A Tangential Vow to be More Productive

I need to be more productive. I know we all feel this way when we realise that we’re useless wastes of space (some of us more than others, I mean you are definitely a useless waste of space), sitting scrolling endlessly on Instagram, looking at things we weren’t even interested in to begin with. However, I definitely need to be more productive. Currently unemployed and living on my mum’s sofa, I didn’t get up until 12:00. I then spent the next two and a half hours drinking coffee and playing piano.

At this point, you may be thinking “unemployed and sleeping on mum’s sofa and yet you have a piano. Such odd conflicting details, the sofa must be a luxurious thing set in the grand confines of an illustrious manor house.” Then you might consider rising up and dragging me from my decadence and hanging me from a lamp post as you ransack the neighbourhood, taking what you have always been denied. Though that’s assuming a lot on my part, you may be part of the aristocracy and therefore thinking “only one piano? what a fucking pleb.”

In truth, my mum lives in social housing and my electric piano is in my dad’s dining room. I bought it many years ago on finance, paying £130 a month. I say I bought it, my dad bought it on finance for £130 a month under the assumption that I’d one day become a concert pianist and earn back said money and more. This didn’t happen because I’m a lazy fuck. I got to grade 4, attempted my grade 5 but took the wrong book to the exam. The syllabus (is that the right word?) was changing the following year, so I had that book. I got midway through my third piece only to be stopped by the examiner. I assumed he had seen such greatness in me that he was set on passing me there and then with distinction, I might even get a medal.

Alas, he pointed out that it wasn’t 2006 yet. We carried on anyway because I was there so may as well. Unfortunately, the second issue I had was I hadn’t practised because grade pieces are so monumentally dull, and I kept getting distracted by Star Wars pieces. So, needless to say, I failed. I subscribe to the theory that, if at first you don’t succeed, you should focus on getting drunk instead. Although I was fifteen at the time and nowhere would serve me.

Anyway, I forget where I was going with this. Oh yes. Now you might be thinking “two hours piano practice, that’s productive.” And yes, it would be, if I was a professional pianist or some sort of music teacher. As it was, it meant I spent two hours tinkling when I could have been applying for jobs, trying to woo a potential mate and start a family or work on yet another novel or television script to be rejected over and over again.

The problem is, as you may be aware, I am easily distracted. I lack the focus many of you have in spades. My brain at times is being pulled in several different directions, but is more often than not, lost in some sludge lamenting all my past mistakes that were often caused by my easily bored brain.

My unemployment is due to being fired from my job in IT support. It was a strange job for me to be in, considering I had no IT background or qualifications (or interest for that matter). I didn’t even interview for a job in IT, I interviewed for a job in cash planning (something I’d be equally unqualified to do). The interview went terribly. When asked how good my maths is I said ‘very’. When asked on the spot to work out 12.5% of 25,000 I laughed and said, ‘I jest, I got a D in GCSE maths.’

I received a phone call a few days later to say I would not be offered that job. I thought that was the right decision on their part. Then they said, ‘fancy working in IT instead?’ I didn’t, but I needed money.

Two years later I was finding myself increasingly bored of IT support and filling my days with mischief. I used the company’s internal messaging software to instigate officewide rap battles. Though I soon grew bored of even that. Alas, the office did not and eventually word got out and I was handed a 30-page transcript of one 6 hour rap battle by HR. I feel I was treated unfairly as I was gone by page 2 and they were asking me whether I thought what was said on page 23 was acceptable. At which point I referred them to page 2 that said I had left the conversation. They said this was irrelevant. I argued it was extremely relevant as I was not present on the page they were asking me about, rendering my opinion on its acceptability moot.

I was fired. In the appeal process, the managing director read out some of the rap. I found that hilarious and got the giggles. When quizzed on my one and only input in which I called someone fat I said, ‘I was merely using the rhetoric of rap, to make a satirical point.’

The MD said, ‘I don’t understand?’

I said, ‘If you don’t understand irony, then I cannot help you, I simply haven’t got the time.’ Which of course was a lie, as I’d just been fired so had all the time in the world.  Then I added ‘Plus the guy in question is proper fat’.

The dismissal was upheld.

Since then I have struggled to find a stable job, as companies are rarely advertising for a rap battle MC. I’ve worked in marketing as a freelance copywriter and in a pub, where I’d regularly steal beer and argue with customers that making the Doctor in Doctor Who a woman is a perfectly sound idea as it opens the way for further diversity. Plus, Doctor Who was shit intended for children that had somewhat stagnated anyway, so a middle-aged man complaining they were changing the sex of the main character was a touch ridiculous.

What was I talking about?

Right. Productivity. Even this blog lacks any sort of focus. It started as a collection of shitty drawings and evolved into the mess it is today. A fellow blog person has been writing a series of blogs about his local museum and how it’s shit despite the fact that his local museum has a mummy. My local museum has a toilet and a plaque that says Henry the VIII once visited one of the schools as he passed through. That’s not particularly noteworthy. He regularly travelled through Hertfordshire and being king basically meant he owned everywhere, so he’d regularly just barge into places to see what was going on. Don’t get that from Elizabeth II, do you? I mean, I do. I regularly wake up to see her looming over me, shaking her head in disappointment. Judgemental bitch.

Henry the VIII is probably my favourite monarch. He’s pretty much everyone’s favourite monarch. Even staunch anti-royalists have a soft spot for the fat prick. He went head to head with the pope (so, in a way, God) just because he wanted to divorce his wife.  It’s a shame that his son was such a terrible king. Not morrally, just physically. He was a sickly boy and died at the age of fifteen. What a fucking loser. I’ve lived longer than that. What followed was a bit of a mess.

Much pressure was put on a dying Edward (for that was his name) to name an heir in order to render Mary and Elizabeth illegitimate. Someone should have told them this was a stupid idea as we obviously have the Elizabethan times so that clearly wasn’t going to work. So a poor lady named Lady Jane Grey was made heir and proclaimed Queen (disputed) of England and Ireland. She went on to have one of the more humorous of queeny names “The 9 Days Queen“. She was queen for less time than any of the Game of Thrones lot. In a continuing GoT theme, her supporters swiftly abandoned her and she was tried for treason by Mary I, who had the more intimidating moniker “Bloody Mary” primarily due to her drinking problem.

Anyway, the point is, this fellow blog person actually puts effort into his (or her?) blogs, with outings to said museum, pictures and research. I just ramble on for ages without having an actual point. So, from now on, I plan to be more productive. You’ll see… you’ll all see.



Keep Away From Fire

As a general rule, I tend to keep most of my clothes away from fires. I’m sure many of you tend to stick to this practice too. In fact, this is a rule I extend to most things in my life. Furniture, books, relatives – all manner of things really – are best kept away from fire. Interesting then that whenever I buy pants (an admittedly rare event), they come with bold warnings concerning how they should be kept. Most notably, that they should be kept away from fire.

In the 21st Century, it’s rare for a home to have a fireplace. I’ve been to the occasional holiday cottage that has one, a relative of mine once had one and the dog and I used to sleep next to it, but the household’s underpants were nowhere to be seen.


Or He’ll be released.

Perhaps me and my family are just weird and an up and down the country people regularly fling their pants too close to their roaring fires, fires that they have burning all year round. Perhaps it’s a long tradition that harkens back many generations and grandparents would regularly sit their grandchildren down around the pants fire and tell stories of backwards times when people would regularly burn all their clothes. They’ll say, ‘thank goodness you live in more advanced times and it’s only our underpants we burn for no apparent reason, filling the house with the musty stench of old sweaty testicles and remnants of a day’s worth of poo.’ I suggest this, because with my curiosity now piqued I checked the labels of my T-shirts, jeans and trousers. None demanded that I save them from a fiery demise. No, my T-shirt just says ‘100% cotton, wash inside out and do not use to store live fish.’

Or maybe there was a trend of people assuming they could store their underpants near fire and returning to stores en masse to stores worldwide to complain that their bum holders had been reduced to ash. They must have furiously pointed out that nowhere did it say that they shouldn’t be able to fling their reproductive region coverers into an open fire. Said stores would have to admit that they were negligent in pointing out that items made out of various fabrics probably wouldn’t benefit from a good burning. They would have had to pay all these customers back, causing a loss in profits. To appease their shareholders, they no doubt had to make sure that in the future everyone was made well aware of the combustibility of pants, so much so that it not only appears on the individual labels, but also the packaging of multipacks.


It’s clearly an international problem

This recent interest in label checking as led me to read the labels of pretty much anything that comes to hand. A bottle of bleach declared that under no circumstances should it be drunk. Which is odd, because there are only two kinds of people likely to drink bleach. The first are babies and toddlers, who can’t read so the warning is irrelevant and the second are suicidal people, most of whom can read, but are probably in mindset to start taking orders from bleach bottles.

So, pants and bleach. What sets them apart from everything else? Why do they have obscure instructions? Why have we as a society decided to stop there? Why did my smartphone instructions not say, ‘do not stick up anus?’. Why does everything not say everything that should not be done with them? Dining tables: do not attempt to use as hats. Do not replace vital organs with Jammy Dodgers. Forks: Do not jab endlessly into knees or eyes, or any other part of the body for that matter.

I could go on and probably will, just not here.

Not sure what the point of this was. I needed to update the blog and am creatively spent.

Money can and will buy me happiness damn it!

“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they’ve ever dreamed of, so they can see that it’s not the answer.” – Jim Carrey

I think the most interesting part of that quote is that Carrey, who is valued at $150M, hasn’t decided to get rid of his $150M or, you know, never considered not chasing fame to see if the answer is there. He’s also made the classic error of failing to state what the question is.

There’s a certain level of wealth and fame that allows you to get away with uttering any inane bullshit. I hate to break it to you Jim, but if you’ve done everything you’ve ever dreamed of and not found the answer, then there is no answer.

Of course, this is post beard Jim. Everything goes a bit insane when a formerly beardless celebrity decides to grow a beard.

I can’t possibly fathom where this pervading notion of material wealth not equating to happiness (or at least some basic levels of contentment) came from. If there was any truth in it, the capitalist system would have crumbled years ago, the Lottery wouldn’t be a thing and these poor little comedians and actors wouldn’t accept pay cheques in the millions. They’d accept a few thousand pounds to cover their expenses and then make a movie for the love of making a movie.

It seems a lot of people who get a lot of money are quick to point out that having lots of money doesn’t really mean anything. Call me a cynic, but yes it fucking does. It means everything. I’m not suggesting for a minute that if you became incredibly wealthy you’d be ecstatic all the time, forever laughing away or beaming so much that your face locks into position and shatters upon the lightest of contact. You will still be human and subject to the ebb and flow of emotion. You will still age, loved ones will still die, you will still see the many injustices in life.

But you’ll also not be expected to work 40+ hours a week, you’d have a house; maybe two or three and be able to buy just about whatever you want when you want it. All of which would be pretty fucking sweet. You know, opposed to having to work a 40+ hour week, being unable to even rent a house and having no money to buy the things.

Why is everyone so scared to admit that having money does make life easier and dare I say it, better. Why does everyone seem to refuse to acknowledge that having tons of cash and living in nice houses, wearing nice clothes and eating nice food is really enjoyable and objectively better than having no money? As already established, if this wasn’t the case we wouldn’t be striving to get the good jobs with the hefty pay cheque. There wouldn’t be posh, over priced restaurants where the soup of the day is unpronounceable and costs more than your car.

Carrey’s not alone in this mildly hypocritical view. The great Bob Marley once stated “Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.” His net worth was estimated to be at $130M, so he no doubt believed that money contributed to happiness. Unless he kept such wealth to remind him at all times that it doesn’t make him happy.

The thing is, money and material wealth does make us happy. This is demonstrable in the fact that rich people remain rich and poorer people strive to be rich. Whenever we find a fiver in an old pair of jeans, we are filled with joy. Millionaires must feel that multiplied by nine every time they check their bank accounts. The issue is, we’re not allowed to admit that. We seem to fear the admission. When it comes to looking for ‘answers’, it’s wealth that puts you in the comfortable position of having enough time to dwell on the ‘questions’. Everyone else is too busy making sure their children have things like food and clothes.

I don’t wish to reduce humanity and the human experience to the materialistic, but alas that’s really all it is. Again, capitalism simply wouldn’t work if material objects and wealth didn’t give us happiness. Why would a company bother making Harry Potter themed couch cushions if some people’s lives weren’t marginally improved by the edition of a Harry Potter themed couch cushion? It’s almost a shame to say it, but life isn’t some deep mystery for us to unravel. The key to happiness isn’t some complex secret that only wise celebrities can fathom once they’ve grown a beard after spending decades getting paid millions to be in movies.

No, we live, we eat, we shit, we expire. If we’re lucky we are loved. If we’re really lucky we get to be rich and famous and do everything we’ve ever dreamed of.


Jealousy is an ugly thing.

What I’ve Learned From Online Dating

Having been alone for a long time, I finally caved under the immense pressure to start some sort of online dating. The internet has made many things more efficient it seems. We can shop, manage our bank accounts, book holidays and even find love without leaving our house. Or in my case the various places people permit me to sleep since I technically became homeless.

I got a discount for one of the ones you have to pay for at first. I thought if I’m paying, my success rate should be significantly higher, because if I’m paying for love I better get it damn it. I had very little success, I seem to attract weirdos. This could have something to do with the fact I put strange things in the various description boxes, forgetting that irony is very hard to actually read. Long story short with that one, I spoke to one person who had an unhealthy obsession with the Linkin Park guy.

My subscription ran out and I demanded my money back under the principle I paid for love and am still lonely. I didn’t get my money back.

Then I moved onto the likes of Tinder and Bumble and I have learned a few things.

  1. Women get a lot more attention.

Despite my personality, I somehow know and talk to a large number of people. I have a diverse range of contacts from different backgrounds, ethnicities and gender. I know attractive women and I know plain looking women, all of them have literally hundreds of ‘likes’ or whatever you call it on Tinder and the like. Straight away their phones lit up with all the interest they were getting. They all have dozens of conversations going on at the same time, landing them in the comfortable position of being able to discard men on a whim knowing they’ll be easily replaced. There are many possible reasons for this, which I will laboriously go into for the sake of more words. I will also place links within my article, feel no pressure to follow them, I do so for SEO purposes, I don’t even check the content really. Also, I’m not necessarily complaining that women have it ‘easier’ on online dating, the old adage ‘quality not quantity’ comes to mind (one friend had a conversation that started with a request that she pee on a guy, not even a hello first). Not to mention, throughout history women have had a hard time of it, so it’s about time they had an advantage somewhere.

As a man with various friends who are also men, I can attest that men are pathetic. We’re either desperately needy and emotionally unstable, or we’re overly ‘macho’ and sex obsessed, viewing each sexual experience as some sort of conquest. The former can be somewhat overbearing, and the latter are pricks. However, both type leads men to swipe right for just about anyone. Women on the other hand, tend to swipe only those they are attracted to, which is sort of the point.

There’s also that pesky business of evolution to consider. As much as we like to think we’re intelligent, logical beings that have distanced themselves from the animals, all that means is that we’re deluded. Everything ultimately comes down to survival and the continuation of the species. Even if you definitely know that you don’t want children, I’m afraid the instincts are still there, secretly controlling your bodies and your emotions. Over the years, men have merely been the provider of sperm, often going from woman to woman in a bid to spread humanity as far as it can possibly go. We are now victims of our own success to some degree, with population rapidly spiralling out of control. Women on the other hand, had to do most of the heavy lifting carrying little shits around in their wombs for nine months, painfully squeezing them out of their vaginas (which would often result in death, either by bleeding or infection, before the marvel of modern medicine).

This would go someway to explain the Tinder phenomenon. Men’s continual right swiping is reminiscent of them going from woman to woman depositing their DNA. Men are less picky when it comes to choosing potential mates, often coming down to ‘do they have a vagina?’. Women on the other hand, with the risk of becoming pregnant always in the back of their minds, won’t willingly throw themselves at just anyone. It has to be worth the risk. Or the person in question has to have good strong genes to create a better child (even when there are no plans to have a child). The potential mate has to be able to defend said child through to adulthood. Also, as already established, men are either pathetic or pricks, so there’s certainly more reason to be picky leading to less arbitrary swipes.

  1. Everyone claims to love travel.

One of the creators of Tinder went on to develop Bumble, on which I also experimentally made an account. The result of which is more loneliness. I see Bumble as a more middleclass Tinder. Make an account and have a look and you’ll see what I mean.

The twist to Bumble, is that women have to make the ‘first move’ once matched it is up to them to make contact, because unfortunately we live in a time where men should be treated as sinister sex pests until proven otherwise. I would complain, but I realise several paragraphs ago I discussed how a man’s ice breaker was asking a woman to piss on him, so I don’t have much of a case.

On my excursions into the world of Bumble I have noticed that roughly 110% of people claim to be lovers of travel. This seemingly innocuous statement irks me. I find it irksome, and that’s not a word I take lightly. One, people seem to think the idea of travel makes them seem like better people. Two, everyone’s idea of travel seems to involve just sitting on some sand in a hot place. Three, pointlessly flinging yourself around the world will not bring you any form of contentment. If you’re so miserable where you are, chances are you’ll be miserable elsewhere too.

I hate travel. Anyone that says they love it is either a liar, an idiot or a combination of the two. A statement which is also my description on the cursed app.

  1. People will exploit filters, group shots and fancy angles to make themselves look more appealing.

Whilst I shouldn’t judge people for this, I really judge people for this. Having five pictures on your profile, all of them group shots is infuriating. Which one are you? If you do it in the hope people will think your more attractive friend is you then you’re in for a disappointing date. If you’re doing it because you’re stood next to your less attractive friends and therefore look better by comparison, then you’re a bad friend, and they’ll be using the same group shot in the hope that people think that they are you, in which case they’re in for a disappointing date.

Ever since Snapchat gave people the ability to stick bunny ears on their head, squish their face inwards and make their eyes big enough to pass as an anime character (look at me referencing anime, I don’t watch that shit!), online dating has been awash with these blemish free pictures. Once again, this is setting everyone up for disappointment.

Unfortunately, the fancy angles aspect is mostly employed by women as an unfortunate result of centuries of patriarchy treating women as meat. Whereas men can proudly sport a larger frame or work hard on perfecting their beer belly without too much judgement, women beyond a certain size are often discarded. Therefore, the larger woman will take shots from higher angles and only of their face, giving the illusion that they are not a larger woman. Which is madness, madness I say! Post a picture of you, if people don’t like you for you, they’re not worth your time! Unless they don’t like you for you because you’re a bellend, in which case be less of a bellend.

Surely, the logical thing to do is post the worst possible picture of you. If people are still interested, you know they’re taking it seriously and not fucking about!

  1. Full-time mummy is apparently a thing.

Having set my Tinder and Bumble to show me women, I don’t know if there are a lot of profiles saying ‘full time daddy’, I hope there is so there’s at least some sort of balance and I don’t come across as a misogynist. I try my hardest not to be any kind of ist. I mean, I’ve already said men are pricks lots of times, so I should be safe. Anyway, if you’ve got ‘Full Time Mummy’ as your career, it means you are unemployed, just put that you are unemployed.

Parenthood is hard work sure, but it’s not a career. All it does is make people think you have very little going on beyond your offspring. My mother is a fulltime mental health nurse, when she comes home, she then looks after her 9 year old daughter, does that mean she moonlights as a mummy? If your relationship deteriorated and you have your kids on the weekend, does that make you a part time parent? When your child is at school, is that an extended coffee break? Or is that when you catch up on all that paperwork that comes from ensuring your offspring survives another day? What kind of career progression is there for a full-time mummy? Do you get to become a manager of team of other mummies?

Not only is this self-aggrandising, but it’s implying that the thousands of mothers/fathers who work, are lesser parents, despite you know, working long hours to provide an income to pay for their children before coming up and taking care of their children. Every parent is a full time parent, unless their children are robots that can be turned off three days a week.

  1. I’m quite unlikable and likely to die alone.

This one speaks for itself.




Sci-fi Satire extract Pt II

The last extract of my current work in progress got me more likes than my blog has ever got apparently. A whole 11 or something like that. Anyway, here’s another bit because I want to capitalise on my success.


Chapter 3

Olliwoo chimychim mawoolie sooly.

  • An old Verdradt saying.

Loosely translated to English, the phrase reads ‘I have lost my hat.’ To a human this seems meaningless. Just buy another hat, they might say. That, again, falls down to a lack of understanding. See, the Verdradt were born with very odd shaped heads. No two heads were the same, but all were equally as ugly. The Verdradt condition was one of constant insecurity and self-loathing. They’d look at themselves in the mirror and feel nothing but disgust.

Then the hat was invented.

The hat was a marvellous thing as it finally allowed them to cover their unsightly noggins. Each Verdradt, as they came of age, would start work on their very own hat. It would, over the years, be added to. Ribbons, bells and all manner of ostentatious ornamentations would be added. Like their hideously misshapen heads, no two hats were alike. The hat became the individual. The hat became life. Everything a Verdradt did, everything one achieved was shown on their hat. The hat became them.

For a Verdradt to lose their hat meant to lose their way in life. To forget their purpose. A verdradt who lost their hat, lost all their drive and ambition. ‘I have lost my hat’ wasn’t a trivial complaint, it was a howl of anguish, a cry of despair. It was admitting failure, it was a thing of tragedy, it was crumpling in defeat.

Maybeck often felt as though he had lost his hat. Yet there were also times where he felt his hat sat too heavily upon his head and was going to crush him. He didn’t know what feeling was worse.

Half Arsed Blog Post

It’s important to post regularly. But I’m creatively deficient.

When I was seventeen and everyone my age was learning to drive, I decided against it. I saw the number of cars that were clogging up the arteries of British infrastructure and realised if I had a car, I’d spend the rest of my life looking for somewhere to park. Nearly ten years later (fuck!), I am still shuffling on and off trains and paying extortionate sums of money for a bus.

I was waiting for a train today. The station was in a state of pandemonium. Many trains were cancelled all were delayed. The voice of God came over the station speakers and declared:

“We apologise that the 14:00 train to Moorgate via Hertford North is delayed. This is due to someone being hit by a train.”

People react in two ways to such an announcement. Some tut and lament the travel disruptions such an event causes. Some, more empathetic individuals will spare a thought for the poor individual who felt so alone, who was in such a state of desperate despair that they felt inclined to end their lives. Then they will lament the travel disruptions such an act causes.

Being a human and therefore aware of my own mortality, I think about death frequently. We all lay awake at night with our minds screaming DEATH! At the top of its internal voice. When such an announcement is made, it means someone, an individual who had hopes and dreams and feelings, has died. There are just some things you’re not getting up from, being hit by a train is one of them.

It’s very rare that someone is hit by a train by accident. Trains tend to be limited to where they can go. No one has been innocently sitting on a park bench only to be taken by surprise when a train ploughs into them.

Someone died today. The impact of their death, for the most part, was confined to the mild annoyance of strangers. Is that the best some of us can hope for? As someone who doesn’t believe in an afterlife necessarily, it’s difficult to be concerned with how one is remembered. Once my consciousness is obliterated I suppose nothing will matter.

But it is odd. Our lives are easily snuffed out and the world goes on as usual. Our lives are brief and for many, are not particularly nice. How is it that on a planet of over seven billion people, we can feel so very lonely. In the age of social networking, when we’re all glued to our screens looking at the lives of others, do many of us lack a feeling of connection?

Who knows? I just know when I go, I hope it causes people’s flights to be delayed.

“We apologise that the 19:40 flight to Bali has been delayed, this is because someone has been hit by a plane… we don’t know how it happened either.”

Some sort of sci-fi satire

Seeing as no one seems to want my attempts at serious literary fiction. I am resigned to the fact that I probably won’t make millions out of the written word. So, here’s something I started for my own entertainment. Enjoy. Or don’t. I can’t tell you what to do. I would if I could, trust me.


‘I’m just saying, turn left at Gorulon Four isn’t overly helpful when you’re traversing the depths of space,’ Roran complained, his green gelatinous form shuddering and pulsating. He didn’t so much as speak rather than emitted a wave of telepathic signals.

‘What you mean, not helpful? Of course it’s helpful, we arrive at Gorulon Four, we go left,’ Maybeck replied. He hadn’t slept well the past few days. He stared at the wavering contents of his metallic mug. It wasn’t quite coffee. It was the best synthetic coffee this side of the Sta’Mollk Nath nebula. It looked like coffee, tasted bitter enough to be a close approximation to it and gave a caffeine hit, but it wasn’t coffee. The fact that he knew it made him enjoy it less than he might had he been entirely ignorant. It was like the anti-placebo effect, in a way.

He could see the vague outline of his own face in the rippling liquid. Really, he should have a lid on it, health and safety and all that, but he was the captain and if he wanted to drink out of a lidless mug he would damn it.  The one eye visible in the reflection had a dark shadow underneath it. His face looked thinner than he remembered.

‘Left? Left? Half of the known galaxy is technically left!’  said Roran.

‘Left, maybe left and down a little bit I think she said,’ said Maybeck dipping his nose into the mug. The steam felt good against his face. The bitter synth coffee slid down his throat, spreading its warmth into his chest and eventually his rumbling stomach.

‘Down! Objectively speaking there is no down out here!’ It was amazing how telepathic rays could splutter. Roran’s green tentacles made some adjustments on the pads and dials around him.

‘How you humans managed to become an FTL civilisation I’ll never know.’ He grumbled. Maybeck rolled his eyes.

‘Opposable thumbs,’ he said.

‘Beg your pardon?’

‘That’s how we managed. Opposable thumbs. If the Laggorians hadn’t discovered your planet and realised your intellectual potential and built ships and tools that you could actually use, you’d still be sliding around in swamps. That’s how we became a FTL civilisation, because we can hold a spanner.’ Said Maybeck before taking another gulp.

Beyond the view screen he could see nothing, just weird blue waves of energy sliding across the hull and a few streaks of warped light. When beyond the gravitational grips of a celestial object, there was a great deal of nothing. The whole universe was filled with an immense vacuum of nothing with a few pockets of something. Often that something was not particularly interesting.

‘Your earth monkeys can hold spanners,’ Roran commented, his shape became somewhat softer.

‘Yeah, and had your species ever been confronted by a mob of angry monkeys, my money would have been on the monkeys. The great race of Slorrth would have never been.’ Said Maybeck effectively putting an end to the discussion. Roran literally deflated. Maybeck should have felt at least a little guilty for continually ridiculing Roran’s race. They were oddly proud for a species that were little more than a number of green blobs.

He liked Roran really. He had a good heart. Figuratively speaking. As it was he had three sphincters that helped squeeze nutrients around his… or her body.

That was the problem with making alien contact. On the whole, it was close to impossible for cultures to maintain a conversation. Not just due to the lack of experiential overlapping, but often due to the fact that they conceived reality in completely different ways. Humans had spent their entire existence fighting one another due to a lack of understanding or because they simply couldn’t adequately talk through their differences. It was a miracle they survived long enough to break the light barrier. Then they met the Thrurnak Empire and the shit really hit the fan.

A lengthy war later they were able to put aside their differences thanks to the intervention of the Anal (pronounced An-hal, but Earthlings are immature beings). The Anal – The An-hal – had spent decades studying both races and once they had enough knowledge of how they operated, stepped in to mediate. The Anal Treaty was signed, bringing about a frigid peace and much giggling.

The treaty was lengthy, Maybeck had read it in its entirety at one point, though summed up the conditions of peace were very much – You go over there, and you go over there.

Anyway, Maybeck liked Roran despite his tendency to be an annoying shit. The problem was, Maybeck should never have left Earth. It was his belief that humanity should have died out long ago. They never should have become the dominant species of their own planet, let alone try and get involved with others. As in all things organic, humanity had come about completely by accident. One day an ape got sick of being hunched over and stood up right and passed this habit along to its children.

In the early days, humanity must have been having sex every moment they could spare. On average, humans tend to have one child (if we’re taking the mode) at a time. It was common for women to die in child birth and even more common for the child to die before it was five. It was as if nature had recoiled in disgust at this freak of evolution and was doing its best to wipe out all trace of it. However, the humans were stubborn. Stubborn and horny, and just look where that got them.

Maybeck had excelled at biology and galactic cultural studies. Earth was now an overcrowded city smothered in smog and the government was keen on flinging as many people as they could off the planet for good. The economy wasn’t great, so Maybeck had to take whatever job was dangled in front of him, or at least that’s what his father said.

He got a job with an online retailer aboard one of their many delivery vessels. Soon after he was headhunted by a private Furuvian vessel, by which of course I mean the delivery vessel was shot to pieces by pirates and he was given the choice to work in a communications capacity for them or be blasted out into the cold abyss of space.

This vessel was in turn shot to pieces by the Galactic Alliance, which led to a job with them. It felt very similar to being a slave for pirates just with marginally better pay. There was plenty of room for progression in the Galactic Alliance. It did after all have the collective wealth of a dozen or more civilisations.

Maybeck applied for a research role, was given one and eventually had control of his own small vessel. It was when scanning the composition of his thirty-forth asteroid that he realised he had no idea what it was he was supposed to be researching. When he questioned Chief Science Officer Admiral Ballycrux Calalahalalam he received the following communication.

Dear Captain R. Maybeck

Thank you for your email, in regard to your question “what are we doing?” I would say that this is a quandary that has plagued every sentient creature in the galaxy since we gained the capacity to think. However, if you were posing the question in a more literal sense, the truth is your vessel (which you aptly named) G.A Darwin is one of many that we refer to as ‘cash sponges’. The Galactic Alliance (long may it last) grants its science and research arm a certain budget to be reviewed every three Gorynth years (that is two point two Earth years). If it is found that we are not using said budget, it will be reduced accordingly. Science is a never-ending search for truth, a ceaseless endeavour to learn and expand our knowledge. However, as it stands we don’t have a lot going on.

Whilst we do have a few projects on the go, they do not require all our resources. In order to see our budget is reached, we have employed the use of approximately ninety-five cash sponges to be recalled as and when more research and development opportunities arise. So, in short, do whatever you like. Scan some asteroids, collect some plants, maybe check Boryon Nine to see if any new fish have evolved. Keep yourself busy, everyone gets paid and who knows, maybe you’ll accidentally make a discovery like they did in the old old days.

Forgive any errors in my communication, I’ve only learned one-hundred and thirty-two Earth languages so far. I’ve found English to be one of the most bizarre. Perhaps if you’ve a spare moment you can tell me why “through” has an O a G and an H.


Admiral Ballycrux Calalahalalam III

Since then Maybeck had had very little drive. Being stuck in space had been bad before, but at least it had some vague sense of purpose. Now… he was just stuck. No, not stuck. The opposite. He was flailing about in a vast openness. There was nothing to cling onto. He was drowning in nothingness.