Farewell Transmission

I guess this is the last thing you’ll hear from me tonight. Heck, it might be my very last transmission. Since the power went out it’s been hard to keep motivated. I don’t know if it’s just this side of town or the whole country that’s out, but it’s dark here. I just have the sun and the moon to work by and they’ll not last long. The sun’s setting and the moon looks like some crazy monster just took a bite out of it – half gone and half left for snacks for later.

I can hear sirens in the distance so I know that someone must be working on getting the power back up. Even as the rock cools and the roads give up the last of their heat they’ll be announcing their plans to get stuff up and working again in the mines and the factories and the city. They’ll be trying to get the heart of the economy beating again.

But if you ask me – we’re toast. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’ll try. I don’t want to disappear into history and I’m sure you don’t want to either. I’ll fight alongside you to try to prevent that. But let’s be realistic – there’ll be blood and then there’ll be ashes and then I’ll be gone. Heck, I can already feel death breathing down my neck. But I’ll try. And if we all try then maybe we won’t be forgotten.

And that’s the thing about life – we’re all pretty sure that we’ve got a map to where we’re going, and we try to follow it, but in reality it’s like we’re crossing a desert. We’re walking across the sands, hoping to find some place that’s good, but the sands just go on forever. Perhaps that’s the thing – we’re just meant to try. Perhaps it’s the trying that’s good; not the place we’re trying to find. I’m just as lost as you. But I’ll try.

So yeah, the sun’s gone and the moon’s almost dead so here comes the night. I know you’re far away but I hope this message finds its way to you through the confusion. My life feels like mist but still – listen out for me. Listen in the darkness. Listen as I try to get through.

Real Love can Never be Exclusive

(Part two of a two parter. Part one can be found here.)

When I was a kid, my mum used to tell a story about me as a toddler. She said it like:

“We got you this toy spaceship when you were small. It was a little UFO shaped thing that ran along the ground on wheels. It had batteries that made it light up in colourful patterns and it made funny whirring noises and it would scoot around on the floor in random patterns. You were fascinated by it and would set it going again and again.

“This one time you went to the toilet to do potty and it was a smelly one and while you were in the toilet you had that spaceship running around while you watched it through the open doorway. And I was watching it too. And it was really comical because the spaceship would set off towards the toilet as if it was going inside, but just as it for to the doorway it would turn around and head away from the toilet as fast as its little wheels would carry it. And it did this over and over again. It was as if it wanted to be near you but it couldn’t stand the smell of the poo you were doing. And all I could do was laugh.”

We anthropomorphise things. We treat them as if they are alive and have feelings. We talk to them and imagine that they listen and have an emotional reaction to us. In short, we treat them like humans. And that’s what my mum was doing with this little toy spaceship.

If that toy really did have a mind then it would have been in love with me, but not in love with my poo. (Sorry about the smell, I’m almost done with this example now.) And, all due respect to that beloved toy, that’s not what true love is really about.

You can’t love something truly without loving everything about it. Similarly, for us to love a person whilst at the same time wishing for some part of them to change is not true love. And, let’s face it, there’s always going to be something about any one person that we dislike.

I have a friend here in York. He’s well-educated and can speak on any subject you choose like a pro. World events, the development of psychedelic pop, literature trends in Germany, business models of the eighteenth century, tablecloth manufacture in sub-saharan Africa – anything you can bring to mind. And he’s an interesting speaker too. He can hold you rapt as he shares his knowledge with his cultured yet slightly vulnerable manner. Plus, he’s got a huge heart too. He’s generous with everything he has. But here’s the thing – he’s a bit of a joker.

Try to say something to him and it’s guaranteed that he’ll turn it into a joke by putting on an accent or pulling a face or laughing it off with some ridiculous comment about something entirely unrelated to what you’re talking about.

And it annoys the socks off of me. It drives me potty. No matter how much I tell myself that it’s just his way and that his good points far outweigh his drawbacks I just can’t stop myself from getting upset. In short, I don’t love him truly.

Everything has qualities and attributes. A plant grows towards the sun, sucks up water, is plant-coloured (generally green, but not always) and has some way of making new plants. These are some of these attributes of a plant. A rock has a different set of attributes and an iPhone has still another array of qualities. And everything is the same; even God.

But here’s the thing about God: he only has good qualities and so there’s nothing to become annoyed about when you’re thinking of him. This means that you can have real love for him.

I don’t have any interesting personal anecdotes about God and so I’ll leave it there for now. But, yeah – you should love God if you’re looking for true love. Don’t bother with toy robots, plants, rocks, iPhones or charismatic speakers – just love God.

Oh, wait – there is one more thing: if you want to be loved, then become more like God. Meditate on his qualities. Remember him as much as you can. Be more like he is: peaceful, loving, joyful, truthful and pure.

Then you’ll see how fast that little robot toy’ll come rolling towards you down through the years. Love is such a wonderful gift to give and get, right?


(Part two of a two parter. Part one can be found here.)

A Profound Red Light

Who’d have thought that light could be profound? Not me. I always thought profound was to do with the nature of thoughts or concepts but nothing to do with physical things. Not that light is very physical, but is has got something to do with the physical realm. It’s not thought. It’s tangible. It can be perceived by one of the senses. Sight.

I raised my fingers from the keyboard. Dry. I need to drink more water. But I’ve already been to the loo a dozen times already today so surely I don’t need to increase that! I raised my arms and tousled my hair. Needs cutting. I keep promising myself that I’ll get around to it. But who am I kidding. I can’t be bothered with the mess I make. Seems like I need to vacuum the whole house every … Wait, what was that? Vacuum? Heck, that’s something I don’t have to do! I got me a new robot vacuum cleaner last week and so …

Yeah, look at that grin on my face. Look at the way it reaches my eyes and takes a little of the tiredness out of them. See how my mood’s more elevated now. This is ace! I can cut my hair and let it fly as far as it wants to because the robot’s gonna go and get it. My grin would become a wolf. It’d be proud.

So this vacuum. I’ve not experimented with it much. It’s just had a couple of runs out – once upstairs on the carpets and once downstairs on the wood. It does a really good job on both. How do I know? Well, because it comes back full of fluff and dust – that’s how. And that little robot goes everywhere! It even spends time walking around under the table and chairs in the dining room – the clearance is just right.

And talking about experimenting – well that’d mostly just be crazy stuff like putting bears on it and riding them around whilst videotaping them for posterity and the world to laugh as the robot tried to go under the bed with a jockey on-board and knocked the poor bear flying. Funny? Well, I’d laugh. Heck, I’m laughing now just thinking about it. Less funny would be putting a cup of tea on it and trying to get the robot to deliver it to someone in the next room. One detour under the couch and that’s going to get very messy!

I need to start circling back to the start now in order to round this off so ‘scuse me a mo while I read the first couple of paragraphs again.

Hmm. Light. Profundity. Scratching head. Robot. Okay, I can see how the chain went. Let’s see, how can I finish this off? Well, the robot has lights on it: blue for charging, orange for needs juice. Nothing red about it though. Also – not a heck of a lot of profound here. Phoo. How about if we introduce anther element into the mix. Red light. Okay, how about Red Light District. Can that be profound? Well, I suppose so. But how?

He paused and stares into his inner distance. It’d be difficult to stare into any other kind of distance here. White walls keep the autumn chill out but also keep the distance-seeking gaze in too. Phoo. Okay, let’s go with this then:

He plopped his fingers back on the keyboard and started typing again. Hair, robots, self-indulgent thinking and bedtime. And as he typed the word bedtime the lamp clicked quietly to itself plunging the room into what would have been a profound darkness except for one thing: a red light blinking unsteadily on the smoke detector:

.–. .-. — ..-. — ..- -. -..


Fifth day and the quality of light changed. Did you anticipate this? Good. Then you did your job well. But, exo-skeleton aside, I wasn’t prepared. Some changes are just too profound.

Sixth day and my cough got worse. Think about not coughing, you said. And I did. Well, I tried. I couldn’t. Did you believe me? Stuff comes up in my mind all the time and I tell you about it, but your mind is a black box to me. Dig deeper, you said. But where’s my spade? You hid it long ago.

Seventh day and pink clouds lit the horizon. Sun coming up fast. Too fast. I could never get used to that. Club together all my experience and knowledge into a single, focused thought and it wouldn’t be sharp enough to penetrate this new world with its cliff-hanging future. Help!

Eighth day. Good day for fishing, you said. But what pass for fish here are throwing bait and casting their lines. Don’t make me go out there. But you do. Who did you think I was when you took me for your blogger?

Ninth day and I could almost see space again.

Balcony Scene

I cried for the death of those tiny things and the mask you wore over the pain you poured into their last flight.
Smashed on the stones beneath your window. Symbols of the love you wanted to give but didn’t know how to.
Your innocence teased from your grasp before you knew what you had held. Trust given and then stolen over and over until you had none left save this.
I still weep silently over the grave of those tiny things. Even though your hands did not find them honestly they flew towards me on the best blooded wings you could make.
I watched them fall. I let them die. They didn’t slip from my hands. There was no desperate grip. I just watched them flutter once. And die. And then I looked up into your heart. And mine died too.

A Mother Suddenly Appears

Did you hear the one about the comedienne who was paranoid that everyone was laughing at her? No, seriously! She got in such a state that she couldn’t get up on stage anymore.

She’d start off by saying ‘hello, Birmingham’ (or wherever she was) and her eyes would widen when everyone started to laugh. By time she’d finished saying telling them her name amidst peals of raucous laughter, her nerves were shot and she had difficulty finishing her set.

Each joke had them roaring louder and louder – some of them even weeping with the funniness of it. You think that, as a comedienne, she’d be happy, but inside, all she could think of was getting off the stage, running outside, getting into her car and driving until there was no more road to drive on.

In the end, she couldn’t even get on stage. It had gotten so bad that her pre-stage fright had her chewing her nails until her fingers bled. And after that, she was just a health-hazard with little trails of blood following her around as she tried to avoid the spotlight.

And the worse thing was that she wouldn’t – couldn’t talk to anyone about it. She used to have a friend. His name was Bill and he had these lovely eyes the colour of the original Fairy Liquid. But he’d gotten into the habit of abusing her by feeding her chocolate. So she’d left him. There’s only so much chocolate a type one diabetic can take.

Since she’d left Bill, she only had her mother – an overbearing woman who had the habit of cruely mocking her only daughter.

Oh wait – do you think that maybe this was the problem?

Seeds of Newness

Here are three phrases what I just made up that have never been used in the history of the internet ever, ever, ever:

  1. “your righteous teapot”
  2. “temptress in sedition”
  3. “plantation straps hanging”

Your challenge, should you choose to accept, is to include these three phrases in a story of your making, which should not be more than 300 words long.

Write, my little chicklings, write. Post your tales on your blog and pingback here, or just put a link in the comments of this post. I can’t wait to read your offerings, my sweet, sweet dumplings.

Crescent Moon #writephoto

dark silhouette of a tree against a cloudy sky. The horizon is lit by the gold of dawn, while a crescent moon hangs above the tree

The world, as we’d known it, ended. I’ll not tell you how. It was horrible. That’s all you need to know.

Theres not that many of us left. I’ll not tell you how many. I mean, how the heck should I know? But we’re all hungry. But not that hungry, if you know what I mean.

There’s a king in England. Or so they say. News isn’t the most reliable thing. They say it’s Harry. And that his mom and dad and his brother, Willam is dead. And his wife too, thankfully.

But above him, Trump’s Emperor Elect over everybody. The whole world. Or what’s left of it. The elect part’s a laugh, but no-one finds it funny anymore. Not since he went bonkers. More bonkers.

He passed a law. Marriages were made illegal. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it was something Empress Melania said. He always was a bit tetchy. A bit sensitive.

So – the new law. Here’s how he put it: kill one, it doesn’t much matter which, or both’ll be killed.

And he’s fierce in the way he holds to it. He has all these stormtroopers you see. Bloodthirsty buggers one – all of ’em. And he set an example too. Live on TV. Who’d have though that a skinny thing like Melania would have had so much blood in her.

I loved my wife. Even after all she did and said to me over the years – and it was plenty. But I love life more. Wife or life – there wasn’t a choice really.

Pity she got to me first. She says that the poison she put in my soup – that one bowlful I was going eat before I slit her throat – will kill me in another couple’a minutes.

She told me she’s going to bury me under a tree at dawn. She even showed me which one. Says she’s going to do it after she’s uploaded proof of the kill to Trump. She’ll keep the heart for DNA too. Proof’s important she says. Prevents misunderstandings.

She says that it’ll be a beautiful sunrise. And she figures that there’ll be a crescent moon too.

Well ain’t that freakin’ fantastic.

This story was kindly prompted by Sue Vincent.

The Opposite of Fear

You ever wake up in the night knowing that you need to pee but then lie there for a drowsy minute or two debating with yourself whether you can make it until the alarm goes off? Yeah, me too. And last night was one of those occasions.

Anyway, after a while I got up and padded downstairs (less chance of disturbing the sleep of others down there) in my almost altogether-as-naked-as-the-day-that-I-was-born state. I’ll say nothing about morning wood right now – it’s not at all relevant.

So, a couple of minutes later, with my business in the small room concluded, and my hands smelling of nettle and vanilla (yeah, don’t ask) I headed back towards bed. But for some reason, instead of turning left to go up the stairs, I turned right towards the front door and peered through it into the night-shrouded garden, down the drive towards the road.

It’s not entirely dark at night. Even if it wasn’t for the street lights, I could still have seen, by the light of the stars and the moon, the silhouette of the man standing at the end of our drive looking towards me. Staring at me.

‘He can’t see me,’ I thought. ‘No way he can see me.’

Then he waved. Nothing dramatic – just a little, sarcastic wriggle of the fingers he’d brought up to his face. And the funny thing was that I still wasn’t scared. If anything, I felt the opposite of fear. I was safe and warm and in my house behind a locked door!

It wasn’t until I heard a slight sound behind me and turned to see you standing there watching me that I started screaming. And the weird thing was that I couldn’t stop. Not until you took a pace towards me and gathered me into your arms and held me and stroked my head and murmured something low and comforting, the way wives do when they find freaked-out people wandering the house in the middle of the night.

By the time I’d pulled myself together enough to look out into the dark garden, the figure was gone. Perhaps he hadn’t been there at all. Perhaps I’m making all this up. Perhaps.

Still, I’ll make sure all the doors and windows are locked tonight and maybe I’ll think twice about getting up to go to the loo. I mean, it’s not as if bladders can burst, right?