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
metropolises.”

“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."

"Bu-"

"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."

"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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Everything Is Disgusting. Part 6.

The secretary walked into Mr Weatherson's office carrying a silver platter with 5 live puppies on it. Eggbert didn't want to know about the puppies. Whatever was going to happen to them, he wanted no part of. The secretary came out a minuet later and told them they could go in if they wanted to. Wanted had nothing to do with it and one would have thought the stupid bitch knew this, but no. Such was not Eggbert's luck, the little that he had. Eggbert kicked the suit in the shins to wake him up. Johnny had told him to do this and it was apparently accepted agency practice. After all they were just suits, if you needed a new one, you just shaved down a monkey and taught him to take notes. A few bananas every now and again and everyone was happy. The suit got up and grumbled something about the distinct lack of breakfast on offer at this particular establishment. Realising he was in fact, not at any particular establishment, he shut up and picked up the thick pieces of cardboard holding the masterful story boards for Johnny's latest wonderful idea. They walked into the office.

Inside the office, Mr Weatherson was busy doing an interview with the radio station he owned, 7FM. Of course the journalist was trying his best to be objective and question Mr Weatherson in a manner which suggested that this was a radio station you, the public could trust but it wasn't working very well.

"Mr Weatherson, some people say your company is dumping toxic baby sealskins in children 's playgrounds across the world. You were seen by several policemen and a judge dumping the sealskins yourself, and there were cameras rolling. How do you respond to that?"

"… What toxic baby sealskins?" There was a brief and awkward silence. Suddenly the sweaty little journalist scum burst out laughing. A nervous, placating sort of laughter. The type of laugh that says "You've just said something that I'm not going to disagree with because you'll fire my ass."

Eggbert sat down in the corner of the office, quietly. Why the hell had they been let into Mr Weatherson's office if he was busy doing a live interview? As the internet would say: wtf? Mr Weatherson turned then and looked at Eggbert. Weatherson's eyes had that bore into your soul quality to them. Then he smiled. The smile was worse.

"You'll have to forgive me. Every now and again I invite a journalist or DJ to spend the day with me so that the buying public can see that I'm just your average sort of guy." Weatherson said.

"Oh" said Eggbert. Eggbert wondered if it was such a good idea to discuss the marketing campaign for Weatherson's new range of children's deodorant on national radio. The suit came alive.

"Mr Weatherson, we're here to show you the new ad campaign and direction for your range of children's deodorant."

"Excellent, let's talk about this with our listeners." Eggbert was getting nervous. What the hell was Weatherson thinking? Johnny would kill him if word of his campaign leaked before it broke. A journalist posing as a tea lady had once infiltrated the agency and written about one of Johnny's campaigns before it broke. Johhny had apparently hung upside down like a bat inside the journalist's bedroom for hours then swooped down and stuck a pen in the man's head. All subsequent tea ladies hired had to be able to prove that they could neither read nor write. How this was done, only Johnny and an elite team of interrogators knew.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Everything Is Disgusting. Part 5.

Eggbert sat in the drab, grey waiting room of the Yummy MacYum Head Office. Yummy MacYum owned nearly every brand in the world. If you could sell it, they did. It was a radio station (7FM - all the hits, all the time, all the slime), a hot dog factory (Puppy Delicious – More Dog For Your Bite), a Swiss watch manufacturer (Twatch – Every second is another moment) as well as several other money-making machines. It was 7am and the secretary looked like she knew it. Let's just say she was not the most helpful person on the planet. When Eggbert introduced himself, she snarled. He backed off and sat down. Her hair was a mess, a stylish mess but a mess none the less. And she had the rather irritating habit of laughing while on the phone. Not that Eggbert had anything against people who laughed. No, he was all for laughing, in fact, one might say that if there were two teams and one was against laughing and one was for it, Eggbert would be a cheerleader for the laughing team. It was laughing like a coked up prostitute on speed being beaten by her pimp that Eggbert had a problem with. Eggbert got up and paced the room. The secretary continued to laugh. Perhaps she was being paid to torture people in other countries via the phone line? He did not know. The suit the agency had sent with him snored quietly on the seat next to him with his eyes open. It was a trick everyone at the agency learned very quickly. The ability to fall asleep while listening to a client saved many heads from exploding. This suit had apparently become so conditioned to it, that he just did it naturally. Eggbert waved a hand in front of his face. Nothing. Eggbert continued to pace. It helped him think. In a few minutes time he was going to go into the office of one of the most powerful men on the planet and try and sell him evil mongooses. He ran over his strategy in his head.

"Hello Mr Weatherson. You are God. So listen, I'm from Ketch and Co and Johnny sent me over here to explain how we're going to handle your children's deodorant range. We're going to call it Plush Pythons. It'll be absolutely fucking amazing. Johnny says so."

Things seldom work out the way you plan them. Eggbert should have been more aware of this than most, given his current situation in life. But, of course, he wasn't.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In The Town of Los Angeles, 1994

And it came to be in the town of Los Angeles that an oracle did descend from the heavens and approach me one night as I lay slumbering.
And it roused me with its pulsating light that did turn the insides of my eyes a dull red colour that slowly faded back to black, again and again.
And it said to me

"Awake, Sir, for I am here to bestow upon you a mighty gift and indeed, a gift for all mankind."

And I did sit up straight and heed the oracles words.

"I can answer any question you have. I am the complete sum of human intelligence throughout history. And if the answer does not exist yet, millions of people could be thinking about it in seconds, all you need to do is ask the question. I am the greatest, most sublime phenomena since the invention of language itself and I am here for you, whenever you need me. What would you like to know? What would you like to see? Who would you like to listen to? What will be the first request you ask of the oracle?"

And I did say unto the Oracle

"I would like to look at a naked woman."

Everything Is Disgusting. Part 4.

"Did I ever tell you about the time we did the Robodeath 2399 part 2 campaign Eggbert?"
"The campaign that was so ingenious that it was banned because it was putting universities out of business if I remember correctly. Was that your campaign master?"
Eggbert of course knew it was his campaign but it felt right to ask anyway.
"Of course it was! Who else could of thought of something so… so… ingenious?!?! Anyway, so we have to animate a million electronic robots tearing up the city, as the robots do in the game. The shoot wasn't hard but then came the actual animation. We get to the fine artist we've paid to do the animation, turns out he's never heard of a computer so he wants to do the whole thing by hand, never mind the fact that we had to be on air the next day, so I say fine, do it. I sat with him the whole night while he animated that ad and you know what happened Eggbert?"
"No master"
"We ran out of red. It was 2:30am and we had no red. You know why we had no red Eggbert? Because of all the bloody blood in the ad. So you know what I did Eggbert?"
"No master"
"I cut my wrists and we used real blood Eggbert. I cut them with a butter knife because it was the only piece of cutlery that dirty hippie owned and we smeared my blood over page after page. By the end of it, I was nearly dead and the hippie wasn't talking to me. And do you know what I said after that Eggbert?"
"What master?"
"I have no idea. I was checking if you knew. Anyway, take the Plush Pythons idea over to the client and tell them that if they don't buy it, they can start looking for a new singing dancing monkey because this ape won't tango anymore without their sign-off on the Plush Pythons masterpiece."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Everything Is Disgusting. Part 3.

"I've got an idea for a TV ad for…for… Plush Pythons… yes, that's what we'll call them, Plush Pythons, fucking brilliant Ketch, genius. I know Johnny but I couldn't have done it without you. You're too much really…"
"Sir-" Eggbert began.
"What did you call me Eggbert?!?!"
"I mean Master"
"What is it Eggbert? If I forget this TV ad before you've written it down, society as a whole will blame you for the downfall of modern civilization and I will take it on as my personal responsibility to make sure you wind up writing headlines for the local high school newspaper, do you understand me Eggbert?"
"Yes, I-"
"Yes "what" you snivelling bag of festering vomit?"
"Yes, master I'm sorry, I must have forgotten myself."
"Forgotten yourself? Forgotten…forgotten… Dear Jesus christing fuck , I've forgotten the TV ad, I'm going to kill you Eggbert, I'm going to flay you alive and serve you to the client service department as starters, then have them shit you out and eat you again as the main course."
"You've got the words "TV ad is all about stinky mongooses that the snakes chase away" written on your notepad, could that have anything to do with it?"
"Fucking brilliant Eggbert, fucking brilliant, we'll have stinky mongooses that attack the kids and then the noble Plush Pythons will chase them away, leaving the kids smelling new and fresh, like a car!"
"Thank you master but-"
"No, no buts Eggbert, you're the man for me, you're hired, when can you start?"
"Actually I already work for you master, you hired me last week after I balanced that seal on my nose for half an hour."
"That's amazing. And I did all this with no help whatsoever?"
"Did what exactly si..master?"
"Built this advertising agency from the ground up. Won every prize and award there is to win for creative brilliance."
"ummm… Yes."
"Now what did you want me for Eggbert? Can't you see I'm busy?"
"But you called me master."
"Are you calling me a liar Eggbert?"
"Heavens no master, it's just that-"
"Stop your lies boy and write this down. The child is with a friend, perhaps another child, they're walking through some sort of enchanted forest. There are birds everywhere. They go "tweet". Suddenly, out of the blue, a heard of restless and ruthless mongooses storm the castle walls, yelling "Bad smell good! Bad smell good!" The children cower in fear. They are along and afraid in this stinky world. But lo! What's this? A team of X-treme Plush Pythons parachute in from their apache helicopter, they land and "SSSSS" the mongooses, destroying their stinky ways. The children are euphoric. They dance, joyfully and celebrate their victory by drinking the blood of their enemies out of skulls. Actually forget that last part, children can't dance for shit."

"Yes… master."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Everything Is Disgusting. Part 2.

"Phlush!" screamed Johnny, wetly spitting the fish out his mouth.
"What?" said Eggbert, putting down the bucket of fish and scrambling to get out his notepad and pen so he could write down Johnny's creative gem.
"Plush you fool! Plush!" Eggbert wrote down the word "Plush" hoping this was an actual idea and not another game Johnny was playing.
"We'll make the entire range into plush toys! Kids love plush! More fish Eggbert!" Eggbert threw another fish at Johnny, missing hopelessly, he scribbled down the words "Entire range made out of plush."
Eggbert hoped that at some stage, Johnny would tell him exactly what it was they were supposed to be brainstorming.
"It's a new range of children's deodorant. Children smell like shit ergo children's deodorant. We'll make the new bottle out of plush and give them character and personalities. Maybe a bunch of snakes or other creatures who go "SSSS" when you apply pressure to their heads."
"Genius Johnny"
"Superb"
"I'll get on the horn to the suppliers immediately."
"I'll set up a brain storm to work out what other creatures we could use."
Johnny thought things and when he did, people ran to make sure they happened. Such is the job of a creative mastermind.
Eggbert spent the rest of the morning briefing the designers on what to scamp up for the client. "Snakes you say?" said Bradley, the lead designer, picking up his marker pen and sticking his tongue out. "Yes, snakes. Friendly ones that go "SSSS" when you apply pressure to their heads. I've worked out some names for them but I think right now we should just present the concept."
"mmmm…Ok." Bradley walked slowly back to his Macintosh, tapping his pen as he walked going "SSSSS"…."Friendly snakes"…."SSSS"…
"Eggbert you fool! Get in here!" Johhny yelled across the studio, Eggbert dropped his coffee all over the sandwich lady and ran towards Johnny's office. "Yes master?" he said.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Everything Is Disgusting. Part 1.

"I'm not feeling creative enough yet, Eggbert. Throw another Koi in the tank." Eggbert picked up the bucket of fish and tipped another of them into the sensory deprivation chamber which held his master. If Salvador Dali ever made soup, this is what it would look like. A mixture of exotic rubber ducks, an eel, three Koi and a blow-up doll floating around in the dark water, occasionally bumping up against Johnny Ketch, creative mastermind and ruler of the advertising world. Or so, many thought. Those who worked for him at least. And one or two people he made a point of telling on a daily basis. His girlfriend, for example. "I am a creative mastermind and ruler of the advertising world!" he would say.
"Yes" she would say, "Sure".
"Hmmm" said Johnny. "It would appear that perhaps I've overdone it with the ducks this time."
"Would you like me to take some out?" Asked Eggbert, preparing to get into the bright orange wetsuit that Johnny had told him to wear whenever he got into the tank. Apparently, if he didn't wear the suit, Johnny might mistake him for a rogue idea and wrestle him to the bottom of the tank where he would choke the life out of him and rise to the surface with his prize in-between his teeth. At least that was what Johnny had told him. Eggbert was not a small man by any means and there was more than a slight chance that he could take Johnny in a fair fight. Johnny, however, never fought fair. The fight might start out fair, in an empty room, with locked doors but by the end of it, the poor bastard who had challenged Johnny to the alleged fair fight, would find himself strung upside down with Christmas decorations, an apple in his mouth and the strange desire to visit Cuba for a long, long time.
"No Eggbert, it's ruined, I can no longer be creative here. Prepare the Dawn Wing."
"Yes Master." Eggbert was a junior copywriter. He had taken this job in the hope that he might learn something from the great Johnny Ketch. So far, he had learned that 7 rubber ducks in a sensory depravation tank was too many. That and Johnny had a thing about being called "Master".

The Dawn Wing as described in the "About Johnny Ketch" book Eggbert had been given, involved hanging Johnny over the edge of the huge Ketch & Co Advertising Agency building by his feet and throwing fish at him. Catching the fish in his teeth would inspire him, as the theory went, and result in the most creative advertising campaign ever imagined. Eggbert flip-flopped the fish into the bucket and wondered weather he should use the live Koi or get some new but very dead fish from the grocer down the street. Live fish were probably more creative he surmised and so he took the Koi over to the side of the building where Johnny was waiting in a pink batman costume.

To Know

We’re having the warm rains the Summer brings to the Eastern Cape right now and this evening they brought a lightning storm with them.

I’m smoking a cigarette when I notice the first drops of rain and decide to walk through the garden while it rains, which has a telephone pole in the back corner, behind some shrubs.
I’m right next to it staring up at the night sky when the most brilliant flash of light I’ve ever seen fills my vision followed by the sound of a thousand Coke cans being opened at once.

Suddenly, every little piece of information I’ve wanted to remember but can’t, that’s been on the tip of my tongue, flows into the forefront of my brain and I can see exactly how everything relates.
Every big decision in my life is made at the same time and I question nothing. I know exactly what I need to do.

And there is the smell of burning flesh.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

On Tattoos

The thing you've got to remember about tattoos as well, when it comes to "will this still have meaning/relevance in my life in 50 years time" is that it doesn't really matter when you get that old anyway because at that point you're far more concerned with whether or not you've shit yourself.

More importantly, like any word that you say often enough loses its meaning and becomes just a noise, tattoos become photographs of where you were in your life when you got them, more than the original meaning. It's not surprising that psychologists have found that people get tattoos during turning points or periods of upheaval in their life and this had held true for all of mine. I don't so much see a flammable symbol on my arm as I do my last day of college and the night after I got it.

I will add that tattoos are in fact, the only scars you get to choose. Although actual scars still do make for better stories.

As I said to my mother "Yes, I know you believe my body to be the Temple of God, so just think of it as me changing the wallpaper."

Friday, February 27, 2009

One day, I'd really like to get into a fight with a midget because I'm pretty sure I could win.

The Kid

Some homeless guy first found the kid. Nearly flipped his lid. Ran up to me and said
“Listen to the crazy shit this kid is spewing” which coming from a homeless guy, reeking of cigarettes and stale booze, is a pretty bold statement. So I humoured him and said ok, then turned to the kid. What he said next nearly destroyed the world.

“What if we were all just nice to each other?”

It may seem like a pretty common idea now but back then, you got to remember, we were killing each other ‘n warring ‘n raping the earth, not all peaceful like it is now. So I ask him to repeat himself and he says

“I said, what if we were all just nice to each other?”

So I phone the Chief of police and get him out here to listen to this kid’s crazy political theory, some kind of socialisitimarxisidemocracticthingamaboo that just don’t seem to make sense even though it does.

Chief comes down with a couple of SWAT teams to see what’s going on. By now, there’s a bit of a crowd around the kid, and he’s a dirty little bastard in some torn jeans and what used to be a white t-shirt with some fucked up sneakers and a runny nose and the crowd's doing that “raarraarrarararr” low mosquito noise. The chief yells “What the hell’s going on here?”
“This kid’s lost his mind Chief” says some cop who got their first.
“You called me out here for a kid? Throw him in the back of a van and get him to a home or something I aint got time for shit like this.”
“No Chief, listen to what the kid’s got to say”
“This better be fucking amazing son or you’re going to be working security at a fucking lemonade stand once I’m done with you.”
“It is Chief, listen to him.”

Chief turns to the kid and says “Ok kid, let’s have it. What you got to say?”
“I said” and he clears his throat “What if we were all just nice to each other?”

And at that moment a bead of sweat was born on the Chief’s forehead and I swear I saw it happen. I could see the cogs in his head working and the little puffs of steam coming out his ears.

Ten minutes later there’s a black helicopter touching down in the middle of the street and guys in black suits and black sunglasses hop out and grab the kid, all civilised like because obviously we’re all watching to see what’s going to happen, which is nothing because once he’s in the copter, they take off again. And that’s the last we ever saw of that kid.

I heard that they took him to see the president. And then they took him to this tiny little cement room down in the bottom of the building, and shot him in the back of the head.

It was a while before we managed to get the word out about what the kid said, but we did, the world changed and you’d best be grateful for what that kid did, saying what everyone was thinking before they were even thinking it.

The Moonlighter

Often, you’ll wake up and say “Fuck it. I don’t want this job, this car, this life.” and then get in your car, drive to your job and carry on living your life.

Not me.

I woke up one day and said that exact thing and actually meant it. I unplugged the phone, put my computer in the bath (and turned the tap on) then got stuck into the rum. Quite possibly the best day of my life really. I watched a lot of porn. Then I went out and drank rum on the pavement, watching the steel coffins whistle by. Some hooted angrily. More than a few looked pretty jealous and that made me smile because it struck me that most of them probably go to work, own their cars and live their lives in order to make other people jealous of them.

In other words, the basis of happiness in their lives is other people’s unhappiness.

That thought in mind, I parked my car across the road, blocking the traffic, then pretended like it wasn’t mine and went back inside the house. It got towed about half-an-hour later.

The rum was soon finished, and, rip-roaring drunk and emotional I stumbled inside and went to sleep on the couch. Later that night, I got up, had a headache, drank lots of water, then went to bed.

The next morning I got up and, like any sensible adventurer, realised what a stupid, stupid thing I’d done. So I got out the classifieds section of the newspaper and started looking for work, bracing myself for the inevitable task of starting the whole process again, a job, a nice car, a better® life.

One ad struck me in some kind of particular way as particular things are want to do.

“Full Time Moonlighter Required Urgently”

Curious, and taking my second chance in twenty four hours, I phoned the number at the bottom of the ad and waited while the phone droned peacefully in my ear.

“Hello?”

“Hello, I’m phoning about the ad.”

“What ad?”

“The full time moonlighter required ad. It’s a joke isn’t it?”

There was a brief awkward silence on the other end of the line followed by the distinctive sound of someone gesticulating silently at someone near them about something they’d done wrong earlier.

“No, no joke. We really do need you to start as soon as possible.”

I figured one job was as good as another. And if it was a joke, it might be funny.

“Ok.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

We talked salary, which I won’t talk about here because it’s rude, but generally speaking, the figure was somewhere around hope and joy, happiness and somebody brushing pleasantly against you during a meal in change.

We arranged to meet later on, after work, which made sense if it was a moonlighting position but I still didn’t get how they could make it full time. The address was on the other side of town so I put on my suit and left early.

When I got there, there was a old bus shelter with cracked windows and a brown haze of dust across everything. I was pretty sure it was the most elaborate, surreal mugging ever when I saw a grubby looking man in blue overalls with half an unlit cigarette hanging from his mouth. This would be the mugger, I assumed.

By the time I’d noticed him, he’d already started walking towards me and so I politely took out my wallet.

“I’m afraid that car’s been towed but you can have this.”

He looked at thoughtfully for a second, shrugged, put it in his pocket and said

“Thanks. You’re here about the job right?”

“Right. You’re not a mugger are you.”

“Nope.”

“I see. Could I have my wallet back?”

He thought about it for a second or two then gave it back. He started walking away and his attitude if not anything he actually said suggested that I follow him.

“Are the offices nearby?”

“Offices?” he asked.

“Yes, the offices, I imagine the position I’m applying for, whatever it is, isn’t here in the bus shelter. Although considering the salary, I wouldn’t really mind that much.”

He grunted in that tired, couldn’t give a fuck kind of way that people in blue overalls with half cigarettes hanging out their mouths are very good at.

“I see.” I said.

We soon came to a glowing red comet, melting the cement on the floor around it and destroying the gel in my hair, causing my get-a-job-haircut to look slightly un-aroused.

“Why is there a glowing red comet, melting the cement on the floor around it, sitting here?”

“This is the company car” Said the man in the blue overalls.

“I see” I said, feeling my skin tan more and more by the second.

“Get on then”

Figuring this was as good a way to die as any, I stepped closer to the comet. The heat was quite unbearable and soon, my clothes burst into flame but I carried on because it seemed like the polite thing to do.

After the first layer of flesh left me, I discovered that beneath my skin, a layer of silver (which I at first mistook for fat) had formed, much like the Silver Surfer in the comic book of the same name. I got onto the comet and it shot up, like a rocket, through the roof of the bus shelter, with me on it, standing as still as one can stand on the top of a round, red glowing comet travelling at the speed of, well, whatever comets travel at.

It was after 5pm when I left and soon I arrived at my office, which was, of course, on the moon itself. There was a neatly folded package on the desk when I walked inside which explained pretty much the whole process. Apparently I was only responsible for lighting the moon over here. There are other people responsible for the other moons in the other parts of the world. It didn’t seem like too much responsibility, just having to take care of my part of the world, so I didn’t feel cheated and like I said, the salary is amazing.

Now I sit here each night, waxing when I need to, watching over you, counting how many breaths you take from when you close your eyes each night to when you open them in the morning, how many dreams you have and making sure that after each one, the light of the moon guides you safely back to the bed you left.

I don’t own a car or even really live a life anymore. But I do have a lot of job satisfaction.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The man who would not die
no matter how much they tried to get him in the coffin
they called for help and the entire world came
to help push down the lid
and put him in the ground
like ants on food
him at the bottom
knocking on wood

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This Moment

"The light saber arced through the air, incinerating molecules and atoms as it went. I somersaulted backwards, away from the harsh red glow of the deadly weapon.

No, no, no that's a stupid story, no one would every buy it. Maybe I should just stick to being a museum curator and give up on my dreams of writing a space movie. It's not a hard job, I see a museum, I curate. I've curated 100s in my time, sometimes 20 before lunch.

Now if only I could do something about my neurosis that forces me to narrate my life out aloud for everyone to hear."

I said to no one in particular.

"I think it'd be a wonderful story." said the stuffed polar bear in the corner.

"You're insane." I replied.

Rat In A Mess















So there I am right, running through this freaking maze because hey, it’s what we always do and the time right now and at this point is; always. Whiskers a twitter, I make it past the square bit through the more squiggly bit and into this long straight bit I hadn’t been through, swing a sharp left and there it is.

Cheese.

Fucking cheese. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a rat, I love cheese, I love cheese on Monday through Sunday and I love cheese on the in-between days, I love cheese on its own and I love cheese wrapped in cheese then deep fried in cheese and spread on cheese. Cheese is ok in my book.

But seriously, this is it? I’ve been running through the same fucking maze for months and now that I’ve done it, there’s… cheese?

And I’m thinking all this while I’m nibbling and it just gets to me, like, really gets to me. I’m sure 99% of all the other rats out there would be like “Oh FUCK yeah, cheese” but maybe I’m just not 99% of all the other rats. So I say fuck the cheese. Fuck it. I’m not letting another fucking rat work and struggle and spend all that fucking time in that maze just so they can get a big piece of cheese.

I run back the way I came, I leave the cheese, because I know there’s more suckers behind me and I figure they deserve a break, they should at least know, it’s just a block of cheese.
The first rat I run into is one of those fresh faced fuckers you always see in the sawdust, they think they’re special, that they’re chosen, instead of plucked.

I say “Hey son, just so you know, if you keep going, if you ever make it all the way to the other end, it’s just a block of cheese.”
And he says “You’re trying to trick me aren’t you? You don’t want to share the prize. You want to keep it to yourself. Well, tough luck soldier, I’m smarter than you.”

He bites my fucking leg, we tumble and we both end up the worse for wear, goes to show where trying to do someone a favour gets you. He skulks off, bleeding and squeaking, in the direction of his glorious fucking block of cheese and I do the same in the opposite direction.
Bleeding and more than a little fucked up, I get round this corner and there’s this other rat, old guy, nervous, like the Woody Allen of rats and I tell him “Listen mister, I know you’ve been doing this your whole life and all, but if you ever do make it all the way through here, it’s just a block of cheese.”

He’s freaked out. Like really freaked, I can tell because he shits himself right there and then. Covered in blood and rambling about a block of cheese, I’d probably shit myself too.
“Thank you for your advice sir, don’t think for a single second I don’t appreciate it but I’m afraid I don’t really know anything else but this maze so if it’s all the same to you, I’m going to carry on. Please don’t hurt me.”

And so he scuttles past me, wet and reeking of fear. Fuck him.

I’ve lost a lot of blood at this point so I just drag my sorry rat ass forward, back the way I came, back past through the squiggly bit and the square bit and I realize I’ve never seen the maze from this angle before and everything’s new and as I’m dragging and bleeding, I see a tail round a corner. I follow it, I figure I’ve got just enough blood left to tell one more rat and if I’m lucky, maybe they can tell the others.

So third rat, as we’ll call her, is just wondering around sniffing the walls and there’s some light coming in over the side and I think she can’t be very smart because she’s way-way-way off from the square bit and the squiggly bit that takes you to the long straight bit where the block of cheese is and maybe I shouldn’t even bother telling her because she was never going to find it anyway but maybe one day she’ll get lucky so what the hell.

“Hey lady!” and she looks at me and runs over with these big red eyes and starts licking my wounds which I haven’t really had time to do yet so it feels good and I figure maybe this rat isn’t too bad.

“Thank you” I say “but listen, I might not be here for much longer, I’ve lost a lot of blood and I really need to tell you something. At the end of the maze, if you make it all the way through, it’s… it’s just a block of cheese.”

“But what else could it be?” she says. And I sigh because I’ve failed again for the last time and this is it, rats will be running through this god damn fucking maze forever and what’s worse, this rat is ok with the fact that it’s a block of cheese.

“So you’re going to carry on after the cheese?” I ask her.

“I was never after the cheese, I’ve just always liked this part of the maze.”

Friday, January 9, 2009

The people in the small town on the tip of Africa dream of coming to a city. And those in that city dream of Long Street in Cape Town. And they dream of Johannesburg. And they dream of Los Angeles. And the people in Los Angeles dream of living in a small town on the tip of Africa.

There are times when none of us are happy and all we can see is that place that is anywhere but here.

You were never willing to sacrifice what I was willing to sacrifice to be me. You wanted it easy. You wanted a perfect story. No good story is perfect.