Actually, I was just wondering how many people would read an article like this, if it was published accidentally without a password.
You wouldn’t be entertained by my emails or my drafts in WordPress anyway. It’s real boring stuff. There’s zero interest there – honest. Just more of the same dreary nonsense I publish every day. Stick to that.
In other breaking news, a storm is expected to move in from the east of the bedroom this morning as Hurricane Bedspread makes bedfall. Gusts of wind of up to 100 kilometres per hour are expected and local residents are being warned to wear gasmasks.
This was going to be an episode for a podcast I set up for a Green Group (you know, one with members that are into ecologically friendly living) but one of the member told me, in no uncertain terms that she didn’t like the way that I do podcast episodes. So, long and short of it is that I took all my episodes so far (two of them) off the podcast and replaced them with some other stuff that some other member of the Green Group had sent to me. Ironic really, because one of the episodes I took down still has the most listens off all time even though it’s not even been there for the past several weeks. Not that I’m bitter and twisted about it you understand. I’m just saying. Anyway, this is what I would have recorded next. It would have been an episode where someone interviews me. And I’d be posing as a thing that green people are interested in not destroying; you know, like the sky or a tree or the ocean or the climate or the weather or something like that. Let’s say that I chose to be a tree. It’d go something like this:
Interviewer: So, Mister .. ah .. Tree …
Me (as a tree): Call me Sisal.
Interviewer: Okay, Cecil. This …
Me (as a tree): Nah, not Cecil. It’s Sisal. As in, the tree. Not the person. I’m not a person, remember?
Interviewer: Okay. Sorry. Erm – so, Mr .. um. sorry .. Sisal. Did I get that right?
Me (as a tree): You did.
Interviewer: Good. So, Sisal, this is an interview designed to discover your preferences when it comes to how you like people to treat you. As a tree. Like, if you were a tree .. em .. sorry .. you’re a tree, Sisal and I’d like to ask you .. stuff.
Me (as a tree): First time doing an interview?
Interviewer: Ah, no, I did a whole bunch of them before. At college. But those were with humans, y’know?
Me (as a tree): So this is your first one with a tree.
Me (as a tree): Okay, so let me give you a tip that I think’ll help you out here.
Me (as a tree): Okay. Here we go: just be yourself.
Interviewer: That’s it?
Me (as a tree): Yup. That’s it.
Interviewer: Kinda ironic don’t you think?
Me (as a tree): Why’s that now?
Interviewer: Well, you .. erm .. that is, you’re pretending to be a tree.
Me (as a tree): Pretending? No, man; I am a tree.
Interviewer: Ah, look, I know that for this interview and all that I’ve got to interview you as if you were a tree, but, truth be known, you’re not even green.
Me (as a tree): I am so. I recycle everything!
Interviewer: Like, how?
Me (as a tree): I put them in the correct container and I put them our for the the council to collect.
Interviewer: And what kind of a tree do you think does that every single week?
Me (as a tree): It’s bi-weekly.
Interviewer: Whatever. My point is that trees don’t do that. They usually just stand in the garden and, you know, like, wave their branches about in the breeze and rustle their green leaves. You don’t have any of those things.
Me (as a tree): Well that’s not my fault is it. I’m doing this without a budget! Like, no money at all. You don’t get much for no money, you know!
Interviewer: Pssh, not my department.
Me (as a tree): Yeah, sure, granted, but that’s why.
Interviewer: Why what?
Me (as a tree): Why I’m not green in the sense that you mean when you tell me I’m not green.
Interviewer: Okay, tell you what, let’s just do the best we can, okay.
Me (as a tree): Ahem. Okay. Go for it. But let’s pretend a bit better than you have been doing that I’m a tree. Okay?
Me (as a tree): So …
Interviewer: Oh, yeah. So, as a tree, what do you want people to do differently?
Me (as a tree): Good question. I want them to stop doing stuff that hurts the soil. Not bothered about the air. They can pump as much carbon into it as they want. Hell, I eat that stuff up for dinner.
Interviewer: Midnight snack.
Me (as a tree): What?
Interviewer: You would eat it for midnight snacks. In the daytime you eat oxygen, remember?
Me (as a tree): Oh, yeah. Nice catch.
Interviewer: Thanks. So, that’s all we have time for now. Sisal wants you to stop doing things that hurt the soil, right?
Me (as a tree): Yup
Interviewer: Cool. Well, that’s it then. Thanks, Sisal.
Me (as a tree): It’s cool. Have a good one.
Interviewer: You too
Me (as a tree): Dick,
Me (as a tree): Oh, is that your name? I kinda meant ..
Interviewer: I know what you meant. We’re done here.
Work out a crime (don’t make it in any way mysterious)
Begin to cover up the crime
Outline what the culprit does to hide his or her tracks
Leave three definite and accurate clues.
On the basis of what you have learned throughout the course draft your detective story. Remember: plot, characters, location and the art of the detective.
“The crime was murder. Nothing too mysterious. Nothing that you haven’t seen on the bestseller lists a thousand times over the decades. Nothing the newspapers haven’t reported hundreds of times in a slow year. And nothing you haven’t thought of doing yourself in your darker moments.
Let’s think about this for a beat? Who would you murder if you could get away with it? Come come; play the game; there’s always someone who bugs you so much that you’ve fantasised sewing their mouth shut with a pretty, blood-red ribbon and thrusting a snapped fishing rod through their heart with a viciousness that would shock even the most hardened detective. Would that be your MO? Your modus operandi of choice? Or would it be something sneakier? Arsenic in the sugar? Pillow over the face? But I digress.
This was a simple, commonplace murder and I didn’t do it. But, let’s be honest: I’m not so sure about you.”
I sighed and sat back from the keyboard glaring at the words I’d just dragged from the depths of my mind and plastered on the screen in front of me. It sat mockingly on the desk of the upstairs study I used as my writing den. That is, when the wife didn’t want to use the room for another endless Zoom meetin with her cronies.
I took and deep breath and then coughed as a stray crumb shot straight into my windpipe. It shot out and landed on the screen with a wet plop and began to drift past the lines I’d just spent and hour creating. Yeah, that’s what I thought of that!
This writing lark isn’t as straightforward as it’s made out to be. It’s not some cookie-cutter thing where you just follow a list. It’s subtler and yet coarser than that. It’s only the most delicate, nuanced plot that’ll grab your readers by their delicate parts hard enough to drag their attention through to the last page. I mean, take …
“God in hell, what was that!”
I stood up, only dimly aware of the chair scooting across the carpet behind me and smashing into the wall. A hellish sound like banshees being torn apart beneath my feet and protesting their pain with every tortured breath. What was the wife doing down there?
“Ethyl? What is it?”
The sound abruptly stopped to be replaced by a phlegmy gurgling sound. As if someone were trying to breath through a hole in their throat. A bloody hole.
As I rushed towards the stairs I imagined (not fantasised – don’t get me wrong) the wife lying there on the kitchen floor with blood pouring out of her wounds. When you’re a writer, you get that a lot. Your imagination takes over. You fear the worst, even as you hope for the best.
Turns out she wasn’t dead. It was the latest gadget in her arsenal. No, arsenal – don’t be rude now. Some blender, grinder thing. Some kind of disappointment to the writer in me, but to the loving husband I really am (honest) – it was lovely see her stick her finger in the mix and then pop it in her mouth.
And then she dropped like a sack of meat and I could tell, just by the expression on her face and the twisted way her limbs arranged themselves on the lino, not to mention the blue tinge rippling across her face, that she was a gonner.
I’d seen enough zombie movies to know what would happen next and I scanned the room for something sharp enough to push through her head into her brain. Nothing. Okay, it’d have to be decapitation then. My eyes fell on the spade. I’d just been digging out a bumper crop of spuds from the garden and so there it was, propped up next to the door on a sheet of newspaper. Keeping a close eye on the wife, or the thing that she’d become, I strode over to the door and snatched up the weapon.
Advancing on her with the spade held over my head ready for the severing stroke I was aware of my mind working out the best angle to come at her neck from. The downward slice would be best because it would deliver the most force, but it’d be messy. A slightly sideways stroke would be cleaner, but not so sure to do the job. What if I missed and hit her shoulder instead? Gah, enough of this. Downward stroke it is. I tensed my muscled and started to release the spade downwards, but then stopped myself. Wouldn’t it be best to make sure? I mean, what if she wasn’t quite dead? What if she didn’t turn? I stood there in an agony of indecision.
Then, as luck would have it, the Director resolved my dilemma for me. He stood up and yelled “cut!”
Okay there’s love and there’s true love. I’m not talking about the difference between infatuation and love here, and not even the difference between lust and love. I’m talking about the difference between human love and Godly love.
These are ten truths about human love (the failable kind):
If you’re trembling, have a racing heart and accelerated breathing then it’s more likely to be tachycardia than love.
Falling in love is less like being swept off your feet and more like plummeting to your death.
Love is a dangerous drug: you feel good at first then you have an insatiable appetite for more until finally you overdose and end up in re-hab.
One good turn deserves another and one good love deserves another round, bartender.
Love me tender, love me true rarely works if you’re in an embroidered jumpsuit eating a hamburger.
Love hurts like a blunt razor to your armpits, legs, face or .. ahem … any other part that needs shaving for the weekend.
Love is like a baked potato: tasty when it’s hot but what’s left over is not good to have for breakfast the next morning.
Believing you’re under the wings of love, angels and fairies is a good way to wean yourself off alcohol but a terrible way to fly.
People and plants wilt in the heat but love withers away when the heat is gone.
I read somewhere that if your chew your peas, you don’t get as much wind. I try to take that advice to heart. I have a stab at chewing each mouthful 32 times even though I’ve only got 31 teeth. In case you’re wondering, the missing tooth is one of the wisdoms. It just never grew. Do I have a good excuse for not being wise?
When I pulled the flush the day before yesterday it didn’t do its job properly. Bobbing in the bowl afterwards was a single, solitary frozen pea. That’s to say, it was frozen when it was in the freezer. It wasn’t anymore. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
When I pulled the flush yesterday morning I had no idea that history would be repeated. Usually when they use that phrase they aren’t referring to frozen peas. But there it was, bobbing in the exact same spot as the one from the day before. And before you ask; no, it wasn’t the same one.
When I pulled the flush this morning, it was a sweetcorn bobbing about down there. I’m not sure what to say about this. I can’t even remember eating sweetcorn the day before. Perhaps this is one of those Mysteries of Time and Space that I used to read about as a kid. Maybe I ought to open an X-File on it.
Or perhaps I ought to just pay more attention to my chewing. I tend to do a crossword at the same time as I eat dinner. If I was more mindful of what my mouth was doing then none of this would be happening. But then again, what would I write about if these things were not happening in my life?
“What do you mean, Lucifer?” God took another sip of his mint julep and watched, rather morosely, as icy drops dripped onto his hairy chest.
“Down dere. Dem is building some kinda ting!”
“Quite frankly, my dear, I couldn’t give a damn.”
“Well, yuh should. Dem is heading this way.”
His interest piqued, God plonked the half-empty glass down and hauled his considerable bulk from the chaise. He’d let himself go a bit since he’d tried to wash the verminous scum from his good, clean earth only find out that his ‘chosen ones’ had turned out to be just as bad as the last lot. Lucifer had tried not to laugh but hadn’t quite succeeded.
“What are they doing?” God squinted his eyes. “I do believe they’re building a tower.” He rubbed a hand over his face. “A rather tall tower.” He frowned. “So tall, in fact, that it already reaches halfway to heaven.” A look of incredulous anger stole over his face. “And it’s getting closer by the second.” God stopped and did some quick maths. “At this rate, considering the temporal conversion, it’ll be here by lunchtime!” God did not look pleased.
“And what’s more …” in a flash of brimstone flavoured light, Lucifer vanished from sight. An instant later, he reappeared, rubbing his hands together gleefully. “… dem is doing it to de glory of yuh very own selfage!”
Thunder crashed and lightning flashed around God’s darkening visage making him look quite old-testamenty around the jowls.
“No! This shall not come to pass!”
“Why de heck not?”
“Because … Because … ” God spluttered very unbecomingly. “Because this is MY HOUSE!”
“Oh, well, dat is correc too. Two for two in truth.”
“Smite them from the face of the earth. I’m done with them. We’ll have another bash next year.” God frowned. “Maybe.”
A look of cunning crept over Lucifer’s face.
“Hold up – let we have a bit of fun first.”
“Fun?” said God doubtfully, but with slight interest. “Oh yes, I know! We could smite their language instead.”
“You know. Make them speak in different lingos. At the moment their language is perfect. They all speak the same tongue.” He gestured out of the window to the rapidly approaching tower. “But if we were to split them up into, oh, I don’t know – seventy or seventy-two dialects, then – bingo! That’d confuse the little buggers enough to put paid to that tower!”
“I don’t tink dat would work. Sounds like de kind a ting dat would get dem to co-hoperate even more. I can see it now – Google Translate on every damn Smartphone. It’ll just spur dem on.”
“I don’t see how …”
“Wait nah – let me tink, let me tink!” He waved his arm impatiently in God’s direction, a frown curdling his face. Then he brightened.
“Got it! Dis is what we do – we make dem drive dem chariot on different sides of de road according to which place dem decide to live.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Lucifer. I’m still rather in favour of the tongue smiting.”
“No, no – dis road ting is de killer fuh sure! I is certain.”
“Well …” God still looked rather uncertain.
“Okay, okay, hows about we do both, but we does sweeten de pot. For each of dem fools what does get smited from having a confused tongue, you give me a hundred US, but for each one dat does get killed or maimed on de road, you coughs up a Benjamin. Deal?”
“Well, actually – that does sound rather amusing,” said God with a smile, “let’s do it!”
And so it came to pass that, once upon a time, in a land called England, where the English did drive on the left-hand side of the road and, what’s more, walk on the left-hand side of the pavement, an American and his wife did arrive. And, verily forgetting they were in a foreign country where different rules applied, they walked on the right-hand side of the pavement.
And it did also come to pass that an English guy walking in the opposite direction on the same pavement, was feeling full of beans because he’d found a fifty pence piece by the side of the road. And lo, when he came up to the Americans, he hopped neatly from the pavement onto the road to avoid them, straight into the path of a bicycle rider who swerved to avoid the English guy and then, just as he was congratulating himself for his lightning-fast reflexes was hit by a tour bus. By luck or skill, the driver of the chariot did screech it to a halt just before running the cyclist over and killing him outright, but the impact did condemn him to a serious of operations that verily made him wish that he had expired. And, not realising what had happened, the American couple hopped aboard the tour bus and enquired, to the driver, about the price of a day-ticket.
And, somewhere above, God turned to Lucifer with a wry smile and handed him another hundred dollar bill.