Music In The Jeans.

She hadn’t paid for her electricity. It wasn’t done via a bill or anything, it was one of those pay as you go units, the ones with the fob.  She had lit a cigarette, but wasn’t smoking it. It would be bad for the baby, but she liked the smell. People often asked her when she was going to finally grow up. Now look at her, not smoking to protect her unborn child.

The room was lit by the light from a lamppost  outside, combined with a garish sort of light given off from a camping lamp, one that was charged by the sun during the day. She left it on the windowsill so it would get enough light. It had two settings, a normal light, or a flickering sort that flashed out S.O.S in Morse code.

Flashflashflash- Flash – Flash – Flash – FlashFlashFlash.

Help us.

Sending out an SOS… sending out an SOS.

Then of course there was the tiny orange flare of the cigarette, slowly smoking away in the grooves of an ashtray.

This is what humans did before electricity. They sat in the dark doing nothing, waiting for it to no longer be dark. The baby was too small to be kicking, but occasionally she was sure she felt little bumps.

The baby’s dad was up and coming. He had been up and coming for a long time, coming took time it seemed. She was beginning to think he’d never arrive.

That was to say, he was in a band.

She had been to all of his gigs. The first had been before a crowd of 3. Two’s company, three’s a crowd. The band was called Bitter Streaks, they played a bastardisation of grunge. He knew she was pregnant, but a baby would prevent him going on a world tour should he be asked, and he was expecting to be asked any minute.

‘Lots of famous musicians have kids.’ She had said.

‘I don’t want to be tied down.’ He replied, which was ironic given that he expressed the exact opposite sentiment the night the baby was conceived. She thought it was that night anyway. It could have been another.

‘I’ll need money,’ she said.

‘I don’t have any.’

‘You’ll have to get a job.’

‘And work for the man?’

‘A lot of employers are women now.’

‘I’m not about that life.’

‘What life are you about?’

‘My music, that’s my life.’

Which was a shame, as his music wasn’t that good anymore. The older he got, the less he suited the defiant angst of youth.

She was going to have to move back in with her dad. Which would be embarrassing, because when she left years before she had declared (quite proudly) that no one was going to stop her living her life. She was going to live it to its fullest and be a free spirit forever. Living life to its fullest proved difficult after a while. Bills needed to be paid, food needed to be bought, weed didn’t pay for itself – nor booze, she often got a pill or two for free.

It also got tiring after a while. As the last of her teen years flitted by, she found not knowing how she got home to be more of a concern rather than an indication that she had had a good night, and more to the point, she would like to have some recollection of just how good it was. After all, when she was old she’d like to look back with fondness on her memories of living life to its full.

Not that it mattered, she had another free spirit growing inside her now, and she couldn’t very well stand in the way of it living its life to its fullest. Which it most certainly wouldn’t if it had to live in perpetual darkness, like a mole person.

It wasn’t fair. Why could men not have children? Just because the dice roll of fate determined they were to be born with a Y chromosome they could sleep with whoever they wanted and not have to worry about messing their bodies up. They didn’t have to worry about carrying and squirting out a tiny human. Didn’t have to worry about carrying it around for 9 months, suffering an array of pains and discomforts in the process.

And, it seemed they could just walk away whenever it suited them.

The abortion word came up. She was pro-choice when it came to other women, but was mercilessly subjected to the tyranny of her own guilt when it came to her body. She knew the end game of sex. Sex made babies, if you have sex, you have to accept the consequences.

She hated the consequences. There were always consequences. They start with being spanked and sent to the corner when you first learn to walk and talk and the progress ever onwards until you’re hungry, sitting in the dark having not showered in days, not even enjoying the bittersweet release of a cigarette.

She wondered what her baby would look like in the future. If it was a boy, would it look like his dad. Broad shouldered, black of hair… one eye ever so slightly squinted compared to the other? If a girl, logic dictated it would look like her. That’s how it worked. Girls took after the mother, boys the father. She wondered if the baby would inherit musical talent (relatively speaking). Was music in the genes?

That could be their band name.

Music in the Jeans.

They’d spell it with a J, like the denim trousers, because that would be quirky. They’d appear on chat shows, or in magazines and talk about how their mother sacrificed a lot so they could have a good life and live it to its full.

Except she’d keep them grounded. Live it to its full, but in small doses.

She wondered if the baby would resent her when it was a teenager, much like she did her dad. Her dad who told her to keep at school, to apply for universities… to be sensible. What kind of life was that? She’d smack the baby in the head if it did, except not the baby, the teenager then. It’s okay to smack teenagers in the head, when they’re being teenagers. Never slap a baby in the head.

She smiled. Had her dad given up his life for her? Did he have to stop living life to the fullest because she came along. Was life just a sequence of people stopping living life to its fullest so the next generation could go on to make the same mistakes?

She reached and grabbed the half burnt out cigarette and put it to her lips. The bitter smoke warmed her throat as she dragged it into her lungs. No doubt the baby would be most annoyed. Its clean incubator getting hazy with tobacco.

Well, he’d have to suck it up. If she was going to sacrifice living her life for it, it would take one puff on a cigarette. It could handle it. It was in its genes after all. Like the music. There was no hope for the baby really, she sighed.

But then again, there never is much hope. But that’s okay.

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Waves of Bullshit

I’m bored so have decided to work on an ill conceived series of posts called the Waves of Bullshit. Enjoy.

There are various waves of bullshit that we have to endure as we tread the waters of life for as long as possible, until we eventually succumb to exhaustion and sink beneath the surface for good. Every aspect of existence is tainted by the foul stench of metaphorical excrement, there’s simply no avoiding it. Positive people with an unnecessary amount of optimism will accuse me of being a cynic, chastise me for being overly dour and not appreciating that I have what might be called, a particularly easy life.  Whilst this may be true, it ultimately changes nothing.  Sometimes you’ll find that there’s so much bullshit that the only way to get through a day is to drink heavily until things start making sense, or at least you get so drunk you cease to care that it’s all nonsense. This, tragically, makes tomorrow’s bullshit all the harder to deal with.

I would spend some time talking about the farce that is Brexit or the bizarre twist that was Trump being elected president of the united states, but everyone’s done that to death and by the time I finish writing this we’d have all moved on.

***

We humans, we had it rough to begin with.  Our cavepeople ancestors were not at the top of the food chain and had an extremely laxed approach to health and safety. Our insistence on standing upright means that our young are born having not had the time to fully develop, heck, they have a hole in their damn heads. They have next to no survival instinct, struggle to regulate their body temperatures and have an almost non-existent immune system. On average, humans give birth to one baby at a time, assuming we’re talking about the mode, which we are obviously, the other averages can fuck off. Up until as late as the industrial revolution, children (particularly in working class families) often had the annoying habit of dying before their fifth birthday. This is why parents tended to have as many children as possible, to up the probability of their family enduring. Children dying was so common that frequently, parents would refrain from naming their children until their fifth birthday, where upon they were sent out into the world to earn a living.

What has this got to do with the bullshit of today?

Well, historically, life was hard. It’s crazy to believe that we survived, let alone dominate the globe. Life was a complex daily struggle against a world that confused and terrified us. Now we know more than we ever have. With a quick Google we can get access to a wealth of knowledge. Almost everything is automated and has been handed over to our good friends ‘the machines.’ We have beat nature in many respects and now babies don’t die very often and life is not a constant struggle. For us westerners anyway.

Yet, I can’t help but feel we’ve been unable to shake off the mindset of our caveman ancestors. We’ve invented complex languages, so can now express ourselves more eloquently, but the gist of what we say is probably the same. Life should be easy, but we humans seem to have the need to make it complicated.

This book is not going to change anything. It will offer no wise ruminations, no quotable messages of motivation or of unity. It’s mainly a self-indulgent account of some things I’ve done in the past and why everything is bullshit.

The World of Work.

You will find CEOs and managers in the world of work can only communicate in clichés or laboured analogies and metaphors. This is one of the most single frustrating habits anyone can have and speaks of a lack of independent thought. Only an idiot speaks in sayings and analogies. You know this is true because if you spare a second’s thought, you will realise that none of them make any sense.

In a story I will get to later, a CEO once told me that ‘there’s an old saying that goes: loose lips sink ships.’ Which is the very height of bullshit. In the history of human’s traversing the seas, very few ships if any have been sunk by lips, loose or otherwise. Ice bergs sink ships. Poor ship manufacturing sinks ships. Bombs, torpedoes and explosions sink ships. Lips are very unlikely to cause even the smallest amount of cosmetic damage, let alone anything of consequence.

I was so annoyed that this phrase even exists I had to research why it exists in the first place. As it happens the phrase originates in those golden years of 1939 – 1945, humanities second attempt at killing everyone. The third one has been on the cards for some time now, but we all know it’ll all be CGI and explosions.

As it happens it was a piece of propaganda with variations around the world, all of which made more sense. Great Britain had ‘careless talk costs lives,’ which is straight to the point. The Germans went with Schäm Dich, Schwätzer! Which translated into English reads ‘Shame on you, Blabbermouth.’ Which I’m sure we can all agree is the single best piece of propaganda the world has ever seen or will see again.

See I wouldn’t mind if he said ‘shame on me, blabbermouth.’

Anything to do with a company is so far removed from a ship, that the phrase has no bearing.  Anyway, I responded with ‘there’s another lesser known phrase that goes “pay your web developer lest he delete your sites.”

I no longer work for that company.

Another manager of the past used phrases like ‘onwards and upwards’ or ‘eyes on the prize’ like he was some weird game show host.

Another would say things like ‘That so and so, he’s like a hurricane, he blows on through here and we’re left to clear up the mess. Then once we clean up the mess, he’s back again, blowing everything over.’ And ‘It’s like doing a million piece jigsaw puzzle, except you can’t see the picture and there are two puzzles mixed up.’ At which point I asked, “why on earth would you do that? More to the point, how do you know there two separate jigsaws if you can’t see the picture? If someone asked me to do that I’d say no.’

Sayings and phrases are the badges of idiots and tragically, they wear them with pride.

***

On another note, starting from tomorrow my stupid collection of short stories will be free. Download them, read them and laugh. Or download them, read them and don’t laugh, or just download them, I don’t care, the stats make me happy. It has 5 stars, customers who also bought it bought The Great Gatsby and that has 4 Stars, meaning my book is better than The Great Gatsby.

 

 

 

The Truth About Narcissus.

People write what they like you know? Truth hardly comes into it. I suppose to some degree I should be grateful, I have a flower and a personality disorder named after me. You all know the story, Narcissus (me), lured to the edge of a pool whereupon he fell in love with his reflection, found he couldn’t look away and you know… just died.

What a fool he (I) must have been. A self-loving, arrogant man so vain that he died looking at himself. Now, any prick who likes the sound of their own voice, likes to hear their name mentioned or anyone inflated with their own sense of self-importance you say: “how very narcissistic”.

Well, let me tell you the truth. Not that it matters in this day and age, not that it ever mattered. The truth is often less entertaining, less likely to teach life lessons in easy to digest little packets.  Very few mirrors in ancient Greek myths. People had said I looked good, sure, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Occasionally, in an overly polished dish, I might catch a distorted glimpse of myself. My face would be stretched and warped, but I wouldn’t pay much attention to it.

I had a good life I suppose. I was a good hunter and people seemed to like me, or at the very least pretended to, which is all you need really. Everyone puts on an act, mine was that of pride. Perhaps I over did it. I don’t know, perhaps I mistreated people. I got to the point where I just didn’t have the patience for them. I don’t think I was intentionally horrible to anyone. Not that Nemesis would care either way.

I spent more and more time hunting, out in the woods. I say hunting, I just liked the solitude. Away from the eyes, the wittering and the constant noise. So, I went out hunting and I was drawn to that pool, a nice tranquil little place. The water was clear and cool, a lot of greenery grew from it. The ground was soft, perhaps a little damp around its edges. The air was cool. So I sat.

I peered over the water and saw my reflection. The water was still and the image clear. It was my face, mostly as I expected it to look. Strong chin, high cheekbones, good bronze complexion, thick lengths of brown hair. I would have had every right to admire it for a little while, but I didn’t.  What caught my attention was the eyes. They looked sad. They looked incredibly sad. Slight shadows underneath them, an almost glassy hollow look. They looked tired. So very tired.

Why were they so sad? Why was I so very very sad?

I couldn’t look away for this was a question I could not answer. I couldn’t abandon the man in the water, that sad lonely figure. The alternative was to return to the people who did not like me and who in return I despised. The alternative to staring at that sad watery figure would be to return to town and be amongst all those people and all their problems. This is the world of Greek myths too, constant popularity contests, bickering, backstabbing and betrayals. On and on it goes, no one ever genuine, no one ever caring about anyone beyond themselves… and yet I’m the narcissistic one.

I reached out and touched the face of the man in the water, stroked his cheek.

“Don’t be sad. Let me know what I can do?” I said.

“Stay here with me,” he replied.

And so I did.

And so I died.

And so I was forever remembered as a vain twat. Well, you are whatever they say you are I suppose.

Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness: Sales Report

3 copies this month. 3.

That is the worst number there is. 1 has a brooding loner quality. 2 can be as bad as one, since it’s the loneliest number since the number one, but 3… that’s boring.

Since I have no real marketing going on, I suppose I should be proud of that 3, but I’m not. You people need to hurry up and realise my genius so I can get a proper publishing deal and live a life of luxury. All I want to do is never work again, is that so much to ask?

Look, just go and download my Amazon book. It’s like 99p in the UK and some amount of dollars, euros and other silly money.  It’s less than a coffee, and you all drink excessive amounts of coffee, so you can afford it damn it.

‘Yes, but we enjoy coffee.’ I hear you say, ‘reading your contrived collection of ‘comedic’ short stories isn’t enjoyable.’

In which case I say buy it, and then don’t read it. I don’t care. Give it a terrible rating, let it be known as the worst book ever, then people will buy it out of sheer curiosity. And I’ll get a publishing deal, much like the 50 Shades of Grey woman. It’s the way the world of literature is going. We’re taking the written word away from the pretentious, intellectual elite and revealing it for what it really is, a pointless collection of ultimately meaningless words. Which was the original tagline for the dictionary.

Buy it.

 Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

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.

 

 

 

The Man Who Believed Himself an Octopus

Below is potentially the stupidest thing I’ve ever committed to paper… digital paper, but I hope you read it, enjoy it, and send me lots of money, or at the very least some food.

The Man Who Believed Himself To Be An Octopus.

The first thing you ought to know about me, is that I am an octopus. To your untrained, human eye, you may think I am one of you, but you would be wrong. I first realised I was an octopus at the age of eight, an oddly convenient year to come to that astonishing realisation I know, but that is when it happened. Octopus are you? You might be asking – where are your eight legs? The answer to that would be, octopusses (most would say octopi, but it is a contentious issue, octopi has no entomological basis) do not have 8 legs. What they do have, are six arms, and two tentacles that are utilsed as legs. See, that is proof that I am in fact an octopus, as who else would have such knowledge?

As I was saying, when I was eight, I started to realise that my arms were covered in these little rings… suckers if you will. I remember running to my mother and asking in my childish, high pitched whine – what are these mummy? Coaxing her out of her Valium induced trance. She looked at me, bleary eyed as though I were a stranger, her greasy, unwashed mouse coloured hair falling across her slanted face.

Those – she said – are tiny portraits of Burt Reynolds. You’re absolutely covered in them baby.

I had no idea who Burt Reynolds was, but I was young, the age when adults – particularly parents, knew all, so I did not question.

I went to school, my coked up mother driving erratically and swearing at the other drivers on the road and almost killing the lollipop lady. In class the teacher, Mrs. Borridge, who I would later learn earned money on the side as a PVC clad dominatrix, glanced at the many portraits of an aged actor, who at the time meant nothing to me.

What unusual markings – she said. You must remember this was a different time. Teachers often pointed out flaws and insecurities and made spectacles of them. I remember Jonathan McLaren had a problem with his arm. It was much smaller and bent at a funny shape, his hand was deformed and only had three stubby little fingers. When he first joined the class, upon answering his name when the register was taken, Mrs. Borridge look up and fixed him a cold little stare.

What is wrong with your arm? – she asked.

I don’t know miss I were born this way – he replied.

So you’re a freak then are you? – she snapped back – a disgusting little freak! Look at the freak children, look at his disgusting little nub of an arm. It’s enough to make you sick. People like that ought to be drowned at birth. It’s the kindest thing to do, for us that is. Save us looking at such monstrosity.

I heard Jonathan McLaren got the last laugh, bullied and alienated as he was. Ten years later at the the age of eighteen he stumbled upon a website, Mrs. Dolores’ school for naughty boys who needed strict punishment. This aged, saggy skinned woman, spread in to a PVC corset like cream cheese on a poor quality bagel stared back at him. He’d recognise those judgmental eyes anywhere. He phoned the number, booked her services, and killed her with a hammer.

They’re tiny portraits of Burt Reynold’s miss – I responded to her question. Her sharp little eyes, almost black in hue, narrowed. She pinched and prodded at my skin.

They most certainly are not – she said – they are suckers my boy.

Now, there is one type of person who is more likely to speak right than your parents when you are eight years old, we all know these people to be teachers.

Suckers? – I asked dumbly.

Yes! Now shut up and continue with your maths, and don’t forget to throw disgusted looks in Jonathan’s direction!

I made sure to scowl at the boy with the mangled arm, feeling a pang of guilt as I did. Other than the arm, which I’m sure was not a boon in his life, he was a nice boy, still is – prostitute murdering aside.

I told my mother what MRs. Borridge said that night, just as she was readying her heroine. She released the belt she had clenched in her teeth, leaving little pockmarks on the leather. She studied me very closely as she laid down her needle. – like an octopus? She asked.

HAving had very little interest in my sea dwelling brethren at that point I didn’t really know how to respond to this. I suppose yes, it was very likely to be like an octopus, but it was only over the following weeks that I began to notice other similarities: My big, swollen bulbous head and large eyes, my multiple limbs and a natural inclination to eat small crustaceans.

It was a tough time, coming to terms with my true identity. I felt like an outcast at school. I found myself picking on Jonathan a lot more – looking back I can only assume it was to take the attention off myself. When my mother was forced into rehab by a judge, I stayed with my uncle Vladimir down at the coast. I spent a long time shuffling along the coarse sand staring at the sea. Iron grey waves, crested with bubbling foam hissed onto the shore. I hated it. It was calling to me and I hated it.

I shouldn’t be an octopus. I thought. I am a human. My mother is a human, my uncle Vlad is a human, presumably my absentee father should be a human too. I suppose my father could have been an octopus, using his third arm (the hectocotylus) to inseminate my mother by releasing spermatophores into her. It’s possible, but unlikely I think. Therefore, I shouldn’t be an octopus.

I stayed with Vlad, who earned his money by playing the accordion in the street, for five weeks. I avoided the sea mostly. Until the third week. Every night I would toss and turn, unable to sleep. I could hear the waves. The rush of the sea. I could taste the salt. I… I could feel its wetness. Sweating, in a rush of anxiety I left the house. I meandered down the poorly lit streets of the quaint little seaside town. My hearts, all three of them, were beating like mad. My arms were flailing madly as I broke into the run. I could resist it no longer. The shame of it. What kind of a human was I? I reached the sand. I could see the lights of boats dotting the horizon, a drunk man was lying face down on the beach, mumbling a non-existent tune to himself.

I splashed into the water, up to my ankles – no not my ankles, I don’t have any ankles.

I stood there for some time, feeling the cool water swirl around me. I was scared – I felt guilty – but above all… I felt – I felt free.

I carried on going, deeper and deeper. Eventually, my head was covered. I kept going, water rushing all around me. I could breathe under water, it didn’t matter, I was an octopus. I let water rush into my nose and mouth and filled up my lungs with my true home.

I passed out. It must have been too emotionally overwhelming.

I woke up to a blinding light and the sound of agitated voices.

Can you hear me? – a voice said – if you can hear my blink.

I complied. I tried to sit up but was pressed down again.

Please, stay still – the voice urged me.

The voice, it turned out, belonged to Doctor Saxon, a slightly tubby man with a large mole on his chin and tired looking eyes. For some time I was left alone, Doctor Saxon would wander in occasionally and ask me some simple questions. Apparently testing for some sort of brain damage.

Do you know who you are? Was one such question. A seemingly innocuous question. Do you know who you are? Do you? I’m not sure I do. I could have told Saxon that I knew my name, I knew where I was raised, that I currently lived with my uncle whilst my mother was in rehab. I could have said all of this, but did that answer the question? That was more a response to – What is your history? Who am I? Do I know?

I’m not sure I understand the question – I responded after a time. I was sitting up now, I felt tired and strangely empty. Saxon raised his eyebrows. His gray, world weary eyes took on a momentary sympathetic sort of glean.

Do you know why you are here? – He asked.

I passed out – I replied.

Do you remember what caused you to do this? – he was looking seriously now. I focused on his mole, the harmless proliferation of skin cells, a very human trait. I don’t have any moles as far as I’m aware, though I’ve never seen my back. I can stare in a mirror and spin round really quickly, but my reflection is too swift.

I remember – I began – I remember I was going home.

You washed up on the shore, you almost drowned. – Saxon’s voice had taken on a stern edge – Had you gone for a spot of night swimming?

I was going home.

I’m referring you to a friend of mine – Said Saxon – Doctor O’Shea, she is a psychiatrist, she will just ask you a few questions. In the mean time get some rest.

As it turned out, Saxon had thought I was trying to take my own life. An act I guess doctors of all people would have very little time for. They devote the majority of their adult lives trying to prolong the existence of others, trying to cure, trying to heal. I doubt they have any respect for someone who chooses to end it prematurely.

Do you know who you are?

Odd how little questions like that can leave you reeling.

O’Shea was a skinny woman of middling years. Her black hair was streaked with gray and tied in a little bun on the very top of her head. It made it look as though she had another little head on top her of her main one. Perhaps she did, perhaps the top head had full control.

For all the television shows depicting a consultation with a psychiatrist, they bear very little similarities with reality. There’s no lounging chair, no questions of your childhood, very little delving. It’s all rather clinical. How do you feel? Why did you do what you did? Stress levels? Over worked? History of mental illness in the family.

I’m an octopus – I told her flatly. She looked at me silently for some time, then scribbled on a piece of paper and handed it too me.

Please – she said – take these for two weeks and come back and see me.

Upon return to my uncle’s house he greeted me with a smile.

Where have you been? – he asked jovially.

I went into the sea and then spent a few nights in hospital? – I replied.

Ah, to be young. – he said.

My mother left rehab having acquired an intense love of Yoga. She was always doing Yoga, even when driving. In some ways I think this was just another addiction, that and her constant urge for sex. Men were zipping in and out of the house, always leaving rather flustered and red in the face. Humans and dolphins are amongst the few creatures on the planet that have sex for fun. I think Dolphins are obnoxious. It would be much easier if humans mated like us octopuses, just stabbing an arm into the woman or something. Or maybe they should mate like the Salmon, traveling up stream for weeks on end, risking a bear related death, reaching the top and finally releasing the eggs and sperm an then dying of exhaustion anyway. It would certainly keep the population in check.

I covered up my arms as often as possible, keeping the suckery things out of view. Out of sight out of mind they say. I tried to get a paper route, but soon gave that up after reading the headline in a copy of the Daily Mail one day.

Foreign Octopuses Invade British Waters To Take Advantage of Benefits System.

I couldn’t seem to escape it. Everywhere I looked there were things reminding me of what I really was. Documentaries on Ocean life, fancy restaurants serving Octopus, and recently, a large billboard had been erected in the center of town with the ominous warning.

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE NOT AN OCTOPUS? GET A FREE CHECK NOW.

As time went on I did my best to get on and live a normal life. As I aged I got a job and rented a small flat. I was Ten by this point. With the emergence of online gambling my mother had taken to it like a duck to processed bread. She won big and immediately moved to Hollywood to become a movie producer. She became famous, but ultimately fell back into old habits and was said to have died after drinking a cocaine/heroine/lard and carrot smoothie. She was found bent in the most complex of Yoga positions. She casket – I remember – was unusually shaped.

By the age of eleven I had a steady job in the financial department of a big automobile company. I chose the job because the address of the building was as follows:

22 – Nowhere Near the Sea

Somewhere In England

Wherenoonementions the Coast and sea creatures.

HE10 4NR

It was perfect. For a while I lived a simple life, until at the age of twelve – once I had risen through the ranks Gary Hodgekins, my boss came to me one lunch time.

He was dressed in a fine pressed black suit. His dark brown skin glistened with sweat as it was a hot day, his jutting chin almost poked me in the eye.

I’m going to need you to go to our coastal division to sort out the financial shit they’ve managed to fuck up!- he said to me.

Coastal Division? – I asked worried – Where’s that.

Somewhere along the coast – he replied curtly.

I can’t do that! – I exclaimed.

Listen here, your the best guy we’ve got on this team. All the other bastards in finance are a bunch of useless fuck-ups who’d end up fucking up an unfuckupable job. – he declared, his eyes narrowed. – Get this done, and you’ll get a bonus so huge, I’d make a giant octopus look small.

I was stunned by his sudden mention of such an obscure creature, considering there were creatures much bigger than said giant octopus, though I did fancy having lots of money.

I’m not sure – I said.

Put it this way – said Gary, putting a hand on my shoulder and squeezing firmly – if you don’t go, I’ll murder everyone you hold dear, before murdering you.

Say what you like about the man, Gary had a certain way with words that was very convincing.

I took a train down to The Coast and found our Coastal Office sat on the beach rising high into the air over looking the sea. I gulped, my throat dry and my trio of hearts beating like mad as I plodded along the sandy beach. Children were making sand castles. Men and women were lying pointlessly in the sun trying desperately to make their skin a little darker, but the sea… the sea was what captivated my attention. It was as if my very soul was hurting with longing. The waves hissed onto the shore, the sunlight glistened on top of the water like slowly disolving diamonds. The air was deliciously salty and filled with the irritating din of seagulls.

My office window looked out at the watery expanse. It seemed to go on forever, or at the very least, until it hit France. I drummed nervously on my desk as my assistant put the finances on my desk. It was a great wobbly cube, looking extremely fragile and incredibly fucked up. Finances weren’t supposed to be cubes, as every good finance guy knows, they should be round.

I felt horribly dry, always aware of the great wetness that lurked just behind me. My assistant placed a latte on my desk. It cost £3 and was my third of the day, and paid for out of the petty cash. That was the first thing that had to go, coffee was expensive and largely unnecessary.

I had to call everyone in to a board meeting, to discuss the precarious state of our finances, they were leaning on the edge of the shelf and could fall at any minute. There were lots of people there, all of different shapes and sizes. A wilting pot plant sat next to the water cooler, that every so often would belch with a great bubble.

Everyone had a coffee, some people had three.

Thanks for coming everyone – I said nervously. All eyes were on me. – as you know, our finances are in disarray, and drastic things need to be done.

There were serious, almost mournful nods of agreement.

Starting with the fact that I will have to fire ninety percent of you, you cost too much and don’t really do anything. – Again there were nods of agreement.

Those… those of you that stay on… will- I paused and licked my lips. The water cooler belched, causing me to flinch – will have a greatly reduced salary. In fact, in many ways you will become slaves.

They were nodding, their heads like those of nodding dogs but thrice as fake looking.

The health plans will be cut, and your houses will become our property and we plan on selling them rendering you homeless – nodding, nodding all nodding.

The water cooler bubbled, I could hear the waves sloshing on the sand behind me. I could taste the salt on my tongue. I could feel my tentacles flexing eagerly.

And of course – I started, I took a deep breath – You’ll no longer be permitted to buy coffees with company money.

Pandemonium broke loose. Outrage, outrage all around me. Men and women alike were red in the face with indignant rage.

How do you expect us to live?- they cried.

This goes against our employees rights! We have contracts – they lamented.

I know this will be a difficult transition –

Difficult, I’d rather die! –

But I’m sure, together we can… we can… Octopus – I felt wobbly, distant almost. I looked at the bemused faces all around me.

Do you know who you are?

Their eyes looked a mix of barely restrained anger, confusion and horror. After a lengthy pause, one bald man mustered the courage to say – What did you just say.

Octopus – I replied feeling defeated, there was a slump in my chest, it had beaten me.

I don’t quite understand? – said a woman.

OCTOPUS! – I roared at the top of my voice, startling them all. – I AM AN OCTOPUS! – I leapt upon the desk and charged for the door, a man was walking by carrying a steaming bowl of soup, fresh from the microwave. I knocked him down, scalding soup splashing over his face. I ignored the screams as I pounded towards the lift, ripping my clothes off as I went. It was rather anti-climactic standing in the little metal box which seemed to stop at every floor. People got in and eyed my naked, octopussy form warily. Eventually, we hit the ground floor, and I shoved past people screaming.

OUT OF MY WAY! I’M AN OCTOPUS GET OUT OF MY WAY! – I ran out of the building, across the sand, not caring for the hundreds of sand castles I was destroying. I dove head first into the shallows, rolling around with glee, laughing and revelling as the cool water slapped against my naked form, lapping it up with my tongue, tentacles flailing.

Do you know who you are?

No… I don’t think anyone does.

Do you know what you are? That’s easier to answer.

I am an octopus.

The end.

 

Everyone Likes Free Stuff

So my publishing experiment recently proffered some sort of results. To fill you in, I decided to write a collection of utterly ridiculous short stories and then publish them on the Kindle with minimal marketing and see how many people actually downloaded it. Funnily enough no one did. Strange really.

I originally wanted to upload it for free, but Amazon didn’t like that and said I had to at the very least charge $0.99 for it. This wasn’t too bad I supposed, as I would get $0.29 for each copy sold, I would only have to sell roughly 21 copies to buy a cup of coffee (maybe 25 if we take the exchange rate into consideration – which I sort of have to, as this morning when I tried to pay for my coffee in rupees they told me on no uncertain terms that I had to leave). I personally feel we ought to return to the bartering system. I have lots of useless junk lying around that I’m sure I could trade for caffeine. Anyway, I’m getting side-tracked.

My collection, entitled “The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness” sold 2 copies in it’s first month, but I’m fairly certain one of them was my Nan, and she didn’t quite get it. Fortunately, my nan isn’t my target audience.

After a period of stagnation I found that for a five day period I could enrol my book in some sort of promotion, which altered the price a little for this limited time.

Within those five days I managed to shift 22 copies! I finally achieved my coffee benchmark, where I could stroll into my coffee chain of choice, demand an overly priced latte and pay for it with my royalties. Or at least I would have been able to, had the promotion not made my book free to download (my original intention, stupid Amazon).

Within this period I picked up a 5 star review. It states as follows:

“A fabulous collection of short stories. Rich in detail, well written and showing a remarkable ability to push a joke to the very edge without feeling a sense of being overused.

The addition of an ‘afterword’ by the perfectly named Henry Pretension offers a perfect satire of those stuffy English Literature professors you will encounter that analyse far too much but say too little.

The stories are varied enough to keep your interest; and they are short enough to read whenever you have a spare moment.

It is well worth the price.”

Considering it was free I can’t help, but feel a little stung by the last line, as that means all my hard work is worth nothing, and I refuse to believe that. As previously stated, I seem to believe it’s worth at least a coffee.

“What is the point of this post?” I hear you ask.

Well, in answer to that… shameless self-advertisement really. Now that the book is no longer free, I at least have a 5 star review, and can say it’s been read by 2 people in Germany, and if they found it amusing, even slightly, then it’s got to be doing something right. Buy it. it’s 99 cents (about 75p?), it’s not going to bankrupt you. even if you hate it what does it matter? It boosts my ego, so you’d have done your good deed for the day.  I know everyone loves free stuff, and if I could I’d give it to you for free (though that’s probably a lie), but come one, quit being stingy. Give me some money. I mean all I want is to start a literary career in which I can eventually earn enough to never work again, drink champagne all day and eventually die in some sort of orgy. Is that so much to ask?

The link will appear several times, do not mistake this for pushy salesmanship, but rather a technical inability to work WordPress.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W