Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Ballad Of Shep and Tam

“What are you reading?”  Tam asked.
Shep ignored him.
“What are you reading?”  Tam asked again.
Shep ignored him.
“Well..?”  Tam paused. “What are you reading?”
Shep looked up at Tam.  Stared long enough to convey his annoyance and returned to his book.
Tam stared at Shep reading for a while. 
“What are you reading?” Tam asked.
“Will you leave me alone??”  Shep screamed, exasperated.
Tam smiled. “Never heard of it.  Who wrote it?” He asked, prodding the nerve.
“OK.  I’ll tell you.”
“It’s called ‘Fifty Shades Of Why Don’t You Fuck Off’”  Shep returned to his book.
“Never heard of it.  Who wrote it?”  Tam asked, trying to hold back a laugh.
“AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”  Shep screamed, closing the book.
“Is there a reason you are annoying me?”
Tam smiled again and got ready for the reaction.
“Yes.  We’re partners today.”
Shep groaned loudly and forcefully to make sure Tam knew he was not at all happy about this.
“Why?”  Shep said.  “Why? Why? Why?…what did I do to deserve this?  What did I do to deserve you?” 
Tam’s cheerful expression was designed to please himself and annoy Shep, like a smile on a thief’s face as he pockets your wallet.
“Just lucky I suppose.  Some people win lotteries, some people get me.  Who can say who the real winner is?”
“Shut up Tam.”
“Yoh kay doh kay.”  Tam said patting himself, looking for something.  He took a sheet of paper from his pocket and handed it to Shep.
“You’ll be happy.  We only have one today.”
“Well thank fuck for that.”  Shep said snatching the paper. “Ah crap.  It’s on Earth.”
“You really are a joy to be with you know that Shep?”
Shep ignored the insult and stood up.
“A pure joy. You’re a gem of a partner.  I have had such assholes before.”  Tam continued.  “But I must say that this has been the best conversation I’ve had in years.  I’m so privileged.”
“Shut up”  Shep said automatically.
“And we’ve only just started.  I think I may actually be luckier than you.”
Shep groaned again. 
“Come on Shep.  Cheer up.  It’ll be just like the old days remember.  All those long days, and longer nights, causing mischief and mayhem.  Dipping and diving across the realms, picking up women, and drinking till they puked.
Shep gave Tam a sideways stare through half closed lids.
“We’ve never worked together before Tam.  Shut up.”
“Yeah but imagine what it could have been like!”  Tam smiled and slapped Shep on the back.  “We would’ve been great!”


They landed.  Well it was more of a materialisation.  The people who were near just glanced over and glanced away again. 
“Brilliant.”  Tam said.
“What is?” 
“Them…over there, and there.”  Tam was pointing at various people and groups that had they had just appeared among.
Shep looked at them, barely masking his expression of disgust.
“What’s so brilliant about them?  They are stupid hunks of meat who think they’re in some way evolved.”
“Yeah I know, but that’s great.  I love these people for their innocence, arrogance, and levels of self delusion.”
“I hate them for it.  Fools.”
Shep was looking up and down the street.
“I mean, they saw us but they don’t seem to care.  It was just a glitch for them, like a moment of deja vu or something.  They’ll always manage to rationalise the odd, the weird, and the downright strange if it means not facing up to it.”
“Idiots.”  Shep said as if he was spitting out a bad taste.
“No.  It’s endearing.”
“So where are we supposed to be going again?”
Shep sighed. “It’s called ‘The Pigs Trotter’”
“A bar or something?”
“Yeah, or something.  I think it’s a private club or disco or whatever they’re called now.”
“And who is the mark?”  Tam asked.
Shep looked at him raising an eyebrow.
“The ‘mark’?”
“Yeah, the contact, the victim, the john.”
“What are you on about?”
“Come on, Shep, don’t tell me you didn’t watch some Earth movies before we came.”
“No you won’t tell me or no you didn’t.”
“No I didn’t”.  Shep was reviewing the details in the paper. “Her real name is Mary but her spirit name is ‘Filth’”
“I like it.”  Tam said. 
“Odd spirit name to pick.”  Shep said.  “Although, these people don’t surprise me.”
“But it’s kinda cool.”
“Yeah, but most people pick names they think sound fantastical, like ‘Astro’ or ‘Essence’.”
“So?”  Tam said. 
“So, a name like ‘Filth’ is just unusual.”
“Maybe I suppose.” 
Shep started walking.
“How will we know her?  What did it say?”  Tam said. 
“Huh?”  Shep turned back towards Tam, who was pointing at the sheet.
“How will we know who Filty Mary is?  Will she be tall? Small? In uniform?  Will she be wearing a wetsuit?”
Shep was only just about managing to contain his anger. 
“A fuckin wetsuit?  Why would she be wearing a wetsuit?”
Tam smirked at how easy Shep was to annoy.
“Who knows?  She may be into kinky stuff.  Or surfing!”
Shep turned and started to walk away again.
“Surfing is probably more likely though.”  Tam said to himself, but loud enough.
Shep threw the paper over his shoulder at Tam.  “Go have a read for yourself.”
“Yoh kay doh kay.” Tam said.
“And if you say that one more time I’ll impale you.” Shep threw that over his shoulder too.
“Yoh kay-”
Shep stopped but didn’t turn around.
Tam finally failed in holding back his laugh.


Walking up to the locked door the place looked closed.  Faint muffled sounds and a dull rhythmic beat belied the appearance. 
“Look, the metal door has a slot.  I’ll get us in.”  Tam said.
“How?”  Shep asked.
“Watch.”  Tam strutted towards the door.  His over exaggerated swagger was designed to annoy Shep as much as possible.
After two knocks the slot drew back with a squeak.
“What.”  The pair of eyes said.  It wasn’t so much a question as a grunted full stop.
“We’re here. Let us in.”  Tam said, turning to smile at Shep.
The eyes scanned the two.  Tam met the stare.
“We’re here to see Dave.” 
The slot closed and the sounds of unlocking could be heard.
Shep raised his eyebrows questioningly.
“There’s always a Dave.” Mouthed Tam.

They made their way through the main throng before reaching a quiet room.

“You know…I amaze myself sometimes with my own greatness.”  Tam said as Shep drew alongside him.
Shep gave him a withered stare and moved ahead.
“So where will she be?”  Shep asked.
“In bar number 2.  The one with the best strippers.”  Tam said.
“Bar 2.  The Pigs Trotters.  Best Strippers.”
“What are you on about?”  Shep said stopping.
“Everyone knows that.”  Tam said, “It’s on the slutty slate in the dark toilet on floor 3.  Best place to get tips on sleaze.  I would have thought you’d know all about it.”
Tam was elbowing Shep in the ribs.  His exaggerated winking included an odd mouth contortion for effect.
“Has anyone ever told you that you’re very annoying?”  Shep said.
“ actually” Tam said pausing “but a lot of people ask me that.”   
“There she is.”

Mary was dancing on one of the raised platforms.  She was wearing a very revealing outfit that suggested a lot to the imagination. 
“You want to do it or me?”  Tam said.
“Don’t care.”
“OK. I’ll do it.”

Tam walked up to Mary.  She glanced at him in a glazed way but returned to look again as recognition settled on her features.

“Tam!  What are you doing here?”  Mary said, not really expecting an answer.
Shep looked at them, his confusion evident.
“Have you got another job for me?”  Mary said, looking over Tam’s shoulder at Shep.
“Yes.  You know the deal.  Simple clean up job.”  Tam said.
“Yes. No problem.  What’s he done?”  Mary asked.
“Apart from pissing off everyone he works with, he’s been pissing off the bosses too.” 
“OK.  Leave him here.  I’ll send the bill.”

Tam walked back to Shep and shot him in the face.  He was dead before he hit the floor.  Tam stared at the body as the pool of blood grew around his head like a halo.

“You ever think about having kids Mary?”  Tam asked, still staring at Shep.
“Nah, don’t think I could handle them.  Once they start to walk and talk they become a pain.  I’d end up killing them.”  Mary paused for a bit, thinking.  “What’s the word for that?”
“Infanticide.” Tam said.
“No that’s killing babies, not the older, more irritating ones.”
“Pesticide then?”
Tam turned to Mary and saw her head thrown back in laughter. 
“Good to see you again Tam.”
“Till next time.”
And Tam disappeared.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Price

The yacht was docked and gently swaying with the waves and the early evening breeze brought some respite from the heat of the day, causing a gentle echo of sail lines ringing off masts.  He scanned the other boats along the marina.  Most were unoccupied but those that weren’t were too far away to care.  He usually liked the solitude here.  
“Jim, no one cares enough about you to want to hurt you.”  Tom finished his drink and wiggled the glass over his head.
“Of course they do.  Everyone hates me for who I am and what I have.”  A girl arrived and topped up Tom’s glass, she glanced at Jim's.  A minimal finger wag was enough to for her to turn around and leave.
“I don’t.”  Tom said sipping the cool wine.
“Well I know you don’t hate me.”
“No, I meant I don’t hate you for who you are and what you have,  I hate because you’re a pain in the ass.”
Jim slipped his sunglasses to the end of his nose.  “Yeah, but I’m a rich pain in the ass.”  His grin was wide for effect.
“Yeah, that’s true.  But let’s not focus on the adjective in this case. Seriously though, you don’t actually believe you are being….what did you say….’hunted’?”
 “I do.  And it’s not as crazy as it sounds.”
“That’s not saying much Jim.  Cos it sounds off the wall mental.”
Jim sipped at his drink.  He stared back at Tom.  He was wondering if he should have told him any of this.  Tom knew him long enough to be able to talk back to him like this, but he still got annoyed when he did.  Power and money had given him a force field.  It was a barrier that shielded him from negative comments.  People seemed to believe that because he had money, he had superpowers.  To criticise him was to risk losing their place on his coattails.  He hated it and hated them.
He looked around.  He felt cold, but it didn’t seem to be caused by the weather.
 “Yeah, I know.  I just can’t shake the feeling.  I’ve been just on edge I suppose.”
“Yes.  Now can we just get drunk and drop this whole stupid business.  The girls will be —”
There was a loud crash from the galley, followed by a scream and further sounds of shattering glass and splintering wood.
Jim jumped to his feet.  “Oh no.”
“Stop it Jim.”
Something rolled along the deck.   The sound became more pronounced in the aftermath of the earlier racket.  It had a rhythmic cadence to it as it crept towards Tom.
“It’s got a dent in it.”  Tom showed Jim the source of the rolling noise.  “And why do you have canned soup here anyway.”
“Because I can’t cook, and is that really what you are most concerned with right now?”
Tom looked into the fear frozen face of Jim.  “Ah Jim, relax, it’s just Gloria.  She probable slipped and knocked over something.”
“No.  I’m telling you.  Something is trying to kill me.”
“Something?”  Tom looked from Jim to the galley and back.  “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Something or someone, I don’t know.”  Tom’s eyes were as wide as poker chips.
The doors leading to the deck shattered.  They burst outward from the point the creature touched them and spread to the edges in a ripple of shards and twigs.  The creature took a lumbering step towards them and stopped.  It seemed to take up more space than its physical presence, as if its shadow had mass.  The two men itched to cover their noses but were afraid to move as the stench crawled its way into them.
“So, here we are.”  Said a mild voice.  It didn’t fit the beast. 
Jim looked to Tom in confusion, but Tom was rigid, a wet patch around his groin.   He sounded like he was trying to talk or scream but his voice was fighting against letting him.
A slight man walked around from behind the beast and strode calmly towards Jim.
“You owe me.”
Jim started to nod, but caught himself.  “I don’t know what you mean.”
The smile from the little man didn’t even have a hint of warmth in it.  It contained pleasure, but only for himself. 
“We made a deal, didn’t we.”
“What did you do to Gloria?”
“She’s fine.”
The amount of time that passed between the can of soup striking the little man’s head and the creature reaching Tom was practically non-existent.  It began peeling Tom apart.  He was lifted in one of its hands as the other one ripped away parts of him, his torso was cracked and snapped into a damp red bundle and dropped in a sticky mess to the deck. 
The little man rubbed his temple but never looked.  “You owe me.”
“What do you want?  Anything!  I promise!”
“That’s more like it.”  The man said.
“I want you.  I own you.”  The man pointed to the beast.  “That one is done now.”
Jim looked at the giant of hair and bone, it seemed to be sagging.
“I need a new one.”
The beast wasn’t actually shrinking but still seemed to becoming less of itself.  It was still there, but it held less of a presence.  The little man smiled at Jim. 

Jim felt it deep inside himself.  It wasn’t a pain, more of a pressure.  He felt himself stretch and solidify at the same time.  He suddenly understood and looked at the creature one last time.  He heard snapping of his bones as they reshaped and reformed.  The pain began now, not a physical pain, but one of loss.  His life was over.  His new life was about to begin.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dead Reckoning

“Wow this place is quiet.”  Bob said.
“Really?  Is that your first impression?  Quiet?”  Ted had started breathing again.  Only an exhale, he was still hoping he could avoid an inhale.
“Yeah.  I’d say there would be a great echo in here.”
This was his worst nightmare.  Ted had to jog passed cemeteries, and forget about getting him in one.  The cold comfort of the bodies being six feet under and dead for years was supplanted by the sheer number of them.   Funerals were the opposite.  He only had to cope with one body, but the freshness was off putting and having only a thin piece of wood separating it from him was too much.  But now here he was, standing with anxious sweats, and Bob, in a morgue.
“Don’t you dare!”  Ted looked at the smirk on Bob’s face.
“As if.  I’m just saying.”

They looked around the room, getting their bearings.   It was nondescript, but this is what it looked like; square.  There was a table in the centre of the room and around the walls were lockers.  Ted didn't know if that was the correct word for them but that's what they looked like.  There were seven per row, three rows per wall, on three walls.  So 63 naked bodies lurking behind the slender metal locker doors.
“Let’s just do this and get out as fast as possible.”   He shivered and tried to pass if off as being due to the chill in the room.
A smile crept along Bobs face.  “You’re afraid aren’t you?”  and it exploded in his eyes.
“Whaaat?”  Ted said an octave too high.
“You ARE!”  Bob started to hop with excitement.  “I can’t believe it!  Big man Ted is afraid of morgues!”
“Shut up will ya, someone will hear you!”
“Maybe one of them?”  Bob said gesturing around the room, “and maybe they’ll answer back!”  Bob was really enjoying this.
“STOP!  If you say one more word.”  Ted was managing to enunciate clearly through his clenched jaw.  “I’ll make sure you get the next free slot in here.”
Bobs laugh echoed around room making Ted freeze, making Bob laugh again.  He slapped Ted on the back.
“Ah it’s only a bit of fun.  Relax!”
Ted was far from relaxed, far from being able to relax.
“Just quit it will ya!”  Ted took a deep breath. “You know you’re really starting to annoy me.  Has anyone every told you how much of a pain in the ass you are?”
“Nope.  But a lot of people ask me that.”

Ted took a few cautious steps into the central area.  He could feel his nerves jangle, but he was gaining a bit of self-confidence.  If he didn’t get this situation under his control, Bob might spread stories about him later.  Rational fear of lost reputation was taking over from irrational fear of dead bodies.
“Did you bring the marker?”  Ted asked.
“And it’s permanent?”
“OK, let’s find him.   What box is he in?”
Bob looked back into Ted’s enquiring face.  If Ted though he was being annoying before he was really going to love this.  “I don’t know.  I thought you did.”
Ted stopped breathing again as the room felt like it was shrinking, while the number of boxes seemed to simultaneously multiply.
“Are you kidding me?”
“No.  Greg told me that he told Sam to make sure that Jimmy passed on the box number to Harry.  Didn’t you meet Harry?”
“Harry never said anything about Jimmy.  He said that he told Frank to text Mack with the box and he was going to pass it on to Sam for you.”
“But I haven’t seen Sam in weeks.”
“Oh Sweet Jesus.”   Ted dragged his hand over his face.  He counted the boxes again, calming slightly when it was still 63.
“Ah no big deal.”  Bob said.  “Maybe they’re not all full.”
“But if we don’t do this right, Johnny boy will kill us.”

“OK, let’s work this out.”  Bob said, sounding serious for the first time. “We know he’s a man, so we can rule out any women.  We know he was Irish so we can rule out any foreign looking bodies.”
“No we can’t!”  Ted was suppressing a scream.
“Why not?”
“Irish just means being born in Ireland.”
“So you can be black and be born in Ireland.  You can be Asian and be born in Ireland.  How you look has no bearing at all on your Irishness.”
“Yeah but if you were born in Ireland you’d still know they were Irish once they spoke.”   Bob didn’t like being made feel foolish, but you’d think he’d be used to it.
Ted stared at him, waiting for logic to kick in and join up all the individual facts.
“Oh yeah.”  Bob finally said.
“OK.  Get the marker, let’s just do this.”
“How?”  Bob was as confused as he looked.
“Like you said, we can rule out half of them and some lockers might be empty.”
“Well, you’re assuming that half of the bodies in here are women.  Might not be true.”   Bob said in a flash of statistical insight.
“Just shut UP!!!”
“There are going to be a lot of pissed off families, and closed caskets.”  Bob said smiling.
“As long as it includes the one we want, that’ll just have to be.  Johnny wants to humiliate him even if he’s dead.”
Bob tapped the marker against his lips, as Ted pulled out the first corpse.
“I’m thinking a pair of glasses and a mustache.”
“I don’t care what you draw, just get on with it.”
Bob’s tongue poked out of his mouth as his artistic nature kicked in.  Ted scanned the room.  62 to go.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

First of Jan

Just like the queues of well meaning unfit people outside gyms, I'm here on my blog with the hungover and well meaning notion that in 2015 I'll resurrect this blog and try to write here more often.

We'll have to wait and see I suppose.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


It's been a while hasn't it!!  And to think I was so committed to writing more regularly.  Well let me fill you on why I am back.  I had been tipping away at a novel for a while but not getting very far with it.  I had written about 8000 words and had a rough outline for the rest of it.  I was unsure of what to do with it and where to go with it so it had stalled.  Then, just by chance, on the 31st of October, I heard about something called NaNoWriMo (which is short for National Novel Writing Month).  The idea behind it is that you write daily for the 30 days of November and you 'win' it if you write 50000 words.

I though well why not!! So I ditched the 8000 words I had written and started again.  I decided that I wanted to write 60000 words cos I felt 50000 seemed short for a novel.  60000 is short too, mind you but it's more than 50000!!  So I started a routine of writing 2000 words a day.  1000 in the morning and 1000 in the evening.  I said to myself that if I can do this for a month I would achieve 2 things.  1) I would be able to say I wrote a book, and 2) I might get a habit of daily writing from it.

Well I did it.  Yesterday I finished my 62000 page novel called Twins.  It is mine and I am delighted.  I have no idea what the writing is like.  I am certain that there are many plot holes in it and that it would need a huge amount of work to make it readable, but that is the point of NaNoWriMo.  It is about experiencing the joy of writing and completing a book and about suppressing the inner critic and editor.  As I was writing I would be aware that I needed a character to have a certain skill.  To suddenly introduce that skill at the time it is needed is poor writing.  So I will have to go back and mention this as part of the characters description earlier in the novel.  But that's OK.  Normally I would have stopped the writing and gone back and done it.  But with NNWM you just plow on.

And today is the first day that I have not had the book to write.  I kind of miss it.  I feel there is more I could add to the people I have had living in my head for a month and they grew as the word count grew.  Some characters ended up doing things I hadn't planned and that dictated the direction the novel took.  But that's good too.  I think the whole plot hangs together well.  Now I'm not saying I have a blockbuster on my hands, but I have my 1st book.

As for the daily habit, well here I am.  I would like to write 1000 words every day but I think I will settle for anything between 500 and whatever.  I will probably use the daily writing as a sort of journal for a few days before I start on another story.  Who knows it may form the basis for the next novel I write.

I will be leaving Twins alone for at least a month to 6 weeks (on the advice of Stephen King in On Writing) and during that time I plan to study the way fiction should work and learn a little about editing.  There is a NaNoEdMo in March for editing the book.  I don't know if I can wait that long but we'll see.

There is a scriptwriting equivalent called Script Frenzy in April so I will probably so that.  And there is no reason why I can't just so a MyNoWriMo in any month I choose.  So that's it.  I would recommend NaNoWriMo to anyone and everyone who has ever felt they had a book in them.  It helps you to just write it.

That's it for now.

I will be writing daily from now on (I created a chain on Don't Break The Chain and I would like to keep it unbroken) so I will be back.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Why I don't like Ratzinger. this, then come back here. (If you went there and thought 'this is too long!!' here is a summary :- Good people in the Catholic church should boycott the Popes visit to the UK because he was directly involved in the cover up of child rape, and he lists some individual cases to show this fact.)

I am an atheist. I have been for a long time. My reasons are many and varied but just to be clear about it, because I have often found myself correcting this, I did not become an atheist out of laziness. My atheism was a definite, clear and deliberate decision and act. Through reading, researching, thinking and learning, I came to realize that the situation that makes most sense to me is that there is no God. It wasn't just a laziness thing or through apathy that I just fell out with God and religion. I sincerely believe, from looking at it in many ways, there cannot be a God.

But I am in a minority. I am aware of that. People have many different reasons for believing in God. From my experiences I think the most common reason is that they were raised that way. The second most common reason is they like the comfort of it. These are observations, not any sort of scientific study or survey and of course are probably inaccurate. But if a person feels they are improved by religion, so be it. I of course believe these good people are good anyway and religion had nothing to do with it, but that is another blog altogether. But what is the point of religion if there is no good from it? (And I don't count simply spreading 'the word' as doing good!)

About a month or two ago I left the Catholic Church. I didn't know you could do this but a friend of mine told me about a site that showed you what to do. I was delighted and I used the information on Count Me Out to do it. There were varied reactions. Some people were shocked, some surprised, some thought I was petty and some were not surprised at all.

People wondered why I did it. Most people know I am an atheist. So why actually leave the church. Isn't it being a bit spiteful or controversial just for the sake of it? Well no. And if you read that article at the start before getting to here you now know why I did it and why I didn't want my name linked with the Catholic Church.

That horrible and disgusting man who calls himself The Pope is not a spiritual leader. He is not a moral guide. He is a bureaucrat more interested in keeping the business and image of the church intact than caring for the children who suffered while under their supposed protection. I do not want my name listed as being part of his church.

Next to my name on the baptismal registrar of my local church is says 'defected'. And I am proud.