Flashing More Than A Wing

She steps out into the day. Sun. Squints a bit. An insect or two. And all the while – as this drama unfolds – he’s upstairs in the bath, resolving yet again to do something about his stomach. Resolving while singing My Way with all the wrong words.

That is, with his stomach, reduce it a bit. He doesn’t think he’s fat. He doesn’t look fat. Not with his clothes on. Just when he’s

He accidentally wets the toilet roll which sits at the end of the bath, on the ledge. He’d forgotten to remove it, to put it on the floor: away from the bath and the threat of displacement. You’d think, perhaps, that wiping your arse with wet toilet roll might be just the thing. But it isn’t just the thing. It breaks quickly, easily, and your fingers end up scraping at shit.

I hope you die, he says out loud as he climbs out of the bath, thinking about an acquaintance who had earlier announced to the world on Facebook that she was having the greatest time on holiday in Thailand. Did he really hope she’d die? Of course not.

(Lose the reference to Facebook.)

She’s in the day now, well into the day. Halfway to the city, upstairs on the bus. She’s remembering when she was younger, much younger, and how you used to be able to smoke on a bus. And how you could look down the mirror shaft to see the top of the driver’s head. It was like a little loft down there, above the driver’s head. Isn’t it funny, she thinks, the silly things you remember?

Later, and he’s been out of the bath for a while. Brushed his teeth, had a wank and drank a mug of tea. It’s a Sherlock Holmes mug. One of those Penguin Classic mugs: The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. He ejaculated, if you must know, over a picture of a rather plump girl bending over and pulling her arse cheeks apart. You know, in the way that plump girls often do.

Stepping down from the bus she

How do they do it, these writers? How do they stretch this thin stuff into something even thinner? More to the point, why do they do it?

So his character is: well, he hangs around the house all day, wanking. He’s what, early thirties, been to university, left liberal, a bit of a hipster. He does something in advertising, marketing, graphic design. The funkier end. Glasses, shaved head. Innocuous cunt although he really thinks he isn’t.

And she: fairly lovely. Early thirties. She works, full-time, in something related. PR or something.

Their story takes place through some kind of angsty examination of a modern relationship in contemporary Britain. But no, wait. He’s a banker instead. Laid off. She also works in finance.

He falls apart, she rises. As the country slowly climbs out of recession she slowly rises. As he sinks. It’s like a window on the world. It’s very, very thin stuff.

They have a baby girl. Disabled in some way. She’s another element. He, it turns out, has to become her full-time carer. Can he do it? Can he let go of the wanking, the cocaine, the hookers, the twat friends? Can he rise to the challenge of his daughter? Who knows?

Who cares?

Better that they find themselves, him and his daughter, in the clutches of some kind of mad scientist who had earlier promised to cure the girl of whatever ailed her. He’s into cloning and creating new life and is a right fucking ringer for Frankenstein.

So a monster. A castle in Bavaria. Flaming torches. Peasants.

And suddenly all’s well with my world.

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Against The Flesh, The Gold

Surely it is clear to anyone – to everyone – to even the hopelessly blind, how much he suffers for her? Suffers because of her? Surely it is etched deep into his stupid, stricken face the pain he has endured and will continue to endure forever and always? Do they not see it in the way that he walks, in the way that he clenches his fists, in the way that he reaches deep into his pockets or wipes away an itch or a small hair? Can they not deduce – is it really so fucking difficult – that he is crippled by her? Can they not see?

—– ooOoo —–

The darks nights are the worst. As opposed to, of course, the light nights. The dark nights that are darker inside perhaps than they are outside. He knows what he means. Those dark nights when all there is is a chair in the centre of the room. The edge of the bed. Curtains. A broken lamp. Perhaps a picture on the wall that he cannot see but can well imagine: a foregrounded figure staring out to the rolling hills beyond that are in grey, betraying their green, and on horseback, haloed by the moon, a maiden in flight or on her way to something, or someone. A telephone whose brokenness is all the explanation for the fact that it never rings. He perches either on the edge of the bed or on the edge of the seat of the chair. Maybe, he thinks, she will knock at the door. If I’m quiet enough. If I stay still. Maybe she’ll knock at the door.

—– ooOoo —–

She is, it goes without saying, a reach for perfection. She is, it is understood, his embodiment of everything she should be. She is, naturally, doomed to failure yet, somewhat to his credit, he fully understands this. It is not so much a pedestal as a higher rung or a higher step. She is on the balcony, he is here, right down here, in the bushes.

—– ooOoo —–

He lost weight. A few pounds. Someone commented on it, after he’d mentioned it: yes, I see, in your face. He’s like a poet now. A skinny poet.

—– ooOoo —–

He lent her a book, his favourite book, and said how he thought she might like it, that it’s one of his favourites but, you know, you might like it, see what you think, and a few weeks later (weeks! how he agonised every single fucking day hoping she would read it and love it and recognise that his love of this wonderful book signified his whole correctness for her and how wonderful he too must be for loving such a book that he, unlike her idiot husband, understood and appreciated!) she handed the book back to him (didn’t she know that it was a gift?): I read the first few chapters and got bored. Through his heart, a rusting dagger.

—– ooOoo —–

It’s all the modern now and he follows her in ways that, years ago, would have been unimaginable, through the internet and mobile phones and through the selective network of what he couldn’t really call friends that allow him to keep tabs, if tabs is the right word, on her at nearly all times.

—– ooOoo —–

He had heard, through friends, that her husband was, in general, a fairly nice, as they said, guy. She spoke of him, reasonably often, as they chatted away their lunch breaks in the company of other colleagues, those unwitting chaperones. He imagined this husband, this guy, as having teeth and a smile, shoulders and probably shoulder length hair, casually confident, easygoing and mostly likeable. That is to say, an utter, utter cunt. She spoke of him often and he waited for her to say how he’d once raped her or beaten her or how he had an unhealthy interest in children who he masturbated over every night while she pleaded with him to come to bed.

—– ooOoo —–

It’s the feeling of connectedness that he feels she must also feel. So that when he closes his eyes and descends into his anguish she can feel his anguish as keenly as he feels it and feel that there must be something she can do. That is, when he presses himself hard against his pillow, weeping against his pillow, he is really waiting for her soft touch on the back of his head. One day, he tells himself, it will come. I should close my eyes harder, I should feel harder.

—– ooOoo —–

He aimed for cliché, sought refuge in cliché. He felt right at home there, where it was safe, where he was understood and pitied and encouraged. Does he really need originality at this point?

—– ooOoo —–

How do you, he asked himself, turn something like this into art? For this, surely, is the very furnace of art. Yes, of course, poetry and music and painting. The expression of without. But what of the within, the raging furnace – furnace again – that cries out, if furnaces can indeed cry (or crack or pop), that surely makes him his own work of art, no need for expression, just the simple state of being as it is, as he is. So he attempts, clumsily, to walk in beauty like the night.

—– ooOoo —–

It is reckless, this pleasure.

—– ooOoo —–

He attempted to formulate, to a smirking friend, how he’d been unable to, as they still say, rise to the occasion during their first, as he carefully described them, grapplings. It was, he went on, to do with, he was sure, the whole elevation thing, the way he had pushed her so far towards perfection that it was virtually impossible for her to be regarded, by him at least, as a sexual object. And there, his friend slyly intimated, is your clue. He had put her beyond the grubby business of being fucked and also beyond easy objectification.

This is, of course, easy stuff and does nothing to explain why a grown man should behave in such a way.

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Like Sound It Comes Around

I was coursing through fields of daisies. Up to my neck in happiness. On the horizon a low hanging sun, resplendent in golden, a big sappy smile on its stupid golden face. It winked at me, that sun, beckoned me onwards with orange, fiery arms.

Orange? What happened to golden?

And so there comes a point, as there must always come a point, when you stop and take stock. Or, as happened to me, fall in a hole. I had an important statement to make – this was going to be the one. But the hole took me.

I woke the other morning with the following sentences (below) whispering through my head. My intention was to take them and turn them into something. But I couldn’t be arsed. And anyway, I like them as they are:

For rivers, bridges. For mountains, holes.

That’s the thing though – you have to write something. It doesn’t always have to be about mountains and rivers. As I said to myself the other day: there’s no such thing as autobiography. I also said: it’s better to evade than invade.

See, with me you get these vague hints at profundity which, if you imagined them as balloons, would burst at the slightest touch. When I say balloons, of course, I mean bubbles. Big, greasy bobbing bubbles.

Thomas Szasz said there was no such thing as mental illness. He didn’t just say it; he made a whole career out of it. Years ago – many years ago – I was very interested in him and his arguments. My copy of his book, The Myth of Mental Illness, had scorched edges from the frequent page turning. But the thing is, I can’t remember much about it. Except that I agreed with his hypothesis. Hypotheses.

(I’m not sure that the frequent page turning and scorched edges thing works. And I hate that I used the word hypothesis. And hypotheses.)

Wait. All that stuff about language and power. All that Foucault type bollocks that I was also, for a very brief period, faintly impressed with. The problem with Foucault is that he was such a fucking dick.

I’ve just looked Szasz up. He’s still alive. 89 years old and still alive. Good for him.

But you’d think, wouldn’t you, that after the birth of my twin girls – and particularly because Maggie is in such a terrible state – I’d have something else to say instead of twatting about with all this random crap. You’d think that maybe I could somehow mine all that heartache and tragedy and turn it into something meaningful, fiction-wise. For me and for any readers out there. My fans, as I like to call them. But I can’t do it and I won’t do it. Because I couldn’t do her justice. So it’s going to be more of the same with perhaps, every now and then, a hint at things. You know, little stabs of Maggie.

Which puts me in mind of Len Lye and how, years ago, I sort of did culture and exhausted it all. After high modernism where do you go?

Which puts me in mind of that rubbish joke that only works if you mispronounce, like a fucking idiot, Foucault’s name: as Fuckall.

Which puts me in mind of the time I mispronounced Camus’s name as Caymuss. Gah. I’m usually so careful to get things like that right.

So where are we? Where do I go from here?

Stories about monsters are always good. Maybe I’ll just do that. I’ve come to realise that subconsciously I’ve always had a thing for things Frankensteinian. I like raised pitchforks and flaming torches and peasants and misunderstood monsters. I also like castles and gothic Bavarian landscapes. I should maybe analyse this and see what comes out.

The film version of Frankenstein, the Universal/James Whale/Boris Karloff version, is far superior to the book. I was enthralled by that film as a kid. And it’s funny the things you remember – like the frame-by-frame Frankenstein picture book by Richard J. Anobile that I pored over for hours and hours. I lived in a world of Spider-Man, Beryl The Peril, horror films, musicals and The Beatles.

I’ve just ordered a copy of Anobile’s Frankenstein book. Cost: 1p. Plus £2.75 postage and packing. Published October 1974. My birthday is in October. I would have just turned seven. More copies available here.

And from there? Well, there’s always sex. Or, rather, my juvenile portrayals of certain kinds of women. Me objectifying and sexualising them and, through a certain kind of persona, telling of all the things I’d like to do to them. Big women mostly, with big knockers and welcoming thighs and open arses. You know. They are mostly all that I think about. They are what prevents me from getting things done. Or, rather, my obsession with sex and women is what has prevented me from getting things done. I have a mind full of it; it increases with age.

(These days I am more open to using the semi-colon, as ugly as it is. Professionally as well, in the crap I knock out for people who couldn’t even begin to knock out the crap I knock out for them. Of semi-colons, Kurt Vonnegut said: “They are transvestite herm-aphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” I agree. I’ll never use them again.)

One thing I’ve discovered these past eight weeks: there’s a very good reason why nurses are low paid. As for midwives: I’m amazed they get paid at all.

Nurses though. I’ve never been one for the whole uniforms thing. It smacks of being something that those not very interested in sex would be into. Fetishists and weirdoes who need that extra lift to get themselves going. Asexual dickwads, as we call them in our house.

Which puts me in mind of a thing I wrote a couple of years ago (Refuel on a Fun-Filled Portion):

“I was talking to this lesbian who. Well, who first of all told me that she wasn’t, in fact, a lesbian. She said: You know the Richard Briers character in Ever Decreasing Circles? You remind me, she continued, of him – what with your petty bourgeois notions of sexuality and your desire to remain in your narrow, and narrow-minded, comfort zone where all is as it should be and where straights like you (did she say straights, really?) force on to people like me your strict and reductive definitions of who we are, either gay or straight or maybe bisexual, but I’m none of those, I refuse to be boxed in, especially by the likes of you. Get fucked, I replied. Anyway, this lesbian had a girlfriend who, she said, made leather fetish gear, bondage rubbish, all that. Me: Yada, what, the sort of stuff, you mean, that only people who don’t like sex go in for, people who, you know, need to dress up like clowns in order to be able to enjoy sex, who also believe, with absolutely no good reason, that their dopey costumes and cretinous antics somehow make them radical, alternative, transgressive and who also believe that their pathetic preferences and dismal shebangs are something other than witless, clichéd expressions of their repressions and anxieties, rooted as they are in their utter conservatism, despite what they believe to the contrary?”

And now, look. I’m reduced to repeating myself.

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Which Steals Men’s Eyes

Oafish whistler is balanced somewhere between out and in, hovering over the threshold, whistling tunelessly from his fat fucking face and straight into mine. Spittle and sweat. The stench of three day old bacon caught between his fat, at the back, teeth. He’s letting me out or letting me in, the sensory spray causing this confusion as I too hover and, for a second, look into his eyes and then to his lips and then, inexplicably, I’m overcome with the urge – desire isn’t the right word – to kiss him, to kiss him hard.

WC Fields said, of the city: “It ain’t a place for women gal, but pretty men go there.”

There was also – the whistler incident has just reminded me – the time I popped into an upmarket hairdressers to ask if they carried the brand of hair wax I favoured. Fudge, as it happens. On my approach to the reception area I thought to myself, upon spying an attractive young girl: “I’ll ask that bird there.” But she wasn’t a bird, she was a man. A pretty young man, thin and athletic, eye shadow and rouge, a hint of chest hair curling out from his low cut T-shirt. Beautiful hair. For a moment I was flustered. By what? My initial mistake? By his undeniable loveliness? By homosexual panic? Odd though that I had no urge to kiss him.

There’s a theme emerging here.

I was out cottaging one night, years ago, when cottaging had this subcultural bent that made it attractive to the likes of me in my cultural vultural mode. I was out cottaging one night and doing my usual thing of taking things so far then backing off before things got too gay. You know, like with knob touching and kissing and any other kind of touching. I was out cottaging and, because back then I was young and quite attractive with hair and no gut and a jawline that at least had some definition even in the dark, I was able to entice – if entice is the right word – quite a few men into the toilet where I would look them up and down, walk around them, and declare either yea or nay. Mostly nay. I enjoyed seeing their crestfallen faces as these men, mostly fat middle-aged types let’s not forget, were denied my obvious charms and pleasures. And to those to whom I said yea I took it only as far as suggesting they go into the cubicle and wait for me. Which is where they waited until realising I’d gone on my way. Or been arrested.

For using the phrase ‘yea or nay’ I should be arrested. Really.

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Perhaps The Ice Will Hold

The stars were out the day I gave blood. They were out and laughing as the blood drained from my veins and poured into the veins of a monster. A monster of my own creation.

Not two weeks before.

Not two weeks before, we, the monster and I, had greeted each other like a new father and son. Me the father, he the son.

A bit of background: me a scientist in a big castle atop a rock overlooking a gothic Bavarian village.

Me the father, he the son. I say he, and I say son, but the truth is that the monster was of indeterminate gender. Neither male nor female. But because I’d drawn a huge moustache in black marker pen neath his huge potato nose, I tended to think of the monster as a he. Plus there was the big flappy penis I’d stapled between his legs. Not a real penis, of course. Just a limp courgette I’d sprayed with a pink lacquer in order to prevent decay.

So me the father, he the son. And in the first flushes of our time together we enjoyed shared activities that included the likes of: football, swimming, boxing, looking at ladies, fighting bees, reading comics, watching telly, waltzing matildas and taunting the burgomeister’s big fat daughter. Fat but sexy. You should have seen her in her too tight jeans and her too tight top with her big fat knockers spilling out all over the place. Yum.

I had created the monster, my son, to prove that I could create new life. He was, in effect, a two fingers to all those colleagues, contemporaries and detractors who had, over the years, poured scorn on my work. Mad, they called me, and I vowed to prove them wrong. However, all those colleagues, contemporaries and detractors were dead by the time my son was born. Killed by my own mad hands. Metal hands, fashioned from steel following my accident in Japan. And when I say accident, well, you can guess what that really means.

There was once a wife. My memories of her blocked to prevent the pain. But still, she crept through sometimes and in particular in times of distress. For instance, as I lay on the makeshift gurney, the life draining from my veins. My pretty blue veins. And as the distress grew, so too the memories of my wife. Such as:

Wife Remembrance 1:
We were married in a church. On a Sunday. By the burgomeister who, back then, had no daughter to speak of, fat or otherwise. I remember well his words: “On to you both I cast the ancient curse of the village and ask all the witches and ghosties in the room to join me in enforcing and supporting this sacred sentiment.”

Wife Remembrance 2:
We honeymooned in a small Bavarian village that was much like our own but on the other side of Bavaria. The burgomeister there was much nicer. So much nicer that my wife and I agreed to annul our marriage so we could be re-married by this newer, friendlier burgomeister. I also remember well his words: “You two do plenty of fucking and stuff and you will one day be blessed with a son who is as far away from a monster as tis possible to get.”

Wife Remembrance 3:
The problem was that my wife and I did very little fucking and stuff which led to my little swimmers drying up. They were, my little swimmers, fossilised and pressed against the inner walls of my testicles and the first centimetre of my shaft until they, the shaft swimmers, were gradually washed away by my endless pissing as a result of drinking too much water.

Wife Remembrance 4:
With fossilised, dead swimmers I was, of course, unable to contribute to the natural creation of a child. My wife berated me on this even as I pointed out to her that the lack of fucking and stuff, that led to my dead swimmers, was solely due to her reluctance to do fucking and stuff with me. She was, however, more than happy to do fucking and stuff with other men. Including the burgomeister of our village, the horrible one who had married us the first time.

Wife Remembrance 5:
She disappeared one night, my wife. Her body discovered months later, strapped to a car at the bottom a lake, her throat open and her hair billowing in the fronds. Yes, just like Shelley Winters in The Night of the Hunter. Except for the fact that, unlike Shelley Winters, her brain had been removed. And her eyes.

My son was born without the aid of any swimmers and was, instead, the result of some phantasmagorical tinkering that took in all of the major arts: physics, mechanics, alchemy, engineering, chemistry, marketing and astrology. Melded together and mushed up in a metaphorical pot, I magically created new life from elements that to all intents and purpose were without life. I put them together, injected the spark and stood back as my son stood up to life. And stood up for life.

As previously stated, our first moments of time together were full of joyful fatherly and sonly activity, free from the pressures of suspicion, hatred and jealousy that led to me being strapped to a gurney with the life draining from my veins. Draining from my veins while being watched by my son the monster, the burgomeister and his big fat, but very sexy, daughter. An older daughter, of course, somewhere in her early twenties.

If you have guessed that my son’s betrayal had something to do with my dead wife’s missing brain and eyes then you have guessed correctly. That is, to be plain about it, I stuck my wife’s dead brain and eyes into the head of my monster son. Which meant that he thought like my wife and saw like my wife. Plus, of course, he possessed, somewhere inside, the memory of her death and of the person who had killed her. Me, I had killed her. It was only a matter of time before my wife’s brain would recall what had happened and seek revenge. I was an idiot for not anticipating that. In fact, it was only as he was strapping me to the gurney (that’s three uses of the word gurney – four now) that I realised what was happening: it was my wife, within the form of the monster I had created, exacting her revenge.

Anyway. As I am writing this now, you might also guess that I somehow prevented the draining of my veins. You are, of course, correct if you guess that to be the case. But you would not be correct if you guessed that I prevented the draining of my veins as a result of the following occurrences:

Strapped to the gurney I thought: I am done for and Oh God, why hast thou forsaken me? And I thought those things through the din of laughter that emanated from the big fat faces of the burgomeister and his sexy fat daughter. A strange thing: even as I lay dying, passing in and out of consciousness, cursing my killers and calling for divine aid, I was still able to imagine how nice it would be to sample a bit of the burgomeister’s fat sexy daughter. With some degree of effort I even managed to turn my head so I could watch her fantastic great knockers jiggling as she laughed at my plight. It was small consolation and comfort, I admit, but consolation and comfort nonetheless. Still, it didn’t prevent me from finally giving up all hope and accepting my fate. However, during the last remaining seconds of consciousness the door to the attic burst open, the room crowded with rescuers and heroes of all stripe and faith. Quickly they overpowered my son, the burgomeister and his big fat daughter and threw back the lever that operated the machine responsible for draining my veins. That is, they put the machine into reverse so that the blood flowed back into my veins. In a few minutes I was back to full strength and ready to confront my would-be murderers. But too late as my son threw off his shackles and snapped first the necks of the burgomeister and his big fat daughter, followed his own slender neck, held together by only a few stitches and a blob of Superglue.

But as I said, you would have not been correct if you had guessed that that’s how my predicament came to an end.

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Turn Left at Phobos

The Martians, they.

They drifted for a while. I mean, floated. Hovered. We watched them as they hovered outside.

It was night time, although not yet dark. What do they call it? Crepuscular? It was night time, evening, and the Martians, they. They kind of just hung around. Outside. What did they want? What did they fucking want?

We were tired so we left them to it. By morning they were gone. No, wait, perhaps they weren’t gone. Maybe we just couldn’t see them in the light. I say that because they were back again, at night. When it grew dark. In exactly the same place.

My husband said they reminded him of some kind of crepuscular bird. The twilight tweeter or somesuch. I said they were nothing like birds. Look at them, I said. Do birds have those? Or those? Can birds do that? I don’t think they can. I’ve never seen a bird do that.

The Martians, they. They were there the following night and the night after that and the night after that. As far as I know they’re still there. We don’t look that way anymore, so I can’t be sure.

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Rumble The Grass, Clip The Clop

I will always be poor. I will always have a violent temper. And I will always hanker after big arsed women in boots. In boots.

It was my birthday last week and my family – four children, one girlfriend, one parent, two sisters and two ex-wives – thought it’d be a great idea to treat me to an executive day at the races. At Newmarket Races. Two things struck me about this: I can’t stand horses and I can’t stand being out in the fucking sun. It was a shit gift but I considered, for a moment, keeping my mouth shut and pretending to really love the gift. But my aforementioned violent temper soon took hold and, within minutes, I had most – two children, one girlfriend, two sisters and one ex-wife – of my family in tears.

But because I’m not a complete fool, I took the gift anyway with the intention of spending the day eyeing up big arsed women walking around in boots.

I was out in the sun looking at the horses and the big arsed women in boots. I had eaten cheese on toast for breakfast. A glass of beer for lunch. Plus a hot dog with mustard, ketchup and cheese. A small glass of lemonade. I was out watching the big arsed women in boots while pretending to keep an eye on the horses. I was there with my girlfriend so I had to keep up a certain amount of propriety. She doesn’t normally care about my obsession with big arsed women in boots but even I can tell that it must sometimes get a little wearing.

Where was I?

I was at the races looking at the big arsed women in boots when it occurred to me that horses have big arses too. Of course, I’d always known that horses have big arses. I’d just never really considered it before.

The next bit here, I suppose, could be about how I suddenly started having a thing for horses, and specifically for their smooth, shiny big arses. But that didn’t happen. It was just something I observed: how amusing it was that I was surrounded by a load of big arses courtesy of both the women and of the horses. A whole shebang of big arses. And even funnier when I factored in the fact that most of the men there, at the races that afternoon, were also big arses. Big arses everywhere, as far as my eye could see!

But as it was my birthday I decided, eventually, to at least show some gratitude and to at least put on a show of enjoying the day for what it was supposed to be about: the racing.

I’m a poor man, as I’ve already stated, so I could only afford a couple of pounds on each of the horses I gambled on. Ten pounds in total. I walked out of there, later that afternoon, with an extra forty-two pounds in my pocket. Still poor but not quite as poor.

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