Tag Archives: prose

1905. Norton’s apparently useless invention

Norton thought that his invention would be as popular as billy-O. It wasn’t popular at all. In fact it sucked.

“This invention sucks,” said Gerald the Gadget Man on his television gadget show. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen an invention as useless as this. It’s a special garden stake for holding up the parsley plants.”

“Parsley doesn’t require staking,” said Nora on the Gardeners’ Breakfast Show. “This is the biggest waste of time and money that I’ve ever come across.”

“This is the most bizarre invention in years,” said Arnold on the Goodbye to the Morning Lunchtime Special. “At least it has given us all a good laugh.”

“I got given one last Christmas,” said Angela on the late-afternoon-between-reality-shows slot. “It comes in handy, especially if I want to prop a door open on a breezy day. A parsley stake! Ha ha ha! Now that’s funny.”

Only Jonathan had anything nice to say about Norton’s invention. “I think it’s excellent,” he said. “And it’s not a parsley garden stake. It’s a Dancalonator.”

Oh! What an embarrassment! Suddenly everyone felt quite silly.

1893. Daily shower

Judy rather proudly proclaimed in her stringent voice (it was actually a private conversation but she spoke loud enough for everyone to hear because she was so pleased with herself) that her golden retriever puppy had learnt to open the bathroom door and then open the shower door and get into the shower.

“Right when I’m having a shower,” she said. “Right when I’ve shampooed my hair and have my eyes shut. The first time I got a huge fright, but I’m used to it now. Such a clever puppy! Intelligent! He loves playing in water. And then by the time I’ve rinsed the shampoo out of my hair and opened my eyes, the puppy’s gone. But he always turns the light on. Isn’t that clever?”

“I thought you were going to say it was the fancy man that visits your house every day around that time,” said Ivan.

“What fancy man?”

Of course, Ivan was making it up, but he hated show-offs.

1891. On talking to a telegraph pole

I’m constantly amazed at how stupid some space aliens really are. The other day I caught one having a conversation with a telegraph pole. A telegraph pole!

I said, “You’re talking to a telegraph pole you stupid idiot. It’s not a living thing; it’s just a pole for holding up wires. It’s inanimate.”

“Oh yeah,” it said. (I’m not sure with the aliens if it’s a girl or a boy. Possibly neither. I read, apparently they breed like mushrooms. Sort of clouds of spores. I’d better watch out! Ha ha!) It continued: “Perhaps if you tried talking to a telegraph pole yourself you’d realize they are not as inanimate as you might think. Here! Try it!”

“Hello telegraph pole. How are you today?” I said.

Suddenly there was a cloud of spores floating all around me. I said that these spores were like mushroom spores, but really it was like a pollen explosion in a pine forest. I was so immersed in the all-pervading floating pollen that I could hardly see the alien. It was smiling in a ghostly manner; it was mesmerizing. Quite frankly it was grotesque.

Anyway, I had to dash off home. I was so excited, as was my wife. I just realized something then and there. Poof! In a flash! We’re going to have a baby! Possibly tomorrow morning.

1873. A sympathetic response

Hi Doozy Suzie. I really love your blog. What I especially like was the photo you put in your header of your dog. I have a dog and it is very special. Every day we go for a walk and he greets everyone he meets. He would be useless as a guard dog because he wouldn’t bark but run up to the thief for a pat!!!

He is a Xoloitzcuintle, also known as a Mexican Hairless Dog, and his name is Buffy. He got that name because when he was born he didn’t have any fur and my grandmother said “He’s in the buff” so after that he was called Buffy.

I don’t know how you think of things to put on your blog every day. Your posting today was really interesting – all about your mother dying yesterday. The blow by blow account of her last hours I couldn’t stop reading. I don’t know, as I say, how you manage to think of something different every day to blog about.

Your posting last week of how your baby sister died of the flu was quite exciting, although I don’t really understand what that has got to do with your header of a dog. Was your baby sister and the dog good friends? Or was it something else?

I showed the picture of your dog to my grandmother – not the one who named Buffy but the other one – and she read what you wrote and said from what you say your mother would have been “a mean old hag”. (These were her words, not mine). My grandmother said the world is better off when people like that are not stealing the air we breathe.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I like the picture of your dog. You never said what its name was. If we get a cat my grandmother said we should call it Fluffy – to go with Buffy. I suppose your grandmother hasn’t suggested you get a cat because she’s dead.

1871. Good morning, Creative Writing Class

The Head of the Laboratory was an arch-bastard. His name was Regis. As his name suggests, he thought he was King of the Roost. He ruled the laboratory technicians with an iron fist. They hated him, but the laboratory had such an extraordinary reputation that everyone under the sun wanted to work there.

This was the laboratory that pioneered taking bones of long dead creatures, especially humans, putting them together, and bringing them to life. This might sound ridiculous but it is four hundred years ahead of where you, Dear Creative Writing Class, are currently sitting in your backward and immovable mind set.

Regis decreed that his bones should be reassembled and infused with life. He was not particularly enamoured with the thought of getting old, so he did himself in, and he left specific instructions that he was to be immediately reassembled.

I know what you’re thinking, Dear Creative Writing Class. You’re thinking that the laboratory technicians refused to put him back together. You would be wrong. Perhaps you’re thinking that the laboratory technicians muddled his bones up with those of a crocodile or something. You would be wrong. Perhaps they put his legs on backwards. You would be wrong.

No! What happened was this:

 

1868. Liberation

Velma Clout was having a bad morning. It wasn’t twenty-four hours since her boyfriend of eighteen months had left her. And what a relief it was. But the morning saw her with a mighty headache and a massive hangover. She had celebrated the boyfriend’s rejection with a wee bottle of wine or two. Honestly, his leaving was what she herself had wanted to do for a good several months but she was too nice. But now it had happened and there was no going back. If only she had celebrated with more restraint and then she could enjoy his absence without feeling like death warmed up.

Her cell phone rang.

It was her boyfriend of eighteen months. Did she want to get back together? He was upset. He had made a mistake. He knew only too well that Velma wouldn’t have the heart to say “No!”

“Yes!” said Velma. “I’ll see you here for lunch.”

Oh why did she do that? Why why why? Why was she so stupid? So silly? So weak? Why why why? Why couldn’t she take a stand?

Suddenly, grabbing a bag of stuff and her purse, Velma got in her car and headed for a day’s outing at the beach. It was for her the first independent thing she had done in ages. She was now the one doing the breaking up; not him. Oh the freedom that went with that! Velma wound down the car window and sang her heart out fortissimo. It was 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover all the way to the seaside.

1867. The life of a grasshopper sucks

(Note to faithful followers: After 7 years I’ve fiddled around with the “About” section, so it’s different in places. Some of you over the years have kindly given likes and some have kindly commented. If you want to change your comment or like because of the changes in the page please feel free. I’m happy (though sad) to delete your comment if you would want that. P.S. There’s no nudity on the page.)

Quite frankly the life of a grasshopper sucks. I’ve spend all summer hopping from dahlia flower to dahlia flower. I can eke out a living by sipping a bit of the scant amount of nectar in each bloom. Apparently that process helps with the fertilization of the seed head as well, but the lady who thinks she owns the garden keeps coming out of the house with secateurs and cutting the dead seed heads off. I feel redundant and useless.

And now look at me. Everything is dead and shrivelled up. There’s hardly a sip of anything left to survive on. I know I’ll die before winter is over, simply because of cold and starvation. Here’s a photo of me on a dead branch of Jerusalem artichoke.

As I said, it’s no fun being a grasshopper. There were three of us in this garden at the start of last summer and then there were two – just me and Mrs. Grasshopper. We had a clutch of eggs and out popped a multitude of offspring. One by one they seemed to disappear. There was a lot of competition for food, and sometimes I wondered if Mrs. Grasshopper wasn’t eating her own babies. But in the end I decided that was not the case. We’re not humans. We act responsibly. And then suddenly Mrs. Grasshopper herself disappeared.

The problem is our colour. We’re bright green and stick out like a sore thumb once the foliage dies off. Some insects change colour and survive, but we have not been blessed with that know-how. I suspect the local song thrush may have got Mrs. Grasshopper. That wretched thrush has been hanging around for months. It might be responsible for the missing children as well. There’s no warning. The thrush’s appetite seems to be voracious. It’s rapacious and vociferous. One minute you’re there looking for nectar and the next minute you’re

1866. The final meal

Troy Meadowcroft had waited on death row for what seemed like an eternity. He was due to be put down (in a merciful and humane way) any day now. The newspapers were full of it. The guests to witness his electrocution had been invited and were currently selecting what to wear before heading in that direction, looking at last to be able to avenge their loved ones murder.

One of the more interesting features reported on was the prisoner’s final meal. One could order (within reason) what one wished. Troy had never liked complicated food. He requested simply pork sausages and French fries with splashes of malt vinegar and salt.

Letter One: I was amazed at the reported menu of Troy Meadowcroft prior to his execution. You would think humanity would have dragged itself out of the swamp by now. Pork sausages and French fries! How irresponsible is that for the prison to allow (in fact espouse) such unhealthy food? Are there no principles left when the prison authorities care not a hoot about prisoners’ health? And all that salt! Goodness me!

Letter Two: My religion forbids the imbibing of hog meat. I was horrified at the casual attitude taken by giving the prisoner pork sausages, as if such things didn’t matter. It was nothing short of scandalous. It was an affront to all sincere believers. And to feed a prisoner pig meat when so close to death is an instant invitation to the fires of Hell. I was deeply offended.

Letter Three: I couldn’t help but think that the man called Troy Meadowcroft who was put down recently had a touch of class. No one these days thinks of putting malt vinegar on their pork sausages. It is delicious, and something we used to do frequently when we were younger. Three cheers to the prisoner, and I would wish him a long and fruitful existence of enjoying life’s simple things if that was still possible.

Letter Four: Quite frankly I hope the prisoner choked on his pork sausage. The combination of foods looked disgusting – especially the salt and malt vinegar. I’m normally against the death penalty but in this case I’ll make an exception. The world is certainly better off without him and probably safer. People these days, especially those with money, have no sense of taste. Like my auntie.

Letter Five: What a waste of good food. People don’t seem to realize that people are starving and all we hear about is how a prisoner about to expire anyway is fed pork sausages and French fries. If only they had electrocuted the man a few minutes earlier, and then all that lovely food could have been shared by people in need. Waste not, want not.

Letter Six: Electrocution and lethal injection for condemned prisoners is nothing short of the authorities taking the easy way out. In the old days when we lined people up against a wall to get shot I would imagine you could see the terror in their eyes. They were paying properly for their crime. Regarding the final meal; wouldn’t it have been funny if instead of pork sausages they had stuffed cotton wool inside the sausage skins? Then the man would start to hoe into his final meal and it would all be fake. And use garden fertilizer instead of salt. And French fries made out of chicken poo or something hilarious like that. Stuff like that. You know.

Editor: This correspondence is now closed.

1860. An obsession with porn

Neville knew all the online addresses of porn sites. At least he thought he did; only the free ones, mind you. He wasn’t going to pay for all that rubbish.

His wife of course had no idea. She thought he was engrossed in a computer game, or maybe some intelligent reading. After all, he was interested in animals, and when he could drag himself away from the internet he would watch National Geographic on the television, especially if it was about animals that weren’t so common. Every second animal program was about lions or elephants or giraffes. He wasn’t that interested in that sort of program. Those programs were so common they had become boring. His interest lay in the less common fauna on the planet. The program on the Australian Gulbaru Gecko for example was fascinating.

“You’re addicted to the animal in you,” his wife joked.

For a while Neville thought his wife had caught him watching the porn on his computer, but thankfully she was talking about his choice of television watching.

As time went on, things began to creep up on Neville. Was that a touch of Alzheimer’s? Was senility starting to set in? Indeed it was, and in the end rather quickly. It wasn’t long before his wife was at the end of her tether. He had to go into an environment that was both safe and secure.

In the Care Centre Neville’s lifetime obsession with porn became apparent. Looking at porn sites was all he did. Everyone could see it. It’s all he would talk about. His wife tried to get him to take some interest in the Australian Gulbaru Gecko, and other skinks, lizards, and geckos. All to no avail. For Neville it was porn or nothing.

Until the day he died.

1851. Memory lapse

Vernon was the head organist at a notable cathedral in a major city. (It’s no use trying to guess where it was because this is fiction). Vernon couldn’t remember how many sermons he had endured.

During the sermon Vernon used to pop out onto the tower balcony for a quick cigarette. He could easily duck out because he was in the organ loft high above the clergy and congregation. He looked way down on them and his disappearance would not be noticed from below.

He could vaguely hear the preacher from the tower balcony. Sometimes, if the preacher droned on, Vernon could have several cigarettes. Being the only one ever to use the balcony (it was blocked to tourists) Vernon had an old plum jam tin where he chucked his butts. It was a large tin, and in the eleven years of being the head organist he had emptied it three times. As he said to his wife, “It shows you how many sermons I’ve endured.”

On this particular Sunday (it being a notable feast day) the visiting preacher was particularly wordy. Vernon was hearing for the third time that “perdition awaits those who don’t agree” when he realized he had accidentally locked himself out on the cathedral tower balcony.

This was the very weekend that his wife had gone to visit her elderly mother in another city quite distant from the cathedral city. His disappearance would not be noticed.

What a shemozzles! No one could hear him call out and he’d locked the door from the church up into the organ loft, so no one could dash up to find out why he wasn’t intoning the hymns on the organ. Nor was it one of those Sundays when the choir was there.

The visiting clergyman used his initiative, and in the event of not having an organist simply intoned the opening words of each hymn and the congregation took it up without accompaniment.

The service was over. Everyone went home, except for Vernon high in the tower locked out on the little balcony.

The day turned into afternoon; the afternoon to evening; the evening to night. It was starting to get cold; very cold. Vernon had wet his pants. He was out of cigarettes. Have you ever tried to break down a centuries-old iron door on an ancient gothic cathedral? And then it started to rain. He would die of the cold before he starved to death.

That was when Vernon remembered his cell phone.