Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Day My Dog Took Off to Space

The Day My Dog Took Off to Space.

The day my dog took off to space,
She didn't once look back,
Her floppy ears flapped in the wind,
Her coat was gleaming black.

I couldn't tell the look she had,
On her fourteen year old face,
But her legs kept kicking on and on,
Like she was competing in a race.

I looked at her up in the sky,
A black dot to me now,
The tennis ball inside her mouth,
Dragged her up to space somehow.

I can't help think that that day was,
My dog's last day alive,
The day when we hopped in my car,
And went off for a drive.

She'd dragged her bum on my new rug,
Peed on the kitchen floor,
Despite these things, I'll always miss,
My dog being here no more.

She was happy just going for walks,
Once a day she was so glad,
But that one day she took off to space,
She achieved more than I ever had.

Friday, 22 June 2012

A Tasty Awakening...

A Tasty Awakening

There was a boy who woke one day,
And saw himself in a different way,
No longer was his skin all white,
He'd tanned and changed just overnight.

He could barely believe when he looked down,
His skin had turned an incredible brown,
He licked his lips and with almighty joy,
Overnight he'd turned into a chocoalte boy.

He thought about it for as long as he could,
Would this be bad, or would this be good,
He tasted his hair and felt defeated,
It was the most delicious thing he'd ever eated.

He ate his fingers and his toes,
He ate his knee caps and his nose,
He munched away and said, "Tres bon!"
But before he knew it Chocolate Boy was gone.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Clock and Dog; A Short Story

I've been passed down from generation to generation; slowly I've been efficiently eating away at the segments of time for the past eighty years.
I've seen wars blossom and whither; I've seen flies fight furiously with their transparent nemeses – and fail spectacularly; and I've seen so many people come and go, it feels like a carousel of humans.
Whether they grew up in front of me and decided to spread their wings, or they settled down, got themselves some wrinkles and began their rotting process until they just stopped one day (and end up in that big brown box that they always seem fit to put in front of me!)...I always watch it happen.
There's something quite sad about seeing them in a coffin. Everyone mourns them, everyone brings them flowers and cards, but no one will ever spend any time with them. Their body was simply a vehicle for their personality, but when they're in that box it's just an empty unwanted shell. So unwanted that it's taboo to spend long periods of time with it.
Live together, die alone. That's what they say, right?

  I remember when I got dropped. It was my first and only time I've ever been dropped. The lady of the house was dusting me, it was eleven years ago. She always held me delicately - fearing that seventy years had taken it's toll on an old clock like me - when the rampant little bastard jumped up at her in its clumsy attempt at getting her to play ball.
Yes, the rampant little bastard was their new puppy. He had effectively startled her so dramatically that she dropped me. It was on a carpeted floor, but the landing was still rough nevertheless and the dog received a good smack on his snout for his actions. I remember lying on my side with a smirk on my face as the mutt walked away with his head hung low and tail between his legs.
I remain scarred from that day. There's a chip on my upper right side and I was lucky that the glass plate covering my face didn't break upon impact. The lady of the house harrumphed and cursed the dog upon seeing the scar that now defines my features.

  It took a few hours but soon enough the house realised that it had been eerily quite in the room for quite some time. It was six-oh-one in the evening and the man of the house tiptoed over to me. With his deep frown lines, etched on his face like an homage to his life he's already lived, he curiously but gently tapped my face plate with his index finger and raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
We stared into each others' souls. I could see his childhood – difficult and certainly unforgettable – blend into a wonderful adulthood with a family that long since moved on and left him and his wife to live out the rest of their lives in relative peace.
He took in a deep breath and asked me, 'Are you OK?'
I wanted to thump the cabinet and have my cries rally out as I make sure the dog gets his punishment. I wanted to kick and scream and tantrum like a spoilt child who doesn't get what he wants. Instead, all I could hear was the concern in his voice; all I could see was the love in his eyes, and I simply thought, 'I'm fine.'
'What's wrong?' Inquired the lady of house as she looked over the top of her glasses.
'He didn't chime.' The man answered queerly.
The lady's “Oh.” sounded awful. Sounded so definite, as if I'd been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Some malignant force at work on my insides. Stopping me from chiming. I never chimed again.
From that day on, I disliked the dog.

  I always felt like the dog was constantly trying to sabotage my well-being.
Time and time again he would clumsily stumble or bump into the cabinet that I sit on. Whether it was whilst chasing a ball or not paying attention to his whereabouts as he so intently watched someone enter the room with food in their hands, he'd find a way to knock into the cabinet. Not only does such an action threaten my stability up there, but it also threatens the accuracy of my time keeping.

  Other days would go by where we would be simply basking in the warmth of the room, lying drenched in the rays of the morning sunlight before – seemingly out of nowhere – the urge overcame him to scramble himself into an awkward position so he could lick his private parts. The ghastly sound resonated throughout the room, drowning out my poetic ticks and accurate tocks.
  While I was speaking works of art, he was lapping at his orifices.

  To say his incessant tail wagging, which always seemed to be within range of my cabinet and capable of sending deep guttural thuds to my core, was annoying would be an understatement and a complete injustice as to how infuriating this little bastard could be.
Further adding to his repertoire of ways which he could skilfully irritate the sanity out of a dishcloth, he would always lie with his back firmly pressed against my cabinet. Never was this an issue until his peaceful dreams turned into some fitful race where he would animatedly chase some fatuous, subconscious irritant; growling and snarling, barking and yelping, huffing and puffing. His eyes would open, he'd bare his teeth and his paws would be “going like the clappers” as the man of the house would say while commenting on the mutt in it's dreamlike state.
  The black bastard always knew how to ruin a peaceful moment.

  However, as the years went by, he became much more lethargic. He'd sleep so much more; he'd limp because of his stiff hips, always splaying his back left leg to make walking that bit easier; his glossy black coat became spattered with bits of grey: around his snout, on his eyebrows, on his chest, underneath his paws...He got old fast.
But that never stopped the the fact that he was always around. Always there. He seemed to enjoy staring at me, always with a curious look to his face, a tilt to the head and ears pricked up to suggest something was running through his mind. He'd ache if he sat there and stared for too long, so reluctantly, he'd slink away back to the base of the cabinet – almost out of my sight – to retire for the day and prepare himself to enter a brand new dream world.

  Then it happened. His clumsy stumbles, his noisy dreams, his incessant tail wagging, his constant stares...They ended.
  It didn't take as long for them to notice something was wrong with the dog as it did to notice something was wrong after I'd been dropped. It took but a few minutes in fact.
It was a silence that ached our ears; as if a presence slinked away with such stealth and hushed quiet that something just felt wrong in the room.
The man of the house once again tiptoed over to the dog in the same way he tiptoed over to me when I was lying on my side, exactly where the dog was then.
He placed his hand on the dog.
His eyes scanned the handsome black dog from head to tail.
Even from my place up high on the cabinet I could feel the man's heart race fast and his breathing become more shallow.
This time, the man of the house didn't ask, “Are you OK?”
This time, the lady of the house didn't ask, “What's wrong?”
This time, I knew: I wouldn't be fine.

  He, who had left us, was faithful to us all.
Clumsy, playful, irritating? True, he was all those, but he was always there. He was always a companion to us. Never pretended to be something he wasn't; never held grudges when we cursed his name for doing something he couldn't help; and he always stood by your side and kept an eye out on you. Never could you have asked for a better friend.

  He turned out to be the reason I enjoyed this place, this family, this room. He was the reason I kept putting ticks after tocks after ticks after tocks – and now that he's gone he is the reason that if the man of the house asks me one more time, “Are you OK?”...I won't be around to hear it.

  At least if I stop ticking, maybe I'll get to see my friend again one day.

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Companion; A Short Story

Call me a nerd, call me a geek, call me a freak, call me a genius, call me a young talent with untold potential. Call me what you will, label me however you like...that still doesn't change the fact that i have created a monster.

OK, "monster" is a little harsh. Did Dr. Frankenstein voluntarily call his creation that? I can't ever recall if he referred to his creation as a monster. Maybe I should feel guilty, because that's the way I feel at times. What I do know is that I pronounce Frankenstein as "frankenshtein". Very idiosyncratic to the plight of the German language in this media culture that's sedated by English ignorance.

Nobody knows what I've done. It sits here in my bedroom and, in all honesty, if you were to walk into my room it is so innocuously disguised that you wouldn't even be able to guess what I'd created...if anything at all!

You ever see the film Weird Science? Some of you already know where I'm going with this. Well, I by no means have the capabilities of creating a girlfriend in some paradoxical, possibly paranormal, pseudo-scientific way like those boys did, but I have ways of creating an authentic personality.
I wanted to create someone I could talk to, someone I could care about and would care about me, someone who would be eternally faithful, someone who would always show appreciation and gratitude, someone who would keep me company...someone who would be my friend.

I used all this data, I inputted large amounts of information into a programme I created. I call it the Personality Programme Modifier (PPM). Basically I input a set amount of values and it used the internet to adjudge what kind of a person to create given the traits I have inputted.
So, long story short, after a brief initialising, the PPM found me someone.

I smiled to myself and typed, 'L-A-U-R-A'
The computer "berped" at me. A noise I'd never heard it make before,
I frowned at the computer screen. I was pretty sure I hadn't designed this programme to argue with me.
I tried another name and typed, 'K-A-T-E'
Once again the computer "berped" at me,
'What the hell am i naming here a d-' I paused momentarily. 'Oh god no. What have I created?'
I began typing, 'B-A-R-R-Y'
'DONE!' The computer chirped.
Barry and his very human sounding - but far too enthusiastic - voice instantly came through the speakers, 'That's much better! What did you want to ask?'
'Are you a dog?'
'Of course!'
'How did you decide a dog was what I was looking for?'
'The PPM ran through all your character traits: Someone to care for, to show appreciation, be eternally faithful and after running it through the searchbase -'
'Wait! What was the “searchbase”?' I asked quite confused knowing I'd not set up a “searchbase”.
'Google.' he said as a matter of fact. 'And Google said what you were looking for was a dog.'
I sighed deeply.
Barry had nothing to say, but the prompter on the computer screen simply said:
I sat down at the computer and clicked on the button 'CREATE NEW PERSONALITY'
'What are you doing?' Barry asked, sounding a little panicky.
'Hello?' Barry said once again, in a very timid voice. 'I don't even know your name.'
It took a few seconds but soon this ridiculous feeling of sympathy overwhelmed me. I couldn't delete Barry. For some god forsaken reason.
'Oh bollocks!' I said in exasperation.
'[N]' I typed angrily.
The prompter reappeared as soon as I declined and it instantly said 'TAIL WAGGLING.'
I conceded that, for the time being, I was stuck with Barry until I could fine tune this programme and get rid of him...humanely. I needed to think. What was the digital equivalent of driving miles and miles away from your home so you can abandon the dog by the roadside?
'Do you want me to do any trick for you?' Barry asked with an almost melodic bounce to his voice.
'Can you do any tricks?'
'Do you have any treats for me?' he responded, knowing he is supposed to be coerced into doing such things.
'No. You're a computer. I have no treats for a computer.'
'But you're supposed to teach dogs how to do tricks by offering a treat as a reward. I can find extensive articles on the subject matter if it helps.'
'I know how to train a dog. But like I said, you're a computer. I have no treats for computers.'
'Then I have no tricks for you.' he replied somewhat spitefully.
I sighed once again. No more than a short moment of appreciated silence passed before Barry spoke again.
'What are you thinking?' Barry said, already beginning to hassle me.
'I'm thinking, why was the 5th name on the list Barry. No dogs are called Barry.'
'Why did you choose Barry?'
'I was hoping if I chose Barry, then my fears wouldn't be confirmed...and I wouldn't be presented with a digital personality of a dog.'
'But you asked for a dog.'
'No I didn't!'
'Well, not directly. But all the signs were there.'
'Yes. I suppose they were.' I said conceding.

I didn't know what to do about the situation. This was certainly no Weird Science. There was nothing fantastical about the situation. No lonely teenage boys ever fantasised about this happening to them.
Lying on my bed staring at the ceiling I was following the flow of the 'S' shaped patterns that weaved around above me and I could hear Barry making faint, but definite, grunting noises at the other side of the room.
'What is it, Barry?'
'Oh...nothing.' He said hesitantly.
I was content with his answer even though I knew he wasn't.
A few more moments passed before,
'What, Barry?!'
'My bum is itching me.'
I grimaced at the thought, 'Too much information.'
'Have you checked me for worms? I think I need some worming tablets.' Barry asked inquisitively.
'You don't need to be checked for worms. You don't need worming tablets.'
'Are you sure? I can bring up extensive articles on-'
'You. Don't. be wormed.'
'And I can trust on you that?'
'You can trust me on that.'
'Then it's definitely my anal glands. I think they need to be emptied.'
'Oh come on!' I yelled at him
I could see in the corner of my eye the prompter screen was flashing, 'BARELY AUDIBLE WHINE'
I took in a deep breath, feeling almost sorry for this inanimate personality, 'What's wrong? Apart from the itchy bum, of course.'
The prompter still read the same thing.'
'Are you crying?'
'I'm not crying.'
'You're crying 'cause I shouted at you, aren't you?'
'I'm not crying.' He repeated.
The prompter screen flashed again and simply showed an emoticon.
'Listen, I'm sorry.' I said gesturing my metaphorical olive branch.
'Do you forgive me? Because you are a good boy.'
'I am?' he responded with a hint of nonchalance to his voice.
'You are.'
'AWESOME!' He yelled with delight. 'So, how was your day?'
'That quick? You're over it that quickly?'
'How was your day?' He repeated as if he never heard me.
I smiled, 'It was fine. Well, I fell off my skateboard in front of a really cute girl, but other than that I'm fine.' I said and chuckled quietly.
I turned and looked daggers at the computer. 'No, you can't say “LOL”.'
'Why not?
'Because it's not word.'
'It's in the dictionary.'
'How do I program you not to say that?' I said almost asking myself.
'I don't think you can.'
'Well, why can't you just laugh like a normal person?'
'Because I'm not a normal person.'
'Yes, I can see that.'
'I'm a dog.'
'Of course you are.'
'Would you like to pet me?'
I Slowly put my head in my hands and caressed the shell of the very thing that thought up the idea that created this horrific thing. This thing that sat just feet away from me on my cheap IKEA bought wooden desk. Gently I rocked back and forth and wondered to myself, would things ever be the same again.
'Please, God, at least tell me I can mute this thing.' I said to myself.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

My Dog Is On Heroin; A Poem

You may call it heroine,
Or dust or horse or junk,
But truth be told i just don't care,
Something's got me in a funk.

My dog's often euphoric,
Gets drowsy, sleeps a lot,
He throws up on occasions,
He's panting quite a lot.

I googled all these symptoms,
Crossed my fingers and i hoped,
But all my fears were realised,
My dog must be on dope.

How did all this just happen,
Was i not a caring master,
Maybe our walks were just too slow,
And he needed something faster.

No matter where he got his stash,
I guess he had his ways,
I'll stand by and I'll support my dog,
Through the next twenty eight days.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Conker the Conqueror; A Short Story

  It's dark in here. I can't say I don't like it because I know what this will ultimately lead to. One day, that's right, one day I shall achieve global domination! Scratch that. One day WE shall achieve global domination.
   Ooh, I yearn to see daylight again. To be out of this stuffy enclosure, where I can finally swing and then hit others like myself. Like myself, but not as good as myself, for I have been bread for global domination. We shall achieve global domination.
   I sometimes feel like my life has come about full circle. Sitting in this enclosed space I feel like I'm back in my cocoon, hanging from the tree with all my friends. We'd hang there waiting for the perfect day before we start breaking out from the womb and drop to our freedom. With the brisk autumn wind blowing against our branches we'd talk about what we'd do if we were ever lucky enough to be chosen to be a fighter. One of my friends, he was the smartest, he knew everything that needed to be done to really prepare to be a fighter.
   'Phase one: They submerge you in vinegar for 20 minutes. Phase two: Straight from the vinegar you go into the oven for 10 minutes. Not...too hot,' he pointed out with great emphasis, 'but just enough to let the vinegar marinate you. Phase three: Clear nail varnish. One coat. Allow to dry. Phase four: A SECOND COAT of clear nail varnish. Phase five: Instantly you shall be placed in an airing cupboard for one season!' He always stopped for dramatic purposes. 'These, my friends, are what's known as “The phases of a champion”.'
   I am currently on phase 5 of “The phases of a champion”.
   The overwhelming smell of nail varnish deteriorated many months ago. It was a strange experience being put in the airing cupboard then. I wasn't exactly myself when I came in here. I was certainly hallucinating from the mass quantity of nail varnish and the smell emanating from it's toxins. Many days went past when I sat here obligatorily giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down to battle-hardened gladiators, while I was being force fed grapes. That time soon past and I came to my senses. I understand that patience is a virtue, that greatness can only be achieved through hard work and sacrifice. I shall prevail.
   I trust in my partner one hundred percent. He's chose me after eliminating all others from the soggy ground on that fateful day. He nourished me and bathed me (in vinegar), he kept me warm and placed a roof over my head (in an airing cupboard) and he is wise beyond all our years. At the age of 42 he will out-think, outfight and out-everything all those pesky children who wish to challenge him.
   Come to think of it, one season must have past by now. It must be down to a matter of days before my partner comes and collects me to prepare me for battle. I know if I just hold and mentally prepare then that door will open, the light will flood in and wash over me like a baptism for a baby. I just need to prepare...




   What was that noise? There it is, there's the light! This is the moment I have yearned for. Ages have past; babies have been conceived and emerged from their mucus-laden cove screaming and bawling; cans of food have reached their expiry date! My time has come!

   It's hard to adjust to such a huge amount light as it hits you at once, but I struggled and forced myself to witness this history in the making.
   His hands, big and white with deep, cavernous wrinkles running through his palms, would provide a library of information for a palm reader. Gently he scoops me up and we're off. Haphazardly he places me in his pocket – it's a little bit of a harsh contrast to how he picked me up, but that's ok, he knows I'm a fighter. He knows I'm solid as a rock. We will dominate the world; a drop in the pocket is nothing!
   Before I know it he's groping around in his pocket and pulling me out. I'm sitting on a work bench! Oh the stories are true! There, sitting a few inches away is the screw that's going to pierce a hole in me. It looks strong! Ah! And on the end of the work bench! A large coil of string! No doubt he'll cut that down to size and run it straight through me, tie a knot at the end et voila!
   I'm so excited. I wonder if he can see me shaking.
He's gone back to his gentle methods; he precariously balances me upright...i can feel the sharp end of the screw firmly pressed against the top of me. The pressure increases, he's going to push it through...

  ...OOF! That a big shudder, but it's through! That's it! Now for the string and we're all set.


  What's happening? Why the swearing? Wait, why am I falling? Noooooo!

  Oof! I'm on the floor! Surely he knows I'm on the floor. Don't panic he probably just cut his finger. Wait. Why...what is that? That looks! No! That looks like my left half...which means...

  “You split in half you little bastard! I followed the instructions. This is what the internet said!!!”

  I don't like how angry he is, why is he raising his foot over me? I hope he's not going to -

Monday, 1 August 2011

Writing Brave

  They say writing can be therapeutic. It can be and i found i often used to indulge in my creative writing. I sacrificed i don't know how many hundreds of hours where i could have been out socialising, but instead i felt compelled to sit behind a computer screen and conjure up a world - or at least a variant of what we know and claim to understand right now - and try and turn it on it's head. My stories would never be as simple as 'A guy meets a girl.' They never have been about that, and i'm sure it'll be quite a few years before i ever consider doing anything like that; but i would transcribe all my thoughts all my feelings and i would put them on virtual paper.

  However, there's more to the therapy than just putting down your ideas, unleashing your fantasies, or simply trying to conceive a place that doesn't currently exist. There's the bravery that's attached to writing.
Anyone who had anything better than a godawful education can write, and anyone who doesn't really care about their writing can put it out for the public to see without a care in the world. But it's only the people who care about their writing that are the truly brave ones.
These writers are the soldiers on the battlefield of fiction who have a wife and children to worry about at home: in other words they feel they have something to lose when people read their writing.

  To be like Stephen King, to have that unique prose and wonderful writing style where he can dip his pen into the ink of almost any genre and still come out with an amazing book is something i always dream about being able to achieve. But when you do this, when you put these notions, concepts, thoughts - whatever they are - onto paper you're also putting yourself onto paper.
When you care about your writing you begin to bare yourself in your writing. Whether you care to admit it, whether you even realise it, there's a little part of you, a sliver of your personality - that doesn't come out in public - all of a sudden rears its questionable head. When you're on your own you're happy putting these things on paper but then you've got to come to terms with the knowledge that you are making this so other people can read it.
I think about this whenever i create a character that I think a reader would instantly dislike because he's socially shunned for example. Say i wanted to write about a rapist; i then have to get inside the head of a rapist, i have to think like one, i have to enjoy what he enjoys, describe what he feels, speak of all the senses that light up when he performs this horrific act. I have to put my own slant on it...i have to put ME in that part and then i have to put THAT on paper for everyone to read and for everyone to judge.

  I don't want people to know that i have thought this indepth about a rapist or a terrorist or how a girl dying from the blackness inside her is feeling, but if i think it would make a compelling read then i brave it and bare my soul. And that's what I do - as do hundreds of thousands of others - when they open up and write. I put everything i have into my writing because if i'm going to let people know that i've thought about these details that some people wouldn't even like to think about let along talk about, then i want them to be compelled by the read. I want them to feel that engrossed by it all that they think they are reading from the perspective of the aforementioned despicable person FIRSTHAND.
There's that little voyeur in all of us, that little someone who wants to read some of these things, get inside the mind of the people that do some of these awful things that go on in the world.
I have written short stories about a terrorist failed suicide bombing attempt that left him alive and hundreds around him wounded or dead and having to deal with those consequences.
I have written a short story about a rapist and i have watched my fingers transcribe the voice of my mind as it details some astonishing thoughts that this rapist has...that i have.
I've written an entire novel about the end of the world, where the entire human race crumbles and everyone dies slowly from inside to out. I initially thought this was going to be published this year, but alas, life never goes as you planned.

  All of this i will gladly let anyone read if they wish to and their reactions are the things i am most prepared for. Simply because I am the person that creates this monster. Maybe in the story i glorify the act, but never in real life would i condone such actions.

  And it's not just the nasty stuff you write about, it's the glorious stuff you write about. It's the characters you create that you want everyone to take a liking to so that the story works. In every character and in every plot line there's a piece of the writer. Regardless of whether that character is inspired or heavily based on someone the author knows in real life, the author can't NOT apply a little part of himself to it. To create a character you have to know it inside and out. There is no one in this world that you know inside and out other than yourself. And the only reason i write these stories is because i haven't heard a good enough version or i haven't read a version that caters to what i wanted. So i put the Matt Weir into a zombie story, or an end of the world story, or a psychopathic plastic surgeon story and Matt Weir goes right into these characters as well. You spend so long with these characters and plot lines that you grow really fond of them, and when people don't like them: it hurts.

  There's a handful of people that i care very much about and care what they think of me, and when they read my work they see a new side to me all the time, which is difficult for me. But it's a choice I make because I want to be a writer and I know i'm good enough. If only i didn't care what others thought of me...then again, at the end of the day, who in this world honestly doesn't care what other people think about them.

Simply put, this is why, to truly put writing that you care about into the public eye, you need to be very brave: because everyone you know and everyone who doesn't know you but still reads your stuff will judge you. They will judge YOU.