Tagged: author

Author Interview: G. Arthur Brown

LeakyLibido: Hello, welcome to a new segment on my blog where I disseminate, through a puppet interview, top-secret information given to me in confidence by authors I respect. Expect some real juicy gossip and drama folks. So without further ado, I will ask the first question:

Who are you? What are you? Where are you from? What are you about?

Simulacrum: I’m G. Arthur Brown. I’m half Elf. I’m from Maryland, USA (that’s where Baltimore is, for all you fans of the Wire). I’m about five and one half feet tall.

G. Arthur Brown

Actually a stock photo of a man with a mini face. Purportedly, the model is an exact look-a-like of G. Arthur Brown, but how true this claim is remains indefinite.

LeakyLibido: That’s all real fascinating stuff, G. Tell me, what are you promoting or writing right now?

Simulacrum: I’m promoting my book Kitten. Part of the 2012 New Bizarro Author Series from Eraserhead Press. So, please, buy at least 5 copies.

LeakyLibido: Oh yeah, I know that one. You can buy that one on amazon. I hear that it’s “one part a nightmarish family saga, and one part a fantastic, surreal voyage of discovery for a kitten. It’s a seriously fun mix of grotesque humour and sombre existential horror”, which sounds nice.

kitten

So, moving on. What made you want to write, authentic G. Arthur Brown?

Simulacrum: I received a message from God when I was about 10 years old that I would be a writer. Like many great prophets, I tried to flee my destiny by pursuing, instead, being in a rock band and, briefly, being a comedian. But God tracked me down about 7 years ago and said, “Remember what I told you?”

LeakyLibido: That sounds remarkable. But surely, if God commanded you to be a writer, then why do you write bizarro fiction? I can fathom not that God would wish this filth upon any mortal man, especially not one of his chosen prophets.

Simulacrum: You might as well ask a tree, “Why vegetation?” I tried to write genre stuff: Lovecraftian weird fiction, Gaimanesque fantasy, Anthony Burges-inspired sci-fi. But I kept wanting to subvert and/or pervert the text and forms. Once I found Bizarro, I knew that this was the flag that would be flown over much of my fiction.

LeakyLibido: God does indeed work in mysterious ways. Who else, aside from the Almighty, would you say inspires you?

Simulacrum: Films inspire me quite a bit. Guy Maddin, Terry Gilliam and the Coen Brothers have affected me deeply. Psychedlic 60s rock and Post-punk music have also impacted my ideas about melding weirdness and pop sensibilities. If I’d never been exposed to Devo, the Residents and Syd Barrett, in particular, I’m sure my writing would be entirely different. Comedy has played a big role, too, with Monty Python being one of my first exposures to absurd and surreal techniques.

LeakyLibido: That’s a fascinating list of inspirations. Who would you say are your favourite writers?

Simulacrum: Kelly Link and Brian Evenson tie for absolute favorites. Link has such an amazing dreamlike quality to her prose that it immediately began to change my approach to writing. Evenson has the amazing gift to produce literary effects that you can’t put your finger on what to call them or how he produced them. But these two geniuses are sort of a yin and yang for me, Link being the wonder-inducing daylight and Evenson being the creepy dark hours.

LeakyLibido: You have mentioned a few different musical styles so far. Do you have any particular favourite type of music you like to listen to whilst working? I expect it will be hymn or gospel music, won’t it?

Simulacrum: I generally will try to listen to only instrumental music when writing. Space Oddities 1 & 2, two compilations of quirky European instrumental music intended for educational and public service soundtracks. Sometimes I’ll listen to grim Black Metal, as long as the lyrics aren’t in English (so, Tulus or Khold or Horna primarily). Also the experimental stuff by Swell Maps.

LeakyLibido: Ah, I see. Well, how about telling me something you hate?

Simulacrum: Hypocrisy.

LeakyLibido: And one thing you love?

Simulacrum: Cheese.

LeakyLibido: Who doesn’t love a bit of cheese? Tell me, young squire – if you were at the point of a sword and the hand that held the other end was attached to an arm that was attached to a torso that was attached to a head, via a neck, and on that head there was a mouth and that mouth did move and sounds were elicited in that movement that formed the words, “sum up your life philosophy in five words”, what, pray, would you say?

Simulacrum: Mind your own business, man.

LeakyLibido: Oh, ok. Well… erm… how do you take your coffee?

Simulacrum: I prefer tea. But if I must have coffee, sweet and light.

LeakyLibido: And if people are cheap (they are) and want to read your stories for free before giving you money in exchange for a joyful experience like what they will experience when they read your book, where should they look?

Simulacrum: A Public Luncheon was published at the Dream People (http://www.dharlanwilson.com/dreampeople/issue32/fictionbrown.html). Holy Olivia Orphanage at Paragraph Line (http://www.paragraphline.com/2012/05/07/holy-olivia-orphanage-by-g-arthur-brown/). And there is a ton of my flash at garthurbrown.blogspot.com.

LeakyLibido: Well, G, thank you for an awesome interview. Despite it getting a little icy at the end there.

Simulacrum: Thank you LL for being an awesome blog.

LeakyLibido: Oh G, you didn’t have to say that.

Simulacrum: Yes I did, you wrote it. In fact, I never said that, this wasn’t part of the interview. You are making this part up as a way of ending the narrative, giving a sense of closure to the preceding interview. I wasn’t even icy, that was you doing it to yourself. I may even look into suing you for defamation.

LeakyLibido: Oh shit, it’s gaining sentience… Quick, shoot it in the head!

*END OF TRANSCRIPT*

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Review: Night Of The Assholes by Kevin L. Donihe

A change of pace today, I decided to begin reviews of great bizarro books I have read recently or am going to read in the near future. Today’s featured book is Night Of The Assholes by Kevin L. Donihe

This is only the second piece of fiction I have read by Kevin L. Donihe, the first being the brilliant short story “The Greatest Effing Moment In Sports” featured in The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange) – definitely another book worth checking out.

This work is a sublime parody of the film “Night Of The Living Dead”, with references to other cult works being thrown into the mix too (the house & Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre get honourable mentions). The genius of this work lies in the fact that Kevin takes your typical, nay, archetypal zombie story, and radically renovates it. If youve seen the film then you will know the gist of it: an outbreak of unknown origin is turning people into monsters. Only, these monsters are assholes.

The characters from the film are all present and accounted for, with subtle changes to some of them, such as the heroine, Barbara – a whimpering mess who goes crazy in the film is recast as a righteous member of the public who is really trying to control her anger problems: We find that prior to meeting her annoying Hare Krishna brother, she beats up a life size stress doll!
Taking inspiration from Dawn Of The Dead, Barbara is first accosted by the assholes in the mall, rather than a graveyard, and it is established that she could easily become one, save for her human efforts to control the assholish side of her nature. You act as an asshole to an asshole, you end up an asshole.

From there the book delves into a humourous romp that promotes the benefits of smoking marijuana as a way of avoiding becoming an asshole, or failing that, just smoking a cigarette to chill out. Featuring funny exchanges between the characters and the assholes as well as the bickering between the small band of survivors, Kevin shows he knows how to write great dialogue that is full of fun and real zing.

The house the heroes are holed up in has a very surreal structure to it, which Kevin works smoothly into the narrative so the discrepancies in the logic of the building simply go unquestioned, there is no need to question them – the story is nightmarish enough that the bizarre nature of the house seems almost a given.

Ultimately, though this book is a parody, and is definitely not short on humour, it does ask a meaningful question, this time, not about race, but about love. As Todd, the charismatic hero of the book says “Forget black and white, I think there’re only two races that have ever existed: assholes and non-assholes.” We are asked if we must fight the assholes, if that is the only way – Is it not possible to beat them by love instead?

If you enjoyed the film, you’ll really get a kick out of this book. If you read this book without having seen the film you’ll get a kick out of this book and then go see the film because you enjoyed this book so much. Also, you’ll probably want to read more of Kevin L. Donihe’s work.

Read this book. Read it! No? Wrong answer.

buy it from amazon.co.uk here:

Paperback version

you can find a list of all of Kevin’s books available at amazon.co.uk here:

Kevin’s books on Amazon

Infallible

twelve

Infallible

Dear diary,

It has come to my attention that I didn’t do a few things as well as I could have when I made everything. I’ve decided to make a short list outlining some of the mistakes I did.

  1. The stars are too hot. I don’t know why I decided to make it so stars had to be so hot. I think I must have made some fire and gotten excited and, well, you know the rest. While I’m at it, they’re too big too. I wanted a sense of grandeur about the place, but…
  2. The stars are too far away. I guess as a corollary of the size of the stars I had to make them far away from each other, because otherwise they would fall into each other (what was I thinking when I made gravity?). I think I may have over estimated the size of space necessary for life to exist. Turns out I only needed to make one planet. Now they look like tacky bits of glitter stuck to black card and it totally ruins the effect.
  3. Too many stars and planets.As I said above, I wasted a lot of stuff on stars and planets that don’t even do anything. They don’t even look pretty. Just tacky.
  4. Planet not big enough. I hadn’t planned ahead very well. Turns out that even though I only needed one planet after all that fluffing about, I went and made it too small for the amount of life it could create!
  5. Arseholes In both senses. I guess I was having an off day. I must remember in future endeavours not to bring my bad vibes to work with me.

252

Foreskin

thirteen

On The Nature And Use Of The Discarded Foreskin

Catherine studies the shelves, she’s looking for a particular product. Her eyes glide past the traditional anti-ageing creams, the anti-wrinkle creams, the skin moisturisers and replenishers, none of them could deliver like this new product promised to deliver. The spray-on tans and toners don’t get a second glance, they had long since become obsolete to her sagging needs.

 Catherine rolls her yellowed eyeballs in their crow’s feet sockets across the skyline of the health and beauty range and spies the branding that she’s seen splashed and sprayed across television and billboards for the last month – a pastel pink ring around a white toga. The brand’s name is Prepucii, which sounds Latin to Catherine. Despite repeatedly seeing and hearing the product on every advertising space and platform possible, Catherine still doesn’t have a clear grasp of what’s inside the small box, just that it can enhance her looks by tightening her face and neck skin. She feels it’s got to be worth a small investment. Catherine’s face droops and billows; a morose vaginal cleft; her saggy, loosely puckered lips a dank and dusty anal sphincter. Her waddled neck; flea-bitten with broken blood vessels; an obscene fold of fatigued scrotal tissue.

No sooner than being two feet across the threshold of her Barratt home, Catherine hastily discards her department store trappings to the floor. After a little deliberation she had bought the Prepucii along with the special, introductory offer lubricant and scalpel (set at 25% off the top price). As she picks up the pack of Prepucii Catherine reads the warnings; the usual: do not swallow as may cause choking; ectopic nature of treatment may lead to altered appearance (which was good because that’s what she bought them for); product can constrict airways, be sure to have Prepucii scalpel to hand when applying; contains fibroblasts. Contains 12 prepuces (note: there may be differences in tone and size of prepuces, this is normal).

Content and readied, Catherine unfolds the lid and pulls out the first baby blue sachet. She tears along the perforated edge to separate it from the others. On one side there are instructions: Tear open sachet. Stretch Prepucii to desired size. Lower over head. Allow to elastically snap back around desired area. Leave a gap between Prepucii. The other side is clear so Catherine can see the prepuce. A small pink ring. No bigger than her index finger. It looks like a tiny pink spaghetti hoop vacuum packed in plastic. This is going to stretch over her head?! She tears open the packet as instructed and places her thumbs and index fingers inside the little Prepucii so as to stretch it like an elastic band. It has a surprising amount of give and, feeling more confident, Catherine begins to lower it over her head. It pulls on her hair as she attempts to slide it down over her head. Her eyes water. It’s too painful, so she tries stretching it further but it suddenly snaps with a loud ping. ‘Shit’, she thinks, ‘maybe I ought to try the lubricant?’

Urino Infantalis. Liquid lubricant for the lady with the fuller head”. She splashes some on to her palms and massages it over the top of her head like a leave in conditioner. It has a unique, pungent smell that she can’t quite put her finger on, ‘raw potato?’. Regardless, she tears open the second sachet, this one a pastel orange; again stretching the dinky pink hula hoop and begins to slide it over her head. It’s still a ridiculously tight squeeze and she grunts with the effort. Managing, with an unbecoming brutish effort, to manoeuvre it down to the bridge of her nose, Catherine then starts to wiggle it carefully over her nose. Once past the tip of her nose it slides relatively easily down to her deflated toad’s throat baggy neck, where it snaps back tightly, squeezing her windpipe. Her eyes widen in panic for a moment before her neck relaxes and she is able to breathe again. Looking at herself in the hallway mirror, Catherine notices a sheen over her skin; sallow lubricant dribbling down her face. The Prepucii about her neck has pulled her skin down taut, ‘not too bad’ she acknowledges to her reflection. Once again, lubricating her head and face, she slides another ring down over her head, grunting, gurning and sweating as she does so. It takes her over forty minutes to get all eleven Prepucii around her neck and head. She has to cut out a mouth hole, as well as nostril, eye and ear holes using the scalpel.

There is a pressure oppressing her skull where the Prepucii are uncomfortably tight, but she assumes this will lessen as time goes by, like new denim. Unable really to shake or nod her head; she twists her entire trunk to examine herself in the mirror. There are several brown Prepucii, but mostly they are pink, or peachy. The contrast pleases her; people will notice. Her forehead is tight and smooth like a baby’s buttocks, her jaw line is now taut and striking, the second skin flush against the bone. Her eyes are watery, but that’s to be expected, she’s pulled a few hairs out getting the damned things over her head. Catherine feels beautiful. She wondered how she had dared go out before, with all those lumpy varicose veins and dangling jowls that looked like those thin bags of minced meat one might get at a delicatessen. She can’t wait to let people see the new her.

A few weeks later and the pain has subsided. Catherine is used to the tight feeling now, and to seeing the bands of pink and brown prepuces circling her head, so she doesn’t really mind when the gaps between them are getting smaller. It isn’t until she is combing her hair in preparation for a date that one evening that Catherine notices things aren’t all well. Chunks of her hair fall out as she pulls her paddle brush through it. Coarse brittle strands come away like dust. Her head pulsates. It feels like her skull is trying to break out. Panicking as she feels that a large ridge has formed along the base at the back of her skull, she starts to cry and pats along the top of her head. She feels some sort of opening up there, and so bows her head to get a look at it in the mirror. A hideous fissure has opened up from just behind her fringe right to the crown. Catherine wobbles at the knees as she turns her head to the side slightly. Yes, her head looks just like a male glans, but with two bewildered human eyes peering out of it. Her jaw recedes rapidly as her teeth begin to fall out of her pulsating gums; her nose extends down her face, turning white as it stretches into a tough sinewy band connecting the multicultural foreskin surrounding her swollen glans head and throbbing penile shaft neck. The foreskin grows upwards, engulfing her face, covering her entire head; a horrific nightmare worm consuming a live victim. Clawing desperately at the Prepucii, she manages to pull it down, a pearlescent bead oozes pulpily from her scalp. She catches a last glimpse of herself in the mirror and is appalled by her reflection.

1223


Dog & Bro

ten

Dog & Bro

I only ever see things through my right eye. My brother has control of the left. In fact, he has control of the entire left side of our body. I’ve known about him since birth, but I can’t be sure that he knows about me. We can’t communicate because he suffers from aphasia, at least, he doesn’t respond to me when I talk to him. Whether he knows about me or not, we get along just about fine, one stepping forward then the other, or simultaneously swinging our open palms at each other in celebration of something witnessed. Sometimes we butt heads, metaphorically of course, as our face contorts, one half smiling in joy and the other scrunching up in disgust or sadness, that draws a few looks when we do that. Other times one of us may want to sit and the other stand at the same time and we end up sprawling across the floor, much to the amusement of my friends. I think they like me anyway, maybe they like my brother, and don’t know its me they talk to. Anyway, despite our difficulties, we manage to get by.

My name’s Dog by the way. My brother doesn’t have a name, because he hasn’t ever really lived. Our parents seem relatively normal. Each has a job and loves us immensely. I couldn’t swear to it, but I doubt either of them have a silent brother or sister living with them, in control of half of their body. Perhaps their siblings actually speak to them, so they work together all the time so that they don’t end up looking like a pair of idiots tripping themself up.

I kissed a girl once. I don’t know that my brother joined in the kiss, but he did grab her boob. She looked sore at that and slapped me. I tried saying it wasn’t me but she was having none of it. She said she was only up for a peck, and even then it was only a dare. She said my lolling eyes were stupid and I should see a doctor. I hadn’t thought about that. I don’t have a clue where my brother is looking. He could be pulling faces all the time, making me look like a fool.

I’ve decided to attach a full length mirror to my front, so that I can keep my eye on him. Sure it looks a little weird, but at least I don’t have to worry about what my brother is doing on the other side of our body.

427

Charlene Handcock

eight

Charlene Handcock

I’ll have a coffee please.”

Certainly sir. Which of our ninety thousand combinations would you like?”

Oh. Eh? Erm. Just give me an espresso.”

Short, tall, grande or venti sir?”

Medium.”

Can I interest you in milk or syrup or caramel or cream or chocolate with your coffee sir?”

What? No, I, er, I just want a coffee thanks.”

Solo sir?”

Yeah I am…” Carl feels his cheeks redden.

The barista smiles politely. “You’re new to this aren’t you sir?”

Yes I am. I’m a little nervous to tell the truth. I hope other people like this book I’ve brought along to read. I don’t really know the author. Is it pronounced Sharlene or Charlene?” Carl showed the man his book choice.

Ah, excellent choice. If you take a glance sir, you can see that a lot of other people had the same idea. And don’t worry about your lack of confidence about the book, you’re not the first to fear what the others might think. But usually, once people see other people reading the same book it calms them a bit. Do you feel calmer now sir, knowing that you’re not alone in choosing that book?”

Yes. Yes I do. Thank you.”

Not at all sir. It looks like it must be a good one. Look at her smile.” The man points over Carl’s shoulder who turns to see a woman who is smiling like a maniac as she intently stares at a page. Her hand waits with the corner of the page ready to turn in an instant.

Yes. She does seem to be enjoying it.” Carl ums and ers for a minute. “On second thoughts, maybe I’d like something extra in my coffee. Is that reasonable?”

Of course. Latte?”

Is it wise?”

Certainly sir.”

Yes then.”

Regular, skinny, whole or soy?”

I can’t be sure.”

Sure you can be. Just say one of the words.”

All right, I’ll say… skinny.”

Ah, the healthy option.”

Oh? Good. I’m trying to watch my waist.” It was true, Carl joined a gym just a month ago to battle the increasing layer of fat growing about his core.

Most are. Most are.” The man looks round behind him and shouts something. A voice shouts back. “It’ll just be a moment sir.”

I can wait. But, erm, should I read my book while I wait?”

Yes, you can if you like sir.”

What, here by the counter?”

People tend to take a chair. If you look sir, that one by the window is free. That would allow you to occasionally gaze out at the street, and it would also allow a great deal more people see what an excellent choice in reading material you made.”

That is a good idea. Thank you.”

Not at all. I’ll be happy to bring your caffe latte over to you when it’s ready. Is that all sir?”

Er, is it?”

Yes, it can be sir.”

Then I’ll go and wait over by the window. I’ll read my book to pass the time.”

Very good. Thank you for your custom sir.”

Carl wanders over to the window seat the barista recommended for him. He sits facing away from the window, but realises he won’t be able to gaze out of it easily, nor will people be able to see his excellent choice of book, written by Charlene (or Sharlene) Handcock. A great author, very popular. He awkwardly shuffles around to the other side of the table, attracting a few glances that quickly return to the page they were reading. A few moments later his coffee arrives. The barista says that he ought to continue to read as the coffee is exceptionally hot. He estimates it will be another seven minutes and twelve seconds before Carl should take the first sip.

If you need me to guide you on how to take a sip then please call me over sir. I will be happy to help. And don’t worry, a lot of people don’t know how to do it the first time. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Thank you very much. I’ll give it a try by myself first, but if I can’t do it then I’ll call you over.”

The barista nods and leaves for the counter. Carl continues to read the story. It must be very good because whenever he looks out of the window there are people standing looking at him reading it with expressions of approval. Exactly seven minutes and twelve seconds later Carl closes the book and prepares to sip at his coffee. He purses his lips and steadies himself. He gently touches the cup to his bottom lip and tips it slightly, a sip’s worth of coffee enters his mouth.

Wow. That was especially well done sir.” The barista calls from across the shop.

Ah. Merely beginners luck.” Carl puts the cup down and picks the book back up. He is unsure as to whether the coffee is too hot to drink still. He can’t let go of the nagging suspicion that it isn’t and so puts the book down and prepares himself to take another sip. This time he tips it further and allows a little more to enter his mouth. Upon doing so he has a revelation. He stands and takes his cup of coffee over to the counter.

This coffee tastes shitty.”

The barista smiles slyly and his eyes twinkle. “That’s because it is.” He shifts to the side slightly, allowing Carl to catch a glimpse of the kitchen area. Appallingly, he witnesses a bulbous globe of a man wearing only a t-shirt kneeling on the floor with a thick tube piercing his anus. A brown fluid flows through the tube into the man. Once all the fluid has gone from the tube, it’s removed and the man’s hole plugged up. He is then shaken by two large mechanical arms that pinch around his equatorial waist, they turn him around one eighty degrees and his anus is unbunged so that the fluid explodes out like blood from a split artery, filling a waiting tray of cups and glasses. The man has continental sweat patches underneath both armpits and his brow is dripping.

The barista steps back in front of Carl, “You probably won’t like it if you see where the latte comes from though sir. Oh, and it’s pronounced Sharlenay sir.”

Oh, that makes sense.” Carl says casually and takes his post-enema coffee back to the table by the window and continues to read the latest novel by his favourite author.

1134

Magnetic Meatball

three

Magnetic Meatball

Radiators and exhaust pipes and coins and cutlery all jostled for space. Entombed by car bonnets and thrown out bed frames, a walking junk yard. A metal meatball. In the centre of the magnetic maelstrom, Richard Hornbutt, feeling slightly cheated. He hadn’t wanted this.

In hindsight he realised he had only himself to blame, the ad hadn’t specified the nature of the secret. Only that there was a genuine cheap way to become more attractive discovered by a single mother of three. By paying a one off charge of nineteen ninety nine (plus tax and admin fees) you could become the most attractive person in your neck of the woods. It seemed too good to be true, it obviously was, but Richard was thirty eight and still hadn’t dunked his junk yet, because, and it was truly a sad state of affairs that this was the case, women tended to sidestep him in favour of the better looking men. It wasn’t that they didn’t notice him. With a lethal hook nose that could have an eye out, and acne scars like Vesuvius, Richard had always drawn some attention. Just not the kind he cared for. Not the kind that cared for him.

The day after he paid the fee a burly man came to his door, flashed him an id and instructed him to follow. Richard did so, feeling somewhat apprehensive and excited and optimistic all rolled into one. They got into a car and drove to a secret laboratory where Richard was given a drink that made him pass out.

After recovering from the surgery Richard went out to the street and women flocked to him, some pressed their faces to his chest, eyes goggling as if being strangled, others appeared to be attempting to hear his heart beat. All of them, their hands frantically feeling all over his torso, had bewildered looks on their faces as though they were being forced into these intimate positions. Some seemed to be attempting to push their meat tacos against him, their backs arched as they thrust forward at his groin. He was flustered, but enjoying every moment of it. This was exactly what he had dreamed of all his life. Then the shit hit the fan. Small change flew like shrapnel, slicing and maiming the women surrounding Richard, their blood tracing arcs in the air. Cars started moving seemingly of their own accord, mowing ladies down like bowling pins as they careened towards him. Restaurant windows shattered as cutlery suddenly sprung from the tables, darting at the crowd about him, spoons cracking skulls like egg shells, forks whirling and pitching in ballet-esque movements, pirouetting numerous times before coming to a rest in some poor woman’s flesh. Soon the mass of women kind had given way to the unstoppable metallic abuse hurtled upon them. And, covered in the blood of damsels, surrounded by torn up car chassis’s and old iron works and tooth fillings, Richard sat weeping and alone.

490

Drip Drip

four

Drip-Drip

I chose to have the augmentation because it seemed to be the thing to do. Unlike the fads and crazes that had happened recently this one really had sticking potential. People would still be doing it decades from now. It was dirt cheap to get the surgery done, merely the cost of a late night movie in the city or an easy meal from a fast food restaurant. But the results far outdid those mundane experiences. Imagine the most exquisite diamond cut from an ice queen’s favourite crown highlighted from behind by the first rays of Sun on a perfect morning. Or the halo of an angel cherub, doused in heaven’s crisp light. For the price of a pat of meat you could endow yourself with just such a beautiful accessory. One that everybody else would adore, and compliment you on. It just made sense to get it done.

It was a fascination of mine. The sublime tones from overt toxic yellow through shimmering white, the delightfully pungent odour and savoury flavour. I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather have done to help me fit in. Sure, friends had chosen to spend their money on the other options, and each had their own merit. But my mind was set. Nothing could say, this is who I am, quite like having my own glass bladder ornament crafted and placed into my torso for all to see and be in awe of. When it was empty it would be be a crystal clear spyglass. And when it was full, oh when it was full! It would be like a polished piece of amber, historic and radiant. Honeyed liquid sloshing around inside it. Or it would be like the elixir of life itself, glorious and sacrosanct. Yes! This fashion couldn’t possibly die out. It just made too much sense.

Of course, that’s what I thought before the crack first appeared. Just a hairline slither, weeping nicotine stained fluid like an infected sore. I had to take to sleeping on a rack above a series of buckets because the wee would dribble out constantly. I had to forsake my social life for fear of wetting other people’s furniture. Eventually I gave up drinking any liquids, hoping that I could stifle the flow of piss by drying myself out. I woke up one day to the sound of a hospital drip, drip-drop, drip-drop, and I desperately needed a wee, it almost felt like my bladder would burst.

412

Eye of the Storm

eleven

Eye of the Storm

There is a monumental electric storm in a very specific locality. For the briefest of moments, the hind quarters of Geoffrey Poonsdale become a white hot furnace of electronic bowel movements. High voltage farts beep and chitter out between currents of faecal electrons. His face saturates with a fearsome purple before diluting to a bald white. Sweat evaporates off of his raised brow. Then, just as suddenly as it erupted, the storm dissipates. Geoffrey blows a breath out, steadily and noisily. He notices that there is the distinct smell of burnt hair and frazzled circuitry. His arse feels chaffed. Obviously, he thinks to himself, the stress is getting to me.

110

Chimp

five

Chimp

So nicknamed due to his mental deficiency, elongated, jutted jaw line, and penchant for chronic masturbation, Chimp held onto the hand of the abductor and followed him willingly, his short legs cantering to keep up with the long striding gait of the man. He was smiling at the people as he went by and they smiled back.

56

The Direction of Life

six

The Direction of Life

I knew immediately that something was wrong.
“Turpentine!” I shouted to my step sister, who I kept under my bed. “SOMETHING IS WRONG!”
“Something is wrong.” agreed Turpentine, waking up and sleepily brushing the cobwebs from her silver hair. “You’re turning into a road sign.”
“Call the doctor!” I commanded, trembling.
Turpentine was only two years old but she was no fool, she shook her head sadly. I had the classic symptoms. A stretchy feeling in my elbows and red, itchy palms. We both knew I was not long for this world. I kept thinking, why me? Why me? It was a stupid question, turning into a road sign was going around, it was only a matter of time.
But what would I become? A stop? A slippery when wet? Or maybe something special like ‘Old Northern Road’? I deeply hoped so.

I decided to write a “goodbye and thank you” letter to every person I had ever met. I would write to the swimming coaches, the shop assistants, the school secretaries and the whole host of others beside. I thought of the cat that our old cleaning lady brought along with her on a rainy day in August last year. The cat was an old tabby. It lay in its basket in the hallway and slept the whole time, even while the cleaning lady vacuumed around it. Why did she bring it? I asked myself, thinking back to that strange day. Why that day and not any other? It was a mystery all right, but a cute one.
“Thank you”, I would write to the tabby cat, “for being a part of my life. A sleepy little part of my life.”
Animals count too.

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