Even though I had to share my table with a couple of guys who had a row about a girl and they almost started fighting and the beer was five pounds a bottle and someone spilled red wine on my silk jacket and I lost an earring and the ladies’ had flooded so my boots got wet and I found out right then that they leak and a girl kept staring at me and it was a bit scary and the music was loud and I don’t like rap or bluegrass much and the final episode of that series was on TV and the taxi home was twenty pounds and I only had fifteen so we had to go to a cashpoint and I couldn’t find my key and had to wake up my sister to let me in, at least my battery lasted long enough for me to receive your text saying you had been to football with your cousin and couldn’t make our date so not to wait around for you.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Michael looks through the viewfinder. He looks at each area in turn, wondering which image will be the nicest, the best, the most accurate.
Straight ahead he sees his wife, pretty and her hair in soft curls, her hips a little wider than he remembers. She sits at the breakfast bar, sipping an expensive coffee, flicks the pages of a magazine, does not see the white-walled rooms and tribal rugs in the pictures. She sighs and then again. Her face looks sad, her body defeated. She rises, fetches cleaning things and wipes the wall and surfaces and windows that do not need wiping.
To the right he sees his office. He has stepped outside for a moment, to an important meeting, to something that only he can resolve. His secretary sits in the outer office, screening calls, checking business flights, smiling or shaking her head at appropriate times. She has dark roots and a plunging neckline and a Masters that qualifies her more highly than three quarters of the staff. She resolves never to sleep with him again, not after this time, and she knows he will make her believe he will promote her soon, very soon.
To the left he sees his club and there, his friends. They talk about making money and talk about screwing women. They believe you are only a real man if you do both, a lot. They prefer making money and prefer talking about screwing women. They know making money lets you screw women. They know that, if they did not make money, women with dark roots and plunging necklines would not agree to be screwed by men made real by baldness, paunches, bad breath and dandruff.
Above he sees his children. He knows they are his children because there are two of them, one boy and one girl, and that is what he has. These children are older and taller than his children and not so cute. They are more whiney and have many flashing gadgets and electronics in their rooms, which they ignore and instead look bored. They do not stop texting on their mobiles, except for when they tweet fml and similar.
Michael does not know which image to capture because he does not recognize them as his. He knows his wife is happy and his secretary is happy and his friends are happy and his children are happy. He would like one big happy picture. He would like to be in a happy picture.
He thinks probably they all would.
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
I don’t like ham, I don’t like chicken and I don’t like beef. No meat of any kind thank you. They’re just too fluffy to eat. OK more hairy, feathery and leathery but you get what I mean. I could no more eat an animal than I could eat my mother or you for that matter. I get fed up with having to justify to people why I don’t eat animals so here it is, one time, just for you.
It’s all a big cycle, this life of ours. We think we humans are at the top of the pile but we aren’t. Being human is OK but it’s only about halfway up the scale. We think dolphins aren’t far behind us and pigs are quite clever and know some dogs manage better in many situations than some people do. Think again.
Dolphins, pigs, badgers and dogs are the brains and the muscle for the real masters. Cats are in charge of everything. The cats and dogs fighting thing is all a ruse to divert suspicion from the scheming that is really going on. Humans have been subjugated by these animals for centuries and we’ve never had the wit to realize. We feed them and home them and stroke them and kid ourselves we want to look after them.
And then we go and eat their brothers and sisters.
We move between the levels in the life cycle and eating other members sends us in a definite downwards direction. Humans get a couple of goes at life in which to avoid eating all formerly living things before we are demoted one level and know what’s lower than humans? A dung beetle. Then we have one life as a dung beetle, which doesn’t eat ham ever, and then we get promoted to people again. And probably we spend another few cycles still eating ham before relegated to dung beetles and so on forever.
So think of it this way. No ham equals good equals heading towards being a dolphin in a near-future life. Ham equals bad equals you get to be a dung beetle again. Why do you think guys are so obsessed with football?
Monday, 28 January 2013
In America a cruel and unusual death would be unconstitutional, but this is Basingstoke so it’s not such a problem. If one chooses a cruel and unusual death for oneself, what business is it of anybody else.
It’s more the unusual side that I find intriguing. I’m working on the hypothesis that virtually all deaths are cruel in some way, so that isn’t something I can alter if I decide to pursue this course, and I do intend to. That frees me to concentrate on the unusual aspect of the deed. Here are some of the options I have considered thus far.
If I could find a small pool and buy enough custard, I thought I might drown myself in yellowy gloop. I would have a sweet death, going into the light actually and metaphorically. Apparently custard is a non-Newtonian liquid, which means it can’t decide if it’s liquid or solid, so I wouldn’t really sink in and drown. I would walk on it like a desserty messiah.
I thought I might dive like a swan from a pod on the top of the London Eye, but I haven’t the money for the tickets to travel there or to ride the wheel. Basingstoke has no similar celebratory circular landmark.
Suicide by cop would be another unusual one, another American idea. Person threatens cops with gun, cops challenge them to lay down their weapon, person refuses and makes as if to shoot, cops shoot person first and pop-pop-pop-pop, bloody holes appear all over their body. I should think the Hampshire equivalent would be making a bit of a fuss outside a Happy Shopper and being poked quite hard with an extendible truncheon.
Finally I decided on peanuts. They kill people all the time and quickly too, so no hanging about wondering will she-won’t she pull through. And a good thick suit of clothes would make finding somewhere accessible for a jab of adrenaline or morphine or anti-peanut stuff harder to locate. I decided to force one deep into my ear, right down in the tube so nobody could remove it until it was too late. Maybe I’d hide in the corner of a cinema so I can have a huge, vivid last image of some gorgeous leading man like Tom Cruise or Will Smith.
I’d be sorry for whoever has to find me but I can’t let that detract me from my countdown. Sorry.
Sunday, 27 January 2013
His mother often made up food parcels for him. She couldn’t be sure that he would be proper food if she gave him cash, so she shopped for wholesome foods and a few of his favourites, then packed them into a box for him to collect on his weekend home.
The first ever box went with him the time he left home and travelled to his new place. She even wrote his name on everything in marker pen back then, until he reassured her the others wouldn’t eat his things because he’d keep them in his room or a locked cupboard. Besides if they ate his, he could eat theirs. Heaven only knows what he’d end up with then, she thought. Probably those Pot Noodly things, which was exactly what she was trying to avoid.
Every few weeks during the first year away he had come home, bringing with him a huge load of washing and often he’d make a request for the next food box. Some suggestions she agreed with, like green pasta and pesto sauce. Others she ignored, like Guinness and Mars Bars and six-packs of crisps. She knew he probably did eat those things when she wasn’t around, but getting her to pay for them wasn’t going to work.
During the long summer break she got used to having him around again. He sometimes did his own washing now he didn’t have to find pound coins for the slot and he even went shopping with her sometimes, although she did have to watch what he tried to slip into the trolley masquerading as a treat or something new to try. He started to join her in a mug of hot malted milk before bed on the nights he wasn’t out with his friends. He introduced her to dunking and even though she worried about the chance of stains on the carpet, she did like crumbling ginger nuts and malted milk softening in her mouth.
In the second year he came home a little less often and in the third year, less often still. He worked harder and spent more hours reading books thicker than any she owned. Sometimes he would bring a friend with him and once a girl. His mother could tell she was nice enough but it wouldn’t last. She wasn’t in the same league as him but would he tire of explaining things to her before she tired of trying to keep up.
He always took a box back with him and now they didn’t need to discuss what it should contain any more. There were even some ingredients so he could start experimenting with home cooked meals although whether he traded them for ready-made packets she wasn’t sure. And whenever he was at home they always had a few evenings of late-night hot milk and biscuits, chatting about important things and unimportant things and sharing time.
Now his boxes included a packet of ginger nuts and sometimes she put in a second packet, just to be sure.