And here in heaven at the Eternal Banquet there’s strawberries and cream. I’m not fond of strawberries, I once said. Everyone was shocked. They like strawberries. Just eat the whipped cream, says one, rather than insult the Cook. You’d think with all the resources up here and stuff like that they could provide more variety. But no! When Adam and Eve arrived they said everyone would want strawberries and cream. Certainly nothing with apples. Strawberries three times a day. Full stop. Period. Permanently. Then Queen Elizabeth the First of England (she’s got really fat – I mean really really fat) says that if I want variety I should go to the other place. Hell, I say, what do they eat down there? Raw quince and crab apples. All day and every day with no whipped cream. They’re all skinny as rakes. For a special occasion they get an uncooked cooking apple. Well, I say, it sounds like that other place sucks. So I get stuck into my strawberries and cream. I’ve been here two hundred and eleven years now and have never got used to the diet. Once in a blue moon, for a special occasion, we have a big feast; like the other day when Abraham and Sarah celebrated their four thousandth year since getting pregnant. We all got a dry pink wafer cookie stuck in the strawberry concoction. Honestly, I crave a hotdog. I wouldn’t mind if it came poked into the whipped cream. The other day some visitors popped over from the Conservative Sector for a social visit. They took one look and said, Bloody hell! Is that all you eat? You need to sack the Cook. So we’re having a meeting about it, all fifteen billion of us. The angel in charge said a decision has to have a 100% consensus before any changes can be made around here. That’s impossible, especially with some of the politicians in our Sector. I’m not putting much hope on our chances of firing the Cook. Besides, God loves to personally prepare the strawberries for us Liberals. It’s the reward we get for being always right. Bon appétit. To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.
“Smoko” is the New Zealand-Australian term for taking a coffee/tea break at work (mid-morning, mid-afternoon). I’m taking a Smoko Break from posting daily on this blog for a while. There’s still plenty to read if you click on the Index Link at the top of the page!
I shall be pottering around. In the meantime, I wish everyone Season’s Greetings for which ever season you happen to be passing through!
Let me tell you about my aunt. Her name is April. One day I decided to visit her, so I went to the train station to buy a ticket.
When I was lining up to buy a ticket a plumpish lady pushed past me in the line and said, “Get out of my way, you wheezy little wimp.”
To be honest, I saw red and retorted with, “Who the hell do you think you are?”
The man in the line behind me said “That’s no way to talk to a lady” and I said “Zip it, Sweet Pea”, whereupon he punched me on the jaw. I wasn’t taking that sitting down so I punched back. We got into a huge fight; in fact the whole queue of people got into a huge fight; in fact the whole railway station got into a huge fight. And half the people fighting didn’t even know what they were fighting about.
After a few minutes the police came, and I got arrested and taken away, so I don’t know how the incident ended. I got put in a room (I suppose it was a cell – I’m not sure what the inside of a cell looks like) and told to wait. I reckon I waited about two hours. When this woman eventually appeared I said, “Look, I think I lost my wallet in the scuffle,” and she said “Who cares? It’s your own fault. Shut up and show us some ID.”
I said “All my ID is in my wallet, you dumb cow,” and she stormed out saying “Wait here.”
Well I reckon I waited two more hours and then a policeman turned up and I said I needed to go to the bathroom, and he said “You’ll have a place to pee soon enough” and asked for my ID. I told him about my wallet and he said the same as the woman: “Who cares? It’s your own fault.”
He then asked if I could phone someone who could verify who I was and I said I lived alone and didn’t know anyone in town because I was relatively new here. So he said, well where did you used to live? And I said that I used to live with my Aunt April. The policeman said, “What is your Aunt April’s name,” and I said “It’s April you nincompoop. I just told you. You don’t know diddlysquat. ” And he said well he couldn’t contact everyone in the world called April. She must have another name, and I told him it was none of his business. I don’t have a right to be handing out people’s names willy-nilly.
The policeman said, “Wait here” and left. I tried all the doors and they were all locked except one and that was a toilet thank goodness. The policeman reappeared again and said the same thing, “Wait here.” And that’s what I’ve been doing these last two or more hours; waiting. I guess I won’t be visiting my aunt today.
That hideous shrub, that camellia you planted near our front door, is thankfully dead. You’ve no idea how pleased I was. I’ve never liked the thing as you know. It flowers white with dribbles of pink, like God had been cleaning his teeth and dribbled pink toothpaste all down the front of His white shirt. It’s always been bordering on the grotesque. And now thankfully it’s dead.
I never had the heart to chop it out. You planted it, and liked it, and when you passed away I thought it could stay there as some sort of memorial. Every year, for the past fifteen years, I thought, “That goddam thing is in flower again”. Well! It died, and without any help from me. At last I could dig it out and plant something – in your memory of course – in its place. Only yesterday I went to the plant shop and bought the most beautiful rhododendron. It’s white with a pink throat. I intend to plant it in the same spot. I shall call it “My beautiful rhodo”.
You’ve no idea the trouble I’ve gone to rid myself of that old camellia. The trash collection no longer accepts “garden waste”, so I’ve had to cut the shrub into tiny bits and hide them in black plastic trash bags. It’s amazing how much wood there is in an old camellia shrub. It’s taken four weeks of trash collections, but at last it’s gone except for the stump and roots which I intended to dig out and trash today before planting the rhododendron.
Except this morning when I went out to begin the task I saw the stump had sprouted. I’m sorry, my dear.
(Apologies today for two postings; this monologue here, and then a poem in an hour’s time. I normally like to do only one posting a day, but I’m “slightly” neurotic about not messing up my story numbering system and wanted to get the poem out of my head… anyway… thanks for your patience!)
You can’t pamper to everyone’s needs. You can’t pussyfoot around. You’ve got to be bloody-minded and go for it. Remember, if you want to make money, you’re number one.
Let me illustrate this with a story. There was this guy I knew called Dale. He was a plumber. He came to me and said, “Look Lincoln,” he said, “I’ve got this little old lady who’s not getting any hot water in the house. Probably she has accidentally flicked a switch off or something. She asked if I could come and look at it, but she said she couldn’t pay until next week when the pension comes in. What should I do?”
I said to him, to this guy Dale, you tell her to jump in the lake. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and if she can’t cough up then she can’t get the job done.
Later my mate, Dale, he said he did just that and she went for a week without hot water. And when the pension came in he contacted the lady to ask if she still needed the job getting done. She said it was getting urgent so he went round to her place two days later and charged her double for hounding him. Of course he didn’t say the hounding bit; he said he was charging double because the job was urgent. Also, it was just the switch turned off but he wasn’t going to tell her that. So he fiddled around for a while with some tools.
That’s the way to go about things if you want to earn a living – in fact more than a living – that’s the way to go about things if you want to live reasonably comfortably.
My motto for my business is KINDNESS LIVES HERE. People love it.
You know, Penelope, I could stand here and look at the sunset all day. Gold over a diamond mountain, I say. Simply glorious! So lovely to stand here of an evening and let it wash over one.
Yes, I would love it; I’d love another martini thank you. And the stars! One can barely see them in the golden light, Penelope. But Venus, at least I think it’s Venus, glimmers so brightly. It’s the only star in the evening sky that I recognize.
Thank you! Yes a Martini is the only way to go on an occasion such as this. And yes, I will have a second cheese and olive on a toothpick with just a hint of cayenne and a slice of salami. Superb!
At first the sky was crimson; dark velvet crimson. And slowly it transformed into a golden luminosity. I half expect a choir of angels to make an appearance. No film director could produce such wonder.
Goodness! You’re right. The scene does make me imbibe a little faster than usual. Yes, I shall have another Martini, but make it a double least I feel the urge to come back too soon.
The sunset! The sunset! All this and heaven too!
You what? What’s that, Penelope? It’s not a sunset at all? It’s a sunrise? A sunrise! Have I been up all night? I haven’t? So this is breakfast? How splendid! Well get on with it, my dear, and get me that martini.
When Pretoria (her great-grandfather had served in the Boer War and somehow her naming had something to do with that. Her grandmother had explained it to her once, and now that she was older she wished she had listened and remembered. It was something to do with the fact that he (her great-grandfather) had caught malaria and spent the entire war in a mobile hospital unit being shunted from one encampment to another. Why they just didn’t send him home was anyone’s guess. She didn’t actually recall hearing anything about her great-grandfather being in Pretoria itself. Anyway she was glad they never called her Johannesburg or even Port Elizabeth. Her brother was called Klerksdorp, a name he hated with a vengeance. At least it made him look up a bit of history when he was at school – that is before he changed his name to Clark (similar to Clark Gable and Lois and Clark)) was getting ready to go to town when she notice that the car had a puncture (which reminds me that where I go to get my car serviced they have a great big sign that says: Puntchers fixed for $10. The head mechanic’s daughter is a school teacher so I’m not surprised about the lack of spelling. The standard of teaching these days is appalling but that’s because the teachers themselves were badly tort by bad teachers so it’s been going on for generations, getting lower and lower in standards. Not only that but teachers these days can’t stay on the topic and wander off like they start talking about the properties of hydrogen peroxide and end up talking about hair dye or something. It’s pathetic. Punctuation has also gone out the window. And so have manners. Old-fashioned values like courtesy are for the birds).
Anyway I better shut up and get some work done. I’ve a lecture to give tomorrow. I’m excited because I recently got a pay rise. I’m a professor at Harvard, and deal mainly with Logic in the Philosophy Department. I’m hoping to tell them about my great-aunt Pretoria who is long dead and I have only a vague memory of her. She collected teaspoons apparently. From all over the world.
(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Nitin at Fighting the Dying Light. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)
When he looked at the clown in his greens and reds, his raging coulrophilia kicked in. Lancelot Grope couldn’t help it. He was only too pleased that he himself was wearing baggy clown’s trousers.
Lancelot’s coulrophilia had made his teenage years almost unbearable. The trouble had been that his mother had been obsessed with a relatively muscular trapeze artist named Standish Nikolayevich, and Lancelot was dragged from one circus performance to another. It was okay for his sister to admit that she was obsessed with circus horses (and for his mother to be obsessed with Standish Nikolayevich) but to admit to coulrophilia was another thing altogether. Things came to a head when Cocoa Craven Hook, one of Lancelot’s favourite clowns, took Lancelot out the back.
Cocoa Craven Hook was wearing his greens and reds and looked amazing.
“Judging from looking at your trousers,” said Cocoa, “you seem to be pretty enthusiastic about clowning. Can I show you a thing or two? Let me pull a surprise out of my pocket.”
Suddenly a bunch of flowers appeared from nowhere. One of the flowers squirted water in Lancelot’s face. Lancelot laughed.
“I’ll show you how it’s done,” said Cocoa kindly. “First let me put these flowers in your pocket.”
Lancelot was hooked. He’d never experienced anything quite so exciting. There was no going back. He would be a coulrophiliac for life. Coulrophilia would be his life’s calling. He would use it to cure those who suffered from coulrophobia. And indeed he did.
Today, especially in Hollywood, there’s many a former coulrophobiac who is now a practising coulrophiliac. They’re in the News, and some of them even made it to the circus.
(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Lindsey at Itching for Hitching. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)
She sighed deeply and wondered if this would ever stop. This was the third time this afternoon that Andrea’s husband, Thomas, had phoned the Waste Management Company and let them have it.
“Why was my trash taken away late last Wednesday? You call yourself a garbologist?”
“Do you think you can take the trash away when you like? Wednesday morning is the time stipulated that the trash will be picked up at the gate. I don’t care if it was Christmas Day – it was Wednesday.”
“The guy driving the trash truck needs a bomb under him. I wished him good morning and he grunted at me like I was a.. a pig… Where’s the customer service?”
“Don’t you think, dear,” suggested Andrea to Thomas once he had put the phone down, “don’t you think you could just let these people get on with their job? They seem to do it reliably enough.”
“Rubbish,” said Thomas. “I want better service than that.”
When Thomas dialled the number a fourth time, Andrea had had enough.
“I’m going into town,” she said, “to the library. I shall return once all this nonsense is over.”
“You don’t understand,” said Thomas.
Andrea drove into town. What a trial the trash collection company saga had become. She sighed deeply and wondered if this would ever stop. It had been going on ever since her husband had bought the Waste Management Company almost a month ago.
(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Sarah Angleton. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)
Jim Mackey was a real s.o.b., but that wasn’t what Rudy admired about him. Jim and Rudy had known each other since they were at school. In fact when they started school together aged six, Jim had shown Rudy how to chew on a bit of paper, roll it into a ball, put it in the hollow tube of a ballpoint pen, and blow it at enormous speed at the teacher when she wasn’t looking.
“Ouch! Who shot the pea-shooter?” asked the teacher.
“It was Rudy, Miss,” said Jim.
“Jim Mackey, you are a good boy for telling the truth.” She gave him a chocolate fish as a reward. “As for you, Rudy, you are a wicked, wicked boy.”
Jim would betray any friend for a chocolate fish. He would set up other students to do dastardly deeds and then tell on them. It was a method that served him well now that he was all grown. He was an asshole. He was an archbastard. He would arrange for criminals to steal and would then report them to the police. He got rich on the crimes of others.
But things came to a head when Jim Mackey reported to the police that Rudy’s wife was peddling drugs. Rudy shot Jim Mackey dead. There was blood everywhere. Being dead was what Rudy most admired about that s.o.b.