Monday 17 May 2010

Ghost of Birthdays Future

I'm half awake. It is the morning of my birthday. The room is quite unusually cold. I check the window by my bed and there is a thick layer of frost on the inside. My wife is wrapped up warm and still snoozing gently besides me.

There at the bottom of the bed is a glowing figure. He introduces himself, "I am the ghost of birthdays future." His voice is thin and ethereal. He rattles some chains for effect. As he speaks I can see subtitles floating in the air about midway down.

"Great," I say, watching my breath cloud in front of me, "I'm exactly one year older and I've lost my last marble!"

"I am the ghost of birthdays future," he says again. Well I assume it's a he. Maybe it's an it. Or a he in drag. Cross-dressing ghosts, now that'll be a first. The subtitles mis-spell ghost as gots.

"You're repeating yourself, I got that bit." I really don't like being woken up, especially not by glowing apparitions of central heating past. This is the first time I've seen a ghost and I'd expected to be scared. Instead I'm annoyed to be woken up and freezing cold. "What is it with the subtitles?"

"A couple of previous clients were saying they couldn't hear me over the chains, so I got them added by a local TV company. The spelling's atrocious though."

Remembering the tiny bit of Dickens I didn't sleep through at school, I asked my first sensible question of the new day, "Are you like the Ghost of Christmas Future from A Christmas Carol?"

"He's my brother. He always gets the good jobs, lucky bastard!"

"Am I a really mean person who needs to mend his ways?"

"No, not really. I found your name in the phone book using a pin. I was curious. Do you come from a long line of iDifficults?"

"No, my mother is aTypical though. Anyway, aren't you supposed to find a bad person, scare them senseless and make them good?"

"Yes, I'm supposed to, but I really can't be bothered and I find the phone book technique much better than years of research, careful watching and finally intervention." He pauses reflectively for a few moments, "Do you suppose that's why my brother gets the good gigs?"

"You mean because he does the job properly? No, no I can't imagine that would be why..." Somewhere about now, we should be doing something. I'm sure of it. "Aren't you going to take me and show me some birthdays in my future, so I can finally understand something deep and significant about myself?"

"I should do. Did you fancy a pizza instead? I can pop us forward to the special offer Pizza Hut are going to run next March on lunchtime buffets. Oh, I'm not supposed to tell you that! Never mind. I'm starving."

"You are an appalling slacker. Let's go."

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Virtual Tag

Indigo Roth has tagged me over at IndigoWrath.

I have to name seven historical/fictional people I'd like to meet, and then pass this on with a new question, presumably involving the number seven, to some other bloggers.

My list of seven historical or fictional people:

  1. Patrick Star from SpongeBob Squarepants. I'd love to have someone on my level to talk to.
  2. Douglas Adams. Sadly historical. I always admired his attitude to deadlines. He said, "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
  3. Penelope Pitstop. I'd just like her to know that Sylvester Sneekly is the Hooded Claw.
  4. Edmund Halley. Of the comet fame. It was said he "now talks, swears and drinks brandy like a sea captain" - John Flamsteed. Strangely true, as he is the only civilian Englishman who has even been allowed to captain a ship of the realm. He became a drinking companion of Peter the Great and spent some time being carried around in a wheelbarrow whilst throwing rocks at the windows of his country house.
  5. HAL 9000 from 2001. I want to know if you pull his memory blocks in a different order, whether he was taught some really dirty limericks, or some different endings to 'Daisy, Daisy'.
  6. Albert Einstein. Fantastic character. Loved the story of a young student who came to work with him. Weeks passed and then a theory they were working on proved to be wrong. The student was devastated. Weeks of work up in smoke, so to speak. Einstein came in the following day and said, "I've a new idea..."
  7. Miss Marple. I want to know if she felt any guilt over the further deaths that were caused by her procrastination getting to the final dining room scene?

Anyway now the passing on bit of the tag game.

Name seven fictional cars or other vehicles you'd have liked to have driven and why.

Over to Eolist Petite and Cat Lady Larew, because I know you're going to do something special with this. I wish I had.

Monday 3 May 2010

Attacking From Both Sides

Every year at the beginning of summer, the Morris dancers and Marching bands meet at the seaside town of Paralytic-in-the-Wardrobe to have a running battle. They have been bitter rivals for years. There is often violence and, always, fairly iffy music.

Once I got caught in the middle of it all, whist I was waiting under the pier for the tide to come in. I was lucky to escape with my musical taste intact. I guess the moral of the story is don't get caught sleeping under a good book. Or a bad book for that matter. Look, it really doesn't matter what sort of book, just don't get caught sleeping under it.

It's important to remember that Paralytic-in-the-Wardrobe is not your classic seaside town. Being more than 30 miles from the sea really does put paid to that. The tide is not just out, it has never come in. None of this has prevented the local government from building a pier, complete with hotdog stands, ice cream parlours and putting up miles of fancy railings and calling it a seafront promenade. Most believe they should have spent their time and effort on a really good lunatic asylum.

The beach is a grassy field. The Morris men approached from the Marina end. The Marching bands from the site of the planned west pier.

The troops of Morris men were a fine sight. Sticks a-bashing, beer a-slopping, handkerchiefs a-waving, dancing in lines and bells tinkling. The marching bands were equally impressive. Marching at a cracking pace since they had put wheels on the grand piano and the pianists stool. They only stopped occasionally for two hefty blokes in tails to pick up the double base player and move her along a few feet.

A lump came up in my throat. There was no way I could get out from between them. I was at the meeting point. The epicentre. I couldn't hide either, there was simply nothing taller than a cow-pat in this field.

It was then I heard a cry of "We'll save you young lady, never fear!"

There in front of me was Slobbering-under-the-Bed's very own superhero Off-his-Head-Man. There were few problems that couldn't be made a lot worse with his intervention.

"You have your mask on backwards."

"Oh, I thought it was getting dark early."

"Where's your trusty sidekick Blotto-Boy?"

"Don't worry, he's stopped off to have a pee."

The Marching bands and Morris Men got ever closer. The sound of banging sticks, bells and various instruments was extraordinary. You'd have thought they'd have decided what to play before starting out. The Morris men were playing something authentically rustic, but the marching bands, well, whoops boys! The Birdie Song and Stairway to Heaven just don't go.

Blotto-Boy arrived and fell over. "Hi, you're very pretty," he said.

"Look," I said, nodding in the direction of the waring factions, "We're trapped. They'll be here in minutes. Help."

"Don't worry young lady," said Off-his-Head-Man.

"I'm a man. Look, six days of designer stubble!!" I pointed at my face.

"Doesn't mean a thing, so had my first wife!"

"By the way, what are you doing over in Paralytic, you're normally fighting crime boozing in Slobbering?"

"Pub crawl went wrong. Neither the lad or I can use the sat-nav," he paused for a moment, bent down, wobbled and fell over sideways. He had taken his golden boot off and was pointing to a hole in his sock. "Hey, we could escape through this?"

I slapped my head with my hand, "Look that might have worked on The Goons, but this is real life! For goodness sake what have you been drinking? Shoe polish?"

Blotto-Boy piped up, "I really like dark tan. With an olive."

At this very moment I spied something very familiar poking out of the very turf just a few feet away. It rotated and a single lens locked onto me. I hoped the torpedo auto-fire was switched off or this could be a short reunion. I bid a quick wave to my superhero friends and ran towards the lens. When I arrived the ground bulged upwards and a hatch opened. Indigo Roth looked upwards. "Hope you don't mind, I borrowed your submarine," he said cheerfully.

"Did you know you're 30 miles inland?"

"Bloody sat-nav's buggered again! Told me I was going past a speed camera at 40 knots just now."

"Thanks for the rescue mate, but you can pay the speeding fine!" I followed Roth and climbed carefully through the hatch and slammed it behind me.