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.

Advertisements

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.

 Yours

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.

Sort of Topical Post

As in all things, I strive to be ever so slightly behind where current events are concerned. I tend to read the news a mere three times a week, that way I get more out of the experience. Now, as a fairly left leaning liberal, it’s once again time to leap to the aid of the NHS. By that, I mean write a half-arsed article for my handful of loyal readers to look at before realising I don’t have any doodles in this one.

Recently, that toad faced caricature of a bloated egotist Donald Trump tweeted that ‘thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working.’ I don’t know what a U system is. This is once again indicative that one of the most powerful men in the world gets his global information from Fox News and that gaping hole that is his anus alone.

If he knew anything about British culture he’d know that we don’t march if things are broken and not working. If things get broken, we all collectively go ‘Waaaay’ before returning to our alcoholic stupors. If things aren’t working, we hit it and if that doesn’t solve the matter we return to our alcoholic stupors.

The march was in fact a proactive demonstration to demand more money for an NHS that has worked for many decades and that we all hold very dear. It is a system that works very well on the whole, but needs more resources. We need more doctors and we definitely need more money. Money that we in the United Kingdom are more than happy to pay.

No one likes the idea of taxes rising. Parties and politicians refrain from uttering the phrase lest they’re taken out back and beaten before being hung from a tree. Yet, everyone underestimates how much we’re willing to pay for our beloved NHS.

Recent polls reveal that three quarters of us are willing to pay one whole pound a week to help better fund the NHS. A whole pound! That’s one quarter of a pint. The issue there remains, this money would have to go to the NHS. Not like that 350 million of Brexit money that was promised to it and now when asked, Boris Johnson laughs, shrugs and spits on a poor person.

We’d be willing to pay, if we were assured it was going where it was needed and we saw the results. Everyone deserves free healthcare, why should it be reserved for those who can afford it? No one plans to go to hospital, no one makes the conscious effort to get cancer, except for smokers maybe. Why should people have to re-mortgage their home to pay for life saving surgery?

This is why I’ll never understand America. Barak Obama tried really hard to provide the people with affordable healthcare and the people responded as though he was trying to kill their children. Trump doesn’t want universal healthcare, he much prefers the idea of having to pay $2,000 to recast a broken arm and if you can’t afford it, he wants you to stagger around for the rest of your life with misshapen limbs.

Of course, he speaks from that privileged position of being a very rich man. Medical bills are nothing to him, so he would not understand. Keeping your people healthy is imperative for a happy functioning nation. As absurd as it may sound to the human mind, in somethings, we must be willing to come together and do what we can for the greater good. The capitalist system may work in some respects, but there are times when we have to put it aside.

It will be hard. Introducing universal healthcare won’t be cheap and it will not happen over one night, but the benefits will be tremendous. It’ll put everyone on an equal footing as far as health is concerned. If you are rich and can’t abide the idea of using the same hospitals as everyone else, because you’re better than them, then there’ll still be private healthcare.

I just find it irksome when – for lack of a better term – ignorant twats argue against universal healthcare by making wild claims about the NHS. The fact is, we get sick, we go to a doctor, we get better and we’re not left in destitution.

There are flaws yes. Every system has flaws and these can be overcome with the right funding and a fucking multiparty council to look after all things NHS to avoid politics getting too involved. We need to encourage our youth to stop doing film studies courses and pursue a rewarding medicine career. The more doctors and nurses we have, the less strained the system will be.

I know anecdotal accounts don’t really count as evidence in most situations, but recently my uncle passed away from cancer. When he took a turn for the worst it had been snowing, which in England means everything stops running. An NHS doctor got on a train only to get stranded an entire town away from where my uncle was, so, in the snow, he walked. It was by no means a short walk, nor a pleasant one, but he did so anyway. My uncle got the treatment he needed and admitted to a hospice where he could be comfortable in his final week or so. Does this sound like a broken system?

When people complain about long waiting times in A&E, ask them what they were there for. You’ll find they won’t say ‘my arm had been severed and I was bleeding to death whilst on fire’. They’ll say ‘I bashed my finger and it really hurt. It wasn’t broken in the end just a bit swollen.’

The NHS is a profoundly human thing. We all own it collectively. It is ours. We can help make it better and we should. Then if Trump comes on a state visit (assuming he’s not throwing a tantrum over the size of the American embassy or the selection of morning pastries), we can injure him with a bat. Then let him get some free treatment. That’ll learn him, I think.

 

Well that’s that. If you want to see some half arsed articles I got paid to write on subjects i have no authority on, please see the links below.  Also, my absurdist collection of short stories ‘The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness‘ is cheap. Buy that. It has 5 stars on the co.uk version. That’s the most stars you can get.

https://blog.realiseme.com/blog/expand-not-expand/

https://blog.realiseme.com/blog/ofsted-behind-follow-ups/

https://blog.realiseme.com/blog/teacher-crisis-deepens/

 

We Awkard Many

Speak to anyone long enough and they’ll confess to some level of social insecurity. Whilst I feel I can objectively say that most people don’t feel as useless as the small social circle I inhabit, it is there nonetheless.

A brief Google involving two key words ‘social’ and ‘inept’ brings up a host of results, the top ones being how to ‘deal’ with social awkwardness and a test to find out just how socially awkward you are. It’s quite mainstream then, to have no idea how to behave like a human being, who biologists tell us, are social beings.

The odd thing is, if we all feel, to some degree, that we are socially inept why do we keep up the pretences? Why do clubs exist? Does the monotonous music played at a volume as to make conversation impossible work in our favour? Is it there to save us the bother of trying to connect intellectually or emotionally to other human beings?  We’d be better served if they played some good music, save us the hassle of trying to think of anything of any value to say, whilst helping us connect emotionally, rather than just playing whatever drivel Drake happens to be spouting. I hate Drake. Every one of his songs sounds identical and yet each one has makes me feel like despairing in their own unique way.

How have we got to this stage? How has a race that’s managed to build the entirety of what we call ‘civilisation’ become so… useless? The one thing that apparently helped us get to where we are, our ability to work together, our innate socialness that constructed the pillars that hold up society as we know it, is in fact a very frail and fragile thing.

Have we become more self-aware? Has the internet connected us so well, that we’ve time to look at ourselves and find us wanting? Is it technology? Has technology made our lives that much easier that we have more time for self-reflection?

I was once working on a film. Which sounds fun to say and makes me sound like my life is somewhat interesting. I was to be an extra in a film, the filming date was cancelled due to wind, the weather kind, the director didn’t have a stomach ache, Colin Firth wasn’t farting like mad. Anyway. A load of us were transported to a warehouse to try out our costumes.

We were a rag tag band from various backgrounds thrust together by fate. Beautiful friendships could have been made. Love that echoes through the ages could have come about. If we only talked to each other. We arrived half an hour early and had to sit in a canteen somewhere. We could have opened our mouths and started speaking, but we didn’t. What we did was scoop out our phones from our pockets or from depths of bottomless handbags. We looked at these screens and tapped away endlessly to avoid any kind of interaction.

Well I didn’t. My phone was playing up. I was reading Catch-22, which makes me intellectually superior to anyone else there. It does. I mean it’s entirely possible that someone else was using their phone to read Catch-22 but to that I say ‘shh!’

Britain has  been described as ‘the loneliness capital of Europe’, albeit as far back as 2014, which may not seem like a long time, but that was when I still had hope. Is a sense of social detachment ingrained in our DNA? Was the British Empire just a huge reaction to our overwhelming feelings of loneliness? Did our ancestors cross the seas and steal people’s countries, so we can feel less lonely?

You’ll notice I’ve thrown a lot of questions out there, to which I don’t have any answers. The truth is, I’m very drunk. I just left a club. I was with a group. I couldn’t take it anymore.

Someone I think I love was there. She disappeared. There was a long queue for the toilets. So I disappeared too.

The Sideways Leaning Man

I’m currently in a very low state of mind. When this happens the Sideways Leaning Man often makes an appearance, because he’s easy to draw and instills me with a sense of clarity. When I look upon the Sideways Leaning Man the rest of the world melts away and I am left with such stupid piece of art work that I feel, albeit briefly, that everything might just be okay.

I did a few mock ups of the Sideways Leaning Man on Paint. Be aware that when drawn by hand, the Sideways Leaning Man has a more artistic quality. There’s a complexity to him. He is more than a thinly drawn sketch. Figuratively speaking of course. He is literally a thinly drawn sketch. That is what he is.

The Sideways Leaning Man Sees Injustice and Speaks Out.

Sideways leaning man

 

The Sideways Leaning Man Scoots Down a Person, Becoming the Very Thing He Hates

Sideways leaning man scoots a man down

 

The Sideways Leaning Man Looks out the Window, Sees More Injustice, but is Now Too Apathetic to Do Anything About It.

apathy

I’m sure the Sideways Leaning Man has appeared in this blog at somepoint before. I think he witnessed the end of the world in a doodle dating back years. Anyway, there he is.

The Fuzzy Rambler is now on Twitter giving out useful words of wisdom to all. I am screaming down a cardboard tube into a pit filled of screams. I have 1 follower. If I can make a difference to that 1 follower it will all be worth it. I doubt I will though, as I know that individual and he’s a miserable sod.

The True Truth

Here’s a little something I got bored and started writing today at work after the subject of fake news came up.

 

In an age where established facts can be discarded without a second’s thought and any poorly conceived opinion can be true if shouted loud enough, life is hard. Not laboriously hard, unless you happen to work in construction or something like that, but you know… difficult.

Let me show you.

Nina Hepworth was only young when truth died. She has to concentrate hard to remember it, but she can. She can recall a time where truth was something definable, at least to a degree. It was possible to know things.

Now the only thing she knows is that she knows nothing. Descartes once thought he had solved this issue with his oh so clever cogito ergo sum. He could not doubt that he was doubting and therefore, his very scepticism proved at the very least that he existed to a degree. To this, Nina would suggest that there was the possibility that Descartes had been led astray by the biased liberal media, or fake news perpetuated by the Alt-Right or even that his scepticism was the result of a government conspiracy desperate to keep him focussed on proving his existence rather than anything else.

To which Descartes may have said, ‘what?’ before inventing the Cartesian coordinate system.

The date is the eighteenth of February twenty-thirty-four. Nina is walking through the snow covered streets towards her place of work. The snow is thick, up to her ankles and still falling. It flits around her face in disorganised sort of way. Global warming was playing havoc with the weather. Fortunately, the establishment had declared four years earlier that global warming wasn’t a thing. Any information circulating to suggest the contrary had just been lazy propaganda. Any supposedly scientific research into the matter was false and had largely been funded by someone trying to sell wind turbines.

Within a few weeks the city had been plastered with posters and every screen was lit up with the same slogan.

“We don’t want your fucking wind turbines.”

The elected officials… or the vote rigging dictators who may or may not have been put in place by the Russians, or the hired actors who take the fall for the mysterious figures who are really running the show, put more funding into oil, coal and “a new fuel source that’ll never run out so chill out about the whole thing.”

Anyway, it is snowing.

Nina stops at a crossing, looks both ways as is advised, sees nothing coming and crosses. She would be at work within three minutes. Her worn boots crunch through the candyfloss snow that’s beginning to work its way through the hole in her sole. She curls her toes as she pauses at the other side of the road.

She remembered it all happening rather slowly. Until it wasn’t happening slowly anymore, and everyone was hurtling towards oblivion.

Nina stops before the entrance to the council building. It isn’t particularly impressive. It’s tall, wide and grey. The big glass doors seem to shimmer under the glare of the intense tube lighting within. She can see the reception desk. It’s manned by a man, which makes the use of the word manned entirely literal. He has a shiny face with a  well-kept little beard, gelled hair and fancy glasses. She shakes her head. His name is Graham, he’s nice enough, but he’s relentlessly dull and insists on having conversations, which is the worst thing a dull person can insist upon.

She glances at her watch, decides being a few minutes late isn’t the worst thing in the world, and decides to get a coffee.

Half way towards Starbucks a car pulls up alongside the curb. The tyres spin a little in the snow and are glistening with wet. A man opens the window, he’s middle aged and balding. Nina locks eyes with him. He’s wearing a suit and has very serious looking eyes with a sunken look to them.

‘Get in,’ he commands.

Nina has no intention of getting in. Good things have never happened to a lone woman who jumps into a stranger’s car. She moves away from the curb and quickens her pace. The Starbucks is around the corner, if she makes it there she should be safe. Though it was by no means a sure thing. Recently the media had been promising another terrorist attack, whilst simultaneously saying there would definitely not be another terrorist attack. A spokesman for MI5 said that Britain is the safest it has ever been or ever will be, but then a spokesman for MI6 said it was a ticking time bomb.

Nina didn’t know who to believe, six was one more than five. Though even that was up for debate these days. She remembered being taught that two plus two equalled four, but now theories were emerging that people had been wrong about 4 all along and was actually nowhere near two twice.  Everyone had their own theory, some were even positing that numbers had no solid meaning and –

Having quickened her pace, Nina put herself on the path to destruction. Her back hits the snow covered floor hard and the wind is knocked from her lungs. She hears the car man swear and the opening of doors. Two men loom over her, big men at that. They grab her by the arms and heave her to her feet. She tries to scream out, but it’s no more than a wheeze. The men push her into the back of the car next to the middle aged man who regards her with disappointment. Small graces, Nina thinks. Disappointment is low level, no one gets hurt because of disappointment.

‘Don’t worry, you are safe,’ says the man barely looking at her. He is facing forward, staring out the windscreen. The wipers are going mad, back and forth back and forth, not knowing what side they want to be on.

‘Who are you?’ She asks.

‘We are the believers. We truly believe in truth. The true truth, as it once was.’ He says.

‘And what was that?’ she asks.

‘We don’t know. We were hoping you could help us.’