Archive | January, 2011

THE JAVELIN CATCHER’S APPRENTICE-FLASHFICTION

27 Jan

 

 

 

Four years had passed since willing boys with bright eyes and quick minds had apprenticed themselves into the ancient art of Javelin catching. Fleet of foot and deft of hand, six eager prospects had started out on the road to enlightenment. That had been a lifetime ago, now there was just Jack. Devotion, application and self-sacrifice had helped him through the arduous training. “It isn’t for everybody,” old Johan had told him. “If it was easy, then anybody could do it.”

Johan’s looks defied his sixty years, his athletic body lending grace to his aged frame. The scar tissue of javelins passed, close calls and near misses marked his skin. A Teutonic athlete, consummate showman, master of  airborne dexterity.

****

 

Stilted men in garish costumes waded through massed humanity.

“ Roll up, roll up get your tickets ‘ere! Bearded ladies, tigers from Bengal, strange two headed beasties from Katmandu. Prepare your mind for what your eyes will never believe! Get your tickets or forever remain in shadowed ignorance…Step forward ladies and gentleman, enter the tent of knowledge – illumination awaits you.”

Men and women thronged to the big-top; the red and white striping of the canvas, encapsulating their away-day excitement – focussing their wide eyed amazement. Greedy hands clutched toffee apples and brazier roasted nuts; the aroma of baked pies and pastries mingling with the scent of elephant dung and soiled straw. A heady, hypnotic brew, of aromatic curiosity.

 The crowd was filled with top hatted whiskered gentleman in Sunday suits –  bustled and rouged bonneted ladies, dragging sailor-suited children into the darkness of the tent. Herded and cajoled, penny-pinched and harangued, the holiday ripple pierced with the laughs and cries of excited expectation – the shrill voices of mothers pursuing errant children. As they passed from the shadows into the light there was an audible gasp, the expanse of the big top spreading before them. Candy striped poles, bright shining mirrors – an arena of expectation where the gladiators of entertainment would perform for their appreciative public.

****

 

The act was simple enough however the courage and tenacity of the performer was what wooed the crowd. Burlesqued acrobats would climb the ropes of the grand-trapeze where they would hurl silver-steeled, rainbow-fletched javelins down into the arena. Beautiful nubile young women and fit muscular young men would hang in the rigging like vengeful Valkyries, hurling rod after silver rod at their target below.

 Johan, with the grace and speed of a dancer, would fling himself from side to side, avoiding the deadly shafts, grabbing them out of the air with calculated ease. Then with eye-defying dexterity and an exaggerated flourish, hurl them at the straw bull’s-eye-painted targets positioned around the ring. A true master of his craft, a confirmed crowd pleaser. His years in the ring  obvious ; the continuous thunk- thunk, as the shafts whistled through his hands and struck the targets. 

Johan was a blur of skill, eliciting encore after encore of applaused ovation. Billed above the Lion Tamer but below the Fire Eater, he was a wonder to behold. He had performed for kings and queens, emperors and despots – in every country on every map. Although his talents hadn’t made him rich they had made his name synonymous with circus-performed excellence.

****

 

The runaways and untimely deaths meant that Johan’s nocturnal visits to the caravan became more frequent. The catch on the door, the creak of footsteps on wooden boards, the swish of the blanket, the hot breath on his neck. At first he had fought back however Johan’s sheer strength had overpowered him; what chance did a mere boy have against a grown man in the prime of physical condition?

 He had learnt to endure, biting his tongue, accepting Johan’s love as an inescapable necessary evil. Where was he supposed to go? He had no home, no family. If he left the womb of the circus he would end up in an orphanage or even worse fighting for the emperor on the eastern front. It was what it was, and despite Johan’s unsollicited attentions, life in the circus was good. One big, happy, travelling family.

****

 

The finale was upon them, the crowd on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the final act.

“Ladies and gentlemen for your delectation and appreciation, a never to be repeated performance by the incredible death defying Johan. You will witness what those brave English soles at Agincourt wrought upon those mighty French. A sky darkened with arrows – death from above – no mercy and no escape. Brace yourself dear friends, for what you will witness is beyond belief!”

Johan prepared himself, removing his cotton shirt, standing bare chested, arms wide in the center of the ring – waiting for the crowd to silence themselves.

Now!” screamed the ringmaster.

In a choreographed deluge of steeled-death, the javelins left the hands of the willing assistants above, and hurtled towards the target below. Shaft after shaft intent on deadly contact sang toward the saw dusted floor.

Gauging his moment, Jack stood up from the bench where he watched the performance. He knew how the trick worked. Two from the right – two from the left – followed by four down the center.  A dance of death, to which the public were not privy to the steps. Jack lifted his face and shouted her name.

****

 

High above in the canopy, dressed in sequins and ostrich feathers, hung the young Katherine.  A runaway, like himself, who had found a home among the circus folk. Months of careful practice had taught her to count the steps in her head so that she knew exactly when to throw.

One…two…three…throw. Simulated pitched chaos.

However tonight, her count was off – the javelin which should have gone left went right. She smiled down at Jack far below; they had each other, what could possibly go wrong?

****

 

The shaft caught Johan in the eye, pierced his throat, passed through his abdomen and exited his anus, before burying itself into the clay floor of the ring. He never saw it coming, never felt the pain – death was instantaneous. Like a pinioned marionette he hung, shafted in midstep.

The audience erupted.

Jack smiled up at Katherine. Katherine smiled down at Jack.

H.M.S. SCHWANZSTUCKE HAS SAILED- COCKCANCER #3

24 Jan

 

 

…So with the wind in our sails, a clear view our own event horizon, we sallie forth in the good ship SCHWANZSTUCKE; the Captain stands before an errect mast, the deck awash with the administrations of Seaman Stains and Master Bates. The cause has launched – the cause is COCK CANCER!

 

With a little levity and a gentle nudge, we the PEOPLE’S POPULAR FRONT OF COCK CANCER AWARENESS have set the ball rolling – the moss of apathy which once draped its sides, scuffed off in its tumultuous rush towards recognition. E-mails have been written, questions answered, pitches made; the affirmation of the Cock Cancer cause anointed by bloggers and well wishers alike. As unstoppable as a force of nature, the miss-spelt rhetoric of this beer soaked crusader has flashed across all four ministeries of the Orwellian state. We will not be subdued, our words will not be muted; we will not gag under the load of Cock Cancer pressure. Upwards and onwards to glory and beyond – PER ARDUA AD ASTRA –  the devil take the hindmost, and let the pieces fall where they may.

 

That’s all very well and poetic but what about the reality? How are we truly going to get our message out there? Cock Cancer cannot be spread by mouth alone and therefore we have to grease its progress – lubricate its passage. Nothing worse than a member that refuses to enter… if you get my drift?

 

Following the guidelines laid down in the manifesto, we have generated a cunning plan to bring Cock Cancer to the attention of the masses – insuring that the vernacular becomes as firmly entrenched in modern parlance as Breast Cancer. Not that we wish to undermine our sisters, simply wishing to achieve parity – standing beside them on the same tribune of shared hope and communal recognition. Breasts have pointed the way in the cancer cause, and a bloody good job they have done of it. Like fleshy beacons on a darkened road to nowhere they have illuminated the path which we now choose to tread. By following in their footsteps, the Cock Cancer campaign will surely cleave its way.

 

In the manifesto it was suggested that we form The Purple Army however, with due consideration- as distinguished as the title is – it is the chosen name of the Minnesota Viking supporters. As much as we would appreciate their support, we refuse to agitate anybody under our peaceful principals of revolution set down in the manifesto and therefore have opted for a new call to arms. The people’s movement for Cock Cancer awareness will hence forth be known collectively as the    Y-FRONT.

 

An organization that will be proud to launder its business in public, upholding the valuables and lending willing support, both on the national stage and also in the nether regions. The Y-FRONT will fight by any peaceful means necessary in an effort to promote Cock Cancer awareness and monetary funding. Flying under the battle soiled banner of Skid Marks ‘Round the World, we will wipe out ignorance and self ass-ured denial as we help men to better get a grip of themselves and their fears. Flatulent in the face of dogmatic disregard the P.P.F.C.C.A will never bend, never waver – although we may hang slightly to the left; it is a revolution after all!

 

The first hammer blow has been smote – we have purchased the web site WWW.COCKCANCER.COM

 

The movement is now a reality, not just guerillas in the mist but as real and in your face as spankable primates. This is the first victory of many, as we move diligently on through the redoubts of public disdain, towards the battlements of public respect. The next step is to design the logo and plaster it on everything we can get to grips with.

 

 A hands-on job that will hopefully save the lives of thousands.

 

Lest we forget, this may seem amusing to some, but there is no sneer on my face, no purple hue of indignation – rather the resolute stare of a man who has seen forever and yet, has seen nothing. Now anointed with the bi-focals of social conscience I gaze into the future trying to grasp the very probable and almost plausible. With the yet to be created logo on our shields we will help stave off  laughter and silence the pooh-poohing of those who can not bring themselves to utter the word Cock.

 

It is neither shameful nor rude. The word cock has been used for centuries and like so many other words before  has unfortunately been sanitized by  polite society.  The Cock Cancer campaign refuses to be jerked around by those who don’t believe in our cause. As men we stand firmly behind Cock as though it were our own dash-boarded deity, our own little general – Napoleon. With purple helmets and alcohol-induced bravado we will resist the friction created when rubbing the politically correct the wrong way.

 

********************

 

 

…Web address, group name – things are looking good. Next we’ll need a few snappy one-liners to help launch Cock Cancer onto a flaccid public. Although we have wracked our brains and fought to find the right phrases, we welcome your support. Listed below are a number of crown jewels we have already come up with.

 

BALLS TO THE WALL – I’M IN, IF URINE – PURPLE POWER – NO MAN LEFT BEHIND – SACKING CANCER – Y-FRONT – MARCH OF DONGS – I MIGHT HAVE COCK CANCER BUT ATLEAST I DON’T WATCH AMERICAN IDOL – I WENT TO THE HOSPITAL AND ALL THEY GAVE ME WAS THIS WRINKLY OLD SACK etc, etc.

 

 

These scribblings will adorn t-shirts – bracelets- hats and mugs, and unlike those other bastards who collect for a worthy cause, we in the Cock Cancer campaign pledge to donate 100% of all collected monies to prostate cancer organizations. Minus the cost of the merchandise, the Caribbean holidays, 90210ed-addressed mansions and the cost of running the enterprise, we will be bonafied champions. In the vein of Broke Back Mountain filmography, of whether it is better to be a giver than a receiver – we thrust our hips forward, throw our shoulders back and shout till we are hoarse.

 

“Let us give.”

 

This is the audience participation part of the BLOG, dear reader, where you send me your slogans and logos; the best of which we will spooge over soon to be generated merchandise. Draw inspiration from what we ourselves have already created and leave a comment with your idea. The Y-FRONT is not an army of one and therefore we require, nay – demand your input.

 

Are you with me boys and girls ….are you with me?

AYE, AYE….CAPTAIN!

THE COCKCANCER MANIFESTO-COCKCANCER#2

22 Jan

 

 

 

The ancient manuscript tell us that devils triumph when good men sit on their arse, drinking beer and watching Columbo reruns on the television. Well if that’s true, then as an advocate of all thirteen of the deadly sins, (what, you thought there were only seven?) I am prepared to give up just one. Sloth will have to put its feet up on the table, guzzle cans of lager and bide it’s time, as any book that contains a profit deserves a second look.

 

 

The time has come, the banner is unfurled, the bugle has sounded.

It’s up and over the top boys; we’ll be in Berlin before Christmas – millionaires before Christmas Rodney, or some other precursor to greatness. The purpose of the COCK CANCER campaign has several goals, personal enrichment and lifetime achievement awards not least among them.

All too often we expect somebody else to do the dirty work, to do the heavy lifting, so this time I thought I would lead the charge. Having confronted the subject of prostate cancer head on and collided with what passes for a conscience I have decided to set down the Cock Cancer MANIFESTO – the aims and objectives, hopes and aspirations of the Cock Cancer campaign. Unlike revolutionaries before me I am not an advocate for violent change but rather of public disobedience and serial defiance. Not a case of abject cowardice, just a realization that they have more guns than we do!

So following in the sandy-flip-flop footprints of Gandhi, we are going to tip toe our way through the minefield of political correctness and demand that Cock Cancer is taken out of the vernacular and pushed into the mouth of socially accepted polite conversation. It’s just a word; but a bit like shock and awe, comes with a Dresden style bombing run -a pyroclastic blast of conversational acceptance and immediate recognition.

“I say, have you heard about this new Cock-Cancer-Johnny? Seems its done away with the old prostate Cancer thingy-me-jig.”

That’s right, Cock Cancer is battering down the doors and running up the steps of the Bastille – flaming torch in hand, to claim its rightful place in Oxford English documented prose. No longer will we hide in the shadow of “Ooh, you can’t say that,” or, “ That’s just not right!”

 It is what it is.

 This is a cause, a riot, a literary insurgency ; demanding full frontal recognition and center fold techni-coloured brilliance.

…The Oxford Dictionary Magazine for Men is proud to present its Playmate prose of the year. Enjoy the charms of Cock Cancer in our limited addition collector’s copy of in-your-face writing…

Where do revolutions begin? Do do they start in palaces of justice surrounded by marble staircases and mastered oils. Or do they start in pubs and clubs and around kitchen tables?

So here I am in the middle of West-Bumble-Fuck, tapping away at my keyboard and my little girl asks me what I’m doing. “I’m writing a manifesto,” I tell her. Which is kind of strange when you thing about it. One can imagine a scenario nearly a hundred years ago around the table of Mr. and Mrs. Lenin. The conversation probably went a bit like this.

“What you up to Vlad dear?”

“Nothing special, just writing a manifesto.”

“That’s nice. Do you think you’ll be finished soon, because we have a lot to do today. You know how busy the market gets if you wait till the last minute?”

So what follows is a list of hopes and dreams and still to be realized demands.

THE COCK CANCER MANIFESTO

Objectives of the PURPLE PEOPLES ARMY IN THE PURSUIT OF COCK CANCER RECOGNITION.

  1. To raise awareness and bring Cock Cancer to the immediate and forefront of public attention.
  2. To raise money for the cause and help to finance additional research to assist in developing a cure for this disease.
  3. To build a presence on the web, attract media attention, to be featured on national television and obtain column inches in the international press.

As with every revolutionary I have personal aspirations which I will covertly slip into the cause. What’s a revolution if there isn’t a little corruption and insider dealing? So be aware that despite the good work intended, we will also be following our own agenda.

  1. To remove the word Cock from the Vernacular and return it to mainstream conversation where it belongs.
  2. To found the PURPLE ARMY. A group of likeminded citizens with one true goal and dedication; supporting the usurpation of Prostate cancer and replacing it with our self-crowned King Cock Cancer.
  3. To initiate the first March of Dongs.(A worldwide reactionary response to breast cancer walks and of course as a salute to the March of  Dimes) A city wide march where members of the PURPLE ARMY will proudly display their support for COCK CANCER politics.

Can one man make a difference, or am I just full of the proverbial? Well here goes.  I’m a man on a mission, I’m on fire and it’s going to take more than a golden shower to extinguish the flames.

Every great journey begins with one step…

Went to go-daddy and purchased the web sites COCKCANCER.COM  and COCKCANCER.ORG.

Can you feel it rustling your hair – can you hear it banging the shutters  outside?

 You can?

 Good, ‘cos that’s the wind of change. I’m tired of talking; let’s do some bloody doing.

COCK-CANCER #1

20 Jan

 

Brilliant ideas don’t happen often, but when they do they’re mind blowing….

 

 There I was sitting in my car dodging cops and avoiding sex-ting teenagers when the radio starts to spit out commercials. It seems to be the industry standard that one shitty sing-a-long-a- teeny bopper tune is equal to three advertisements. This is frustrating because I’m sick of hearing how happy McDonalds is going to make me, or that a dose of Viagra is going to give me a dick as thick as the Smith family tree. Just as I start to ruminate on the inequality of personal appendages something comes on which piques my interest. Not just because the subject matter of breasts is enough to pique the interest of any red blooded male, but because their particular role in this commercial strikes me as interesting.

Its breast cancer week, and women all over America are banding together to walk sixty miles in order to feel closer to sick relatives or bond with likeminded individuals through the medium of an incurable disease. Rather than a walk for neighbors week or love thy local illegal alien half marathon they buy into pop culture hype and  allocate themselves a place in yet another corporate media box. If it’s not religion, or politics then its football team reverence or baseball theology; people it would seem are determined to herd themselves, and can’t wait to jump straight in – pulling the lid tightly over themselves and shutting out the light.

Now I’m not such an arse-hole that I think breast cancer isn’t a worthy cause, because it is. It’s just that given the budget spent on our military, to fight brown people, in foreign countries, for corporate gain – coupled with the insipid groveling of big-pharma, for less governmental oversight and ever larger profits we might have found a root cause already.

 The cure for cancer, instead of the glut of pre-packaged pills to prevent hypochondria, would be stacked on the shelves at your local Walgreens.

However given that the last disease that was ever cured by a genuine health caring health service was Polio, we may have a while to wait. No longer is the emphasis on the cure, but rather the stabilization of the disease. Expensive medication plied to the sick so that profits can be eked out over years rather than a one-stop-shop injection, where the only profiteer would be the poor victim herself.

I understand that with Cancer hope is a huge key in winning the battle. Without hope and support the victims might as well roll over and play dead. It’s just the naivety of these good hearted souls who declare themselves heroes by walking x-number of miles for x-number of days. Rather than marching around Phoenix maybe we should be marching on Washington. Isn’t it about time we had a million woman march? Aren’t they justified in demanding governmental attention on a disease which not only destroys lives but undermines the stability of families as well?

Instead of demanding our right to live a full life in the pursuit of happiness we instead busy ourselves in short sighted, pink ribbon wearing, t-shirt buying, familial sponsorship which although commendable really isn’t getting the job done. If there is a charity involved then profits are being made. If the pharmaceutical industry is involved then bigger profits are being made. If the government is involved then mistakes are being made and money wasted. Not a jaded point of view, simply a reality check and a peak at the big picture. The funds are there, a cure is possible however, what would be the point if there wasn’t a profit to be made?

Without wandering too far off track let’s get back to the brilliant idea. We James’s don’t have many, but when we do they are earth shattering. Not always a generational thing, and too be honest we peaked back in the 11th century with Grandpas James’s three pronged stick for eating soup, occasionally something comes to mind which is worthy of further comment.

Okay, so here it is Cock cancer, that’s right Cock cancer………….not impressed, you will be.

Time and again I see an emphasis put on breast cancer, not that there is anything wrong with that it’s just a fact. As with every emphasis the popularity of the cause is dependent upon organization and a will to express an ideal. It doesn’t matter how big the group is; if one can combine, collaborate, and lobby, then you are a force to be reckoned with. A classic example here would be the religious lobby’s in America that wield all kinds of power as oppose to the apathetic atheists, who probably outnumber all the for-profit religions put together,  and yet couldn’t organize a piss up in a brewery.

So before revealing the brilliance of the idea let’s just compare the figures.

In 2010, according to the National Cancer institute, there were 217,730 new cases of prostate cancer and 32,050 deaths.

Let’s now compare those numbers to breast cancer cases in women  in 2010. There were 207,090 new cases and 39,840 deaths.

Does anything strike you about these numbers?

That’s right they’re pretty damn close, and yet when do you ever here about prostate cancer on the T.V., in magazines or even radio commercials?

 Next to never!

I know there was huge campaign run by the Armstrong foundation for testicular cancer however a yellow band on the wrist isn’t raising the kind of horror we have come to expect from the exhibition of single and double mastectomies.  In fact wearing a yellow wrist band has become a rite of passage for many young people, and has simply become a fashion accessory. Yet another shade on the spectrum of color coordinated concern. I am sure that Lance might view this differently. If kids want to wear the band they have to pay the cash. This revenue stream helps to promote research – Q.E.D., QUID PRO QUO.  Unfortunately the true message is lost as the happy-smiley- cutesy-color-yellow does nothing to express the severity of a man dying of prostate cancer. A disease that is literally killing him through everything that defines him as a man. Just as boobs help to define women, meat-and-two-veg define men.

So what to do, where to go, how to make this issue stand out in order to throw it in the face of complacency and drag concern out of the gutter and put it where it belongs – on mainstream television and front paged printed media? Cock cancer is destroying as many lives as breast cancer which means that just maybe we should turn the spot light up a little and see what we can do to raise awareness. Naturally I have a million ideas and taken from a man’s point of view they won’t always be appreciated by the fairer sex or our feather-bedded complacent society. From this day forth prostate cancer will be known as Cock Cancer.

Taken at its most base, the full mouthed vulgarity of the word COCK will be appreciated by men who hate to fluff around an idea and want to get straight to the point. No beating around the bush, no fiddle-faddle , just plain and simple Cock Cancer. It’s our bloody disease, we should be able to call it what the hell we like. Straight up front with no P.C bullshit.

“Give it to me straight doc, what’s going on, how long do I have left?”

It’s not a pink t-shirt, nor is it a made-in-China magnetized ribbon for the back of the car but a full mouthed vulgarity, that we as men can deal with.

Imagine a conversation between two men in today’s so-called polite society, where we cringe when we use the full palette of the English Language.

“How’s john doing?”

“Didn’t you know he’s got the big C? In his prostate too…”

“Yeah that’s a shame, really liked John.”

WRONG-WRONG-WRONG…Let’s start again.

“How’s John doing?”

“Didn’t you hear, he’s got cock cancer?”

“That’s fucking terrible. Poor fucking bastard. What can we do about it?”

Clearly when we call it like it really is and don’t hide the truth men and women respond better. Currently my daughter is walking around school with a pink silicon wrist band called a booby-bracelet, replete with the text, I love my boobs. I’m not shocked and hopefully you aren’t either. Call them what they are. Nobody talks about mammary cancer, so why are we talking about prostate.

Cock cancer is out there, as large as death, and its killing men every day. Let’s get real – let’s address the issue and stop messing around.

Let’s put an end to cock cancer. Tell your friends, shout it from the rooftops, call your congressman, whatever it takes.

A BIT OF WHAT YOU FANCY…

19 Jan

The brilliantly named OOZING TURKISH STAB WOUND was sure to be a hit…

Work’s done and I’m bloody starving. More clean windows for yet another satisfied customer; a couple of hours of hard, sweaty labor for a substantial wad of cash. Honest earnings equating to a sense of satisfaction and lunch on my terms. A secluded eatery far from the maddening crowd – somewhere I can indulge and truly concentrate on my calorific intake. A place that will take me away from the arid desert of Arizona, far from brown monochromatic neighborhoods, and the ringing urgencies of telephonic communication.

“Hello are you the window cleaner?  Can you clean my windows? How much ?” ……….click.

Bastards do tease me, they do – with their offerings of ready cash. Luckily those who choose to contract my services are in the majority, whereas the avaricious scrooge-like-scrimping-bastards who kanker over ten dollars, are few and far between. Let’s face it, window cleaning is a luxury service – not something  one does on a whim. Everybody loves clean windows; nobody likes doing the dirty work.

Me, I’m not so proud, and to quote my grandfather; god bless his penny pinching soul, “Where there’s muck there’s brass.” He wasn’t right about much – but when he was – it wasn’t often! Pearls of wisdom, passed down by the ignorant and unschooled degenerates of James’s past. Generational ineptitude handed down through the millennia from father to son.

With the money burning a hole in my pocket and the truck cab filling with smoke, I don’t dither too long before making my culinary decision. Of all the cuisines in the world, when it comes to fast food there is but one. Much as I admire their advances in civilization and the contribution of Italy, I am not easily tempted when it comes to pizza. It has its place; generally of an evening when me and the Mrs. can’t be arsed and choose the easy option.

 

Unable to support herself on crochet work alone, old mother Mystoppolis decided to sell her wrinkly Greek ass…

 

On the other hand, China, that rising gastronomic giant has me completely enthralled. My taste buds tingle with delight at the prospect of its eastern promise. Much as I adore oil-soaked, barely recognizable, unpronounceable delicacies, eating rice out of a cardboard box with a set of punji -sticks isn’t what I was born to do. Rather than satiating my hunger with oriental delights I instead end up modeling most of what I should have been devouring. There’s a place for Chinese, and that my son, is on a plate in the dining room with a knife and fork. The only fast quality pertaining to Chinese food is the buck they make when you order it freshly wocked from the roach-ridden kitchen at the local supermarket.

What always troubles me when considering the giant melting pot of the Americas, is that despite the influence of every country in the world – with all their glorious pallets, diverse spicery and haute cuisine – the best they can cobble together from this cornucopic mélange is the humble burger. A faux-meat patty encased in rubberized bread, complimented with an acidic pickle or a squirt of ketchup.

Bloody brilliant!

Hours of think tank prowess must have gone into deciding the American national dish. Ivy league educated foodologists sitting  around a table, humming and hawing over correct nutritional balance. Not too much from the west, a little from the east, absolutely nothing from the Lithuanians and scurvy from the British. Scan to picture of light bulb illuminating above said foodologists’ heads.

“Et voila,Ureka, I have it by jove, the burger it is!”

One can only imagine the disappointment on the faces of participating nations who had offered their best, only to be seconded by the worst. With rapidity reminiscent of bubonic plague the burger joints sprang up everywhere. King burger this, and Scottish burger that, all offering trans-fat free servings with lashings of fries and as much mayonnaise as you can gargle.

The archaeologists were stunned by the poor diet enjoyed by the volcano victims found at Pompei..

 

No Thanks…………. I have something else in mind.

Enter the Gyros. Oh heavenly mystery meat wrapped in a cold flap of jaw-breaking bread, soaked in a white nondescript sauce, sprinkled with raw onions. Your secret of actual content carried to the grave by thousands of pseudo Greco connoisseurs, and yet your fame is undiminished.

Although pleasing to the eye it’s not exactly bursting with nutritional value, and it  comes with a couple of user unfriendly side effects. For instance, after eating said delight, the end user is unable to talk to anyone for at least a week. Countless tooth scrubbings and mouth swillings will not rid one of the Hellenic halitosis, and you can forget about intimacy with the Mrs. because it just isn’t going to happen this side of next week. Helen may have launched a thousand ships however, gyro-breath drove them away again.

 

Pissed off with his Disney portrayal ; Zeus was going to rip Mickey a new one… 

 

Finding my little piece of afterlife, I sit myself down in the gyro parlor. Blue painted walls with Mykonosian windmills stare down at me as I admire plastic ferns displayed in Hecho en Mexico Grecian urns. Bazukki or bazooka or something, plays in the back ground. The sound of the Cyclades emanating from white-washed-plastic-rock- covered speakers.  Eros tinkles in my ears as I absorb the sounds of Arcadia and I settle in to enjoy my one man Greekfest.

There’s nothing quite like it and if one can resist the temptation, as Odysseus did when faced with Siren-song, then there is no need to pose the all too awkward question of what kind of meat is it anyway? The stock answer is always half beef, half lamb which is about as convincing as an Irish Mariachi band. The provenance of the meat is dubious at best – the  carved strips, although bloody tasty, look they have been sliced off old rubber tires and spiced to extreme in an attempt to confuse blind people into eating well on an institutionalized budget. I am unperturbed. The intricacies of gyro meat etiquette don’t faze me in the least. I’m not looking for a committed relationship, simply a quick role in the Pita jungle with my meaty mistress.

Echo is silent in each and every restaurant; the age old questions which have gone unanswered by the gods remain so to this day. One should accept the gift without thought and participate in the ceremony of food as though it were mana from heaven or ambrosia from Olympus, pure suplication to manufactured goodness. The only beef or lamb that the ever decreasing pillar of rotating meat has ever seen is when it was accidentally stored in the same refrigerator. It matters not – I won’t be deterred. I know what I want, and I want it right now.

The bazooki player kicks it up a notch, and nano-seconds before I grab the napkin from my fellow indulgent  at the next table and prance around the restaurant like Omar Sharif on crack, my waitress arrives. Ignoring the old adage of never accepting gifts from Greeks I bow humbly to her auspicious tribute. Like Neptune arising from the ocean in Botticelli magnificence, the pita bread spreads herself before me and displays her charms. I bite into the sandwich and like a cum-covered porn star allow  tzatziki to drip off my chin and down my shirt, before winking candidly at the camera and going down for more.

YUMMY YUMMY. (Or as the Greeks say, “Get off our island you Turkish bastards, Cyprus belongs to us!”)

 

The winters in Greece were particularly severe…

TERRACE-ORISM-FLASHFICTION

15 Jan

 

 

 An impassioned, disembodied voice screams from stadium installed speakers, “There’s only the goalie to beat. He’s passed the midfielders, out maneuvered the last defender – charging like a bull towards the ten yard line.”

The goalie, anticipating the rush of danger, moves out of the goal mouth – the last line of defense in a team with more holes than a dolphin-safe fishing net. With steely-eyed determination he sallies forth, the spark of self-delusion shining brightly – vain chest-pumped hope, of a last minute away-day victory.

The striker’s world is filled with the shapeshifting hues of blues and whites – gloved hands as big as salvers. The last chance before the whistle blows, the difference between shoulder-carried glory and crowd-jeering defeat.

In the stands the corrugated metal roofing creaks and groans in the midday sun. Shafts of light pool down on the spectators below, striking the gathered legions through burst rivets and rusted seams. A sea of blood red and bruised blue awash with September sunshine.

The home derby; a day begun with good intent that will inevitably end in blood, tears, and incarceration down at the local nick. Despite the pretense of sportsmanship and sleeve-worn camaraderie at the biannual confrontation between local rivals, the outcome is always the same. The hate generated by twenty-two miles of separation simmers and stews until match day boils it over. No quarter is expected, and none willl be given.

The speakers trumpet their litany of commentated mayhem. “He only has the goal keeper to beat. Can anybody stop this man?”

With slow motion machinations the keeper plods his way through mud and sod – his arms spread wide, blocking the  field of view, narrowing the angle of shot. This is the only moment that will count, the only moment remembered. Everything else forgotten and for nothing should the striker achieve his aim. He can’t let it happen; defeat at the hands of their fiercest rivals is not an option.  With one last supreme effort – with seconds ticking on the clock, he digs in his studs and rushes forward.

The red scarves, having  scaled the barrier fence, fight their way forward through closed blue ranks. Fights have already broken out and the roof-raising chants are now drowned by the shouts of men committed to battle. Bottles smash as spit-soaked Bobbies react to whistles and departmental commands. A thin line of monochromatic authority adrift in an ocean of color, attempting to separate warring hoards and prospective warriors. Half-filled plastic cups and empty bottles take Agincourt flight, the debris darkening and descending from sun-striped skies.

As he draws back his foot in readiness to bury the ball in the netting of his opponent’s goal, the keeper spreads across his horizon. The striker senses his moment. Ninety minutes of pure adrenalin encapsulated in one final shot.  Heart thumps, lungs rasp, and muscles tense. Power surges through sinew as he spears the ball towards the goal.

Already the coppers are in trouble. Helmets are on the ground and personal revenge is exacted by an anonymous crowd. Men stand toe to toe, murderous intent on their faces, as they rain blow after blow in a vicious exchange of boots and fists.

“Take that you twat, fuck off back to we’re you came from you West Yorkshire prick!”

Combatants clash in a sea of arms and legs – a river of blood and tissue – a cacophony of shouts and screams. Trapped between the chairs, a man goes down in a flurry of limbs and curses. Another leaps headlong into the crowd from one of the steel stanchions. Pain and mayhem reign in what will be recorded in tomorrow’s papers as the worst home derby for years.

The boot strikes the ball and the black and white projectile sails through the air. Water and grass crease from its surface, the impact of leather against leather forcing it to sail and curve through the air. He feels it in his core – knows that this is the final shot of the match – prays that this one will count.

The goalie leaps into the air with legs like springs – powering himself away from the ground, defying gravity and reaching for the heavens. He can do it, he knows he can, his lightening run from the goal line bringing him into position.

The public address system goes quiet and for a brief second, antagonists hold punches in midair as they watch the drama unfold on the field below. Men forget to hate – blood runs freely down police uniforms, and the crowd holds it breath.

“Goal!!!”

The Tannoy screams back to life.

The goalkeeper thumps hard onto wet grass, knowing that he has failed, the scream of the crowd telling him what he already suspected. He had felt the ball brush his fingertips, hoped that his efforts had been enough.

The striker – his eyes wide, mouth open – turns on one foot. The cheer already rising in his throat,  rips off his shirt and heads for his moment of glory on the sideline. Three-Two with nothing left to play for. The referee’s whistle clarions time across the field – players embrace whilst others drop their shoulders and stare at the ball in the back of the net.

In the stands, cheers die on the lips of rough men intent on doing  grievous bodily harm; combat now justified by the finality of a loss at home. They may have lost the match, but the battle on the terraces is still theirs for the winning.

VIOLATOR…

13 Jan
 
Despite looking everywhere David couldn’t remember where he had put his socks… 
   

            So it’s haircut time again, the biweekly ritual where I head out to my local barber and get the works. Number one cut on the back and sides and a number two on top. I always leave the front a little longer as this helps disguise the hereditary male-pattern thing. An exercise in masturbation, a futile attempt to fool everybody apart from myself! I always call it the male-pattern thing as mentioning the B-word sends a bed-pissing shiver racing down my spine.

 

Don’t know what it’s all about really, the voluntary loss of hair, but I

always feel better for it. I compare it to one of those born-again experiences, a cleansing ceremony, where I walk in broken and come out whole. I always know when it’s time to go as the fat-fella shows up in the mirror and makes it painfully obvious that I’ve put on a bit of weight. Maybe it’s me, but there’s something about a centimeter of erratic stubbly grey growth that adds ten pounds to a bloke, or perhaps I’m just kidding myself and I truly am the barrage balloon sized gigantean that stalks my neighborhood?

 

Either way, after going through the motions and paying the requisite

fifteen bucks plus tip and tax, I always feel as though have completed my own personal twelve-step program, that I’m well on my way to a life of guiltless fat-free, slim-lined fitness. Illusions of Jenny Craig calling me up, asking me to be her poster boy; hate mail from Jared afraid of competition and losing his lucrative deal at the sandwich shop.

 

Normally I go during the week when the barbershop isn’t so busy. A simple case of grabbing a chair, flicking through the magazines, and waiting for the invitation to take my place in one of the high leather swivel chairs on the operations floor.

 

The magazines are always the same, outdated, dog-eared, and over

read. I say over read, however, if the rest of the clientele are like me then

they just nose through the covers and look at the pictures; browsing through

ads that try to convince me that, despite my crappy desperate day job, I can

afford a Ferrari-Gucci life style. Comparing myself, as I flick through the pages, to the six-packed studs, knowing that all it would take to look just like them would be a supreme effort on my part and an occasional visit to the local gym.

 

 

The customers were happy to see Debbie back after recovering from nipple-replacement surgery…

 

 

I always linger on the Bikini-shots; ogling the beach-dusted, suntanned

beauties. It’s not exactly pornography; I mean they’re in regular

magazines, not one of those top-shelf cellophane-sealed publications filled

with semi-legitimate stories on World War One aircraft and suggestions on how to super-charge your lawn mower! Even so the nice-girls are working their hardest to squirm out of every inch of cloth, their bikini straps hanging loose, their bottoms pulled so far down little fantasy is required to imagine the last couple of inches of forbidden flesh.



THE WRITER’S DIGESTS new editor  decided to follow market trends.

 

 

But instead of going during the week I end up going on Saturday, household chores and marital necessity forcing me to forgo my ritual and put my time on hold for an extra twenty four hours. Responsibilities fulfilled I break free from my institutional obligations and head down to the barbershop

 

The car park is full; I know this is going to be a pain. The chairs in the waiting area are bound to be taken and the only magazines left will be the gardening weeklies and the women’s supplements that have somehow managed to slip between the muscle mag’s and this year’s swim-wear editions.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Lindsey Lohan and her ilk interest me as much as the

next bloke, however there is only so much one can take. From the check out

lines in the supermarket, to the Hollywood insider TV shows, I’m bombarded with nearly-famous nobodies living coke-dependent Hollywood lifestyles. After a while all the exposure to wealth and decadence tends to make me feel inadequate and passed over, very clearly I am missing out!

 

 The North Korean nuclear device wasn’t going to scare anybody…

 

I walk towards the door. Can’t really see inside as they have put that dark

film across the windows giving the place an air of dubiousity, cloaking the

clientele in shaded mystery. However the one thing that is clearly visible, a

sign that even a blind man wouldn’t have trouble seeing from the other side

of the car park, is the red and white spinning pole. There is something about it, almost phallic in its appearance, an autoerotic symbol only truly appreciated by men. It seems to scream “Come in you manly men!” Banishing females and their feminine ways from the man only buffet of manliness inside.

 

To my surprise, apart from a couple of Dads waiting for sons, the chairs

are empty. Young boys receiving initiation rites into barber shop ritual, an experience they will carry with them for the rest of their lives; new warriors to fill the gaps of the fallen, shouldering the burden of the few and the brave, taking their place alongside those of the greatest generation. The older war-horses who, through no fault of their own have died off, or who, so addled with age, can no longer make it to the service.

 

‘Cos that is what it is. Getting your hair cut is a religious experience. The

Acolytes in their white coats, the silver chalices filled with AquaVelva and the holy-rood symbolized in crossed scissors; wielded with devotion and dexterity by the priests of partings. Bit like the church, but different! No hymns, no prayers, just pure supplication, the feeling that you have encountered something greater than yourself. Like I said, a feeling of being at one with God in his universe.

 

A church maybe, but not exactly a confessional, although Manuel who

normally cuts my hair, knows everything about me; my wife’s name,

the kids’ sports, how much I hate my job, and my Tuesday morning dalliance with the milf from number thirty six. It’s not like he is going to tell anyone; I mean its information shared; quid-pro-quo! I tell him, he tells me. A little dirt, and before you know it we’re chatting like long lost brothers.

 

 

 

 

Feeling slightly disheveled after choking the chicken, Babs wasn’t looking forward to spanking the monkey..

 

It’s no secret that me and Manuel have a lot in common. The fact is that he

likes redheads and I like brunettes, he likes butts and I’m more of a boob

man; subjects near and dear to our hearts that can keep us chatting

for hours. That’s what I like about our little chats, the in depth conversations

and the difficult topics that we choose not to avoid. But it isn’t always talk, it isn’t always fun and games, sometimes we say nothing at all. Not in the oppressive silent uncomfortable sort of way you might think. We’ll chat away and then we’ll drift into silence as Manuel concentrates on his craft, and I give myself over totally to the ultimate experience; putting the reigns in some ones else’s hands for a change, handing over the helm to a different captain.

 

So there I am sitting on my leather cushioned thrown, glimpsing image after image of myself in the eternal mirrors, watching some generic football game on TV. I spend a couple of seconds of my life trying to recognize the teams and ask Manuel in my deepest voice what the score is pretending that I really care. Both antagonists are from the college that I never attended and so I ignore his heavily accented recently boarder-crossed English.

 

A new customer sits down opposite me and I feel the draft from the sheet the barber wafts across the knees of the fresh inductee. Like white sail cloth the sheet billows up in the air, quite beautiful when you think about it! Nothing unusual though, I have seen Pedro’s flourish a hundred times, however on this one occasion I stare! The customer opposite stares back so I quickly look away. You know, the manly-thing, pretending to ignore each other even though we’re both perfectly aware of what just happened. I take a sneaky look out of the corner of my eye, pretending to look at one of the myriad examples of faux barbershop ephemera. You know the ones I mean, the sepia photographs of bearded mustached men from the 1930’s dressed in white aprons, advertisements for no longer manufactured shaving salves and safety razors.

 

The person opposite me is a woman!

 

Unable to remove the remains of the skunk after the auto collision, Anne decide to make the best of her unfortunate situation… 

 

I know I could hardly believe it myself. Shocked and stunned I was. A female! Surely she knows that this is where the men come? Don’t they have their own special places with their own special kinds of service? Beauty parlors and nail salons, massage parlors and Brazilian waxing studios. Given the multitude of choices I had to ask myself what it was she could possibly want here, and besides that, who had given her permission? Surely there has to be some kind of Papal dispensation before the opposite-sex is allowed to enter the temple! Of course I’m a little pissed, a bit annoyed, hot under the collar you might say.

 

The woman opposite me is a black female with short tight dark curly hair. I

hear her speaking to one of my confessors and by the sounds of things she is looking for a shave. No, not the kind where they press you with warm

towels, apply copious amounts of shaving cream and then drag an

instrument of death across your face leaving you whisker free for at least

two days; the head kind of shave! She wants her hair line shaved up, to give her one of those Nubian princess looks. The kind that you’ve seen in

National Geographic on the bust of Queen Nefertiti, high and tight, accentuating the strong African brow and the crease of her skull.



Quaniqua couldn’t decide if her earrings matched her new doo.. 

 

So now I have experienced it, didn’t think I ever would. I mean I‘ve heard a diamond ring and seen a dragon fly, as the song goes, but never have I seen a woman in a barber’s chair. I mumble something to Manuel who mumbles back, clicking his tongue in disgust. Now I’ve got a story to tell. My humdrum life has just gotten interesting; and then just as I thought that life had peaked and the buzzer had blasted for the end of the final period and the gauge had exploded on the interest scale, things  went from mild to worse.

 

Miss Nubian across the way from me pulls out a pink telephone, uncrosses her legs and proceeds to press the digits. Her barber stops, thinking that it must be something urgent however she waves a manicured hand indicating for him to go on. I’m not sure who was more shocked, me or Manuel’s buddy? How

the hell are you supposed to cut someone’s hair when their hand is glued to the side of the head? Unperturbed and demonstrating his sheer

professionalism, Pedro in desert-hopping precision carries on. His scissors whip around her hand held phone without even nipping her, not a trace of blood in the blur of hair and steel!

 

My time is done, my hair is perfect and I am good to go. Manuel walks me

to the till, offers me something for the weekend and then thanks me for the

totally unexpected five dollar tip which I give him every other week. He slaps me on the back, wishes me a fantastic rest-of-my-day and then jinxes my team

by wishing them good luck; my moment in the barber shop is done.

 

I catch my reflection in the window, admire how square my jaw looks and

notice my new slim line figure. Happy with the cut and satisfied with the

copious amounts of aftershave wafting around me I shake my head and wring my hands in disbelief. It’s not that my experience was totally ruined, it’s just that I feel a little violated, a little damaged.

 

 A female in a barber shop, the nerve of the woman!

 

I can get over the hair cut, even the shave as time eventually cures all. Every woman needs an occasional spit and polish, a little personal pretty time but making phone calls during the devotional on a pink phone!

 

 That’s going a tad too far, and no doubt will take a lifetime to get over!



CHOPPER JOHN-FLASHFICTION

10 Jan

 

Dusk drew in as rain pattered off windows, bringing an end to yet another nondescript London day. The grey fug of Piccadilly hung about the rooftops – November cold nipping at crowds running for buses and home-cooked meals.

Bill fumbled with the door, turned the lock and ambled over to the microphone standing on his desk. He had done it a thousand times, used his loquacious larynx to lull the young and weary to sleep with once-upon–a-times and happily-ever-afters. He sat down, placed the headphones on his head and waited for his queue.

“And now over to London, to Uncle Bill Brewer and his goodnight story.”

“Queue Bill – Play music  – and intro.”

The light above the door switched from green to red; the show was on the air.

“Hello children everywhere. This is Uncle Bill. I am sure that before you climb the wooden hill to Bedfordshire and wait for the sandman’s magic dust to carry you off to dreamland you would love to hear a story. Would you like to hear my story?”

All around the country children pinched pink from hot baths, pyjammered and nightgowned sat before radiograms in anticipation of tonight’s tale.  The ritual of rushed teeth cleanings and hurried suppers insured prime spots in front of crackling speakers.

“Tonight’s story is about Chopper John, a woodsman who lives and works in the ten-acre wood. His days are filled with the sounds of the forest and the little birds and animals that live beneath its spreading canopy. Are you ready?”

Screamed confirmation from a thousand small voices echoed throughout Radio Land.

Bill had been in radio since it was silent; what he didn’t know about broadcasting would fit on the back of a postage stamp. He had done it, seen it all and met everybody who was anybody. His career spanned thirty years and Broadcasting House was more a home than it was a place of work. Bill was loved by the children of Britain, both young and old.

“Every morning Chopper John would get out of bed, yawn loudly, put on his favorite red shirt and eat his breakfast in the kitchen. Toast and marmelade with two boiled eggs.”

Bill reached into the cupboard below the desk and pulled out the bottle. Medicinal of course – for celebration purposes only. He screwed off the cap and poured a finger or six into the white enammeled cup in frontof him.

“Then he would pick up his axe and head into the forest.”

Bill put the cup to his mouth and gulped its contents. He had often been asked the secret of his success, how he managed to cultivate the rich warm tobacco tones for which he was known and adored. This wasn’t his first whisky today and he was beginning to feel the double-malt’s effect.

“Chopper John walked into the wood, whistling as he went, passing all the friendly woodland creatures on his way. Rabbits and squirrels lined the path waiting for Chopper John just as they did each morning.  Because it was such a beautiful day Chopper John decided to ignore the whisperings of the creatures. Their acerbic, back-stabbing remarks, meant to hurt a man who had given his all for the corporation – laid down his life for Radio.”

Children sat in awe, the tale of Chopper John filling their sleepy little minds with images of fun, furry, critters scampering through bushes. Happy days and even happier dreams ahead.

The chipped cup hit the desk again and Uncle Bill fought the grimace on his face as the bight of alcohol stung his throat.

“The sun warmed his body and the breeze blew through his golden hair – the insidious comments made by the newly installed management team would not deter him. Vicious mean bastards trying to get rid of Uncle Bill and replace him with some snot-nosed wanker with no experience.”

Children turned to parents with bright wholesome smiles, the sound of leafy woodlands dancing in their ears. Parents put down newspapers and knitting needles and turned up the volume on the Radiogram.

“Chopper John was not a bitter man but if he was, he would shove their gold watch so far up their arse that they’d  have to open their mouths to check the time… as he wandered into the clearing.”

A bald headed man rushed into the control room and slashed a finger across his throat. Uncle Bill looked up briefly, ignored him, and refilled the cup.

“As he meandered through cool leafy glades, Chopper John decided that he should tell the truth, and let his young listeners know what bastards they really were. Money-grabbing scum-sucking boy lovers, who wouldn’t know the meaning of a hard day’s work if it jumped up and kicked them in the balls, and took his hunting rifle off his back.”

Children sat mesmerized half dozing, half dreaming as they lived the story floating through the speakers. Fathers removed pipes from mouths and mothers hastily bookmarked pages.

Now there were a crowd of people in dark suits inside the control room. Banging on the glass, gesticulating wildly and mouthing mute threats. Bill smiled, reached into his pocket, and brought out the revolver.

“Chopper John loved to hunt and a plump pheasant would make him a lovely supper. Pheasant in rich gravy with potatoes and carrots, and the bastards will rue the day they got rid of Uncle Bill. Arse licking sycophants with nothing in their empty heads but shit and sawdust.”

The pistol exploded and clattered to the floor. The smoke curled around Bill’s slumped body, as  security guards kicked their way through splintered wood.

 “Unfortunately the story of Chopper John will have to wait for another time and we wish our listeners sweet dreams and happy thoughts. Goodnight from Chopper John and goodnight from Uncle Bill.”

Parents stared at each other. That hadn’t sounded like Uncle Bill?

 Very strange!

Radiograms around the country were turned off and sleepy children carried to bed.

Good bye Chopper John. Good bye Uncle Bill.

PARKING IS A FOUR LETTERED RANT…

9 Jan

 

A BASTARD

 

 I’ve been circling the city for the past half an hour, and surprise surprise there’s nowhere to bloody park. One would have thunked with all the cash spent and revenue collected, the myriad pencil- pushing- administrator types blessed with pension enhanced job-for-life programs, would have resolved the issue already.

 Everywhere there are road stenciled directions – multi colored petroglyphs leading to nowhere in particular. A plethora of hatched and solid highway instruction daubed over tarmac by some guerilla graffiti artist wannabe – the exorbitant cost of which, the reason for governmental impecuniosity. Budgetary penury resulting in a lack of multi-story pissoirs in which to park vehicles, coupled with a rise in the number of unemployed town planners. The last few miserly coppers of public money spent on inner city beautification and cycling lanes for the disabled.

In all probability the reason they’re disabled in the first place is because they were mown down by drivers looking for bleeding parking spots!

 

 The organizers of the child hurling trebuchet event had thought of everything.

 

In this modern age of sat-nav-dash-mounted-black-boxed-femme-friendly-intonation some genius should have developed chipped parking.

Here’s how it works:

Car parking area full- chip transmits red circle to plastic Portuguese assistant!

Car parking area  empty- chip transmits green circle to plastic Portuguese assistant!

 

Magellan’s early attempts at creating the MAP-QUEST program were crap

 

This isn’t rocket science; although considering the infrastructure required it probably is! When one calculates the vast sums required for satellite networked convenience, the cost of such a simple solution to resolve the ire of would be parkers, is staggering.

But to use this twenty first century analogy for my own benefit; although we live in a space-age society we do not enjoy the benefits of a parking spaced society.

One would think that the monthly payments bled by consumers to insure four wheeled frustration and modern mobility, would at least garner the average commuter a little vehicular respect. Given the revenue automobiles generate for governmental largesse it would seem prudent to offer them inner city rights.

Taking into account the value of added tax and the cars place in modern economies, they’re a veritable cash cow. The Hindus are much more reverent to their beasts of burden and allow them to wonder and graze at will.  Not so our local governments.

There’s no budget for car parking, they’re cutting back on bus services and British Rail isn’t what it was. I sense an apocalyptic quandary here. Unable to patronize towns, a non-car-parking public will be prevented from creating revenue streams through sundry purchases, thereby denying shop keepers the necessary funds to pay prime-site leases, resulting in closure.

 Quod erat demonstrandum an end to city life, and the possibility of human extinction.  Faced with an inability to park, the demise of public transportation, and decline in personal wealth, the populous will no longer frequent the Super Marché of modern living and mass starvation will ensue. Whole populations centers will die off, resurgence in cave-living will emerge and the dark ages will once again darken our door steps. All because some bean-counting-jobs-worth wouldn’t  fund a few extra car parking spaces.

The British contestants for the BIGGEST LOSER SHOW felt they had been misrepresented by their agent. 

 

                What really gets my goat, takes it behind the bike shed and abuses it in Biblical fashion, are the handicap spaces, where the only right of habitation required is a prominently displayed blue window–licked sticker. How many times have we witnessed the fraud perpetuated?  Semi–ambulant individuals pretending to struggle with wheel chairs, whilst feigning amputation and adopting educationally challenged attitudes. The worst offenders are the able bodied, but slightly disturbed; probably caused by the chronic parking situation and therefore no more mentally deranged than anybody else.

A quick dribble on the t- shirt, a shifty cross eyed gaze, a supposed conversation with an inanimate object, a spontaneous moment of pyromania. It’s hard to tell who are the afflicted, versus who this year’s Oscar nominees are.

 

 Long John finally perfected his scam of sticking his foot up his arse in order to qualify for disability

 

I suspect through my mastery of television acquired detective expertise that the majority of them are frauds – there’s nothing wrong with them at all – their just putting it on so they can get a bloody parking spot. Well if there is anyone who is certifiable right now it’s me. In fact it would be safe to say I’m exceptionally miffed and about to blow a gasket. I can feel the steam pressure building behind my eyes, effluent oozing from my nostrils – this is not going to end well.

                Finally I find some incompetent trying to reverse out of a parking space fit for a fully supported aircraft carrier group. A classic twenty seven point turn executed on a football field of dimes. Possibly engaged in mime, in his disused theater of mind, the useless bugger can barely see over the steering wheel and probably needs a boost to reach the pedals. Of course he smiles and waves, and I wish him nothing but death, disease and terminal boils. I sometimes wonder if it’s just me? Maybe I’m the one with the problem – that I’m the impatient bastard. But of course that would be ridiculous. The thought train blows its whistle, leaves the station and I comprehend in crystal clarity that it’s all the other wankers.

Now I just have to pay and display, find exact change, and deposit it in a machine which may or may not give me a ticket. A stained silver-steeled box where some degenerate has probably sealed the ticket hole with chewing gum, or stuffed something inedible and disgusting into the coin slot. It’s a little like Russian roulette – you spins the wheel and you takes your chances. My coin drops and the machine begins to chatter.

 

Before finding fame on the cooking channel Mr. Zimmern had bizarely worked at several other camps

 

Out of the corner of my eye I spy the vanguard of neo-Nazi fascism, just waiting for me to walk away without paying through the nose, so that he can slap a ticket on my windscreen, or even better have it towed. Minimum wage despotism at the hands of some runt (first letter interchangeable…) in a traffic warden’s uniform. A huge influx of quasi-fascists employed at small expense to pillage and piss everybody else off. The machine chatters and finally spews out the necessary documentation. I hold the ticket high in the air and watch disappointment slide across his Teutonic visage; the elation of Spartan victory – taking everything but giving nothing to a vanquished foe. Like a gas chamber operative denied his chance to pull the lever he scurries off to find easier prey.

Sticker stuck, parked and ticketed I amble away to complete the task that will take mere minutes to accomplish but which has taken hours to achieve. Nothing is easy, nothing simple, the years lost through car parking misadventure gone forever.

Bollocks!

WARHORSE-FLASHFICTION

5 Jan

 

It’s starting to rain and I sit myself next to a man at a bus stop; don’t say much, don’t have to. You know the type…late to middling years, neatly dressed, tied and shirted, exuding a martial air. His jacket brushed, his tie shaped, his trousers creased – burnished black brogues mirrored to a shave-yourself sheen. It’s always a giveaway. On his hands the faded blues and blacks of inks indelible, criss-crossing his gnarled flesh changing the once female formed renderings into daubed ink smudges. Tattooed beauties picked out in some foreign port and needled for posterity on willing flesh. An age when there wasn’t a tomorrow, when one lived in the moment, for the hour, for the possibility.

The shelter’s cold and damp, stinks of piss and as per usual the bus is late. The gent next to me looks to the front, his thousand-yard stare burning holes in the concrete of the municipal Ministry-of-What-Not across the street. Despite his tenuous hold on life,  he has time enough. No rush, no haste, if not today, then tomorrow; obviously he’s post ticketed for the fast track experience – voyaged an ocean of pain – ridden the bullet train to hell – and in no hurry to go back. Been there, done that, and purchased the rights to a t-shirt printing press of the mind. No doubt remembering when minutes lasted hours, seconds a lifetime. A time when waiting for public transport would have been a luxury, a urine-splashed bus shelter a god send.

You can always tell. It doesn’t take badges and medals, blue-blazered crested affirmation nor regimental bands and battle honors. The horror of conflict under jungle canopies and death-raked beaches does something to a man. Marks him forever, stamps him as an initiate forged in an era of getting things done. No complaining, stiff upper lip, “mind your p and q’s”, back home for tea and crumpets – or more likely a beer and a cuddle at the Pig and Whistle.

Squared shoulders, straight limbed bravado, the epitome of hidden youth. A warrior spirit concealed within the trenches of wrinkled skin, behind the camouflage of greyed hair and sandbagged eyes. Hard to shake memories of when the air sang. Dream-filled insomnia of death and destruction, oceans of sand and mud, of men screaming for their mothers. Seas of unforgotten faces left and lost on unpronounceable battlefields, on foreign shores in countries now packaged for summer holidays. The rows of white stones, part of the attraction, the Dunkirk Kodak moment that you can show to friends and smear onto the web. Not happier times, just different. When thoughts of tomorrow were as improbable as moon-shots, their only possession the here and now – love today because who knew what the dawn would bring.

The rain comes down harder, pelting the shelter, water streaking down the glass, framing the tardiness of a red number seven as it splashes its way to a hurried stop. The clang of bells and the crump of pneumatics as the door close. The old boy in front of me fishes for plastic tokens and a faded photo pass, the ephemera of a grateful nation. Life and limb given for half price transportation but then only outside of rush hours and dependent on calendar dates – excluding Easter and Christmas! There’s no complaining, no whining, just smiles as he thanks the driver and takes his seat. Surrounded by forgetful ignorance, a public more interested in commercialism than recent history, there are no handshakes, shoulder slaps or words of gratitude. Deep down he probably likes it that way; no fuss no bother, just insulated anonymity. No use in blowing one’s own trumpet, nobody appreciates a bore and what would be the point anyway?

The bus stops and I make my way to the exit, hanging on to the handle before electing to eject myself into the dank wet of the city street and away from the wombed warmth of metropolitan transportation. I catch his eye and he finally notices me. I scream my recognition, implore my understanding, open my mind to telepathic transmissions and broadcast my affinity with the warrior code – what it is to be a soldier. The old boy simply looks right at me. Does he recognize one of his old mates in my face or is he even now crouched in a shell hole screaming for his life, pissing himself in abject fear? Perception is reality and thankfully mine involves a takeaway Chinese and a couple of cans of lager.

I stare up at the rain spattered windows, the condensed fug of opaque passengers as it drives away – wheels splashing through gouts of water. I pull my jacket around my ears, tighten my scarf, and try to avoid the puddles. The weather is really starting to close in and I have a hungry wife and a couple of starving kids at home. Decisions, decisions. What will it be, chicken Chow Mein or egg fried rice?