Recreating Success.

My collection of short stories The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness has sold around 50-60 copies. This means I only need to sell about 700-800 more for it to be considered a catastrophic failure.  It is perhaps very niche in its appeal and marketed entirely on this blog and my Instagram account, so 50-60 copies is surprising. Whilst I attempt to find an publisher for my actual hard work and full serious novel (three rejections so far), I keep myself sane by writing more short stories. Therefore, it is a joy and a privilege to announce that there will indeed be a follow up to The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness called The Minute Collection of Absurdity.

This is a work in progress at this moment and I can only confirm a handful of the short stories that will be appearing in it. They are as follows:

The Man who Believed he was an Octopus:

This has appeared in an early draft on this very blog if you were paying attention, which of course you were not. It got 8 likes, 8!  It follows the story of a young boy growing up and struggling to accept himself for who he truly is, which is an octopus.

The Establishment’s Eating Habits.

Frank works in the Houses of Parliament. He regularly sees, and sometimes interacts with, members of the governing elite. Had this been published sooner I’d be hailed as the genius who correctly predicted the EU referendum result and the American Presidential Election.

Anyway, Frank works in the Houses of Parliament. It is a cold winter, a now independent Scotland is clamouring for war. They finally got what they wanted, only to find that reality is always a bitch. Frank begins to grow suspicious of the elected officials he works for. He always sees them with food, but never eating. Against the advise of friends and colleagues he investigates to find that it’s not just their own heads that they constantly shove up their arses.

The Woman Who Has Everything and is Incredibly Happy.

Money cannot buy you happiness, but it can buy you things and that’s pretty much the same.

The Life Lesson.

Various people from various backgrounds all do shit and learn something.

The Snake Summoning Tennis Racket.

Jamie Kendall wants nothing more than to win Wimbledon. She asks her local demon to grant her this one wish. The demon gives her the greatest tennis racket that ever did exist, forged from the spine of an angel and the guts of … I dunno… Jesus? she cannot lose if she uses that racket. However, every time she hits something with it, it summons snakes.

 

and maybe some more, who knows the last two were just made up on the spot.

Download the Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness.

 

 

 

Rejected TV Shows.

After losing my job for using company software to instigate office wide rap battles, I have decided it is time to start acting my age and enter the real world. So, with that in mind I have been pitching television ideas. Here are some that have been rejected.

 

Conformity:

A children’s TV show teaching the value of conformity. The tag line is “There is no greater feeling than fitting in.” It has an educational element, using maths and statistics it teaches that with 7 and a half billion people in the world, it is highly unlikely that everyone will be unique and that realistically most people will be dull and uninteresting. Striving to achieve dreams ultimately leads to disappointment and unemployment, whereas simply turning up and doing your bit without pomp and ceremony leads to a steady income and a reliable economy.

 

The Team of Global Stereotypes:

A bit like the X-Men, only every character is a stereotype of some description… so actually quite a lot like the 90s version of X-Men. Led by the bowler hat wearing, tea swilling English leader “Joseph Badteeth”  Chad ‘Gun Toting’ Americanson from the deep south must lead his team of borderline racist caricatures against the evil Gwylim the Unboxed, who cannot be put into a box and his team of Quirkies.  There were talks of getting Christopher Lee to come back from the dead to voice Gwylim, but ultimately they fell through as he was demanding the power to change the script. He wanted to change ‘maybe’ to ‘perhaps’, fucking diva.

 

The Community Support Officer:

The wannabe policeman Derek Swaby is a high functioning alcoholic community support officer who gets results. He deals with loiterers and litterers with his unorthodox mix of violence and psychological games. Not being an actual police officer he has not the power to arrest. One day, he moves along a group of loiterers, unaware that they happen to be the notorious “Stabby loiterers”. He goes home to find them loitering in his own house having stabbed his family and littered for good measure, that’s when he decided to take the law into his own hands. He rejects the role of Community Support Officer, and instead becomes ‘The Officer who Supports his Community.”

 

The Butcher, The Baker and the Candlestick Maker:

Like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but with the above professions. Obviously, there will be no spying, but they do have a punch up in a car park.

 

LoserChef:

A cooking show that takes it back to the basics. Episode one: How to Boil Water, is a 45 minute step by step guide detailing the process of boiling water. Episode two:  You Did it Wrong Didn’t You? Another 45 minute episode repeating the steps of water boiling for those that couldn’t manage it.

 

Future Archaeologists:

A group of archaeologists sit at a dig site simply to show that they are in fact archaeologists. They are tasked with describing what the far future will be like, based on wild assumption and absolutely no evidence. These assumptions are then submitted to the government who have to make decisions based on these predictions because science.

 

The entertainment industry is a ruthless one. Only those willing to persevere in the face of failure and rejection can succeed. One day I will be a rich TV man and you’ll all be clawing your way through the muck and grime of normal life. Fighting over the scraps we members of the cultural elite deign to give you.

Just Went Out For Coffee.

The below is a true story, albeit embellished in places. I decided to document my mundane adventures as if it were lofty prose, because there are many hours in the day that need to be filled somehow.

***

It was a cold day. Not too cold, but cold enough to make people say “ooh, that’s a bit cold.” Our story starts a few weeks after our hero lost his job for using company software to instigate an office wide rap battle. The official reason was “gross misconduct” which he reasoned was the same as normal misconduct, except done naked. He made the same joke at his disciplinary hearing. No one laughed, glances were exchanged. He still maintained the whole thing was a team building exercise, they countered that it was simply him avoiding doing any meaningful work.

Our hero – who for the sake of argument we will call Jasper – once again found himself endlessly applying for jobs. Any job would do. It is often said that the key to success is perseverance. Plugging away endlessly will eventually lead you to your goals. It is also said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If both these statements are true, then logically, the key to success is insanity, which is all very well, but hardly sustainable.

Jasper hit the submit button for an application to Which? Magazine. A strange organization. They seemed to be an authority on just about anything. “Best washing up liquid as voted by Which? Magazine.” “Best estate agents as voted by Which? Magazine.” “Best internet provider as voted by Which? Magazine.” Jasper doubted their credentials; no one could claim specialist knowledge on such an eclectic mix of products.

Enough was enough. His eyes hurt and he had not blinked for a good few hours. The blue light leaking from his computer screen was slowly frying his retinas and melting his brain. There was only so many times he could lie about why he wanted to work for various companies. No one wanted to work for the 60 plus years until they were decrepit or dead, it all came down to financial necessity. It was time for a coffee. He stood up and donned his bobbleless hat. It did once have a bobble, but he forcibly removed it. No one over the age of 9 should have a bobble about their person. It looked odd and served no purpose. The only logical purpose he could see would be if a bird were to perch atop his head, which he would not appreciate. He thought the hat gave him a working-class look. However, in truth it made him look like an exceptionally middleclass person attempting to look working-class.

He found his jacket and slipped on his loafers, life was too short to be fannying about with laces every time he left the flat.   He lived in the centre of a vibrant, modern town. Some might say it had fallen victim to gentrification, meaning that it was wall to wall coffee shops and estate agents and the occasional estate agents with a coffee shop inside. Jasper often wondered why the coffee growing nations of the world didn’t rise up and use their ample stock of roasted coffee beans to become a global superpower. By holding coffee hostage they could easily bring western civilisation to its knees.

He patted himself down. Phone… Wallet… all good. He passed through his three doors, down a flight of steps and out into the world. He entered his popular coffee chain of choice and joined the queue. Already he could feel the ever present rage begin to bubble up from his stomach into his chest. The queue was not long, but there was only one person serving and the man at the front was clearly doing an office run, an unnecessarily expensive and needlessly complex daily exercise.

“No, that’s 3 flat whites, one decaf soy latte and four cappuccinos, chocolate on two, no chocolate on one, and chocolate on exactly half of the last.” The man rudely bellowed out his order to the poor flustered girl, whom Jasper recognised as the one that would refuse to meet his eye ever since she forgot to lock the toilet door and he entered to see her sat mid shit. Frustratingly, it was the closest Jasper had come to an erotic experience for a long time. His penis was purely a decorative appendage these days.

“So two flat whites?” She asked smeared in coffee grinds.

“No three flat whites!” The man retorted.

Jasper had no idea what a flat white was, he only knew he hated them just as he hated the man ordering them. He wished it wasn’t illegal to beat him to death with a chair leg, or melt him in a vat of boiling flat whites.

“Here’s the decaf soy latte,” said the girl popping a paper cup into a cardboard holder.

“Is it super decaf?” Asked the man critically.

“Erm… no,” said the carefree shitter.

“It needs to be super decaf. If Wendy even has so much as a whiff of caffeine she immediately dies!” the man exclaimed sending the girl back to the whirring spluttering machine.

Two hours later Jasper left with his coffee, angrier than he had ever been in his life. It was at that moment his brain decided to remind him of the third step to the leaving the flat dance. It doesn’t stop after wallet. It goes Phone… Wallet… Keys. He had left out what was perhaps the most important step. He frantically started patting down his pockets with his one free hand. Modern clothes are made with what he viewed as an unnecessary number of pockets, so this took him some time his anger growing all the while.

He had no keys.

His flat mate, who was possessed with more self-control than him, was still employed. Although that may have something to do with the fact that she had a made up job title and a good day’s work consisted of saying the words “E-learning environment” over and over again. However, at work she was and her work was in the next town over.

At times like these, Jasper found him awash with inconsolable anger. He would froth at the mouth and hurl out expletives by the dozen. He would be angry with himself first and foremost, for forgetting his keys. He would be angry with humanity as a whole, for being so shit that the concept of a lock and key need be invented, lest people come into other people’s houses to murder them and/or steal their shit. Thirdly, he be angry with his parents. His existence, and subsequently his current predicament was all their fault.

Taking a deep breath he reasoned he could just go to the estate agents. They would have spare keys and if he explained the situation in a calm manner, they would get him back in.

He pressed the buzzer to the estate agents. After a lengthy pause a voice rasped through the speaker.

“Yes?”

“I’m Jasper!” he declared his coffee having amplified his rage to untold levels. It took him sometime to see through the red fog to realise that announcing his name would not be enough.

“From 7B!” he said, “I did the pat down dance wrong.” He said.

“Locked out?” said the estate agent.

“That I am. Have you spare keys?”

The door was buzzed open and he entered the run down little office building. In a small room were his agents in a cluttered, open plan office. A man who looked very estate agenty, with smart black hair slicked back and a shirt and tie approached him. Jasper did not think himself a judgemental man, but if pressed he would have to describe the man before him as a bellend.

“7b you say? Let me have a look, we have spare keys.” He said before disappearing. Jasper stood glaring around at the wretched scum and tosspots about him, feeling very exposed. He felt that if he lingered too long he might catch a serious case of arsehattery. The agent returned with a smug look of accomplishment on his face. He handed Jasper a pair of keys. Jasper regarded them with an unimpressed look.

“There are only two keys.” He said.

“Yes!” The man said, chest swelling with pride.

“There are three doors to the property.” Jasper explained. The man regarded him with a dubious look, tinted with a healthy dollop of suspicion.

“Well… that’s all we have.” He said. Jasper frowned wondering just what sort of moron he was dealing with. At a loss for words he retreated from the office and headed back to his flat. Needless to say neither key worked on the outside door. However, quick thinking as ever he formulated a plan. He had forged an alliance with those who worked in the milkshake shop, who also had access to that very door.

“Good afternoon. I am locked out, could you please let me through the front door,” he said entering the milkshake shop, one of many that had burst into existence in recent years. He had no idea how they stayed in business, as he had never heard of anyone express an interest in an Oreo flavoured milkshake, let alone think to buy one at one in the afternoon on a winters day.

“We can’t let anyone upstairs for insurance reasons.” Said the girl in a state of panic. Jasper frowned. The girl was young, a little plump and dim looking. He was confused, as he had not mentioned stairs, he had certainly not said anything that would be in breach of insurance policies.

“No… I need you to open the door for me.” He said as softly as he could, the girl, like a startled elk looked ready to bolt at any minute.

“What door?” she asked.

“The front one. The black one. Has a large 7 on it.” He explained taking care to use one syllable words.

After some time, the girl opened the door for him. He was home at last. He thought.

Only to find neither of the two keys the estate agent had proudly bestowed upon him worked in the second door either. Just what he held the keys too was beyond him. Perhaps they were the keys to someone’s heart. He hoped they were the keys to the estate agent’s heart, so he could return repeatedly and jab them deep into his ribs.

It seemed… he had to get the bus to the next town over.

***

The bus driver looked like an older, slightly fatter Harry Potter, who having been kicked out of the wizarding world had resigned himself to driving a bus. As per usual, getting the bus during the day was like being in Dawn of the Dead. Hordes of shuffling old people dragging their ridiculous wheely bags clogged up the busses, huffing and puffing at the audaciousness of the young, daring to sit down. Each one seemed to enjoy a lengthy conversation with Harry Potter about nothing. Jasper asked for a return to the next town.

He did not hear the price, but simply handed over a fiver, the face of the queen giving him a mocking look. The driver took the note and stared at him expectantly. Jasper looked around wondering if Harry had finally snapped, or whether he had had a stroke.

“£5.50.” said Harry. The rage was rising once again. Five pounds and fifty pence, for one bus journey. For the third time Jasper enjoyed the idea of murdering someone.

He handed over another fifty pence and off they went.

It was at that point that Jasper realised just how talented the bus driver was. He was driving the bus, whilst reading a newspaper and eating a sandwich. Jasper would struggle to do any one of those things on their own. Just how much attention was being paid to the road was another question entirely, but it was impressive nonetheless. If they were to crash and die, Jasper knew his grave stone would read “it was an article on Brexit.”

It took over an hour to get there, collect his flatmate’s keys and then return. At which point he decided that the day was a right off and drank himself into a stupor. The next morning he received an angry call from the estate agent demanding he return the spare keys as soon as possible as they were their only spares and would not be able to access the property in case of an emergency. Jasper did his best to explain that there was only two keys for three doors, and those two keys did not work anyway, so even if they did have them they would not be able to enter the flat in an emergency. He also did his best to explain that any ‘emergency’ would probably require people to leave the flat not get in. He asked under what circumstances they would need access to the flat. There the phone call ended.

Two days later he received a letter saying the landlord had to get extra keys cut and he would be charged for this.

Jasper checked his emails for responses to job applications. He found one from Red Strip estate agents saying that he did not seem qualified to be an estate agent. He closed his laptop and went to get a coffee.

 

 

The Start of Something Mediocre

Two choices exist for someone with greater knowledge than most. One: use such knowledge for the betterment of mankind, or two: use such knowledge for the betterment of a man[1]. Samantha Gardner knew of other worlds, she had visited some and read brochures on others. Due to a drunk driving incident, a Darubian pilot crashed his spacecraft into her bedroom. Fortunately, Darubian’s are four inches tall and the only damage done was a broken window and a wireless radio. However, that one event opened Samantha’s eyes to the real world, or rather universe. In exchange for not going to the police the drunk Darubian offered Samantha knowledge and technological wonders that other humans could only dream of.

Considering Samantha was working as an estate agent at the time, she decided it was in her best interest not to go to the police to report an interplanetary incident of drunk driving. Three days later, as promised a ship arrived in her driveway complete with camouflage. To the casual observer it resembled a car[2]. From that point on, she dedicated her life to the acquiring of knowledge and the study of the known universe. This swiftly became boring so she instead set up her own detective agency.

Of course she had tried. She visited great powerful civilisations to find the secret to a lasting global peace. Unfortunately, the answer went against every pacifistic notion ever conceived. As it turned out the only way to achieve a lasting peace was to flock to likeminded people and instigate a long and bloody war with other groups of likeminded people, until there was only one group left. Once everyone else was dead, peace and harmony could reign. As it was some of Samantha’s best friends were earthlings so the idea of dealing out death and destruction was unappealing to her.

She didn’t want to give up on diplomacy, alas a sympathetic Nyoiman of the Selabon system told her.

“All civilisations develop diplomatic institutions as a means to delay. As they talk about peace and trade deals they’re really just waiting until they’re sure their arsenal is up to the task of annihilating their enemies. In diplomacy, people can lie, they can twist words to mean whatever they want them to mean, some people are adept at using hundreds of words to say nothing. They can hide their weaknesses with their words, shield themselves from the strong with treaties and agreements. When your enemies are burnt to ashes, nothing needs to be said.”

So humanity had that to look forward to.

In the meantime, Samantha had to earn a living somehow.

***

 

 

[1] Or Woman as it is in this case.

[2] A blue one, 2016 plate.