Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category
Here’s a new picture story thingy called The horse tests.
The idea of using a horse and a hyena in a story first came about in 2003 when I was asked to make a promotional video for Giardini di Mirò’s song “Given Ground.” Silke Krieg’s beautiful artwork for the group’s Revolution On Your Pins! and Punk … not Diet! releases featured both of these animals. In the end, the horse and hyena idea was ditched, and I made another video instead, but I always wanted to go back and do something with the horse and hyena idea. I’ve finally done it. Hope you enjoy.
I know what I’m like, no matter how many books I’d like to read, have vague intentions of reading, “should” read, there’ll always be a baseball biography or something that will come along and delay me getting around to reading books considered to be great. I have only read nine of The Guardian’s 100 greatest novels of all time, and four of the World Library 100 Best Books of All Time. That’s a lot of pages of great stuff I’ve not read. So I’ve decided to write my own short stories based on the titles of books I’ve not read. No idea how many I will do, but here’s the first, The Old Man and the Sea.
Albert stood on the promenade, eyes watering from the wind. He stared out at the dark, grey, sea. Waves broke silently in the distance, loudly on the beach. Albert stared, his hands deep in the pockets of his overcoat. He stared at the horizon. He was building in his mind. Building structures, pillars in the sea, solid as oil rigs. The pillars should be arranged in a zig-zag pattern. On top of each structure would be a mirror. He made a mental note to research the geometry. And Albert would build these structures at precise intervals across the ocean. Then he would put 50p in the coin-operated promenade binoculars, focus on the first mirror, and he would see all the way to New York.
Brief conversations between sea-based creatures and their land-based namesakes.
SEA HORSE: You’re quite a majestic creature. I am happy we share a name.
HORSE: Yep, me too, actually. You’re very pretty.
SEA LION: You’re the king of the jungle, right? Awesome! I am happy we share a name, although I think you might be a tad disappointed with me.
LION: Well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a wee bit perplexed, but you seem nice enough.
SEA URCHIN: You’re a bit dirty. Maybe you’d smell nicer if you had a wash, young man.
URCHIN: Cor blimey, guv’nor, if it ain’t a talkin’ spikey thing! Spare us a shilling?
CAT FISH: I’ve seen you on the Internet, you’re funny. You can has cheezburger! LOL!
CAT: Oh shush, you damn fool, I’m trying to take a nap.
SEA CUCUMBER: Really? A fucking vegetable?
CUCUMBER: Well actually, I taste marvellous in a fancy English sandwich at afternoon tea.
SEA OTTER: Oh, we kinda look the same. I can see why we’ve got the same name. So what’s the deal? You don’t like salt?
OTTER: Watching my sodium, dude.
SPERM WHALE: Yeah, right. It’s all a big joke to you, isn’t it? Arty beardy speccy-four-eyes man writing crap about animals on his bloody Web site, thinking it’s all a great big joke… What, not got any baseball to watch today, you boring fucking nerdy loser?
Here’s a wee story. Wrote most of it last summer, but got around to finishing it this morning after waking up at six bloody thirty. I’ve put it all up here rather than making you click on over to the main site, but it is over there too at www.flipflopflyin.com/lamppost. This recent spurt of stuff is mainly down to being nearly done with the Flip Flop Fly Ball book. All the graphics and text are done. All that needs doing now is some editing, tinkering, and a cover.
Just a lamppost, at the junction at the top of the street. Cassius, a four or five or six year old cat that Jeremy got from the animal rescue place, is missing. Jeremy knocked up an A4 flyer in Word, all caps, 72pt Times New Roman, dropped in a photograph of Cassius, put his cell phone number ten times vertically at the bottom of the layout, printed it, made twenty copies, took a roll of Scotch tape from Julie’s desk with a wink and a smile, and on his way home, taped the copies to lampposts, traffic light poles, bus shelters, and finally, the lamppost at the top of the street near his apartment.
Cassius’ flyer was taped over a similarly knocked-up-in-Microsoft-Word piece of A4 paper advertising a mountain bike for sale. Three of the phone number tabs have been pulled off and the paper was a bit bumpy from being rained on. Around the pole, above and beneath Cassius’ flyer were more and more flyers. Missing cats, found cats, missing dogs, found dogs, TV cabinet for sale, reggae night at a local bar (ladies get in free), dog walker services, cleaning services, clothes mending and alteration services, free-yourself-from-debt services, Lucy! call me! I lost your #!!!
Cassius never was found. Jeremy wanted to think someone had found him and taken him in and given him premium quality cat food and a saucer of full fat milk, given him a new name, and had just not seen Jeremy’s flyer. But, whenever he thought about it, Cassius always ended up lying dead in the road after being hit by a car at 3 a.m. Still, lifeless until rush hour, then being squished into an unrecognisable blood and fur mess.
Other flyers covered Cassius’. And others covered those. Again and again, more and more flyers covered more and more missing pets and services for hire. Spring turned to summer, autumn and winter. The flyers faded and crinkled, the ink ran, new bicycles were for sale, and a watch was found. And like a man who drinks a bit too much beer, eats a bit too much pizza, and drives instead of walking to the store, slowly the lamppost got fatter.
Someone selling a pair of tickets for Jeff Beck concert, a yoga teacher, non-smoking room for rent, baby clothes for sale, CDs and DVDs bought and sold, fridge for sale. The posters made it so that between knee height and the head height of an NBA player, the lamppost wasn’t visible. It bulged out, a foot in diameter with layers of paper, layers of flutter, holding up its own weight with rolls and rolls-worth of hastliy-applied Scotch tape. It was a fragile structure but it would take a not insignificant effort to dismantle it. But nobody did. The men in fluorescent jackets and trousers who cleaned the streets, picked up trash, fixed the broken street lights didn’t touch it. Other less-used lampposts were periodically cleared of the flyers. But not this one. It looked like a project. Someone at the department of whoever-does-these-sort-of-things must’ve decided to do an experiment.
It outlasted Jeremy, who moved away with his new cat Sonny to take a new job down south. More cats and winters, dogs and summers passed. (Cassius would go missing again, although this time it was “Tibbles” that was missing, and he was nearly a teenager.) The lamppost got thicker and thicker. Swollen like an ankle. To tape a flyer on the lamppost selling your hi-fi or stroller was to more-or-less guarantee a prompt sale. Unlike other lamppost flyers, where people would only pay attention should a word on the flyer and their own immediate needs coincide, passers-by stopped to read the flyers. People read them all. The lamppost was well known in the neighbourhood. People looking for a room mate would concoct beautifully-worded advertisments to show due respect to the lampposts place in the neighbourhood. Local comic artists would post A4 cartoon strips and their Facebook addresses.
Some local people grew annoyed that the bargains they’d often pick up from calling a number on the lamppost would be gone too quickly, such was the shop window the lamppost afforded its sellers. Yet it grew and grew, flaring out further and further, tapering from a couple of feet wide at the top to eight feet or so at its base. It never reached down to the ground, though. People had tried putting flyers for children’s toys down at the bottom, but nobody ever took the phone numbers when they were wet and smelly with dog piss. Dogs loved the lamppost. Especially in the summer. The dog of the owner of the grocery store next to the lamppost often spent hours shading under the skirt, watching life go by, and occasionally licking a child’s foot.
At Christmas, locals hooked up some lights and turned the lamppost into a Christmas tree. At Easter, the grocery store owner hid tiny chocolate eggs under the flyers. During the World Cup, little paper flags were added. The lamppost was added to the list of quirky things to see in the city’s Rough Gulde. Postcards of the lamppost were available in the tourist shops next to the city’s more well-established landmarks. It grew and grew. Spanish lessons. Qi Gong. It expanded until the pavement was unusable, the council made the street one way so it could be narrowed to allow for further growth. Visitors came to take photographs stood next to the lamppost. Some climbed onto the spread of flyers. A couple left big dents when the paper gave way. Cats fought on top of the mass, rats scrambled around underneath, dogs pissed around the edges. Drunk men ran across it in the early hours of the morning.
On and on it went, eventually blocking off the street completely. It was now a ten minute walk to the grocery store that was a stone’s throw away. School buses had to be rerouted. Houses near the lamppost went up in value, and down in value. Several houses could no longer use their front doors, only entering through the back alley. Frankly, it had became a right pain in the arse.