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.


The Minute Collection of Absurdity.

Below is an extract from my latest waste of time – I mean work in progress.


Hubert J Watergipridget is, without a doubt, the greatest novelist that ever did live. It is said that his texts are so important, that many have cured seemingly incurable diseases. It seems that no genre, subject or medium was beyond his talents. His subtle political satire ‘All Politicians are Cunts’ is still as relevant today as it was when he wrote it some time in the forties.
Little is known about the author’s private life and education, in fact only a scant 5 800 page biographies have been written about him, as well as one ‘speculative biography’ which makes a few guesses as to what he may have been like.
Following the phenomenal success of The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness and the huge sums of money it brought in, researchers have conveniently uncovered another collection of previously unpublished Watergipridget works. These are for a more mature audience and as such, explore more daring issues and controversial topics. The Head of Humanities at Oxford University has gone on to say of the collection that it ‘is very much more of the same’, so we can be rest assured that The Minute Collection of Absurdity will do just as well as its predecessor.

When asked of his success and what advice he’d give others, Watergipridget remarked that “In life, there are those who work hard and with dedication and those who seek the easy path. Both are good options, as it’s all down to luck anyway. There are those with more success than they deserve and those with more failure than they deserve and the simple fact is, whatever choices they made, however talented they were and however hard they worked, none of it made the slightest bit of difference. We are all particles being fired through space, occasionally by sheer chance some of the right particles smash into one another and create something interesting, but more often than not they explode and fuck everything up.”
Watergipridget’s acceptance of the chaotic nature of the universe went beyond explaining the perplexing career advances of the undeserving, going on to become the driving force in everything he did, as well as the excuse for everything he did. He was once charged with drug possession, three counts of soliciting and the assault of a police officer. In answer to these crimes he simply stated “We’re nothing but insects scurrying around in the dust, a slave to electrical impulses in the brain and chemical reactions in the body. I have no more control over my own actions than a worm does whether he gets eaten or not.”
He was later released without charge. However, the policeman in question and a number of his friends did leap out from behind a bush and break his legs. They were let off as a result of using the same defence.
So, the volatile and bleak nature of the universe is often reflected in Watergipridget’s work, which of course, by his own admission, he can’t possibly take credit for because his thoughts are the result of the afore mentioned chemical reactions and electrical discharges.

This collection contains the following.

The Man Who Believed Himself to be an Octopus.  (An earlier draft can be found here
I’m Old and Likely to Die Soon.
Of Mice and Slightly Smaller Mice.
He Who Watched All The Porn
She Who Watched Most of the Porn.
Never Let It Be Said.
And more, if the researchers bother to find any.

The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness can and should be bought here. If you don’t own a kindle, message me and I’ll phone you up at night and read the stories to you.


Despise Change, but Hate the Everyday.

Pretentious title I know, but I like contradictory statements or oxymorons, they please me. Anyway, I feel that my obsession with doodles is some what reflective of a low state of mind. Not because they’re ‘out there’ or ‘messed up’ that people often like to claim to be when they’re definitely not, in a vain attempt to seem interesting. More because I tend to doodle most when overly anxious or taken by a miserable bastard kind of mood.

Many figures throughout history, when taken by such a mood create musical masterpieces, or paint glorious pictures or write works that last through the ages. I draw stick men in various situations and try to pass it off as ‘wit’. However, it’s easy to pass things off as wit, you just have to say it with a certain level of smugness or tilt your head to the side a little. Because I no longer have a scanner, I have taken pictures on my phone, and emailed them to myself and then uploaded them here, so the quality will be (as we say in the art world) shit.

Anyway, this piece is called “The Generational Gap.”


The young and the old are destined never to understand one another . To one, eating a banana is a fairly mundane thing. to the other, it’s worthy of a ‘good ole fashioned axin’.’

This is called “The Hunt For the Loch Ness Monster”


Turned out to be easier than the scientists first thought. They didn’t even get to unload their fancy equipment. Typical.

“Waiting for a Bus!”


Because let’s face it, if you were Death, where would you choose to stand? Think of all those OAP’s with free bus passes, it saves him lots of time.

“Bendy Man Walks On Tiny Legs Whilst Whistling a Tune.”


That’s pretty much it, not all art has multiple layers.

“Pyramid of Necessity.”

pyramid of necessity

The Beatles once sang “All You Need Is Love.” Bet they didn’t have to do a proper day’s work in their life, the lazy bastards.

“An Empty Day”

I made this partially 3D, so it get’s marks for trying.

I’ll leave you with this. As I have to rely on public transport I spend a lot of time waiting for buses, the below is an angry email which I sent to one bus company. I have yet to receive a reply, but I’m cautiously optimistic that I will see justice served.

Sent: 03 November 2015 20:37:38

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Dear Lord Of All Buses,

I am a simple man, a humble man if you will. I want to do what is best for Planet Earth, which is currently my place of residence. I never learned to drive, thinking (perhaps arrogantly at the time) that I would forego the needless ritual of driving lessons. I did so under the impression that, not only will I have a lesser “carbon footprint” than most, but I would also save money and save myself from wasting hour after hour searching in vain for a place to park.

I have saved no money. Alas, rather than wasting hours looking for a place to park, I appear to be wasting numerous hours of my life awaiting the arrival of your elusive buses. £30 pound a week is no small sum, it is a sum that could purchase me a large amount of flapjack, and I love flapjack. For such a price I expect a good service. Several times your buses have failed to turn up at all, they are almost always late. I assume when creating your time table you take in to consideration variables such as traffic. 5 minutes late is fine, ten minutes is frustrating but sometimes inevitable.  Any more than 25 is taking the proverbial pee.

It is my suggestion, that you either lower your price to better represent the service, or replace all your timetables with a sign saying ‘Your Guess Is As Good As Ours.’

Waiting for many hours for a bus is probably not what Blaise Pascal (inventor of the bus service; if Wikipedia is to be believed – which of course it isn’t) had in mind. He’d be disgusted, and he’s French, he could take disgusted to the next level.

Now, I am not a vengeful man (or woman, you don’t know!) but, if I do not see improvements soon, I will have to come down to your headquarters and defecate upon the floor, with a rather stern expression. My diet is very fibrous, so I suggest – as I suggest to everyone – that you work hard to please me.

Yours Sincerely,

An Anonymous Man (Whose name isn’t in his – or her- email address)

Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness [Extract]

The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness is available for download on Amazon kindle for as little as 75p, that’s right, I am shamelessly self-promoting. As the title suggests, most of the content is stupid and rather banal (I should really get into advertising), but for 75p you can’t complain really can you? Well you can, but people’ll shake their heads at you and say things like ‘not really the end of the world is it mate, 75p, that’s nothing. There are people in the world that are starving to death and you are complaining about spending 75p on a digitally formatted book and not being thoroughly entertained. You’re a prick.’ And then they’ll stab you.

So without further ado, to give you a taste [though the other stories have more of a thoughtful element] here is the introduction and first short story of the collection to wet your appetite. Or to convince you not to buy my book.



The name Hubert J. Watergipridget never fails to stir powerful feelings in all who hear it. The renowned, often controversial novelist is famed for his stirring – and at times haunting – coming of age novel ‘I Can’t Seem To Find My Hat’ as well as its critically acclaimed follow up ‘Oh Wait Here It Is’.  Both novels poignantly tackled the pressing themes of his time (1933-1956 – though not 1938, that was a good year without any pressing themes) with his now iconic artistic flair and esteemed wit.

This collection, which you are about to read, is in fact selection of previously unpublished children’s stories. Each story weaves a rich tapestry of culture filled with life lessons and moral messages that resonate through the ages. They may be considered ‘dark’ by today’s condescending standards, but what one must bear in mind is that many were written with the backdrop of the Second World War, a time Watergipridget spent constantly switching sides.

“Well my friend Jimmy is English, but David’s German and he’s pretty funny. Also I have a villa in Italy, so I can’t be expected to route for one country the entire time now, can I?’”[1]

This was typical behaviour from Watergipridget, as perhaps one of his most infamous moments was when he met then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Upon being offered a cigar he was quoted to have said “No thank you; you know what they say about a man who smokes cigars don’t you? Probably got something terribly wrong with his anus.”[2]  Which of course lead to the German propaganda song “Churchill Has A Dodgy Arse.”

Despite these bold statements, it is understood that Watergipridget was a reclusive fellow, who battled with periods of mental instability. There is perhaps, some truth in this, as he once published a four hundred page novel which recounted the life of swan in intricate detail in which he refused to use the letter S. Though others have argued that this was in fact a clever critique of British capitalism.

Each story shall be followed by an analysis written by myself, because it’s not enough that you simply enjoy them. You need to know precisely what he was trying to say. You can’t possibly work that out for yourself, because you are without a doubt a simpleton.

Henry Pretension.

      School of English

     Cambridge University.

The Girl Who Would Be  A Caterpillar.


There once was a young girl named Atefeh. She lived in a tiny village near the Weetabix factory. She was a girl of simple ambition, bright enough not to suffer scorn and ridicule. When she grew up, she wanted to be a caterpillar. Well, in actual fact she wanted to be a butterfly, but had been told by a passing biologist that that was impossible as butterflies came from caterpillars. She wanted this more than anything in the world.  Her father, seeing this great desire threatening to consume his daughter’s mind, did what any responsible parent would have done. He told her of a wise old witch that lived in the depths of a vast and ancient forest.

‘There is a wise old witch who lives in the depths of a vast and ancient forest.’ He said (see?), pointing with a long bony finger that was usually seen pressing the buttons of his favourite calculator. He had very little to calculate, for he was very poor, but he thoroughly enjoyed calculating for calculating’s sake. His favourite sum was (81×4)-3 / 8.

Atefeh left the house one night, under cover of darkness, whilst her father slept in front of the old television set. His skin was bathed in the pale blue light of the screen. He was watching his Countdown video again; one he had made himself, editing together all the number rounds. She packed a bag with food supplies: Jacob’s crackers and packets of corned beef and the odd bit of creamy stilton.

The moon was her only source of light as she stepped outside, if of course you didn’t count the multitude of streetlamps that painted the village a sickly orange hue. The ominous shadow that was the Weetabix factory was still discernible in the distance, the yellow W shining out like a beacon. She followed it instinctively, like a guiding star. The air had a furry chill to it, especially when the wind blew which was almost constant, jostling her hair with invasive invisible hands.

It was only after she had been walking for precisely one hour and twenty-seven minutes that she realised her father’s words had been extremely lacking in specifics. There were many vast and ancient forests in the world, very few of which were situated near the Weetabix factory. There was no great forest of Kettering. No dense woodland of Corby, unless of course it happened to be made out of trouser presses, hah, imagine that – a forest made of trouser presses.

Unfortunately, Atefeh had gone so far that she had gotten herself lost in the darkness. She felt a liquid worry trickle about her body. So much so that she had to stop to have a nibble of a few crackers.

CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH, she went, crumbs falling into her lap. Her eating was so disgustingly loud, as the sound of other people eating tends to be, that she barely noticed the sound of scurrying going on all around her. She stood up just in time to see a large number of tiny crusty faced men charging towards her. Within seconds she was surrounded, there were dozens of them. She began to panic now, she considered kicking one in the head but decided against it, there was just far too many of them.

‘We are the Weetabix goblins!’ squeaked the closest, evidently the leader. He had a creamy headdress adorned with a scattering of summer fruits.

‘What do you want from me?’ Atefeh croaked fearfully.

‘EAT EAT EAT!’ Chorused the goblins.

‘Shh!’ hissed their leader sharply, ‘although they do have a point; we do wish to eat you.’

‘Eat me?’ Atefeh cried, ‘why would you want to do that?’

‘Revenge!’ bellowed the leader, shaking his long stick in a grand, threatening sort of way. ‘For too long have the humans been eating our kind by the bowlful, we are going to see how you like it!’ he went on, crumbs spraying from his crack of a mouth.

‘I should imagine people wouldn’t be all that fond of the idea.’ Atefeh stammered desperately. She did not want to be eaten, it was a notion shared by all creatures on the planet, apart from maybe the worm who lacks the mental capacity to fear being consumed. She was hurriedly trying to think of a way out of the situation.

‘And yet, you love to eat us,’ the goblin retorted.

‘I wouldn’t say love. In fact Weetabix are quite tasteless.’ Atefeh confessed.

There was a murmur of unease amongst the goblins, some started to shake their cereal spears whilst chattering ‘EAT EAT!’

‘More to the point, the Weetabix we eat tends to be just blocks. They don’t have legs, or talk or anything.’ Atefeh persisted.

‘Well, erm… they are… erm… our babies? Or our poo… I don’t know, I don’t think the author thought this through.’

‘Let’s just hope Weetabix don’t try and sue.’ Said Atefeh distractedly.

‘Maybe if we say something nice about them, they’ll see it as free advertising,’ suggested the goblin.

‘I don’t think we need to worry,’ piped up another goblin, further dismantling the fourth wall. ‘I can’t see anyone reading this drivel.’

‘People read Twilight.’ Sniffed the leader hilariously. The other goblins giggled at this slightly dated pop culture reference.

‘Anyway,’ said Atefeh, ‘I was only trying to find the wise old witch so that I could become a caterpillar.’ There was a jabbering of recognition from the goblins. Their heads bobbed up and down as they spoke.

‘We know of this witch.’ Said the leader mysteriously.

‘You do?’ asked Atefeh in disbelief.

‘Yes, by a magnificent coincidence we do. And instead of eating you, we will take you to see her instead, as it is said that those who see the witch, always regret it.’

With that warning echoing in her mind, Atefeh started to have second thoughts about seeing the witch. Had her father known about this when he told her about the forest dwelling lady? She started to wish she had never left the house, she longed for the warmth of her bed, the comfort of her blue pillow and the soothing sounds of the owls outside.

‘This way,’ said the goblin leader, with a menacing little grimace on his dried wheat face.

‘What if I refuse?’ she said boldly, though she didn’t feel it.

‘We’ll cut off your feet.’ Was the curt response. ‘Don’t you want to be a caterpillar? Isn’t it your dream?’ it was her dream. It was. She had always wanted to be a caterpillar. She wanted to be a butterfly. But of course, that was impossible; she needed to be a caterpillar first.

Though she had to admit dreams were funny things. So wrapped in delusional expectations they were, so edited by idealism, that to actually achieve them, risked suffering severe disappointment. Of course these were pretty intense thoughts for such a young girl to be having, so they in turn instilled a sense of confusion in her. She just wanted to be a butterfly.

‘Where is this witch?’ she asked with trepidation.

‘Why, she is nowhere… she is everywhere. She lurks in the laughter of children. She dwells in the shoots of new trees and in the husks of old dead ones… but if you want specifics – Brazil.’ Said the goblin leader. Atefeh felt her heart drop like a sack of potatoes, violently thrown into a lake. Brazil? That was so far away.

‘It’ll take ages!’ she complained. ‘How will we get there?’ she had no money for a plane ticket, and guessed that it would be difficult for a number of Weetabix goblins to make international flights.

‘It’s common knowledge that Weetabix can fly,’ said the Goblin, throwing up his hands extravagantly, shaking his stick again.  ‘We shall carry you!’ and with that many hands grabbed at her, scratching at her dark skin. Her heart was pounding. These goblins were kidnapping her, taking her across the world. Her father and his calculator wouldn’t be able to save her. Nor would the police, because they were shit.

‘Don’t be scared,’ spat the goblin, face contorted with maliciousness, ‘after all, you’ll be flying, just like a butterfly.’

Atefeh doubted the accuracy of that statement. She had seen many butterflies fluttering about in her garden, peaceful, tranquil, undisturbed and free. Though occasionally they did look clumsy, drifting from one flower to another, they had never been supported by several Weetabix goblins.

Her thoughts slipped from her left ear and were left behind as they whooshed up into the air. The wind tore at her and her arms were jolted painfully in the vicelike grips of the goblins, as they raced ever higher, speed increasing all the while.  Her poor watering eyes were pierced by great pillars of light. There was a tremendous wail of airplane engines. A silent scream burst from her lungs as they hurtled through the air at speeds beyond human conceptualisation. She must have blacked out, as before long she found herself standing in some sort of vast and ancient forest. The climate was hot and sticky, the air moist. A symphony of wild noise assaulted her ears. Hooting apes, squawking birds, splorting frogs and reptiles and the soft singing of wild barbershop quartets.

‘What have we here?’ asked a decidedly witchy voice.

Atefeh looked about in disbelief. In the small fern ridden clearing there was nothing to be seen. The distant sound of trees dying at the hand of manic sounding chainsaws filled the air.

‘What have we here?’ the voice repeated.

‘Me.’ Atefeh replied at long last, swallowing hard. She was sweating and her throat was dry.

‘And what are you doing here?’ asked the disembodied voice.

‘I want to meet the witch?’ she replied.

‘And why would you want to do that?’

‘I… I…’ what did she want? Did she want to be a caterpillar? Or did she just want to go home, away from these goblins?

‘You want to be a caterpillar, I can make it so.’ Said the voice.

‘I want to go home,’ Atefeh mumbled.

‘Are you sure? Home to your calculating father. Back to your monotonous life, at school where the adults condescend you, force information into your heads until you want to scream. Back to your life that will be forever influenced by test scores and other people.’

‘I… I…’

‘You want to be a caterpillar and lead a pleasant, simple life until you finally change into that beautiful butterfly you’ve always wanted to be. Then you can be free, free to live a life of tranquillity, not having to work and toil the rest of your miserable days. Not have to live with human fears.’ Said the voice.

Atefeh paused, chewing on her lower lip ‘I suppose when you put it that way, yes, yes I do.’ She said.


And so Atefeh became a caterpillar. She was transported back home and into her back garden. She shuffled along quite happily, readying herself for the eventual change. Readying herself to be the butterfly she had always wanted to be. Beautiful, transient…

She was  eaten by a bird.

The End.

[1] Watergipridget – speaking at his trial for treachery.

[2] Von Speigel – Things Said By People Throughout History. Vol. 3 The Intellectual Press.

I would post a link, but instead I would say go on Amazon and search ‘The Tiny Compendium Of Ridiculousness.’

The Sudden and Anticlimactic End of the World. (Story)

Here is the opening to something I’ve been doing in between job searching. Like all my creative exploits I’ll probably get a hundred or so pages in and then just stop. No doubt I’m ripping someone off, end of the world fiction seems popular these days. This one will involve The Gods, all of them, even the ones that you never thought existed.

Chapter 1: Everything’s Broken


One was unemployed. The other was a freelance musician, which was very much the same.  How they managed to keep the flat around them was a constant mystery to them both, but they had an unspoken agreement that they must never question it lest it disappear and render them homeless. The room was lit by that dampened orange sort of light that can only exist when cheap beige curtains are drawn.  Jacob scratched himself in idle contemplation as he regarded the living room. The patchy sofa stood as an island amidst a sea of take away treys, pizza boxes and beer cans, lots of beer cans… and bottles, and in one case a lady’s high heeled shoe.

There was a flat screen television, whose face was forever dead. It hadn’t been switched on for some time, on account of it costing money. It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, Jacob reasoned as he counted the days away on his fingers. He knew it must be Saturday because three days ago it was Wednesday, and the night before Billy had been playing a gig down at the Three Horseshoes[*]. Billy’s real name was Justin, but he disliked Justin, and when he and Jacob were young they had both agreed that Jacob and Justin sounded too much like the name of a Sit-com or an afterschool children’s television series. So he had decided to go by the name of Billy.

It was very quiet.

Jacob rubbed at his steadily growing stubble. He had not shaved for several days. If he gave it nine weeks he might have what would pass for a beard. Although the longer it got the more it resembled some sort of skin infection. He found his book amongst the mess, The Beautiful and the Damned by Fitzgerald. It was a dull book, immensely dull. But that was not the point. You weren’t supposed to read for pleasure, you were supposed to read to look like an artistic intellectual. He began reading to distract himself from his own hunger and the realisation that the fridge was empty, not to mention not working.  They had recently discovered that if you don’t pay your electricity bills the electricity god would seek retribution. They had only just managed to get the smell of old cheese out of the flat.

‘AARRG!’ Came a startled scream from nearby. There was fear etched into the sound, fear, pain; and sorrow. Billy came staggering into the room holding his head. He was a distinctly average looking man. Which was good. Average looking men, romantically speaking, had far more success than the average man. They weren’t prone to vanity and narcissism, unattractive qualities to most, nor were they intimidating, and of course nor were they ugly. And not being ugly was far more important than being attractive.

‘AARRG!’ he screamed again. His thick black hair in a waxy mess, his bare torso was as hairy as a bowl of porridge at ‘Graham’s Café’[†].

    ‘Told you the last whisky would be a bad idea.’ Jacob scolded him. Jacob prided himself on being a consistent drinker. He could drink to the point of drunkenness and then stop. He could get the optimum amount of confidence gained from alcohol, the wit it bestows upon people and the general fuzzy happiness it instilled, and then he could stop.

Most people reached a point of no return, before vaulting over it naked into a bog of despair.

‘You bought it for me! It’d be rude not to have drunk it.’

‘No you bought it, I simply handed it back to you once you’d finished urinating in the pot plant.’ Jacob reasoned.

‘Oh. At least I rocked the place out last night.’

Jacob allowed his friend this. Not because it was true, but simply because he hadn’t the heart to tell him that he had played in front of twelve people, seven of whom were in their late fifties  and regarded him with a look of disgust that only men in their late fifties listening to music released in the last decade can.

‘God this place is a dump.’ Said Billy as he dropped onto the sofa next to him.

‘Hmm, we should clean it up.’

‘Not with this hangover.’

‘Hmm, would be easier to just burn it down and start again.’

‘You know that hmm, you do is really annoying.’

‘Yeah well, it’s less annoying than climbing into your flatmate’s bed and trying to fondle his breasts.’

‘I didn’t did I?’

‘You did. And apparently ‘Laura used to love that sort of thing.’ I had to get quite physical to show you I wasn’t Laura.’

Billy suddenly looked reflective, in a melancholy sort of way. His face was pale, dark shadows under his eyes which in turn looked fit to vomit. He rubbed his nose and sniffed.

‘Yeah… I miss her.’

‘It’s been three months.’  Said Jacob unenthused.

‘It takes a life time to get over true love.’ Billy replied.

‘Oh brilliant, so I have more of that to look forward to do I?’

‘Oh don’t pretend you don’t want some, everyone knows you’re a big bag of gay.’

‘Well when you put it in that PC way, yes, yes I do want some, I like men, therefore I enjoy being groped by any man that so happens to climb uninvited into my bed.’ Said Jacob as sarcastically as he could manage, which was incredibly sarcastic. When he put his mind to it, he could become sarcasm incarnate, a big wobbly creature with three legs. There was a slight pause where Billy was trying to work out whether he should be ashamed, and Jacob was trying to work out just how offended he should be.

‘What have we got for breakfast?’

‘Some dry pasta.’ Said Jacob with a shrug.

‘How long does it take to cook?’

‘About ten minutes.’

‘I’ll be dead by then!’

Jacob discarded his book, he wasn’t really enjoying it anyway.  He waded through the knee deep layer of filth and made towards the balcony. Though it was only a balcony for lack of a better word. It wasn’t a grand ornate thing that Juliet might lament and be wooed by a young Romeo. For one thing it was four stories up, so Romeo would have to shout quite loud. No, a balcony it was not, it was more just a metal ledge clinging precariously to the side of the building.

‘We really should clean this place. It’s disgusting. We really ought to do something with our lives. We’re twenty three with no career prospects ahead of us. I don’t want to reach my thirties and still be –‘ Whatever he was going to say was cut off as he threw the curtains aside letting in a sheet of light that threatened to blind him. The city that waited for him outside was not how he left it. Something had gone horribly wrong.

Black tendrils of smoke twisted into the air like the phantom tentacles of a mythical squid. One tall building lay significantly more horizontal than it had done the night before. Everything seemed to have fallen over or be in the process of falling over; and anything that wasn’t appeared to be on fire.

Jacob retreated back to the sofa with a dream like feeling enveloping him. He didn’t immediately go to the cliché that he must bein fact dreaming, if he were dreaming he’d feel slightly less hungry and not so full of self-loathing. He flopped back on to the greasy sofa where Billy still massaged his temples.

‘The City’s been destroyed.’ Said Jacob flatly.

‘Eh?’ Billy rose and moved over to the window. ‘Blimey… how drunk did we get?’

‘I don’t think it was us.’ Jacob replied.

‘I didn’t hear anything.’

‘Double glazing for you.’ Jacob sniffed. He heard the clack of the balcony door key being turned, and then the door was pulled open, rattling a number of beer cans and bottles. The flat was instantly enveloped by a cacophony of noise. Sirens wailed and whined, fires roared and distant screams drifted in like an ornamenting piccolo.

Billy shut the noise away and retreated back to the safety of Sofa Island. They sat in contemplative silence for some time. Billy dug out his phone from some hidden crevice and swiped his fingers across the screen.

‘According to Facebook it’s not just here that’s broken.’ He said.

‘You’re checking Facebook? The city is being reduced to rubble and you’re checking Facebook.’ Jacob said in disbelief. He was one of those people who swore himself off of social networking.  He had a moral objection to it, but mostly it was to seem intellectually superior.

‘Shit….’ Said Billy rubbing his hair. It had a remarkable quality that whatever shape he rubbed it into it maintained until the next assault.




The Anvil’s fallen down. I was going to play a gig there tomorrow.’

‘That is a bummer.’

‘And most of Paris has been destroyed too!’

‘How can anyone tell?’ Jacob laughed at his own joke, perhaps a little too hard. He had never been to Paris, but that didn’t make it less funny. Had Billy said any other name he’d have made the same joke. It was odd. The world was apparently meeting its end and he was sat there making jokes. It was all rather unsettling. Was that the state of youthful apathy? The world could end and no one would care?



[*] The Three Horseshoes being approximately the second most popular pub name in Britain, Red Lion being the first. Owners of pubs had a distinct lack of imagination. If they had their way their pubs would be called ‘My pub’ or ‘A Place Where You Can Purchase Alcohol.’

[†] Which is incredibly hairy, but is so cheap you’d be slightly disappointed if it wasn’t.

Sad Beans and Weeping Eggs.

No stupid doodles today. Apologies if this dissapoints. Just a creative writing exercise based on a dissapointing breakfast.

I couldn’t say what system of events led me to be eating a lukewarm fried breakfast in a pub at nine am. It was one in a chain of notoriously cheap pubs. The beans looked sad, the eggs wept. I couldn’t say what led to me sitting there, on the hard backed bench at a sticky – oh so sticky table, poking listlessly at a breakfast that appeared more depressed than I was, but my mind had a good go at working out why everyone else was there.

Scattered sporadically about the place, shrouded in the dreary gloom of the building (odd to think given the glorious sunshine outside) were the local alcoholics. I often wonder what would possess a man to drink a pint of sickly sweet, synthetic tasting cider at nine in the morning. Though I have to admit, I do have some respect for them all. If I were to drink in a pub that early – not that I ever would mind – I’d order a coffee, and slip some whisky in it myself. I don’t do that obviously. I’m just saying if I was to drink early, which I don’t, that’s what I’d do – but I don’t. It takes a sense of courage, an integrity of character to sit there with a pint glass, filled with cloudy ale and boldly declare, ‘yes, I am partaking in an alcoholic beverage. Yes, I am aware what time it is.’

It’s a sorry state to be in true enough, but an entirely organic one.

Take Jane over there. Her name’s probably not Jane, but it’s the one I bestow upon her for the sake of convenience. Her face is lined, perhaps prematurely, because she smokes a lot you can smell it on her. She reeks of stale tobacco, she’s rank with it, it’s tangy and makes your nose shrivel up and your eyes go all twitchy. Like a gnome. Like a gnome having a severe reaction.

She’s old, but maybe not as old as you think is what I’m saying. Her hairs sort of thinning and wiry, it’s still black but time has dabbed it with strokes of prominent grey. She has a bitter looking mouth, twisted in a scornful little sneer. She wasn’t always like that. Obviously, logic dictates she was young once. Unless she was born old, but that’s a disturbing image.

She was once a hardcore feminist, fighting with a violent passion to smash that glass ceiling. When she was a student, I’m guessing English lit… or maybe politics. As I look at her now, taking a sip of my coffee, without anything in it, this too lukewarm (this pub has an inability to make anything even approaching hot) I think she may have done philosophy. Yeah, that’s it, I can see her discussing Wittgenstein or Plato.

She would have been beautiful once too probably, beautiful and knew it. One of those weird feminists that rails against being viewed as a sexual object, but exploits her obvious sexuality. The sort who opposes the shallow world, but keeps looking at herself in the mirror and builds her ego from compliments and lingering looks from the men whose oppressive dominance she wanted to overthrow. She marched against Thatcher I’m betting. I don’t know what. I don’t know much about Thatcher, I wasn’t born then and haven’t been interested enough to find out about her. She would have marched against anything going I bet. ‘Stop the oppressing slugs.’ ‘Down with the sexualisation of deckchairs – they have feelings too!’

Anything that made her seem like she cared. Like she was important. Like she was intelligent. Like she was bohemian and rebellious, but above all unconventional. No one liked being conventional. Her youth had been eroded and with it her looks. There was nothing to rebel against now. The world was far too liberal for her liberal mind. Her knowledge of epistemology and metaphysics hadn’t got her anywhere. Too many men had screwed her over. Too many passionate, but of course unconventional love affairs had gone awry. So here she sat. Drinking a pint of Guinness.

This breakfast really is disgusting. Over there’s Pete. He thought himself a sex icon once. Now his hair’s in full retreat whilst his belly is in full assault. It wasn’t a vanity based on aesthetics. No, it wasn’t the vanity of the mirror. IT was something else. See for his sixteenth birthday – no may have been his fifteenth, I don’t know I’m just guessing. Coffee’s nasty, but at least it’s free refills. Anyway, for his fifteenth birthday he got given a guitar, picked it up quite swiftly too. His fingers tap danced over the frets like no other. He grew his hair out and rocked the same way too. He would smoke a cigarette and wear a leather jacket.
He played his first gig in a pub. A shoddy sort of place, like this place only in the seventies. He felt like a god. He saw the way the men wanted to be him, and the women wanted to be with him, that old cliché. IT felt wonderful, in one of his lengthy solos a woman with prominent breasts whooped at him.

That night he smoked weed for the first time, got the giggles and had sex. Life was on the up for Pete after that.

He played all the pubs in his town, even some in London. He thrived on the applause, he was going to hit it big. Soon he’d be in the big venues, with some abstract concept album. He’d have all the sex he wanted – he could get it so easily – and maybe he’d die in some drug fuelled orgy, but in death he’d be immortalised and his record sales would go through the roof. If it was made of glass he’d be seen as a hero by Jane.

Unfortunately, in his excitement he forgot to write his own songs. It wasn’t long before his covers went out of fashion. People slowly stopped clapping, after a time they stopped listening.

He tried to break back into it not long ago I reckon. He didn’t get the adulation he felt he deserved. In fact people talked over his shoddy solos. He was out of practise, balding and fat. No one likes a balding fat man. So there he was, drinking the cheap cider he had always drank at his gigs. If the barman caught his eye, he’d try and talk about music. The barman would listen politely, because he was getting paid £6.45 an hour to do so.
Then there’s Christine. She’s perhaps a bit older than Jane. Hair short and in a perm. She came in every morning –eurgh! Cold slimy egg! It’s like eating snot, ever eaten snot? I don’t recommend it, it’s like eating a
cold slimy egg.

She comes in every morning. Orders herself a coffee. Says she is a coffee connoisseur. She always used to have a pot on the go when she wrote her novels. She was a keen writer. She was nice enough too, a bit dull though. Her lively prose and her poignant poetry gave an unrealistic interpretation of her personality. For all the wonderful thoughts that occurred in her head, she was just no fun. She’s a coffee connoisseur. Which is why she comes into a pub – renowned for is cheapness. For the wonderful exotic coffee. She wrote a book once, it was a love story perhaps. But a love story fraught, as they are, with difficulties, but that doesn’t matter because love conquers all. All you need is love. Love trumps hate. Love love love.

This coffee is disgusting.

But she is a connoisseur, so she’d use better words. ‘This coffee is a dark roast, perhaps from Ethiopian origins. Nutty textures, but altogether underwhelming on the pallet.’ She’s a connoisseur, but she’ll only have the one. Then, as she’s here, she may as well have a few gin and tonics. An officers’ drink that is. Maybe even a glass of wine why not? Whilst she’s here. She’s a coffee connoisseur, that’s what she came for, but she’ll be finished it soon, so why not – as she’s here – in a chain widely known for its cheapness, partake in a little

Her book was published. One of the big companies too. She told all her friends (who thought she was boring) she told her family (who thought she was boring but would never dare admit it, she was family) she moved into a flat with the payment. She planned her next five novels (all variations on a theme). Her novel was probably called something like – A Love Best Remembered – or something like that, I don’t know, I’ve never read it. Not the only one either, hardly anyone read it. It was panned. It was dull like her, the characters two dimensional probably. The prose would have been lively though. After a matter of months it was pulped. She didn’t write anything ever again. Which was a shame, because her poetry was poignant. In her youth she would have written something that would probably have a passage like this in it.

‘I said I would love you,
Until the day I die,
But I’m still alive,
And there are tears in your eyes
Isn’t the world much better,
When it’s packed full of lies?’

I like that. I’d read her poetry if she’d write any. But she won’t because she spends all her days drinking gin and tonic and wine. That’s the problem when you go for your coffee in a cheap pub. It’s inevitable. I don’t know why she doesn’t just go to Costa.

There’s one thing they all have in common though, them and the others dotted about the place. They’re all alone. All of them. Alone.


That was disgusting. The sausages, the bacon, the snot eggs, the sad beans. The coffee wasn’t bad in the end I suppose, at least it was free refills. I should have gone somewhere else though. These tragic characters depress me. With their sad dead youth, and their all too real presents. What’s even sadder is that very little of all that is likely to be true, how should I know? Chances are, they’re just drunks. Which is sort of sadder.

I better do something quick, lest I find myself joining them.


The FuzzyRambler.