Categories
Jokes Letters

Joke/s

q: what do you call a bird that’s scared to fly?

a: a chicken

q: What do you call a cat that’s scared of flying?

a: a scardy cat… actually, just a cat. they just hate flying…

______________________________________________________________________

 

Today is the first day that pubs and haridresser’s open… literally, hair of the dog

 

Categories
Letters

Eulogy

I have been living in England for many years, and the unfortunate reality is that I could not attend my mother’s funeral today [in Melbourne, Australia].
I don’t know how to eulogise over a life.
Lives are grand and it becomes insufficient to surmise.
To love my mum is an understatement and never accurate.
The vast conflicting relationship I had with mum was of symphonic proportions with dynamics and dissonance intertwined with harmony and chord progression. A waltz with provocation and play. She was a hard masterpiece.
But there is no life without conflict, and be it anger or happiness, my mum had a way to be influential. It had seemed from an early age that I had differences with mum, but as I grew older, I saw such strong similarities.
At ten days old I was adopted, and according to mum’s tales, I was chosen outright without question by her. How fortunate is that?
I may not be of blood lineage, but the fact that with my family, mum never was anything else. She was mum.
She had her ideas. Her way of thinking. Her own pursuits. She persevered to accomplish a life she sort for. It is what made mum Marian, a force to recon with by a strong power of thought, progressiveness and association. She endured bitterness and family breakups. She had some opportunities that went a little way as they were restricted due to location and absence from the workforce.
Smart, intellectual and groundbreaking, mum had found foot-holes in cliff-faces of adversity. She made way for herself to pursue her spirituality and education, even after a life of domesticity and urban life.
She shocked, angered and disagreed. She laughed, toiled and traversed: she was true to herself. That is hard to be in life.
Whatever she believed in (and I *do know* what she believed in) there is always something reminiscent of her will that is extraordinarily powerful.
She remains one of the most influential people of my time. She challenged the status-quo, and I am grateful for her in sharing this with me. She had never taken a step back, instead she pursued many steps forward.
It comes with sadness that her thoughts are now gone. It comes in grief of her voice not being heard again to express those thoughts. It comes in relief that she is not in pain. It comes from gratitude that I remember her, but not her as she is to herself. That is gone forever.
Goodbye mum.

 

(for Marian Kirkwood, 1936 – 2018)

Categories
Poetry

Good Riddance

I hope you’re freezin’

Down in your guts

Pushed by rough guides

Who’ll give your soul

For quids.

Beneath the sod, it traps you

As we spit on your spirit

And laugh at heaven’s

Hatred of you.

Give up squirm!

Collapse in a belief

That we who are left

Are proud.

Categories
Letters

Sound vs music vs popularity

There is this compilation I am listening to that deals with all sorts of strange, atmospheric recordings. You can’t call it all music, as some of it is talking, scrapping, and just plain sounds.

But it is full of artists. So a compilation of artists is the best way to describe it.

I am thinking about each of them, producing something of their own. They get on a compilation CD, and they might have said to their family, or to their friends: “I am on this compilation! One of my pieces is on this compilation”. It makes me wonder about my own ambitions of past. The sneer an ex would suggest in a letter I was no good, as I dreamt of stupid stuff. Rock star stupid stuff. They were right, as I had known all along. I wasn’t interested in that rock star famous stuff; but these guys were what I cared to be. Something outside. An outlier. A person of some sort of interest.

I too could’ve said: “hey look. I am on a compilation”

I want to swim amongst this lot. Join in on their works and be a part of a society that has little interest in corporate business like places, but get into the depths of great sounds and soundscapes. Just to be an artist is what I actually would like to consider myself – let alone anyone else.

You get involved with sounds more than music, and that what music really is – an extension of sound. Something out in the outer regions of sound; a controlled sound, a set piece of soundscapes. I love it, and I got mixed up with artist and music.

I have to maker something worthwhile for me; my brain is seeing and answering the call. And yet it is also feeling weirded out by the extraordinary talent out there. These artists: the compilation composers. I love them!

Categories
Letters

No, I haven’t seen anything like this before. Obviously.

There is a persistence between anyone alive pretty much that somehow starts with an obvious: “have you ever seen anything like this before?” The question derives from the sheer scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone’s mind is racing to answer the futile correlation to what they see before them in media and what the governments of the world are declaring and what they have seen, experienced and lived through before. The obvious is that no one alive has EVER seen anything like this before.

Who could have? What was the last thing ever to resemble this? 1918 Spanish Flu (so we are told by historians)? No one alive has lived that experience, so the resounding “NO”: no one has EVER seen this before.

The doctors are coming out on TV and saying such things to us, and to their colleagues: “have you ever experienced such a thing before?” The 101 year old who survived COVID-19 could be the closest living being that has actually seen something similar, but he himself has NEVER seen anything like this before. World wars are more common in his experience.

It isn’t something that requires a response though, as it seems the question is rhetorical. The way the mind of everyone has answered: no, of course not. And yet it is something to ask anyway. A statement perhaps to reconcile anyone currently alive to make them aware that they are experiencing something no one else in the entire world has ever experienced. We are history. Children will have this to say to their grandchildren that the epidemic was something no one has ever seen since (assuming at this moment in time).

But could we see something like this again? I would think yes, as it seems that the COVID-19 isn’t going to say: “ok, ok, ok! You really don’t want me. I get it. I will leave ok?” It could just as easily be the next evolved being to command it’s environment as we have, if it gets (literally) to grips with its surroundings. Grow its own opposable thumbs, or something more unique. Who knows? Will we ever see anything like it? Doubt it.

But back to us ever seeing anything like this again, would be defiantly on the cards. And as unique as this current experience is, in no way doubt that this will be something normal. It will have the essence at least of being very careful about what we do next. Our next move so to speak.

The virus itself might not have seen anything like us before too.

Categories
Letters

The Rise of the Bookcase

The Rise of the Bookcase

Ever day now, news has carried out with vigorous measures in the need to update, inform and conduct interviews with the smarties of this world on the pandemic outbreak evolvement of COVID-19 (coronavirus, December 19). It is thrilled to have a continuing saga with no let up in daily, hourly, minutely timed additions that it can grab and expose.

Can you connect via video? Yes? Great. And lo, I like the way you have addressed this issue. You certainly are the one we want. Your expertise (since now you are on a national broadcast, you are hereby dubbed an expert – we knight you thus) comes in our need and therefore the need of others.

And you brought your bookcase with you…

Yes, the bookcases of the nation’s experts rise above their heads like hardback halos, and the presence of them shouts out even more: we are experts! Listen up, soldier! Attention!

The bookcase looms, and it is an omnipresence to the conscious, nervous-national who watches with wonder and grandeur. Kubrick monoliths. The apes gather around, and get a stick to pretend they know as well as these professerers. Trees live to give us these rights. A forest for the favourable.

How important this is subliminally dictated to us via your shelves. I love the colour-coded spines. The height adjustments you made looks like you took care in the presentation of the arrangement. Are you doing a literal version of High Fidelity? Replacing records with books? Good. We need your clarity now.

These guys are bunkered in their home – studies, lounges and backrooms – the Anderson bunker of the literate. Nice too. The shelves look expensive.

And they express concern, rapport detailed information that they have obtained (from the books behind you?). The reporter reports because they read. Don’t you get it? They are prolific readers, and the evidence is clear.

The mind expands a little later – will this rescue the books from the digital demon that has incarcerated it to the bygone-begone days? Amazon will now be inundated.

At least they can deliver.

It is the case of the bookcase; the inevitable backdrop, a blue screen that is actually there, and not dropped in via graphics. Or will you need to do that if you have no bookcase and want to be heard because you actually know stuff, but have no space for the shelves, or the wifi is bad in that room – because it is a reading room dummy?

Dummy? You know Gutenberg don’t you? J-Store? The stuff is all online, so get your kit up to speed, you luddite! And get a good Apple Mac computer, fully specced. And a headset so you are clear, and no ambiance present in the live stream. You need an AV guy there. Oh, right, you can’t get one due to lockdown. Never mind, we will still use you and your bookcase. It makes it better that you sound distant, acoustically: it adds a nice detail to your broadcast as we feel like you aren’t really a technological person because you have BOOKS!

Keep it analogue! The virus is.

The search is on for the next clever-dick to come up with accountable anecdotes, but needs a background to portray that instantly. Scream at us that they have been chosen because they are smart, and read a lot of stuff. It was fortuitous that the news broadcasters were well established using peoples own Skype accounts for the purpose of investigating since their fledgling reporters were dismissed ages ago. Despite their ropey connectivity which was a reflection on the terrible digital blight which analogue had actually remedied. And back full circle.

The books are back!

Categories
Short Story

Clutter

The only blockage was his own lazy self. “Completely useless” – his own admission. No one to defend his actions and he could only get frustrated and drunk every time he attempted. Writers block he blamed it on. Something he had heard the professionals – you know the ones that always make the most money – would say when they come back from the brink of extinction only to slam in another brilliant book for the masses who use them for references to real life situations. “Sign posts for the pathetic…” he quipped once in a story. He wasn’t one of these famous authors – he was a casual dip-in-and-outta type dude. A guy who was nothing but a faceless youth pretending to be more and every encroaching year towards his twenty-fifth birthday seemed like a death toll. He was now forty-nine; the bell rang numerous times, and here he was, awaiting the moment when the hands would clap together to bring in the new year of another fruitless time spending on the keyboard of drudgery. He hated life. It was useless on him. He would say that the only real use he had was to win the lottery and to spend it all on stuff. “Keep the economy going on me alone”. And knowingly, it will all be gone. It had been this way before. His estate. Gone. Not a penny, cent or Krona of it left. Dead and buried was what he was looking forward to. “Cremated perhaps, or better still, just left on the side of the road for the animals to have a meal”. Always looking forward to that. Buried maybe, maybe even cremated, but nevertheless he was awaiting death. And each day clicked and clocked him onwards to that goal. The most easiest of goals to reach and to obtain. Little effort. In fact, none. He was living on the knife edge of being turfed out and sort to gain a humble little abode for himself, renting somewhere out of the city that he loathed. The city that gave noting back when he went looking back at the age of twenty. He pretended he had everything to gain from his experience in high school that told him he would write and be famous and succeed. Everyone thought so, or so he thought. They thought nothing of the sort. Nothing at all. It didn’t matter to them who was successful, just them themselves. Everyone mistook that. It was hidden then and there that no one even had an incline what he would do but some of his friends knew what they were going to do, and they had been succeeding in such enterprises since. He had been selfish collecting all of the estate he was given when his father died. Perhaps that was a misfortune rather than the fortune he had. He spent it on worthless things, and holidays and endless weeks of not doing anything until it was all gone – the house was first, followed closely by the entrails of the former father’s money that seemed more than he ever would’ve thought he would have in a bank account – and it was the last he ever saw such an amount. He outlived his money by decades. All the while he was breathing heavily from the pit of his guts in fragility and fear. He made no further attempts at the things he thought would be beneficial to his enduring life. And here he was, looking down the barrel of fifty and seeing nothing ahead but shared flats and no money. He earns money for the debts he accumulated and still does; the stock he bought to fill his cupboards, drawers and rooms. He travelled with a big van load, always unable to pay for a proper removing company, and straining his back in every move, he always dumped the things into the new room he was letting. And every time he cleaned up and sorted it out and felt good about his new surroundings, it was the clutter that he didn’t see. He looked for jobs in areas that he thought would be good to work in, but the descriptions of the jobs posted online were demoralising. And he couldn’t write a CV. Not only did he not know this particular program, or that kind of discipline, he felt sure most of the jobs were fudged and fraudulent. He pretended he could do any number one of them but he was never convincing enough. He was never enthralled enough, nor disciplined; that was the honest truth – but who looks at that within? What he thought of himself came from the spit of his spirited being that others knew instantly in situations. He managed to get a job that looked good enough, but the fact that he had to “face clients” churned in him like spoilt milk. He felt his presence in a corporate glass house was corrupting his own real source and direction – but he had no direction. He fought his own battles in his own way to enhance his own image; a troubled person to deal with, and the blame. The workforce was a thankless task enshrined within glass and concrete walls.

And at home… Cool and collected at times, he felt never at home. Never at home anywhere. Movement inhibited that. It was the home he sold that was the home he wanted in the first place, but for him back then it was getting out and looking around and seeing what’s there… and what’s there… and what’s over there that drove him further and further away from home. And looking online at Google street view as he started to do when he could not be home and when he felt homesick, rallied his chagrin. The garden was gone. Made way for other people’s house and things and pools and stuff. He was no longer welcomed for the very fact that it was not his home, and never will be again. He felt empty every time he visited – online. He eventually stopped going back but not in his head. He knew virtually nothing of himself and the way he was seen by others. He made the right moves and pulled the right faces, but he had never admitted his snobbiness, nor embrace his dislike of some of the people he called friends or even the shortsightedness of his own intelligence. He was beyond his own personal belief at times, that he was unrecognisable to himself. “I hate people”. And yet his mouth made him feel invincible – with out trying he would be the writer he wanted to be, or the actor everyone wanted to project themselves onto, or the singer the people would sing his songs at funerals, even the happier ones. He loved the essence of melancholia. It made him feel different. The house he had gave him the hideaway places for this melancholia to grow unfettered. His imagination joined him in loving relationships with pop stars and intellects. He groomed himself into believing his advance feeling of knowing more than one art was down to his appraisal of a good guy who was better than those he often saw on TV. He had his favourites and he imitated their style, with no substance. He discovered reading literature that provoked and prodded his way of looking at his sedentary life in big house small town. He out grew it from the depths of his mind, and the writing took off during math classes and biology where he would only scribble as much as he could in stories for his friends to read and see their names in his fantasy novella. His art was praised, and pornographic scenes went into parts. This was an extension from his previous life as a boarding school child for the one year at high school that he attended. He was brutally sad there. Tormented by older boys, a name given to him for a defect in his facial looks according to them all. And he had to fight to survive often, and his prose of of porn worked well. Copies were being sought after by older boy whose masturbatory needs were at the best met with magazines from local shops from their own home towns. In fact that is where he got the idea to write filth marketing. Stories in these magazines were dirty, extreme and very seductive. the fertile minds of many boys ventured into every woman’s bedroom via these pages. The young kitchen lady was his imaginative fantasy. “What is going on with me?” He discovered this in a dorm one night. It was rude, awakening, very dark and secretive. Sticky in the end. The others knew themselves this stickiness as they were holed up in their own deliberate personal tryst with imagination. Imagination was the key to success, and he produced articles related to the saucy details described in magazines that were scattered in hedgerows and strange tunnels. He made the reading palpable for his audience; his entire class. They would waiting impatiently for the next article to be written and then distributed throughout their nightly homework schedule in the classroom. They held out for the detailed inscription of the sexual perverse act they all wanted to perform, and his own highlights were theirs collectively. How can one person’s dreaming be other’s as well? Odd enough, but when he was in it, he was in charge of their thoughts. He made them think of his dirtiness and lust. He had them think of his women and their bits. He had them concentrate on his penis as he had performed the acts so explicitly with it. They witnessed as a gang wanking over him and the kitchen porter. They performed through him he thought as he was the most verily with his versions. They just could not get enough after having read everything else. It was basic. It was stupid. It was innocence being ignited to scorch the ground and for the growth of experience to happen. It happened all that long ago. He left there in a hurry as he was hurt physically as well as emotionally. He had enough of them spunking over his dreams and destroying his innocence. He wanted nothing more to do with them and their depravity, and he came home for the first time being away for a long time. He was relieved. He started back at his old school with friends no longer being friends. He had to start again with the same ingredients but a failed experiment. His story changed, more involving and slightly sexual. He was after all still virginal and had never known anything of other’s flesh. He had felt his own every night since the discovery of what his penis could do. This time the story was a novel, a length of literature that involved his fiends and his life in colour and love. He included love for the effect to cover up his affection for lust. His idol was years and deserts away. She kept herself there and thankfully never came an inch close to him. He felt no distance though as he honed his skills in on love, lust, loyalty and eventually laziness. He stocked up on books he never read, and the same record he kept listening to. He made his bedroom a shrine to his teenagedom. He became something more profoundly shallow, and dug in his spade to discover fools gold. He kept going back to the bank of intelligence, but never could understand that he was not having a penny of their currency until he actually worked for it. He became hidden from himself and endured the sex drive in all activity but actual sex. Posters filled the spaces on the wall, to hide the cracks of failures he was enduring, but prompted up hope by the hip young stars of the day. He had them with him in fantasy and health. He kept looking out and never in, and he hoarded every bit of garbage that was insignificant and useless. It was his life. And when he left for the last time, he took as much as he could with him, easily filling up the small bedrooms he was to occupy, cramming out relationships that could not aspire to his idol. He came from everything and took everything with him. He made it pile high when the draught of disillusionment snuck in the cracks. He made it his job to be occupied in less interesting data. He made things of barely any effort, and they got trashed eventually. He had everything, and nothing was the everything he had. “What’s going on with me?” He had little understanding. He thought he knew, and he ploughed on regardless and hopelessly, determined to quantify the next basic outcome. It came ahead though when he struggled to finally keep the things he had acquired. He was leaving droppings of things all the way, from place to place, from lover to lose. He had shed some and kept a vast amount left. He saw nothing coming for him and kept what there was that he had. He made excuse after excuse after lying enough. He was caught, grabbed by himself. He lost people he cared for, and ignored the ones who wanted him to understand they were there, but not as objects or keep-sakes. He kept them out. He piled it even higher. He made the pile and it stuck.

He’s back at work, forgetting what just happened in his life.

Categories
Short Story

Twelve Hours to Sunrise

 

Going back in a car, driving in the night stickiness. Slipping into a brew of dark, and gliding along your roads to nowhere in particular. I have a particular song playing as it slices my heart with a warm knife of longing. A gentle cut, deep and soothing. It kills me with kindness and remembrance. I remember the times I came back to my door, and opened it to a present memory, something I can only reminisce now. It opened many doors, all the same ones, as I walked in there through my memory. It has been a welcome home, as I leave the doors open wide for me to visit time and time again.

The song sings as it keeps me company through the roads and open hills in dark. I am not alone with your lights on in the far away house, in the farm that seems to let me know it is ok. The thoughts are welcomed here. You cry to be alive, and see the reasons to keep hold of these feelings to keep you company as well.

I drive at the earliest and almost impossible waking hour where my emotions are the strongest and most melancholic. I like this moment; I like this feeling. I won’t change it for a long time. And the memory will bring it back when I listen to this music years later and many roads over.

The sun never peeks. Not in this memory. It has not shown not because it can’t, but because I like it without it for now. For this moment. For this longevity, it hides and will stay hidden. It stays well hidden, although the sun will come and see the land I missed. Let it illuminate it behind me as a careful guide that will forever be present but not knowingly there. Let it’s rays seep into the dark coolness to warm the cold’s flames. The birds are sleeping, and remain there slumbering without any disturbance. The car makes no noise, nor has any remaining quality of its exhaust expelling into the air. It is not poisonous to my mind. It has just given me a sense of freedom. I will leave it by the road as I walk into my home. Through the open door. In this long faraway field where the light of the house welcomed me.

You can hear the tape turn over again and again, repeating the same songs I had purposely recorded to be repeatable. And the drive into the dark, is repeated purposefully.

Again and again in my head.

Categories
Short Story

I Should Kill For a Living

It’s like a bad taste that needs to be spat out. It needs a good mouthwash and an antiseptic or even poison to get the horrid taste out of my existence. But it prevails. It is a taste that I want to get rid of, but it is not so simple. These people – these bullies of other people, have infiltrated a sanctuary within me, and it has spread like a nasty virus all inside. I want them out!

I have had a shit week, let’s face it. Horrible people exist in this world for one reason only – to kill them. That’s all I can put it down to. How else can we deal with them? Aren’t they sent by God’s grace for us to know what killing can be like to enjoy? Hath he not granted us thus shitheads to kill with pleasure since they are obviously gunning for a gun in the face?

This prick at work, he was a persistent one. I had a feeling he was already too much when he came in and grabbed a sheet off me to view it, demanding that he had to get to know now what he was doing. He was employed the same as me – as a freelance technician – and his demure was overbearing, incessant and demanding. He was a big guy, with a facist haircut (despite the fact that he told me his girlfriend’s grandfather was a member of the Spanish fascist party during the second world war. I wasn’t too sure if he wasn’t admitting to me he was one as well. Franco would’ve loved his looks and strong personality). He had trouble then from the outset with me, as I answered back. I didn’t back down or be drawn into a very long day of obedience to a jerk I instantly disliked.

Standing back for a bit, I allowed him to be rogue and undisciplined until he was satisfied that he knew what he wanted to do. So I gently got the paper back and started writing as I had done before on the sheet the steps I was taking in order to ensure what was happening. He soon took a dislike to that.

“If you number them like that I get confused and I need to write on the sheet the number in order of the speakers.”

“But I need to write down the numbers of the microphones each one is using. Today has a lot of them, and I have been doing this yesterday.”

The Italian who was the only full-time employee in this situation was a dull fellow, with a Roman nose and a physical vibe that was between nonchalant and contempt. His spotted beard was traditionally youthful, and his complexions were mainly of a sour and spoilt look. He did not intervene nor was he intending to support either until he was quizzed by the irate Spaniard if this was acceptable (his view of the situation). The Italian just shrugged his nonchalantness in the favour of the Spaniard, and Franco had felt he had accomplished something and outright winner and a victorious threat was even more presented to me. I was sitting and he was leaning.

The Italian thought he could make a compromise:
“You could get another rundown sheet from the organiser at the front desk.” I pounced on this suggestion for my benefit.

“Since I have been writing on this first, and I am taking charge of this, you can go and get the new sheet. It is only up the top of the stairs where you came in.” I felt relaxed and reassured that this could not be denied. It was then the fact that it was left to the dissatisfied Spaniard to go and seek a paper for himself as I was here for the event the day before, using the same paper to write my own instructions on. He wasn’t happy. He couldn’t dispute that fact. I knew that.

His heavy presence left with a cloud of anger, and I honestly felt angry myself. Not relieved. He came back a few minutes later, and started to write on the sheet his own instruction for his own benefit. He made no other comment, and the day started off quietly between us.

However, soon things did get heated by other events, and soon we were inundated with surgeons wanting their slides to be put on the laptops and then viewed, changed and swapped around. It became hectic and unruly. The Spaniard’s previous idea of us being all delegated to a task was out the window, and I found myself helping out more of his supposed duties than his of mine. During this bout of furious interference from all directions, it was “this is flipping the video! Can you change it?” And another one exaggerating “This is not what I want! The video isn’t playing! It is pathetic.”

During both of these final and demanding folks, I had managed to view both simultaneously and had solved the outstanding issues. The Spaniard to his credit had helped out with some of the media, but he was not about to help any more, and even with my friendly gesture of appreciating the assistance, his cool and ego stance signalled a proud force of magnitude to allow me to drown. The struggle to maintain credit on my behalf by portraying to the clients I knew how to fix their presentations was fading fast, as I started to flounder under the pressure.

But I had a winning streak, and finally concluded that the problems had been rectified. I wasn’t out for credit, but I wasn’t benefitting from a helpful crew.

Explaining the easiest of the two (the video isn’t playing!), I had explained that once played (and waited for them to start) it went well the second time you played it through. Some glitch, some gremlin, some rendering – – who knew? Not me, and I admired. However my senses felt that the Spaniard knew nothing either, but gleefully observed me flapping for an appropriate answer to the frustrated surgeon. The surgeon, American, bald and well groomed, had made an example of my dilemma:

“All I want is this to play. So you are saying we can play this? Will you give me your assurance?”

At that, I knew I would be caught out if I said yes. I don’t let them have it that easy.

Grinning I acknowledged his thought process: “That means I am saying it will work a hundred percent. No, I am not saying that. And I am not taking the full responsibility. It works now, but I would suggest we use your laptop on the lectern first, and then if yours fails during the presentation, we can then use the one on the system here.”

He nodded his approval of me notifying him of how far I am willing to take responsibility for the system, and was happy enough to use his own laptop. It was even time to test it on the lectern since there was a coffee break and he would be one of the next speakers.

Once that was said, I turned my attention on to the first presentation I was attempting to handle, and that the Spaniard had left it to me to deal with despite the room being free of all else except the bald American and the other expected client. I saw to it that the videos were fixed, and then saved it. Unfortunately, the first video still flipped as I had not seen this one, and yet all else was ok. The client, another American ( well groomed as well of course this being an auditorium full of specialists) looked a bit peeved, but would help himself by going back over the video and doing some rearranging himself. He had the sense that I was struggling with so much going on and he just wanted his done.

Once he had accomplished it, we all viewed it and sent it to the saved folder – the one the Spaniard wanted it to be in. But it was titled unfinished due to the rush of me having then attach small lapel microphones to more than five speakers.

The Spaniard, reigning supreme once again at his throne of the presentation palace, was instantly questioning where the file was that I had saved. I pointed it out. I had placed my finger on the screen, explaining that the title was incomplete and that he could update the file name now that he assumed command. His bewilderment was bewildering to me. I pointed it out again. He kept up some sort of “I don’t know where it is”.

Once I left him to it, I had made the final tie clip microphone placed on the bald gentleman whom was now at the podium, and hooking up his laptop. It didn’t work. He looked then foolish and grunted disapprovingly in disbelief, repeating:

“I swear it was working on my laptop before. I swear it was working!”

I knew best not to gloat, and I didn’t feel like it anyway. I was a bit sorry for him as he flustered on his laptop to try and get it to work. It finally did, and we both looked at each other, smiled and laughed at the stress the silly machine and presentation had caused. It was more of a relief than a sorry, but the bald man was apologetic. He was sincere and I was sincere in not even accepting it as it was nothing really.

It was nothing really.

But back in the small room to the side (the one they called the green room even though it was painted cream) the Spaniard was confused even more.

“Where did you save that file? Its not here! I don’t see it.”

And sure enough, as I went to the screen, I could not see it either. It was gone, between the two slides that I had noticed it was before. I was not upset, but felt like it was not me who needed to worry. It was him.

“I showed you where it was. I even pointed it out to you!”

The Spaniard then made the most heinous crime – he lied.

“ You never did! I can’t find it.” He got louder and exclaimed profusely his innocence and my supposed mistake.

His voice rose as he rose himself off the seat and held his arms out wide as if the very file will jump into them.

“I didn’t move it! I can’t find it! Where is it? You said you saved it!” He made the effort to confirm the fault was mine without being overly blameful. I breathed deeply, annoyed more than angry, but I could tell I was heading to the angry part of me where I could do anything – and with this guy, anything could be harmful. Harmful for either of us since he was bigger than me, but bullies are always less able to retaliate someone they actually bully turn the tables on them. My experiences in life has made many adjustments to my behaviour, and I remained (as I thought) calm and concise.

I repeated “I pointed it out to you! I wasn’t even near the laptop last.”

This was a direct shot back at him. His clumsy, piggy looking face showed signs of hostility as he backed even further away from any responsibility.

“You never did!”

“I didn’t even touch the computer! I was out there helping the guy get his laptop working!” And then I let him have it: “You were the last one to touch the laptop!”

He held his arms out wide again. What was this gesture for? Some sort of posturing it seemed to me. Instead of listening any more, I simply told them of my intentions.

“I’ll go and find the guy and ask him to come back.” And out I went.

The Italian stupefied as per usual was respectfully staying out of it. He had done nothing. Perhaps that was a problem more than anything, but at any rate I was pleased that he hadn’t backed the Spaniard up with any insinuating remark directed at me as I had an inkling he didn’t particularly like me after yesterday when I was being a little peeved off with his attitude to running around finding people who I had no idea who they looked like in order to mic them up. The Italian though was at least a bit more understanding, but nevertheless I had a suspicion he was not without blaming me for this incident. But I had proved them one thing – I wasn’t afraid to go out and get the guy back even when the session had started and I had to go in to the room quietly, dodge the cameras that were recording the whole event, and ask politely if he could return to the green-cream room for me to reinstall the presentation.

The American client seemed willing but a slight apprehensive about why it had gone missing, but I had ensured not to blame but to explain a mishap had happened and I was to deal with it. That assumption would have most probably lead the man to believe I was the culprit, but it equally meant that I was protecting the individual (the numbskull Spaniard) of wrong doing. In essence, I made myself look like a rescuer of the situation.

Once back at the room, the Spaniard had already leapt to his feet and greeted us outside the room, arms out wide again and irritatingly loud proclaiming that the situation had been resolved.

“It’s ok, we have found the file.” To me: “We were looking for you so you didn’t have to get this gentlemen, but you were gone. But we found it!”

His “we found it” signalled a resounding I found it proclamation. He smirked, and looked like he was blocking the man from entering the room. His intention was not that, as I could fathom, but at any rate I wanted to irritate the Spaniard more.

“Since I got you out of the room, would you like to see it to make sure?” I asked the client.

“Yes, that would be a good idea.” And he moved a bit forward. But the Spaniard held out his arms and this time was evident that he was blocking him.

“You don’t need to do that. All is ok. We found it.”

“I would like to see it.” He coolly stated. This was a surprise to me that the Spaniard tried to stop him from assessing the material. I felt hugely satisfied that he made a grave error in trying to stop this man. It was a certain thing now that the client had no doubt who made a mistake.

I felt rewarded by the Spaniard’s stupidity and overbearingness. At least someone else was witness to this guy’s aggressiveness and absurdity. The Italian was of no use. And even if he was, this guy was a specialist, a client and a respected peer, and the Spaniard blew it in front of me!

Victory lasts a very short time, especially when you are confronted by an over zealous individual. Egos can be the most enduring aspect of any situation – whether the owner of that ego sees the purpose of being confrontational. And he was.

As soon as the client left (satisfied nothing was wrong) the Spaniard wanted to confirm something to me in front of the Italian.

“Listen man,” be began as a sign of superiority in him calling me man. “I wasn’t blaming you for losing the file, but I hadn’t moved it…” His arms went out wide again, and he looked over his shoulder to the gormless Italian “And neither did you…so…” and he left it hanging.

That so was aimed at me of course.

I just looked up at him as I was sitting filling in my form dutifully and just listened to him to go on more. I waited for him to say something else, but all he did was look down with a shrug of shoulders and the final arm gestured my direction.

“I am not blaming you, but someone had moved it…” He made no effort to look in my direction, as his apparent dismay at me was all to prevalent.

I sat still and looked at him directly. He was still looking down at the laptop. He had finished apparently either blaming or apologising, but either one cause of action negated the other. He looked like a dumb shit with his head shaved around the sides and a waxed down longer crop on top. His black suit really spoke volumes to me of his blackness to be a gangster bully and his passive aggression was something to behold. He was a down and outright vile human being, and I despised him.

“Well, I don’t care who did what, at least it was sorted.” I said. My gown-up attitude would have made him even a little more belittled if I had my way, but I was doubting this attempt now. I doubted anything we did or say to this guy (the client included) would end up with him being apologetic or at the very least not being a brute about how he is innocent. As well documented, innocence is silent, guilty is a bellowed.

I turned my attention to the sheet, to the laptop – to anything else besides his ugly mug, but his bulk had filled more than his fair share of space in the room, and I was angry at the very essence of him being alive.

I felt not a victim but a crusader against the bullies of this world, and he was enemy number one. His Spanish ways had left me with a regret to not liking the country, and that was hugely unfair on my behalf. Country is a place, and this creature was displaced from it. He represented no one or nothing except himself, but he was far the worst bully I had experienced.

And then my phone rang. It set me off wildly in the head. Fucking Niall. The cock of all cocks. Niall the Shit. The agent who was supposed to get me work as a freelancer was in fact giving me grief. I couldn’t answer the call – didn’t he know I was at work? He booked me, the dumb fuck!

This was now getting on top of me regretfully. I already had a week of work that I was not suited to. And I knew the call was about the other day when I worked in a conference centre for a knob by the name of Hugo. He was another dumbfuck but one I could handle (or so I thought). He actually was hard to deal with his passive aggressiveness (something I am all too familiar with as I used this a lot in tactical defence – or so I thought, back when I was younger. I had dropped this attitude, but it was amazing to see how many men use it).

Hugo was a wanker. He had no clue how to manage, and yet his way of showing me what I needed to do was to add to the equipment needed continuously throughout the setup I was doing – a setup I wasn’t supposed to be doing. A setup that was meant to be have been done before I attended the conference as I was told (by Niall the Shit of all people), and that I would be only operating microphones and a few laptops. But this guy wanted me to build the whole setup by myself, adding and taking away equipment as I went.

So I had assumed I would hear about my attitude no doubt, and I left the phone ringing and did not answer. During this time, Spaniard had now remained silent and was watching his phone doing his social media browsing. He was getting his intelligence from other dumbfucked friends no doubt – the continuous saga of what-I-know-is-what-I-am-told-by-other-dumbfucks. News made by the bland and ill informed. The spread of contagious benevolence of an unintelligible army of likes.

I texted Niall the Shit back and told him I could not talk but asked what he wanted. He always texted unless urgent. His urgent though was not urgent but only for him. Niall the Shit for many reasons was a freaky looking, ego centric male who also liked to bully. His stature was not a big presence at all, rather than a little barking dog who was ridiculously unafraid of something bigger and more powerful than itself. But Niall the Shit was an idiot.

Niall the Shit responded his usual unresponsive way, not saying what he wanted but when he wanted to talk to me. After two. So be it. I will wait then to ring, and confirmed it so with a text back, but again added what the call was about. Of course as suspected, no response.

The rest of the morning was subdued, and I was pleasantly pleased to be reading a book. The Italian was most probably the most eager to stay alert to the surroundings as he was full-time and perhaps knew that if he slacked off he would get the sack or some sort of discipline actioned against him. Me on the other hand was content that I was to leave at the end of all of this, and I couldn’t wait.

Finally, Niall the Shit’s turn was to come and after a morning of helping, enhancing and being generally good natured, I mangled to get things done without consorting the Spaniard in any regard. I did my thing and he did his. Hardly we needed to speak, and yet he was a talker. He loved talking to the Italian. He never included me in any conversation, and why would I be included? His interests were dull and unimaginative. He didn’t read (he confessed) and he loved classic cars. He was an audio engineer like myself, and he had bragged during the morning of what he had done. When he heard that I was an engineer too he was surprised, and stunned to know I had no idea of some equipment he sprouted off in conversation. He was in constant competition but I made clear I wasn’t even good at engineering (which I wasn’t) and that I had no idea of equipment. I secretly had no intention of even being an engineer, but I engineered myself into this corner of the market. I had for a long time regretted it.

The Spaniard’s superiority was relentless. He was loud and intimidating. The Italian wasn’t intimidated and observing the two talk I concluded that the regional differences wasn’t that vast when it came to attitudes and culture. Latin was the main grounding of the two, and their individual bravado was evident in their digging at each other’s cities (Italiano was Roman, and the Spaniard’s was Milan). They had common ancestry it seemed and neither of them would be too far from the other when it came to attitudes. Both had there way of alpha male. Both had there own stride which was common. I certainly was left out of this.

Niall the Shit answered the phone in his usual unfriendly style. I just replied to his hello with a direct reflection of him. He paused (what for – for me to ask how was he doing?), and then launched into asking what happened the other day on the job with that Hugo guy. I gave my small detailed story without too much drama or information as I wanted to look like I had no intentions of being drawn into any pathetic-ness. Too late – I was talking to Niall the Shit.

“Michael, you are representing our agency…’” that was the most annoying phrase I have ever heard. I responded hostility back because I certainly always got it from Niall the Shit.

“I am paying you Niall for working there. I could have left early on, but I stayed. But I tell you, Hugo was not helpful at all. I always go to this place and end up doing something different to what I am originally asked to do..” I hadn’t stopped as it was Niall the Shit’s usual way to demand to be heard and demand to be in command of all conversations. He was overbearing, cruel and a hostile BULLY. Another one! I was fed up with them, and yet here they were – all of them in one time all around the city. I would kill them all.

Hugo, Niall the Shit, Spaniard, Italiano, woman on the desk, the doorman, all of the ones on the tube, the man who pushed the other day, the man who made a comment for me pushing to get on to the tube the other week, the ex girlfriends, the kids on their bikes wheeling it down the street, the clients who demanded they were right and I was wrong… in fact, the whole world!

The only ones I wouldn’t kill were the ones I loved, and they were few. My girlfriend was to be by my side as we would gun down the entire block, then blow up the whole borough followed by the city and the colleagues we hated. And I hated these people NOW.

I couldn’t go on with this talk with Niall the Shit. He was after all Niall the Shit. What can be said to Niall the Shit for him to back off, to get down from his high horse? Nothing! He is Niall the Shit.

Spaniard the dumbfuck, Italian the gormless, and all of the worse people who peopled this planet. All of them – I’M GONNA KILL YOU!

And I was left struggling to maintain some decent response to Niall the Shit at that moment as he told me off. A kid telling me off. A bully of a child who was at least half my age telling me off. What is wrong here? What did I get myself into? It was daft and pathetic. Niall the Shit should be dead as far as anything that really mattered to me was concerned. He did not belong in my world or in my sphere of recognition. It is bizarre what I had made for myself. Who I allow into my quarters and who is present in my presence. Somewhere I have to figure out that this all has to stop, and the only way was to kill them all off.

The call ended in some sort of thank-yous (why thank me?) and I was left gasping and hot. Niall the Shit had his way. He was victorious in this.

Going back in to the green-cream-shit room I felt a desire to smash the Spaniard’s head against the table, and crack his neck wide open. He was squirming at the sight of another client’s presentation (they were all surgeons) and this one was showing the opening of an abdomen. I wanted this to be the Spaniard’s guts exposed, and without anaesthetics. I wanted him to be on that tale in this video nasty to have his skin pulled back and all fat exposed. They would show in the video the dying screaming man and his penis pulled down with a large hook. No horror movie could describe accurately the pain they would perform on the Spaniard. The dumbfuck would be barely able to breath through all of the screams he would endure, and finally die. But them we wouldn’t stop. I would be there amongst these surgeons and take an instrument of gleaming steel to slice in and take away organs and tubes. Pulling more at the skin, up over his breast plate to then saw and crack open his chest cavity. Rib spreaders at the ready and a good old sawing off the scalp.

And all the while the Spaniard was sitting there unbeknownst to him how lucky an escape he was having. He wasn’t even aware I was looking at him. He was so self consumed with his squeamish child like behaviour. Grow up and die.

Finally the day came to a close. I was exhausted. The others were too, but did I care? No. I just wanted to go. After packing up what we had to pack up, I told the Italian only that I will get my bag from the room and if I didn’t see him before I left I had wished him a good day. Of course I didn’t mean it. I lied, but I had exhausted all desires as well as any sense of purpose to have them all killed.

To me though, the day was dead. It was killed and me along with it. I had been murdered by all and everyone. It all came back on me. They had got what I wanted – I was defeated and instead of seeing anyone else, I bolted. Left the premises, headed on down the road towards the cramped tube station which would end in me getting off, sweating and finally into my home.

I waited for my love to come home so as to be kept hold of tightly in a loving pair of arms and to wish the world away together.

She finally came to rescue me.

Categories
Short Story

Bright lights of night

The drive in the night investigated the inner beauty that was soon to be seen. He had some feelings that left him incapable of understanding. He had no ideas nor grasped the easiness of the feelings that were to plague him for years to come. He felt delighted to have them. Some how he felt special, despite the feelings being so impractical to his desires. He was sleeping awake. Snoozing in life what was supposed to be for others about staying awake. He snuggled in the nights air and the emptiness of his surroundings. The expanse of his existence was greater than the sum of all the awake and sleepers. The road curved and sleeked silently, weaving amongst the sleepers who spoke of nothing but getting through this wakeful life. Their only thoughts succumbed to the snooze button that beeped occasionally to wake them from the stupid slumber, but reset they hit for another time to wake. Maybe soon it will no more penetrate their slumber, and who would have thought that mattered? It never will again, and it never had before his drive into the forest of the subconscious. He sneaked unwittingly there and became part of the parade. It snoozed its way amongst the silent participants. They all stood at the side and spoke nothing of its arrival, and weakened cheered at its passing. It had an appearance of yesterday and the coming of two days ago. Never now, and not never tomorrow. It spoke of nothing new and something unfamiliar. The fumes from his exhaust bellowed a soft vapor the passing of time. How it was impenetrable this very heady existence. It was all in the casket. The bonnet and the crankshaft. How you can sum up the possible gears for it to go up or down a hill of existence. No existence had endurance, just a slumber of casualness and grace.

Never mind the changing of gears, for he taped his mouth amongst solitude of singing. Let it be heard he thought that his mind would be at ease from voices unheard of before or since. Quiet, disconcerting voices never spoken to public. And here he drove through the night of surprise and delight. He noticed the far off windows in darken houses on farmland. A spark of one light alone in the night of a far away place he will never see except from this spot.

How can you drive at this time of the night? What time is it? You never know as it is always dark, but light makes it darker. The light from the windows afar are just one in many thousands of miles apart they seem to take to reach each other’s windows. Farms of other places, other planets verge to make it a night of activity with sleep. Moon is better blown at this rate. It caresses darkens as to smooth the milkiness of the night into a welcoming sight. He followed dreams like this before now, and only now did he speak of them he followed. He ventured down allies, through driveways, upon hills and peaks, and past gates of wonderment and tiredness. He was awake though to his own surroundings and belonging. His car made purrs beyond the human ear. Eyes wept and tears formed a new beginning to past his time as he sang the songs that kept coming from the stereo. His own songs and creations and favoured artists he knew and loved who were all beginning to grate and sound dated. He dated them to be at least forty, the age he was only six years before. And they countered on him to remember them as much as they tried themselves to forget. They sang his history and their own. They forgave themselves many times over, as he obliged to not forget them. He listened for more radio frequencies of yesterday and two days before. Nothing new please. It was not what he had in mind or in soul to reencounter.

Managing a moment to himself, he heard fragrances that mattered to him. He smelt the souls of the backyards that encompassed his mind and passing. Trodden on before the flowers of his youth that became the compost of his present. How could this happen now? Where did this go, he wondered when upon the sight of a curved road did he witness an end to his travels.

The road stopped, and the car had a dead end.

He wanted nothing more except the radio off and the car engine cool for only then could he step out and walk the rest of the way.

Bright lights darkened the night for now and now was all there was.