Cockney science

May 22, 2017 at 6:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Lever

‘Lever it out, Arthur.’

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Scattervox

May 19, 2017 at 6:59 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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8536930-3x2-700x467

‘We specialise in scat.’

‘Zippity dat, dat, dat … zwee bop.’

‘Yeah.’

Pic by Terri Begley.

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Spell Czech

September 26, 2016 at 7:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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3499

‘For what it’s worth, I’d recommend European sevens in this context.’

 

Pic by Matej Divizna/Getty Images.

 

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Pie eyed

September 16, 2016 at 7:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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magpie

‘Look, up in the sky!’

‘Well, it ain’t us.’

‘Probably a plane, then.’

‘You reckon?’

Pic by Vincent Ng.

 

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The very bad detective

February 13, 2016 at 7:59 am | Posted in Short Story, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Nokia

Episode 2. Phone tap.

The dame composed herself and drew up her long legs.

The detective glanced at the scene.

‘Like what you see?’ she purred.

‘I’m not really into pastels.’

‘You think I’ll turn to water?’

‘I’d stick to acrylic for now.’

‘You make me sound so … fake.’

The detective put down his telescope and looked at her squarely, ‘Ms Sutherland, may I inquire again what you’re here for?’

She bridled and tossed her red mane. ‘You received my SMS, I assume?’

‘When did you send it?’

‘This morning.’

He pulled out his Nokia. ‘I got something this morning, but it didn’t display.’

‘That’s odd … ‘

‘Not really; it’s a very old phone. Did you happen to send an attachment?’

‘Yes. A photograph.’

‘Ah, there’s the rub.’

‘It wasn’t very big … ‘

‘Doesn’t matter; I can’t display any kind of file.’

‘And you call yourself … a detective?!’

He stood and pointed. ‘I’ll ask the questions here. OK?’

The dame snorted. ‘Do you even know what network you’re on?’

The detective coloured. ‘I’m not sure: something “G”.’

‘2G or not 2G?’

He threw down the bumper fun book. ‘That is a question!’

‘Someone’s gotta ask the tough ones.’

‘Well, I didn’t get your damn message.’

The dame fished in her handbag and caught up a rhinestone-encrusted tablet. ‘Here, take this!’

It slipped through the detective’s fingers and flopped onto his desk.

‘And what am I supposed to do with this?’

‘Oh, for God’s sake!’ The dame grabbed the tablet and flicked it on. ‘There!’

The detective peered cautiously at the image which had miraculously appeared on the hitherto blank screen. ‘Extraordinary!’

She rolled her eyes and counted to seven. ‘Believe me; you’ll get used to it.’

Gingerly drawing closer to the magical device, the detective examined the photograph it displayed. ‘Who’s the suit?’

The dame adjusted her tresses and drew a long bow. ‘The Chief Ommissioner.’

‘What?’

‘The Chief Ommissioner.’

‘I heard you the first time.’

‘Then why did you say “what”?’

‘I was expressing surprise.’

‘At what?’

‘What?’

‘At what?!’

‘What what?’

Her eyes fell to a paper spike and stayed there. ‘At. What. Were. You. Expressing. Surprise?!’

The detective fumbled for his telescope and rounded on her. ‘His title.’

‘Chief Ommissioner?’

‘Yes. Chiefly the “Ommissioner” bit.’

The dame snatched the telescope. ‘I see.’ She looked to the window and spied a bar. Next to it, two more. Beyond these, a tavern. ‘Let’s get outta here; it’s not safe.’

‘What do you mean?’

She regarded him narrowly over the paper spike. ‘Come with me and I’ll explain everything.’

‘But, I hardly know you! … And I’m really bad at maths.’

Stay tuned for Episode 3.


If you enjoyed this post, you may wish to:

Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.


 

 

 

 

 

The very bad detective

February 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Posted in Short Story, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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The Very Bad Detective

Episode 1.  Nothing like a dame.

This is a story about one of those detectives with the hat and the fan and the venetian blinds.

Except this detective had wooden blinds from Freedom Furniture. The string had snapped and the slats slid about like ice floes on a warming sea.

He’d been meaning to get them fixed, but it wasn’t worth the candle for Victory Blinds to come out. Nor did he feel he could repair them himself. Freedom Furniture, of course, had laughed in his face. He should never have Skyped them.

As he pondered his inadequacies, a dame entered his office unannounced. By this device, he divined she wasn’t a real dame, like Joan Sutherland. Also, this one was alive. A dead giveaway.

‘The name’s Sutherland’, said the dame.

The detective winced. ‘That sounds like trouble.’

‘How do you mean?’ she inquired archly, flashing her soles.

The spittoon rang: the detective let it. ‘I mean, people will think your name’s Joan.’

‘It is Joan! How did you know?!’

‘Listen, lady; it was bound to happen eventually. I get a lot of dames in here.’

She withdrew an e-cigarette and inhaled deeply. ‘Notwithstanding that, I think it’s a remarkable coincidence.’

‘You’re right; you wouldn’t read about it.’

She exhaled noisily. ‘I suppose you think I’m vapid.’

‘I didn’t before, but I do now.’

The dame began to bristle. The detective replaced the tack he’d been toying with and took another.

‘So, what brings you here, Ms … Sutherland?’

She pouted. ‘It’s what brought me here that’s more to the point.’

‘Has anyone ever told you you’re living in the past?’

The dame glared. ‘All the time. So what? I’m not into this being present crap.’

‘You sound tense.’

She crossed the room. ‘I may be about to be.’

‘Well, none of us are perfect.’

‘Is.’

‘Pardon?’

‘”None” is singular.’

‘Remarkable!’

‘That too.’

‘I think I’ve heard enough, Ms Sutherland.’

The spittoon rang.

‘Aren’t you gonna get that?’

He picked up the offending item. ‘This belonged to my mother.’

‘It’s so shiny. I can see my face in it.’

‘You have her eyes.’

The dame laughed coarsely. ‘Yeah, well, she signed the form and I got lucky. I get a ton of compliments on these peepers. Pretty much every day. You could say I’m in the midst of an eyes epidemic.’

The tack drew blood. ‘I don’t like your tone, Ms Sutherland.’

‘I’m quavering.’

‘Very funny. So, what brought you here?’

‘Mind if I take a seat?’

‘It’s a rental.’

‘I won’t be here long.’

‘I get that feeling too, sometimes … especially at night.’

The spittoon rang out.

Episode 2. Phone tap.

 

 

 

 

 

The Farting Biting Cat

September 25, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Fluffy. The Farting Biting Cat.

Fluffy. The Farting Biting Cat.

Deep in the hold of the airliner, the Farting Biting Cat bit angrily at the slim bars of its cage. Then, it farted. Growls of protest sounded from the other pets. These multiplied and crescendoed to shrieks of outrage as noxious gas filled the chamber and hung, like swamp moss, in the dank air.

Unperturbed, the Farting Biting Cat resumed its methodical shredding of the thick newspaper lining its cage. Sharp claws ejected from fat, furry paws, noisily slitting layers of typescript.

Every now and then, the Farting Biting Cat scooped up a clutch of tapers. Eyeing them with hatred, it opened its horrible mouth and bit with piebald gums and worn teeth – teeth worn from biting. Then, closing its eyes in an ecstasy of vengeance, the Farting Biting Cat farted.

By the time the ground crew arrived, the hold reeked of methane and was littered with moist, masticated fragments of paper. When a gloved finger protruded into the cage of the Farting Biting Cat, it drove its good fang through the stout canvas.

The sudden savagery of the attack tensed its muscles, causing it to emit a loud fart. The baggage handler recoiled in pain and surprise, leaving behind the tip of his glove and a morsel of flesh. This the Farting Biting Cat devoured with relish, and with a sturdy, contented, fart.

**********

Roger eyed Stephanie with anxiety as she released the Farting Biting Cat into their new home. She cooed and murmured to her pet, as it ambled from the cage and flashed its red eyes at Roger. Then, with a force astonishing for something so revoltingly obese and orange, it sprang and fastened itself to Roger’s chest.

Spread-eagled on his heavy jumper, the Farting Biting Cat bit his collar bone ferociously, its corrupt breath hot on his skin. Roger leapt back, smashing into the front door, his frantic thumbs digging into the folds of fat under the Farting Biting Cat’s forelegs.

With all his strength, he flung the animal to the ground and kicked it. The Farting Biting Cat spun across the polished floorboards, farting profusely with rage.

Stephanie shot Roger an angry look and stalked down the corridor with muttered recriminations. Roger slumped to the floor, bloody and unconscious.

**********

When Roger woke, Stephanie had already left for work. A note pinned to his sleeve detailed his chores for the day. He saw with dread that Chore One was to feed the Farting Biting Cat. A cloth bag at his feet held the ingredients for the Farting Biting Cat’s breakfast.

Swearing into the warm draught of the stove, Roger stirred a vile goulash. Eggs, beans, cheese and sauerkraut vied for supremacy over bubbling lard. His stomach recoiled at the stench.

From the end of the house, Roger heard a low fart and a disturbing crunching sound. The Farting Biting Cat was awake. He glared through the door and stabbed at the goop, which plopped sullenly and slithered around the sides of the battered fondue pot.

With a final stir, Roger turned off the gas and carried the pot to the Farting Biting Cat’s terra cotta feeding bowl. Hoping to deposit the meal before its owner arrived, Roger scooped recalcitrant gobs of the heinous matter and flung them earthward.

Before he had finished, however, the Farting Biting Cat entered the lounge, and farted.

Eyeing his nemesis warily, Roger steeled himself, filled the feeding bowl and stepped back.

The Farting Biting Cat advanced, regarding Roger through hooded slits. Roger retreated to the kitchen, took down a carving knife and clutched it to his breast.

The Farting Biting Cat glanced disdainfully into its bowl. Lowering its heavy, whiskered head it began to eat. For seven minutes the Farting Biting Cat feasted, not once taking its eyes from Roger.

Every time its drool-drenched jaws closed on a chunk of unmelted cheese, The Farting Biting cat emitted a long, low growl and a hideous, breathy fart. Nauseous and dizzy, Roger began to sway in the doorway.

The Farting Biting Cat straightened, having expanded to twice its size. Unable to stretch, it farted, then bit languidly at a flea. Roger exhaled with relief. Stephanie’s pet always slept after dining. He began to think about coffee and a shower. He was jet-lagged and let his eyelids close in a long blink.

When he reopened them, the Farting Biting Cat was gone.

Roger shook his head. The lounge was tiny, the coffee table glass-topped; no place to hide for something as large and smelly as a catcher of grass from a poo-ridden nature strip. He assumed the Farting Biting Cat had returned to the front room and stepped out of the kitchen.

The Farting Biting Cat launched itself from the bookcase, thudding into Roger’s neck and piloting him through the coffee table. Roger struggled from the glass-sharded confines and lurched back into the kitchen. The Farting Biting Cat rode shotgun, seeking his eyes, farting continuously and biting murderously into his scalp.

In the ensuing struggle, Roger dropped his knife. Sensing victory, The Farting Biting Cat tightened its hold and slashed open his forehead.

Blinded with blood, Roger’s desperate fingers sought a new weapon. Glass and crockery crashed to the floor. At last his hand closed around something smooth, which dovetailed into his palm with familiarity.

It was his old Junkers oven ignition pistol.

The Farting Biting Cat continued its attack. The pain made Roger’s hands twitch spasmodically and the oven pistol crackled with sparks. In preparation for the coup de grace, the Farting Biting Cat released a cruel, voluminous fart.

Instantly the pistol kindled it, sending a jet of blue flame into the body of its author.

The explosion was deafening. Billowing acrid smoke, the Farting Biting Cat rocketed from Roger’s shoulder, slammed into the lounge room wall, plummeted to the floor and died – farting and biting uncontrollably.

Nursing his ravaged face, Roger fumbled for the telephone.

The Latex Beanbags

August 31, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The following week, Rodney bought a new lawn mower …

Wolfgang was a tall, rangy homosexual who spoke with flamboyant gestures and a heavily contrived German accent. His acerbic wit could slice the knees from anyone foolish enough to consider him a stereotype.

He was into latex, but not in the biblical sense. Despite looking and acting like one, Wolfgang really was an eccentric and innovative fashion designer. He did all his own work, jealously protecting his exotic techniques. He worked exclusively in latex and had repeatedly pierced the membrane of accepted thought on its use.

In Wolfgang’s hands, latex swooned and surrendered its deepest secrets. It danced for him, happily assuming the appearance of any fabric he cared to nominate, from lace to hessian.

One spring, Wolfgang was suffused with two urges, one of which was to create something truly new in latex. After much deliberation, he decided to construct a set of beanbags. He told his hetero friends, Rodney and Susie. Wired into their Friday night cocktails, the couple embraced the idea and threw in their own thoughts. Most Wolfgang rejected as passé or unviable. A few, however, entered his fertile mind and began incubating.

**********

It was Saturday. Wolfgang bid his hosts a shaky farewell and returned to his studio. He slept for most of the day, rising as an alien orange moon clambered into the dusk, an hour ahead of schedule. The designer looked up bleary-eyed from his basin. The cratered disc filled his window, commanding him to work. The tides in his brain surged. He towelled himself dry, snatched a handful of sweet biscuits from the packet beside his shaver and stumbled into his workroom.

Four hours later the studio was alive with the stench of latex. Faint from fumes, Wolfgang cut and bonded the freshly prepared fabric in a trance. Above hundred year old slate, the moon kept up an even, insistent pressure. It dandled its servant from silver wires, guiding Wolfgang’s hands with supernatural precision. He had become a conduit, and pure inspiration flowed through his abused veins.

The possession continued until the moon sank beneath cold sheets, drawing comfort from the night’s mischief. The sober sun took charge, pouring light over the prone form of Wolfgang, slumped amid three perfect beanbags.

**********

Susie opened her door to three huge tumours. She gasped, then realised they were the beanbags Wolfgang had threatened to construct. Laughing with embarrassment, she invited him in.

‘They’re marvelous, Wolfie! How’d you manage to knock them up so fast?’

Wolfgang smiled. ‘I vas possessed, darlingk. You haf no idea vat it vas like. I verked like ze demon all night. I just hat to show you zem. I em fery prout.’

The beanbags were indeed handsome. One was a dappled military farrago of four earthy colours. The others were of the same design, but employed only two of the hues of the first. One was olive and russet, the other brick red and ochre. The members of the set complemented each other perfectly.

Susie ushered Wolfgang to the terrace. Rodney stood in long grass before an ancient lawn mower, worn components strewn over sun-warmed concrete.

‘Hello, friend,’ said Rodney.

‘Hallo, darlingk.’ Wolfgang tossed the beanbags onto the terrace and stood arms folded. Rodney gave a low whistle and pulled the nearest towards him. He rolled the smooth latex between his thumb and forefinger and tested the seams. Holding the units together, he marvelled at how the colours worked. Then he turned one over and over, hunting for its zipper.

‘You von’t find him. I haf hidden him mit much cleferness.’

Rodney rose to the challenge, but Wolfgang’s prophecy held true.

‘Bloody ingenious; I think they’re fabulous. Why don’t we have a beer and try them out on the grass?’

‘Vell … perheps a small portion. Ya, O.K.’

Rodney beamed, happy to abandon his struggle with the mower. He nodded to the beanbags.

‘Like to do the honours?’

Wolfgang gathered up the four-coloured beanbag and with patent pleasure, hurled it from the terrace. It described a slow, graceful arc through the azure sky and fell deep in the lush lawn.

The moment it hit the ground, the beanbag disappeared.

The three friends blinked. The grass was fifteen centimetres high at most – nowhere near tall enough to conceal a beanbag at ground level, let alone from their elevation.

‘Fok me! Vere did ze fokker go?’

‘Buggered if I know,’ replied Rodney. ‘Chuck one of the others out.’

Wolfgang nodded and threw the olive and russet beanbag after its sibling. It landed close to where the four-coloured unit should have been, but remained clearly visible.’

‘That’s where the other one went,’ marvelled Susie. ‘So where is it?’

‘I don’t know, but I’m goingk to find out.’ Wolfgang prepared to jump down beside Rodney, then seized the last beanbag and sent it after the others. In utter amazement, he watched it vanish on landing, along with the other bi-coloured bag it hit.’

‘Sh*t!’ exclaimed Rodney. ‘That’s some camouflage. How’d you do it?’

Wolfgang strode to the site. ‘I just mixed up ze colours like I alvays do. I don’t haf any formula, so zey alvays com out a bit different. I don’t know vot ze fok hes heppened here. But I’m fokking goingk to find out.’ He stomped around the landing zone, crushing innumerable blades of grass and releasing a fragrant promise of summer.

Susie joined the search. ‘This is crazy; they must be here!’

Much later, the group sat on the terrace. Too exhausted even to open their beers, they glared at the trampled lawn.

The following week, Rodney bought a new lawn mower. Delighted with its power, he gleefully scythed through the grass and filled his compost bin with catcher after catcher of clippings. He failed to notice the soft resistance midway through one of his turns around the rose bed.

Not until a white jet of polystyrene balls shot over his shoulder and dispersed in the hot air did he realise he’d found a beanbag. He spotted the red and ochre fabric of one of the bi-coloured units and excitedly scanned the ground for its mate. It lay behind him and to the left – out of range.

**********

These days the two bi-coloured beanbags live in Susie and Rodney’s house. Whenever Wolfgang visits, the couple put them away. He cannot bear to be reminded. When the beanbags get in range of each other, they disappear – and usually remain so till vacuuming day. The four-coloured unit is still somewhere in the garden.

It’s like anything.

🙂

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