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.’

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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 https://thefuzzyrambler.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/the-man-who-believed-himself-an-octopus/)
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.

 

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.

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.