain assured him.