Sunday, 31 August 2014

Cursed Glengarry Glen

A sense of duty pervaded the central office of the forest fairies. The blue fairies sat eating the essence of Gaia while the red ones sat in the opposite section of the grove eating the newest dietary fad - the essence of Gehenna. In short, a dichotomy was now underway in the once-solid working office of Wood Fairies, Blessed Wood Branch. The red fairies and the blue fairies used to co-mingle and take part in numerous after-work activities such as going to the pub and playing squash. However, of late, a schism meant that both factions had gone their separate ideological ways. The rest of the fairy clans continued their work as normal, floating around aimlessly, waiting for unsuspecting travellers to come and enter the Blessed Wood.
“John, pass this onto Resources,” said Bert, John’s boss. Bert was a yellow fairy and, in John’s opinion, a bit of a bellend. Bert had been working in the Blessed Wood for the last two years, having apparently been successful as Deputy Area Manager in the Cursed Forest adjacent to The Troubled Plains. But John wasn’t convinced he could have been that successful, especially seeing as five years ago the Cursed Forest used to be known as The Lovely Forest. Coincidence? Hard to tell. Plus his dad owned half the company. Nepotism - the bane of the honest working fairy.
John didn’t look up, deciding that floating around was too important to let himself be visually distracted by Bert.
“What is it, Bert?”
“That’s Sir Bert to you.”
“Sert.”
“Just read the damn memo.”
The paper fell to the ground. John sluggishly sojourned towards its crackling content before it could get swallowed up by vegetation.
THE BANSHEE IS DUE ON MONDAY. CONSULTING ROLE DUE TO POOR QUARTERLY FIGURES. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND LOOK BUSY. AND CALL ME SIR NEXT TIME BECAUSE I JUST DID YOU A FAVOUR. BERT.
Fuck.
Bad enough to have this extra workload, but The Banshee? Banshees had no idea how to go about enticing strangers. If you scream and rant and rave at someone, it doesn’t get results. John hung his head and attempted to look depressed but it was difficult because he was a ball of light with wings. Sadie appeared to his right. Man, she was hot. Only green fairy for miles. Flaunted it though. Nothing worse than a fairy who knows she’s fit.
“The Banshee?” came her husky but jaded tones to his right ear, caressing it with their wavelength. “Why did Bert choose him? It’s like choosing one of us to chair a meeting on how to terrify giraffes.”
“Maybe he didn’t have a choice,” offered John, allowing himself to savour the sight of her in profile. He wondered whether actually he was looking at her on profile, or from the front, because she was also a ball of light with wings. “You never know what higher-up wants.”
“Too right.”

Later that afternoon, all fairies gathered in Conference Cove B. The red and blue fairies predictably sat on opposite sides of the cove. John and Sadie sat at the back, talking about toadstools and whether they were just made up. Then a blood curling scream came from behind all who sat in the cove.
“YOU CALL THIS A COVE, SHIT-FOR-BRAINS? IT’S MORE LIKE A GROVE. BUT THEN I’VE SEEN YOUR GROVE AND THAT’S MORE LIKE A COVE. TYPICAL FAILING WORKPLACE. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO OR WHAT YOU ARE.”
A banshee came floating through and around the gathered, creeping the shit out of everyone, before taking its place atop a tree stump like a weirdo.
“YOU THINK YOU KNOW HOW TO TRAP UNSUSPECTING TRAVELLERS? YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT.” It held the gaze of a nearby fairy who John recognised as Jim, the white fairy. Then it occurred to him there were twenty other white fairies in the same vicinity and that actually he had no idea who it was. Awful, really, how little he knew or cared about his colleagues. Maybe he was even a bit racist. “YOU. WHAT WAS THE NAME OF YOUR LAST BEDAZZLED WAYFARER?”
“I don’t remember,” answered a mutter.
“YOU SHOULD FUCKING REMEMBER. ME, I GOT THIS HIDEOUS VISAGE FROM YEARS OF EXPERIENCE.” He held up his wrist, upon which lay a glittering device of wonder. “THIS CASIO CALCULATOR WATCH COST MORE THAN YOUR ENTIRE FOREST. I GOT THIS BY DOING MY FUCKING JOB.” The banshee produced a clipboard from the ground and held it up. “THIS. THIS IS YOUR FUTURE. I GOT A LIST OF TWENTY FAMILIES ALL COMING ON HOLIDAY TO CURSED GLENGARRY GLEN FOREST IN THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS. BUT THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. THIS IS FOR CLOSERS. YOU ARE NOT CLOSERS. YOU COULD NOT ENTICE A WASP TO A JAR OF HONEY. YOU ARE ALL A BUNCH OF FAIRIES.” There was silence. “I MEANT THAT AS A HOMOPHOBIC INSULT, BY THE WAY.”
There was a stir. Several fairies cried out angry retorts. One fairy who John recognised as the only brown-coloured fairy in the wood strode to the front.
“You come here with your fancy screaming and hideous face. It’s easy for you. What’s a big-shot like you doing talking to a bunch of no-good losers like us?”
“YOU THINK YOU’RE A LOSER? YOU ARE A LOSER.”
“I know. I just said it.”
“NO. YOU ARE A LOSER BECAUSE YOU WANT TO LOSE. I WOULD LOVE TO BE A FAIRY. YOU GET TO FLY AROUND AND BUMP INTO SHIT. YOU ALSO GET TO LOOK ALL PRETTY. NEVER HAVE A BAD HAIR DAY BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO HAIR. NEVER HAVE SPOTS BECAUSE YOU ARE A SPOT. YOU ALSO HAVE SOME AMAZING PORN, YOU KNOW THAT? YOU EVER TRY TO WATCH BANSHEE PORN? IT’S FUCKING APPALLING. YOU GUYS HAVE IT EASY. OVER IN BANANA FENS THEY’VE GOT TO WANK TO MEMORIES OF A NOW-DEAD TOURIST INDUSTRY. YOU GUYS HAVE HOT MOMMAS COMING FROM ALL OVER DELAWARE SWIMMING IN THE RIVERS. AND WHAT DO YOU DO? YOU BLOW IT. YOU WANT TO BE A CLOSER, MAGGOT? YOU GO OUT AND ENTICE FIVE PEOPLE HERE TODAY. I COULD SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF TWENTY TOURISTS IN BLESSED WOOD TODAY, BUT YOU KNOW WHY I DON’T HAVE TO? BECAUSE I’M A CLOSER. IF I WAS A FAIRY I’D ENTICE THE SHIT OUT OF TWENTY WANDERING CHILDREN. I’D BEDAZZLE THE LIVING FUCK OUT OF THEM. I’D BEGUILE, AMAZE, AND INVOKE A SENSE OF WONDER SO FUCKING GIGANTIC IT’S AS BIG AS MY COCK. AND BELIEVE ME, BANSHEES HAVE COCKS. YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT BANSHEE COCKS? TOO BAD, BECAUSE KNOWLEDGE OF BANSHEE COCKS IS ONLY FOR CLOSERS.”
“Can you stop talking in capitals, please?” spoke Sadie. “You’re giving me a headache.”
“HOW’S ABOUT YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH?”
“Fuck you. I do a good job.”
“YOU EVER THINK THIS MIGHT NOT BE AIMED AT YOU, HOTLIPS?”
Sadie could only say, “Hotlips? What the hell does that even mean?” before retreating into slightly pleased silence.
“NOW,” said the banshee, standing up and striding around and in between the assorted gawkers, “APART FROM THE SEXY LADY AT THE BACK THERE, MOST OF YOU ARE SCUM. YOU ARE PLANKTON, SWIMMING IN A SEA OF SHIT. MOST OF YOU HAVE THE GOOD FORTUNE OF BEING SCUM THAT HAVE SO FAR EVADED DETECTION. SOME OF YOU, HOWEVER, ARE NOT. THE FOLLOWING HAVE ONE WEEK TO SAVE THEIR CAREERS: BARRY STEVENS. NED BOTGASM. ELLIE PASTASTATION. BORIS SWAN-NOSTRIL. SYLVESTER EXPLAIN-GHETTO. RISME SCALLOPBRAIN. LISA LAUGHATDE’ATH. MORRIS GULPISH. JASON JAPANO. ALICE EMPTYFUDGE.”
John sighed. He’d been saved.
“OH AND FINALLY, JOHN DELIVERANCE-ANAL.”
Shit.
John could only meet Sadie’s gaze for a moment before rising to his feet and realising he had no feet because he was a floating ball of light with wings.
“Good luck, John,” he heard Sadie say after him. He could do no more than raise a wing in silent recognition.
He made his morose and forlorn way onto the lawn, for more roses had grown and horns had gradually retrained his erstwhile brain into thinking they were related to the story but in fact had nothing to do with anything.
Shit.
That was the way it was, being a small-time fairy in a small-time forest. He could have been someone. Could have been a top dog like The Banshee, if only he’d got the right breaks. Tried stalking a boy once, but the boy was too old and ended up using a swatter which was just fucking irritating. Tried stalking a teenage girl once but she mistook him for a lightbulb and just sat there reading some story about vampires by the light of his ball of light with wings and actually the story was pretty good but unfortunately she wasn’t taken in by his spell and subsequently got away just like the rest of them. Sure there was that kid who followed him into the nearest nook where he was passed through the system before being ejected through the other side and sent screaming to his parents, which was satisfying but that was far too long ago now. That was back in the old times. Times when you could have twelve martinis for lunch and still come out on top.
Maybe he was getting too jaded for this. Maybe he needed to strike out big. Leave this place. Go on to do some other stuff. Could be a will o’ the wisp. There was still some posts out there. The industry wasn’t dead, some said, only stagnating. Maybe he could revive it. Get the old times rolling again.
The infuriatingly reasonable inner voice of Sadie cut into his brain, telling him it was an appalling idea. She was right, had always been right.
Just when it seemed all hope had lost and he’d have to rob the forest overnight to get those Cursed Glengarry Glen files, a boy emerged through the undergrowth. Scrawny. Cap on his head with a propeller thing on it. Didn’t think that sort of kid existed anymore.
“Are you a..?” said the boy, eyes widening. “A?”
“A fairy. Yeah, I am. Well, I’m a fairy for today, but in a week’s time I’ll be busted. I’m done, kid. Old before my time. Game’s lost. Get outta here. Scream. Scram I mean. Screaming’s for closers.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I don’t know anymore.”
“You’re funny.”
“Thanks, kid. You haven’t seen funny until you’ve been around here for a few years.” As he flew back and forth, he saw himself reflected in the kid’s big brown eyes. “I tell you I once saw a couple porking right where you’re sitting. Got involved. Got kinky real quick. Ever had a fairy threesome? Bet you have, you just didn’t realise. Oh wait you’re a kid. Well then your parents have. Yeah. Something settles on your mum’s boobs next time she gets laid, she thinks it’s a fly but no. It’s me.”
“This is like the weird version of a story you wrote eight years ago.”
“Don’t I know it, kid. But time was easier then. It went slower. Used to be I could rustle up whatever shit I wanted and didn’t care. But now it’s all precious. You think you’re old because you’re what - five?”
“Five and a half.”
“Shit. That’s not old. I’m like, two.”
“Two?”
“Yeah, two. As a young fairy, I’m going to tell you - it’s not over, kid. You’re not dead yet. Don’t lose heart.”
“You know how old people live to?”
“Twenty, right?”
“A hundred. My dad says he’s going to live to a hundred and fifty. Says if he can bench 40k then he can live to a hundred and fifty. I don’t know what he means by that but it sounds cool. When I’m older I’m going to bench 100k so I can live to, uh...” He twirled the propeller on his head.
“Two hundred?”
“Yeah! Two hundred.”
“You’re alright, kid.”
“I’m older than you. Don’t call me kid.”
“Whatever. Anyway, this fairy’s all fairied out. What I’m meant to be doing is getting your attention. Lurking on the edge of your sight like this” - he swiftly flew to the edge of sight - “making you unsure whether I’m real or just a figment of your imagination. Then I’m meant to fly around and you’re meant to chase me, like... well, like you’re now doing. Then I’m meant to fly into the deep dark part of the wood through that thicket there. Then, because this banshee guy has come along, I’m meant to lead you into the scariest part of the wood where all the monsters are and they scare you, you run away, we meet our quota, and the job’s done. But no. I’m through.”
“What kind of monsters are there?”
“Well, that banshee guy, and there’s lions and tigers and bears...”
“Oh my.”
“And there’s a golem, a mummy, a werewolf, mudmen, mudwomen, Black Ents, trolls, spiders, witches, vampires...”
“Coooooool. I want to go see them.”
“Wait. No you don’t.”
But no. The boy had leaped up and dashed off through the thicket into the deepest darkest part of the forest.

A little while later the aforementioned monsters all came dashing out from the place where the boy had entered.
“What is it?” said John to a passing vampire called Brian. Brian was cool. He once gave John a tip on how to attract the ladies: always act interested and listen. This chick Navi used to come up to Brian and say ‘hey listen’ all the time. Finally, Brian listened and over that summer had enjoyed some fine ass.
“The boy isn’t scared of us!” Brian gesticulated. His shadow tore out its hair. “We’re screwed! That Great Fairy guy told us we had a week to scare the shit out of one kid, and the boy ends up trying to make friends with us!”
John chuckled. “Don’t worry about the Great Fairy. That’s Bill, my brother. He gets asked to give the same speech every day to different companies. Guessing he told you that you were all failures who didn’t know how to close?”
“Well, yeah.”
“And that over in Banana Fens they manage to make blind, deaf, dumb paraplegic people run away in terror?”
“Yeah.”
“And that the Cursed Glengarry Glen clients were available, but were only for really scary monsters?”
“Yeah.”
“I helped him write that speech. Don’t worry. Nobody cares. They just bring him in to shake things up.”
“That’s a relief.” Brian sat on the log next to John. “How come you’re sitting out there all alone?”
“I’ve failed.” John hung his head. “Banshee guy told us to entice five people by the end of the week. It’s impossible. First kid I get, got a propeller cap head thing and I can’t even begin to entice him. It’s pointless.”
“That banshee guy? He’s my cousin. Guessing he told you he had a bunch of Cursed Glengarry Glen clients that were only for closers?”
“Yep.”
“Did he mention the banshee porn?”
“Yep.”
“I wrote that bit.”
“Oh. I’m not sure whether to be relieved or disturbed.”
“Both.”

“Alright.”

Friday, 29 August 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

1/3 = .3333.. 2/3 = .66666.. And 3/3 = .9999 but 3/3 is actually supposed to be 1

the holiday. this was part of an email reply then decided it would be better here for some reason

the holiday was ok. read lotr again, was cool. read Confessions of a Sociopath, which was also cool. swam. ate. shat. ate again. drank a lot. pissed. drank some more. 

also talked to some new neighbours who were english but lived in dubai. their kids were sweet. and annoying. first thing they did when they saw me was ask me why i was so hairy. i told them i was a hobbit. for a moment they believed me and i thought i should never talk to kids ever. then it was better and i chilled out and talked about kid shit. then they thankfully fucked off to the pool.

"come in the pool olly!"
"not right now"
"awww"
"Fine."
gave the kids piggybacks - they all clambered over one another, before the girl scratched the boy and he started crying. i immediately felt guilty as fuck. then slightly relieved because it meant i didn't have to pretend to Be Fun Pool Climbing Frame Man.

grown-ups are boring and predictable - kids are annoying and unpredictable. you know those convos where you can see what people are going to say before they say them? i hate a moment where i got bored and literally mouthed along to the words my dad was saying to someone else. my mum saw me doing it and lolled. 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Ctrl-Z continued

You're probably not reading anymore - that's fine, but in case you are, I've changed it up so that John is like, a spy pretending to be a student.

I don't even know if it's Mi6. Maybe it's like.... MI7.



Michael strode back and forth in front of Simon, zig-zagging like a fly that had just been sprayed.
“Why don’t you just go in there and get him brought to you?”
“Not that easy, Mike.”
Simon put his feet up on the desk, and poured himself a glass of 1910 Cliché Cognac. The best kind. Although if he was being honest with himself, if someone had offered him a ten pound bottle from the local boozer it would probably have tasted the same. But it wasn’t about the taste, it never was. It was what people thought of you when you showed them you had that expensive stuff. Shit. He didn’t even like it. “Let’s say I issue a directive to my department to find Moss Baxter and his family, bring them all in, sit them down, and tell them we need to make use of him as a matter of national security. You think we can just do that?”
“Well, yes.”
“Just because we can doesn’t mean it would work. Let’s say best case scenario. Take a seat, would you? You’re driving me round the bend walking like that.”
“He saw me kill someone. Do you know how it feels to be in that situation?”
“Admittedly, no. Still, there’s good cognac here - shouldn’t let it go to waste.”
“Sod your cognac. I can tell you don’t even like it. Look.” He stopped and slammed both hands upon the desk, looming over Simon. “We need this boy eliminated if we can’t make use of him.”
“Are you actually saying these words? What are we, the mafia?”
“You act like it sometimes.”
“You know nothing about me, and how we do things around here. I invited you here to talk about the issue, not to be yelled at and treated to idiotic suggestions that sound like they come from...”
“I get it. I just thought you’d be more alarmed by the knowledge that the boy could spill and make you an accessory.”
“Me, an accessory? You killed me, remember? How does that make me an accessory?”
“You let me do it.”
A sulky tone had entered Phelan’s voice. Simon knew it well. Nothing worse than a rich man knowing he has lost control of not only a situation, but himself. He sighed. Life would be a fair bit easier if he hadn’t bothered making friends with Mike in the first place. Something at the time had made him seem like an important ally. Technological knowledge or something. Being able to implement international cable settlements and satellite links. Maybe Brooks would know. But now... coming in here, ranting and raving, or rather plain old panicking, and over what? A boy who is too ashamed to use what precocious ability he has to any effect? What could he do? Go into a police station and tell people he witnessed a murder and then bring out the living victim to prove it?
He set down the glass. Same old thoughts that had been going over and over in his head for the past two years. It had become regular. Tediously so. Like his beard. If he didn’t keep a lid on this it would go wild. Best to hack the whole thing off.
“John will be here soon. Tell you what, Mike. Get out of my office.”
“What did you just say?”
“Seriously, just go. For your own good. What’s the use of you being here? What are you going to achieve? If you want us to use this boy, we can use him. If you want us to make him forget what he did, we can’t. What do you even need to see him again for? Hanging around him will only serve to remind him what you did. Ever heard of the Streisand Effect?”
“Streisand Effect? You saying I’m making this worse by reacting to it?”
“Exactly.”
“But the difference is I want the boy dead, I don’t want you to use him.”
Simon paused to pour himself another drink. Damn. Phelan was more unhinged than he’d reckoned upon. Bad enough pretending to murder someone - talking about doing it was infinitely worse. “You actually mean it, don’t you? You think I’m going to execute this boy?”
“I’m hoping you do, yes. Take him out. He’s a hazard, Simon. A hazard to national security.”
“A hazard how, exactly? Being able to remember things that haven’t happened isn’t a power. It’s a curse. It’s nonsense. It’s like those people who can recite the entire Bible or can tell you exactly what flavour ice cream they ate on February 21st three years ago. It’s just a freakish thing.”
“If you really believed that, you wouldn’t have spend the past two years trying to find him.”
Phelan’s eyes glared. There was a red rim around them Simon hadn’t noticed before. A heavy set in the jaw offsetting the impact of his blotched features. For a moment or two Simon could only stare, hoping a witty response would burst forth from his own gob. It didn’t. Not this time. Mike was right. The boy was important, and Simon knew it. The conundrum now was how to get this lunatic out of his office. Simon did his best at looking as terse as possible without also looking constipated.
The phone rang. Picking it up, his eyes not leaving Mike’s (perhaps this was getting a little too terse), he answered.
“John Tupin in reception, sir.”
“Tell him to come in, Joe.”
“Yes, sir.”
“You leaving or what?” he said to Mike, knowing full well Mike was like a kid having a silent tantrum. No moving this one, not today. The door creaked open. Lanky legs come in first, followed by a curious expression.
“What are you doing here?”
“John, sit down. Mike, John, John, Mike. Mike’s not sitting today. In fact, he was just leaving. Worth a shot. Stay there. You want a drink, John? We only have Pepsi.”
“Then I’ll pass.”
“You can’t be fucking serious.”
“I’m joking. Pepsi would be fine.”
“You’re a twat,” boomed Mike, swivelling his neck to swoop his gaze down upon John.
A passing grin spasmed across John’s features. Simon glanced up to watch John regain composure. “Like I said earlier, maybe you’re deaf as well as old - what are you doing here? You used to sell computers. Now you take other people’s ideas and shit all over them.”
“I have my reasons,” said Mike, turning away and taking the leather seat to Simon’s left. “Like you have yours.”
“Stop sounding like a gangster,” said Simon, handing John the can. “It might work for those suckers who invent stuff, but not for me.”
“Who said you could be part of this conversation?”
“This is my fucking office. Talk to me like that again, and the bouncers will drag you out.”
“Surprised you didn’t call upon them already. Or maybe you actually like my company?”
“I like your company - not you.”
John sniggered. “You two been married for how long now? Listen - Michael Phelan - ”
“Just because I’m famous doesn’t mean you have to call me my whole name.”
“Mike.”
“Mr. Phelan to you.”
“Mike. I’m here because of a boy. What are you here for?”
“A boy too.”
“How does he know about the boy, Simon? Shit, didn’t mean to spill Pepsi on your desk. I’ll get that.”
“Mike’s shitting his pants because the boy saw Simon murder me.”
“You murdered him? Simon, why’d you let him do that to you? You two got something kinky going on?”
“Shut the fuck up,” said Simon and Michael.
“Sorry. You know what I’m saying, though. Why would you do that? You’re famous.”
Simon swigged his Cognac. “Lot of fucked up famous people out there, John. I should know. I’ve had to tidy up after a few. This is nothing in comparison. But like I’ve been trying to tell Michael for the past ten minutes, it’s not about what he did. It’s about the boy. It is something special.”
“It is,” said John. “I’ve been building up enough trust to go around doing some cool things with him. He’s told his parents, and they’re fine about it. I promised him I wouldn’t tell anyone, and I haven’t - I think that’s helped.”
“Woo hoo. Best of friends. This doesn’t matter. What matters is how we use him.”
“Use him? You have nothing to do with our operation. You don’t even work here. What’s he even doing here, Simon?”
“He wants us to kill him.”
John sniggered. “That’s not going to happen. So you should get back to your day job. Jog on. Off you go.”
Mike lunged forward with his glass, stabbing John in the eye. A scream of pain so intense and satisfying it eradicated all his confusion, allowing him to pierce through John’s skull without having to exert any effort at all.
“You ok there, Mike?” said John, grinning. “You look kind of like you want to...”
Simon laughed.
“You just killed me, didn’t you?” said John, standing up. “You just killed me. Simon, did he just kill me?”
“Yes, he did. Sit down. Calm yourself.”
“I don’t need this shit.”
“You could have stopped me but you were too slow. That’s what power is. You’re what - a level 17?”
“No, that’s a band,” said Simon.
“16, then?”
“Yeah, sixteen. What are you? Four?”
Michael held up two fingers.
A silence hung over the room. “I think I see what’s happening here. I’m being shafted out, am I right? I’m right, aren’t I? Shit, Simon.” Now it was John’s turn to pace. “You don’t care about the fact I’ve been here for years, covering for you. I’m one of the best undercover agents here, and you ditch me just because of this level bullshit?”
“It’s not bullshit,” said Michael, grabbing the Cognac. “It’s power. I’m better than you at your job because I can do things you can’t. I’m not saying you’re not good at what you do, it’s just that you can’t do things I can. It’s like you’re a disabled person running a marathon. You’re great - you’re very fit, fitter than most people - but I have a car, and I can get to the end of the race quicker.”
“But you’re not even racing.”
“Exactly.”
“But you wouldn’t be running the marathon.”
“Exactly. I’d be driving it.”
“But you don’t get how marathons work.”
“Both of you, shut up,” said Simon. “He’s right about the marathon thing, Mike. But John, he’s got a point. I prefer you as a person to Mike. Mike - you’re a dangerous, angry man. John - you’re a good friend, who I’ll be sad to lose. But for us to get the best out of this situation, we need power. And connections. Connections allow us to smooth through certain operations that otherwise might be a struggle. You know how celebrities are used to open up new shopping malls? I’d like to think of Mike as the celebrity opening up new shopping malls for us, except not shopping malls.”
“More like what? Wars?”
Simon crunched on a piece of ice. “I’m going to have to say something you’ll hate, John, but... you’re not at the level required for me to divulge that.”
“Fuck you.”
“I know. Now, half of your cash has already been deposited and is being shipped to your requested station, and...”
“And the other half? The other half you promised to pay when I brought the boy to you?”
“Will be paid when you bring the boy to me, obviously.”
“Why the fuck would I bring the boy to you now?”
Simon laughed. He looked at Mike. Mike was blank-faced: couldn’t handle his cognac. “For your money?”
“Screw your money. I’m done. I’m out.”
“But you want the first half, right?”
“I’m not stupid, yes. But I’m done. I’m going to go take up that advertised job over in Legal.”
“Good luck with that. I heard they were looking for ADD ridden film buffs, so you’re in luck.”
He didn’t even need to look up to be able to Undo what John did before it had even happened.
“How did you...” John looked at his hands. “I hit you, right?”
“No, you didn’t. Sorry. That’s what it means to be a level one, John. I can prevent things from happening as well as Undo them. You remember that time that Liz Fraser got drunk at that party and kissed you?”
“No.”
“I know you don’t. She was going to, though. I watched it happen. It was a nice kiss. You looked well suited. Then I Undid it, and...” He spread out his fingers. “Gone.”
“You’re a prick.”
“You’re a prick too, just a less powerful prick. Go ahead and tell me you wouldn’t have done the same to me.”
“I wouldn’t. You were a friend to me.”
“You were a friend to me too. But even friends sometimes like to see each other suffer sometimes, don’t they?”
Mike remained fixed on something at the window. A moth was splayed upon it.
“You hearing this, Mike? This is the guy who wants to work with you.”
“I hear it. I also don’t care about it. Off you go.” He swivelled his head. “Jog on.”
John punched the desk and strode out.
“You’ve had a change of heart, then,” said Mike.
“Yes.”
He hadn’t. But, he half-believed in what he’d told John earlier. Mike might have his uses. As long as Vivian and Simon were on the same page, they could control him. Vivian would appreciate the move from undercover to, well, overcover. A talent like the boy’s needed a platform to make itself shown. The boy needed power, and to know that it could be his for the taking if he just applied himself. He hadmentally rehearsed these words in his head to say to the boy more times than he could remember. He had visions of the boy being part of diplomatic missions, undermining everything the opposition did. Maybe even coups. The boy might be a politician yet.
“What are you thinking about?”
Mike’s bloodshot gaze was like being stared at by a drunk Death.
“Nothing. You?”
“I like cognac. You don’t. That makes me better than you.”
Simon shrugged. “Might not like it but that makes it doubly impressive that I could drink more of it than you could.”
“Challenge accepted.”
Simon pressed his intercom. “Joe?”
“Yes, sir?”
“Bring two bottles of cognac, as quick as you can.”
“Empty bottles, sir?”
“No, you dimwit.”
“What’s the celebration?”
“It’s Thursday.”
“Alright, sir.”

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Next time i tell myself i can't write - I wrote this.

Sometimes it seemed that only the orgasm mattered. The material pleasures seemed a counter-balance to the spiritual void, a maw of silence that could never be filled but only temporarily blocked, like a clogged drain. During those fleeting moments of divine sensation, of chemical equilibrium, she could stop thinking and concentrate only on achieving empirical nirvana. Perhaps that was all that mattered. Satiation of dopamine neurosis, dependence on external stimuli. But she was no lab rat. There was also the spiritual to consider. And the spiritual was a more fickle master.

I was the creeper.

So I was in my room, doing the usual - listening to ambient drone doom music whilst trying to forge meaning in my life. It had turned 2 in the morning. I was unemployed, and as a result, my barometer on reality was a little squiffy. At the time, I was living with my parents, but they were both away on holiday at the time. So, it was me and the night, and because I had grown accustomed at this time to waking late enough in the afternoon to see no more than two hours of daylight, I thought I had grown accustomed to the night. I was wrong.
In my room there was a dull squalor. There was a full moon that night, which should have been enough of a warning. You never know what can happen on those nights. It was stuffy enough to open the windows full.
So I’m getting up, thinking about going home, when I hear a bang downstairs. The kind of bang I might have mistaken for the cat doing something stupid, but the cat had left the house a few hours before. You know how you can tell when a noise is from the front door? That certain vibrancy, a shudder that runs through the whole house? This noise had that authority. Except there were two things wrong with hearing this noise: it was two in the morning, and it was stifled.
Stifled. Like, I mean, the noise wasn’t a full on bang. Like someone was trying to muffle the impact of their own noise. The sound of shattered glass, of someone trying to break in, would have been more reassuring, because at least it meant they hadn’t got in yet. But this sound, of the door shutting... they weren’t only trying to get in, they had already succeeded.
I sat in the attic. Lame, I know. In my defense, it was a fully utilised loft extension with its own lounge and kitchen, but still. Lame. Either way, I became painfully aware that, when the noise hit my ears, I had few options available to me. One of them involved trying to leave the house through the attic window. This meant climbing onto the roof and sliding off, probably doing damage to myself. The other choice meant going down a floor and going out through a window onto the conservatory roof.
But, before I had time to decide, I heard footsteps on the stairway leading into the attic.
My mind went numb even as adrenalin shuddered through my limbs. This couldn’t be real. They couldn’t be coming for me. And they were so fast. They knew I was in. I’d been quiet but they somehow knew.
I could not move. First came the top of a head, messy black hair, then a face.
Its eyes held nothing. They were wide - so wide, it was like looking into a scream. He jerked unnaturally. He seemed almost to shrug, saying ‘I don’t know why I’m like this, but what can you do?’ There he stood, in that shrugging position, eyes wide, mouth agape.
No longer capable of making decisions, my body kicked in my choice for me. I aped him. Not only did I ape him, wearing my own expression that I hoped looked crazy, but I made a noise I hope I never have to make again.
“AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” roared from my mouth. I could hear the insanity in myself, but knew I had to accentuate it to try and get him away, make the crazy person think I was crazy.
He jumped and stumbled, gripping onto the banister for balance.
“AAAAHHHHAAA!” I repeated. “FUUUCCCCKKKKKK YOUUUU!” This came out as a bellow so loud that my voice cracked from the strain. Then I lost all rational thought processes as my Fight response kicked in. I rushed towards him, knowing full well I looked at least as crazy as he did. “HUG ME!” I demanded, arms outstretched. “KISS ME! HUG ME! KISS ME! I LOVE YOU!”
The last sentence seemed to strike a match within his mind. Something broke. He stepped backwards but, balance lost, he tumbled backwards down the stairs. I clattered after him, watching with glee how his head cracked against the wall. It was like watching a spider squirm after being sprayed with disinfectant.
“GET UP! AHHH HAAAAAAAAAAA!”
I grabbed his collar and pulled him up, looking into his face. I spat, then tried the earlier gambit once more.
“I LOVE YOU!”
He no longer seemed able to respond to my words. He had turned comatose. His processing had shut down. A feeble mind, matched in its insanity only by its dimwittedness. All that came out of him was a low whining sound. With strength that still bewilders me to this day, I dragged him down the next flight of stairs, kicking and biting him as I did so. I opened the front door and led him out onto the driveway, where I punched him in the face. There was no defence. With each blow I hit, satisfaction filled my veins.
Soon all I had to look at was a bloody mess. I was done. He was done. Sirens wailed, letting me know my role had been fulfilled.


POLICE REPORT 22.11.13

Mr. Smith, the occupant of 34 Brook Street, came home late from the pub. Reporting ‘an early sense of unease’, he went upstairs to his room in his parents’ attic, and discovered a man sitting on his computer chair. The man reportedly said ‘I love you’ before unleashing a wave of furious attacks that left the victim in a coma for three weeks. Mr. Smith was quoted saying ‘the worst thing was, the computer wasn’t even on. No music was playing, no television, nothing. He’d just been sitting there in the dark for God knows how long.’

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Ctrl-Z contd

John’s phone vibrated in his pocket as he headed towards town. The noise and bustle and dust combined to accentuate his already flustered mind. How had it been possible? Should he call the police? This was awesome and awful at the same time. A shoulder barged against his. Now was a good time to get that bad mood out on someone. Before he had time, however, a voice shouted behind him.
“Free admission to the Sentry Club!” it shouted.
The stall housed a man, no more than thirty years of age, whose hair being as it was thick on top and shaved on the sides lent him a debonair appearance. The stall itself was designed in red, white and black. Funky fonts proclaimed The Sentry Club’s importance to any student worth their salt.
“Hello sir. Before I start selling you on us, feel free to take one of our brochures. Inside, you will find all the information you need to know and can take it away and read at your leisure. If, however, you would like to know more, I, Darren Beckett, can tell you all you need to know about The Sentry Club.”
“Why are you talking like you’re a weirdo?”
He laughed. “It’s the way we market ourselves. Sharp. Sophisticated. Charming.”
“Weird.”
“That too, but sometimes, weirdness is good. Take a look at our club. Free drinks. Free arcade games, and on top of that, a club that exudes class.”
“It does look nice, I suppose...”
“All I need to know is what level you are.”
“20.”
“Oh!... too bad. Sorry. 18 or under.”
“Right. Well, good to know snobbery isn’t dead yet.”
“Only exclusivity. You want to be part of the social scene, you need to find the right connections. How’s about if I told you that maybe I could give you those two extra levels, at no cost?”
“What? You’re not serious.”
“Totally serious. All I need from you is one piece of information. Do you know whether there has been any suspicious activities around here? Anything spooky?”
“What? Spooky? What is this, Mi5?”
Darren laughed, but it was more like a farting sound. “No - not Mi5, where’d you get that idea? No - the Sentry Club is an exclusive group, designed to cater for those in the know, and those who would like to know more.”
“About what, exactly?”
“The place we live in.”
“This is really weird. You are Mi5, aren’t you? What are you doing here? Why would you take on recruitments in this way? Why not just use the usual cryptic advertisements to find intelligent and/or paranoid nutter people?”
“Look, John,” said Darren. “The club is the thing. You either would like to part of it, or not. You want to get places, see people, maybe even get important references in life, you join up.”
“How did you know my name?” whispered John.
“Guessed. It’s pretty clear to me that you have stayed around talking to me for a reason. You either like the idea of a place that has free drinks all night, or you have something you’d like to share.”
“You’re worse than those Scientologists. Get lost.”
John walked away, feeling the gaze on his back the whole way into town.
Four weeks passed, during which the assignment was attended to a further ten times. Eleanor and Moss agreed that they had become dab hands at their roles, and that with each successive experiment, the authenticity of the piece improved incrementally, meaning that perhaps, as in Eleanor’s words, “this might be more than just two students messing about”.  On one occasion several members of the public were shooed away successfully by Eleanor’s adaptation of a posher accent - something noted down by the two students in their portfolios. Moss himself had grown accustomed to incorporating realistic elements into his own particular role as semi-conscious victim, with the occasional moan and groan adding an element of humanity and drama. Usually these were followed by a prod from Eleanor’s shoe, but nonetheless Moss believed his role was being uniquely deal with. John, it seemed, had lost whatever early interest he had in Moss’s abilities. Eleanor’s words had, it seemed, been overly cautious. For whatever reason, John had grown stoic and grumpy, and often moaned that he was in need of a Subway. Usually these did the trick, although on occasion John would mention something about a secret club - something which Eleanor seemed to be more interested in, allowing Moss to think about things like the real meaning of Pepperonis.
“You hear me, Moss?” said John, during one particularly in-depth post-film discussion in the union bar.
“No, what?”
“That guy came up to me again. Talking about a secret club. He’s never approached either of you, never ever spoken to either of you, but he seems to think I’m worth approaching.”
“I tried to talk to him, but he told me they were shut,” said Moss, shugging. “Maybe he could tell I wasn’t really interested.”
“As for me, maybe he saw an element of class.”
“Or someone willing to part with his money,” said Eleanor.
“Or that,” said Moss.
“Doubtful. I’ve got a bit of a boho look going on here. These trousers might have cost eighty quid, but look how ripped they are. I’m barely shaven. My hair’s all messy. I’m not rich looking.”
Eleanor stared into space, so Moss played with his phone.
“You’re not listening!” said John. Eleanor and Moss jumped. “Sorry. But you don’t get it. This club... the man can get you up two levels if you join. Two levels. Isn’t that something?”
“Yeah,” conceded Eleanor. “To do what, again?”
“Pass a test. Prove your worth.”
“Hazing, in other words. It’s an American-style frat-house. You want in, you have to endure a night of people rubbing chillis all over your balls. You want that sort of life, go ahead. Doesn’t interest me. And not only because I have no balls. I just don’t understand the mindset. Why would you want to be a part of something whose entire culture tells you from the very start that it’s based on bullying and elitism? You’re not a bully or elitist, but you’ll become one if you join up.”
“I don’t care. I want to be somebody after I leave uni. I don’t want to spend much more of my time filming projects and dossing about. I’ve got a lot to offer the world, Eleanor, and a lot of talent.”
Moss felt himself wanting to snigger. Probably a bad idea. Might cost them a camera operator. Better to keep playing on his phone instead. Was nice how these days playing on one’s phone was acceptable, especially since you didn’t have to pretend you were texting someone anymore. People were all gamers now. Everything was a game. And the best thing about games? They never forced you into doing or something anything awkward. It was either win, or try again.
“You ought to make something more of yourself too, Moss.”
He could feel John’s eyes upon him even as he attempted to break into The Castle of Manifest Horror. “You’re right.”
“No, I mean it. You’re wasting your time with this.” Suddenly the phone was out of Moss’s hands. “What’s this, anyway? Some game? You’re a student. You’re meant to socialise, drink with people, meet people, not sit in your room playing games.”
A creeping sensation ran up Moss’s back. It was as if hands were running over his skin, lightly tapping and pawing, and reached his mouth, sealing it shut. So he sat silently. It was all he could do.
“Stop it,” said Eleanor quietly.
John held the phone for a moment, considering it. “Alright, Miss Authority. Shame Moss can’t speak up for himself. That great ability of his, he should have stopped this from happening. Here, have it. Waste of time if you ask me. Anyway, I’ll catch you later. I’ve got a meeting to attend.”
“You’re not actually going to register at that place, are you?”
“Yeah, why not? Better than hanging around here.”
He departed.
“Remind me why we need him again?” said Moss.
“That was really rude of him. But Moss, you need to speak up.”
“I know.”
“He’s being an arsehole, but he’s right in one thing: why didn’t you, you know... use your ability?”
“I don’t want to. I don’t like it. Makes me feel weird. And I don’t like that you both know about it. It’s hard enough for you to know, but at least you’re being nice about it. I wish I’d never told him.”
“You can’t undo that now.”
“I know. I wish I had earlier. Why didn’t I?”
“Because, maybe it’s like you say. You don’t like doing so.”
The bar was quiet, despite the generic indie music being pumped through the speakers. One or two stragglers around, but at midday on a weekday, even students tended to be elsewhere. This was the sort of place that people went to with their friends to get drunk anyway. Get drunk and have fun. He might call mum later. Would be nice to catch up.
“Penny for your thoughts, Moss.”
His hands cupped the hot chocolate mug. “Nothing.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. When you’re ready to talk, I’m here.”
“Thanks.”
Someone got a pool ball into the hole. Amazing shot. Would be nice to be that good at pool. Could spend all his month’s creds practising one shot over and over. People did that sort of thing, probably. Obsessive behaviour. But if obsession proves useful and yields an end result, it is renamed dedication. Hard to know the line between the two. A man playing computer games is a loser. A man winning a computer game competition becomes a winner. Being someone in this world means winning against all the competition. But then, if you win, than everyone else around you becomes a loser.
“I’m lost,” he said finally, staring into the dregs of his hot chocolate. “I don’t know how to relate to people anymore, if I ever did. I’m not sure what I’m doing, where I’m going. The future scares me. I scare myself. I don’t want to be different to people. I just want to be normal.”
Eleanor sighed. “Oh dear.” And could say nothing more, for there was nothing more to say.
“I think I’m just tired,” he said instead.
“Me too. Hope this gets good marks. Maybe we’ve taken this too seriously.”
“Maybe. I just like to do things right and do them well.”
“I think maybe we should stop filming after tomorrow.” She took out her papers and rolled. “John’s really pissing me off, to be honest. Been weird ever since, well... you know. Only knew him from someone in my dorm. You know how you think you know someone, but when you actually get to know them, you begin to know them less and less? Does that make sense? People are so fake, you know?”
“Yeah, I know...”

And she was off ranting, and so all Moss had to do was listen, and that was okay.