Friday, March 25, 2005

week 5 (kim and cam): mel's diner

Mel's hamhock arms are swinging as he ladles pancake batter onto the grill.
sizzle. followed by deft scraping of burnt hashbrowns into the stainless-steel grill gutter. make way for the western omlette.

the peppers fry, the gaggle of nuns in the corner confer over black coffee. they debate the pope's recent tracheotomy, 'the effect his impending death will have on catholic youth, i daren't consider!'

a fly dive-bombs the trail of maple syrup flooding a childs plate. the child is busy trying to suck the only remaining button from her worn cotton vest.

mel's hamhock arms sling buttermilk pancakes into a neat stack. ping. he rings the bell and the nuns forget about the pope and think more about the awaited plate.
__
they fall silent and look at each other. the youngest nun gets up and walks over to the counter. mel has turned his back to the grill now so the girl takes the plate in both hands and returns it to her colleagues. as she passes the child, who has now managed to separate button from vest and is beginning to look for further entertainment, she sees the child's parent, who has been out of sight. previously behind the high back of a bench seat.

to say the parent is male would be to state the obvious. this man, though unusual even to a novice no who has had very little experience of men.
__
young silent nun. baby theif. it started at the diner. a baby in a dirty vest spied the little nun in the white habit. before the father knew, he'd been distracted by sister sue spilling maple syrup on a fellow diner's dog. 'DAMN DOG!' muttered sister sue to bait the crowd. chaos ensued. all affording ample change for sister sue to snatch the baby.

baby gabby was a happy baby with grubby hands and a dirty nappy. the nuns didn't mind. their joyless lives were aching for something waking in the night crying out for care and cuddles.

their joyless lives were about to change. risking incarceration for the smell of sweet baby skin, it was the only way. they could not conceive their own babies--for sin! desire of the flesh was much denied. yet they never considered it included cuddles from the under four crowd.

baby gabby held their hands and watched their wimples wiggle as she was carried out. concealed by the girth of sister mary bertha.
___

it is a strange moment for everyone involved. as mel comes over to dab a wet cloth at the dog in hopes of placating the owner, the parent turns back to the door to see the eccentric nun-brigade trooping off on the other side of the glass. as a tiny figure slips out from the fattest nun's side and is immediately dragged out of sight agin, the counters begin to turn in the parent's mind. his child has been abducted, removed, stolen. but the parent still does nothing...
__

he is in shock. plagued by years of lingering fear from knuckles rapped by savage catholic sisters. every time he spelled his name wrong or ate paste from the jar--ten licks.

he was scarred. he was scarred. baby gabby was gone.

it left the diner bereft. posters of the missing child curled on the walls. no nun of any sort came near for fear of persecution or curses from mad mel. lest he blame them for the corrupt criminal few in the catholic sect.

sad flies simmer in the corner, dearly missing sloppy baby syrup spills. blueberry muffins go stale. the omlettes sag. mel sings the blues in memory of the day his happy diner died.

months passed. years passed. and still no sign of the little one. police did their damndest despite the pope's pleas against bad press.

somewhere far away, daddy's little girl is busy in the convent kitchen. oblivious to sad diners and doting daddies, she is baking blueberry muffins for her nun mothers.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

week 4 camille: dates

Chewy. Squidgy. Sweet. The fat roaches lay squeezed tightly together, suppressing giggles, posing as a pack of medjool dates.

“Organic!” wheezed the Indian roach, setting off the two Australians on the end.

“Shhhh! They’re coming!”

And so they were. As Kim and Aggie filed into the room and peeled back their rubber gloves from a hard day cleaning kitchens, Aggie reached for the fattest date in the pack. Did she notice the twitching exoskeleton as she drove the moist parcel towards her prim Scottish lips? Not a chance. And as she crunched brutally through the giant red roach, Kim screamed. The dates scattered. They never thought it would come to kamikaze suicide. All they wanted was revenge.

“Take that you prissy pig!” wheedled one of the Australians as he scuttled away under the sofa. “That is for exterminating my mates in ESSEX!”

week 4 kim: dates

Dates – roses of the desert. Have we met? I think so. I believe it was before partition though, when our families were here, living as friends with the nomad tribes. And I know you remember. I will never forget how you brought me fresh dates – juicy as honey and dripping… So long ago now. When you were young and shy – ready for marriage to my neighbour where we sat and without the veils of the townspeople to hide your eyes your cheeks, your petals.

week 4 (all): the sheikh story continued...

The jewel centre of interest is the eye within the eye. An eye for an eye, stolen and poked like the rare blue diamond that disappeared from beneath the Sheikh’s pillow. He vowed to reclaim the hard carbon heart and sent forth his men with swords to comb the desert for the brave thief.

“Bring him alive. I want to look in his eyes and see the fear as he breathes his last.”

The jewel, his interest, was deeper than the diamond, the ruby, or indeed the pearls of Madagascar, still nestling deep in my pocket as I went forth to procure a scapegoat from Inmakesh on my Sheikh’s behalf.

With my brothers in front, I galloped west, convinced at last that I would escape. You remember, I hope, how it feels when someone really makes your skin crawl. The Sheikh was one such a man, about as comfortable as a mattress stuffed with high heels, and almost as useless. Already I resented the arduous journey in the baking afternoon sun, but denying the Sheikh’s wishes was tantamount to tying the noose round your neck yourself. In time the sight of the camp behind faded into some hallucinogenic mirage, and I concentrated on the view ahead, unaware of the quiet thunder of hooves gathering in the distance. This useless man’s jewel itself was to be paid for with the rubies, the pearls of Madagascar. I was to return his jewel with the utmost care, not a nail was to be broken or a wound to ruin her perfect olive skin. She was perfection itself, he told me. His bride to be. her hand slipped so quietly from under his pillow the night she left he didn’t even notice she was gone till morning. She didn’t think anyone could know where she was but I knew her jewel well. As we made our descent from the mountain, I saw her by the lake.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“I just could bear another moment in his company. His breath smells of fish, he’s always pushing me around and I feel it’s time you declare our love to him. Challenge him to a swordfight. He will have no option but to accept. I have faith in you!”

What was she thinking? As much as my chest swelled with pride that she trusted my skills in Arab sword duels, I myself didn’t relish the thought of challenging the Sheikh. Could I trust him to be honourable? Would he cut off my balls in the night? One look at her black hair shining in the desert moonlight and I slung her on the back of a camel and headed back to meet my doom. Twas time to challenge the creepy Sheikh.

There was no question, of course, that in any fair fight my master swordsmanship could shred the Sheikh with ease. But he was not a man who would give up a prize so fine as the lady without resorting to more sinister measures. I had seen the results of his temper more than once. His last great soldier died a most terrible death when the Sheikh had him brutally strangled with the silken robes of his lover. He had failed to attend for duty when ordered, due to his preoccupation with somewhat less official attendances. The Sheikh had a vengeful, bitter nature, particularly when it came to love, due in no small part to his own unfortunate history. I dared not return with only my sword and courage to meet his wrath. Fortunately, my love had a plan.

She repeated; “I have faith in you. Challenge him!” With my love behind the small of my back I knew comfort, and I realised how my challenge might work. She outlined the way I was to behave. I was to be masked as a Nahood – one of the initiates. As one who loved me, yet who had not granted me herself in corporal consummation of that love – Lowhen was integral to my task. She also knew from her own father many of the words of power in deep Goldow – the dark language of trance – a sort of Ur-tongue of the Shaman. The challenge would take place as a fight on a deeper level altogether than that of temper or viciousness. There would be words and meeting of hands – two men in combat. But the end would be swift. Yet I must be strong and prepare myself for the terrible pain I must yet bear.

As we approached the oasis where the Sheikh had his compound, my stomach turned to stone and Lowhen’s arms tightened around my waist. The idea was to catch the Sheikh immediately, to make him believe we’d caught the thief, that the thief was weak, to make the Sheikh feel strong and secure in his victory. To present him with his bride, weeping and pleased to be reunited with her strong prince. Was he stupid enough to believe it? Was he conceited enough to think I’d sacrifice my own brother out of loyalty to him?

Yes. And we all knew it. After seeing him spending hours admiring his teeth in the bowl of rosewater and parading in his silken underclothes like a swollen worm – he would fall for the whole scam.

“Your Excellency,” I announced, rushing up to him in my best attempt at flushed righteousness; “I have found your bride. And she tells me it was none other than my own brother who stole her away! I have him. He is tied up outside, with the animals. Come quickly.”

The Sheikh moved behind the screen that hid his bed and whatever he was doing in it. As he moved, so moved another with him, smaller and quicker, then lay quiet as the Sheikh came out to meet me from behind the screen. Whether he had heard what I was saying was unimportant. He slobbered and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and came right up to me so I could see his eyes deep in the folds of his bloated face.

“You…” he began, trailing off with a confused expression. His eyes flicked from me to his bride like the jarred visions of an epileptic, and I realised in that moment he had never expected our mission to have concluded so soon. Understandable. Indeed, I saw instantly my error in not detaining Lowhen for an evening in the mountains, as there was much we could have found to fill our time, and our swift arrival did not show signs of fight or struggle. But this faded into irrelevancy as I noticed what the Sheikh clasped in his hand, as he swayed, clutching at the screen for support. He had attempted to take advantage of some days of privacy, and our return had caught him in a most inopportune state.

week 4 (all): the pirate story continued...

“The jewel centre of interest is the eye within the eye”.

“Aye Captain, I quite agree sir”.

Well, I had to. The Captain, as we called him still in those days, had a grim penchant for poking miscreants in their optical orbs with his stick. And believe me Sally, a miscreant in the Captain’s world was anyone who disagreed with him. So, as usual, I bowed to his generalisations and went off to continue the endless process of brining the log-book up to date.

It had been an eventful few days, there was no disputing, and the usual meticulous bookkeeping had fallen foul to the think-I-care air of the Captain himself. Busying himself with various trawls (treasure and otherwise), all that had been heard from beneath deck in the days since our successful ransacking was the odd yelp and groan, warning us not to press the matter too thoroughly.

He emerged extravagantly and big, his arms thrown wide, his voice bellowing over the wind, a smiling discovery on his lips. He slapped me hard on the back and chuckled to himself.

“Aye!” he said loudly, knowingly. “Tell everyone I’ve something very important to tell them at dinner.”

Then he turned on his heel and returned to his hiding place, moving his stiff body like a badger.

He was waiting at the dinner table to greet the very first arrival, a hint of murder and a hint of wit in his big black eyes. None of us had any idea what he was up to. We filed in, pulled up a chair, and sat quietly sipping our ale until he decided to speak.

“Men, we’re going ashore. In two days time we’re due to arrive at an island never before visited by men. It’s not treasure we’re after, but wives. Aye. Beautiful mermaid booty! I reckon it’s high time Captain Rolf sees some action!”

No one protested. We were all on the boat for different reasons – some treasure, some love of violence, some fleeing jail – but none in search of mermaid sex. Something had to be done. We all knew it. But we would wait until he was asleep to hatch a plan.

The whole country by now knows where we were moored while this happened. And few are the ones who cannot repeat our plan word for word even now, ten years after the events. And I tell you Sally, if I could change now what we did that day so that you and the world would have no knowledge of our captain’s fate then I would do so. But I have no such power and it is perhaps well that there remains in the kingdom one story that is known to all, known to be true and will be a warning to those hungry for such pleasure as our Captain wished for.

You all know what we did, but I will tell it again, so you caqn hear it from one who was there. And for Sally, as she says this is her favourite tale of all time.

When the captain dropped off to sleep that night, snoring like a bear from drinking two bottles of rum, we slipped a sack over his head and shackled his hands and feet. It wasn’t that we wanted to harm him, we loved our Captain Rolf, he had steered us through battle and helped us pillage a hundred merchant ships. But now, after years of rape and murder on the high seas, his brain was addled by syphilis and sea air. Happens to the best of pirates…

We carried him gently above deck and tied him to the mast. The idea was for him to enjoy the view, feel free, but not force the rest of us to pursue his foolish dreams of mer-brides and coconut lust. We never dreamed he’d be able to escape from our shackles, still less that his mind was sharp enough to come up with some plans of his own. But such is your perspective at sea – we no land and moorings to ground thought on, things can spiral out of control sometimes. And such was what happened here.

The captain knew, in his heart of hearts I’m sure, that man and mermaid were never to make a happy couple. Besides lacking the conventional leg-spreading techniques of the ordinary wenches we dragged aboard, there is also more than a little evil in souls of merwomen. Descended from the Sirens who tempted many weaker men than Odysseus to their deaths, the mermaids of the island had long preyed on the lusts of men (as women are wont to do) and manipulated them to their own ends. So we devised our plan, calculating the best manner in which to teach the evil mermaids the lesson they so deserved, and snap the Captain out of his addled grumblings while we did so. There were benefits for us too of course; no such plan is without joy for its founder. It had been a long time at sea, as has been said, and the meagre shoals of fish our nets managed to catch never left a full-blooded pirate entirely satiated. No, today our eyes were on a much bigger catch, and by evening it would be a ship of full-bellied pirates too.

Back then none of us actually knew what mermaids ate, nor whether their everyday concerns were with the holy or the worldly, with the ocean or with the island itself. But as our boat neared the shore, as we rowed out from our ship to see what was actually to be found on the island, we found for the first time...

Ha! Sally, your tail even now twitches as I retell the story of our great discovery.

Whenever anyone asks the taste of an unusual meat – of dog from the street stalls of China or the deep-fried spiders peddled by the Cambodian hawkers – well, there is always the desire to say it tastes like chicken. But there was no mistaking the acrid stench wafting towards us as that of an unfortunate plucked fowl. No, this was something somewhat familiar, and simultaneously unknown and deeply, inexplicably horrifying. Like the beach undertones, beneath the coconut lotion, salty water and licked ice cream, that almost perceptible notion of slowly roasting flesh. I stared up the mountainside to see a flock of silver tails glistening and flicking around a tall plume of smoke.

Dare we approach with our woolly red-bearded pirate bellies grumbling? We knew it was wrong. Even Rolf let out a whimper of disappointment to find the mermaid land was less of a brothel and more of a cannibalistic sort of resort. Flesh. Manflesh. The spoils of all the silly blond sailors lured onto the rocks by the sight of a mermaid bait. Each mermaid had her flirtatious hook – be it seductive hair combing, singing fetching sea-tunes, or simply swimming alongside the ships of lonely men…it worked almost all the time by the sight of it. Roasting Norwegian and Spanish sailor flesh the amphibious girls were busy preparing their nightly feast. Sailor is hardly a pirate’s favourite dish – as much as you hear about them being blood-thirsty and rough, there are still some thresholds. Even for a raunchy pirate.

Friday, February 18, 2005

week 2 (all) - sticky ice-lollies

There was a pleasure in removing the frozen paper bag on the new ice-lolly which was more than anticipation of taste thrills. It was the savouring of the prospect of seeing the unique lemon-yellow gaudiness of the ice as it progressed from brightness to subtle transparency during the sucking process. As a child she had always spent hours mulling over the flavours and colours painted on the van, anticipating the sticky technicolour goodness trickling down her chin and dress. Now she seldom gave herself the liberty of taking such pleasures, but the doorbell music cutting through the summer day begged for it: For Old Times’ Sake. The deliciously chilling taste of nostalgia and the memories of smacked fingers for coming home sticky.

As she waited in line for the ice cream man to concoct his fourteen chocolate sundaes for all the neighbourhood children, she became five again. Losing all track of her advanced age and expected level of decorum, she oohed and ahhed her way around the endless selection. Tough to decide between the green martian whizee … or the traffic light zooom! … or maybe the blue striped astro-pop... Mr Whippy had lost all patience when she played a quick game of eeny-meeny to pick her final selection and was finally handed the prized astro-pop

As he sped away, she sat down on the step and peeled back the paper wrapper. It glistened in the daylight like a dozen lewd suggestions waiting for her tongue; enticing and sublime. The colours! Such brilliant reds and blues had long since vanished from her palate – for shame! Years of yellow no. 5 deprivation erupted into a happy reunion of slurping and blue sludge trickling down her chin onto her white dress. Only minutes later when a neighbour passed and sniffed in disgust did she return back to earth and realise that the sticky paper was still clutched in her hand, there was a blue ring around her mouth, and she was absentmindedly licking the barren wooden stick.

week 3: piece 3 (underwater)

The jewel centre of interest is the eye within the eye. Nothing of interest but what is perceived in the instant open-eyed. Watching the world, not as mere spectator, but as the ripples in the water.

These were the rules, and in the heat of the moment she was bound in prescription to their norms. She stood up, stepped forward, and began…

Her fingers shone blue in the light, tentative and soft, yet astutely aware of distance growing slowly smaller till all that separated them was a veil of silent absurdity that promised to fall as soon as he started to move towards her. Saying nothing, but beckoning the way towards the sea. She couldn’t see the sea, but knew it was there the same way we know morning will come and how to run.

Together they moved towards the water. It was where it all began and where her instinct told her she needed to return. No worry for breathing as the water rose to her hips, surrounded her throat and swallowed her head. She was home. And surprised to find she could somehow breathe.

A long time passed as they swam on in the silken waters. And so, by utter participation in the new-found frame of perception, she began to get used to this man. Where before mistrust and fear might have dominated, now the liquid of the sea was her master, and the once strange guide her friend and ally. They swam on and still the water provided for their needs.

Slowly she began to be aware of sounds and more aware of him, mouthing something and turning to her. These new sounds after a while started to make sense. But was it sense she wanted to hear?

“We are all alone!”

Suddenly she realised the situation she had emerged into. This was no longer her turf – the control had been tugged away as he tempted and baited her further and further until… There was no land in any direction, as least as far as vision went, and the womblike comfort she had felt bobbing in the ocean was sharply giving way to a rippling fear, lapping over her legs and torso. Her instincts were contradicting one another, one voice of calm solitude and safety uttering “it’s ok, it’s right,” another gibbering and incoherent after the shock of his words emanating through the water. He turned to her, swaying unsteadily in the current.

“So…about those rules…”

And it came to her now – the meaning of the rules – in one overwhelming, grasping splurge of understanding. To put words to it! Painfully her mind reformed and found them – clumsy things, yet… “the observer detached must re-attach”… “to participate” … “to clutch vigorously to that which is perceived” … “to change by force of will the very body of the ocean’s ripples…”

And deep down in her mind the awakening curiosity about what this would mean for being alone…the…being…alone. Was there hope now that they would, in fact, through their shared control of one another … (so clumsy these thought words) … be alone together … be two bodies in the ocean swimming body.

They swan on, the sea bed fell away, he/she/one gazed the dread abyss. Did they hold hand/hands? Did they need to swim on? Or had they been where they needed to go all along? The notion of travel began to unravel. All our lives we spend in perpetual motion. Seeking. Walking. Swimming. Rushing off to conquer, when really, all that we must do is learn stillness. In rest there is more than motion, the great surrounding sea of the moment teems with every possibility for the future and knowing of the past. In grasping the enormity, we begin to breathe again. If we are ready. Some are not. Some suffocate and drown when faced with this choice.

Perhaps that is why he came. Not clear what he was, but (he) came to show her that she could let go. That in stillness and trust was the only way to the surface. She forgot the tightness in her chest and focussed on the light at the surface, which was getting brighter and closer each moment.

week 3 (all): piece 2 (the sheik)

The jewel centre of interest is the eye within the eye. An eye for an eye, stolen and poken like the rare blue diamond that disappeared from beneath the Sheikh’s pillow. He vowed to reclaim the hard carbon heart and sent forth his men with swords to comb the desetr for the brave thief.

“Bring him alive. I want to look in his eyes and see the fear as he breathes his last.”

The jewel, his interest, was deeper than the diamond, the ruby, or indeed the pearls of Madagascar, still nestling deep in my pocket as I went forth to procure a scapegoat from Inmakesh on my Sheikh’s behalf.

With my brothers in front, I galloped west, convinced at last that I would escape. You remember, I hope, how it feels when someone really makes your skin crawl. The Sheikh was one such a man, about as comfortable as a mattress stuffed with high heels, and almost as useless. Already I resented the arduous journey in the baking afternoon sun, but denying the Sheikh’s wishes was tantamount to tying the noose round your neck yourself. In time the sight of the camp behind faded into some hallucinogenic mirage, and I concentrated on the view ahead, unaware of the quiet thunder of hooves gathering in the distance. This useless man’s jewel itself was to be pauid for with the rubies, the pearls of Madagascar. I was to return his jewel with the utmost care, not a nail was to be broken or a wound to ruin her perfect olive skin. She was perfection itself, he told me. His bride to be. her hand slipped so quietly from under his pillow the night she left he didn’t even notice she was gone till morning. She didn’t think anyone could know where she was but I knew her jewel well. As we made our descent from the mountain I saw her by the lake.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“I just could bear another moment in his company. His breath smells of fish, he’s always pushig me around and I feel it’s time you declare our love to him. Challenge him to a swordfight. He will have no option but to accept. I have faith in you!”

What was she thinking? As much as my chest swelled with pride that she trusted my skills in Arab sword duels, I myself didn’t relish the thought of challenging the Sheikh. Could I trust him to be honourable? Would he cut off my balls in the night? One look at her black hair shining in the desert moonlight and I slung her on the back of a camel and headed back to meet my doom. Twas time to challenge the creepy Sheikh.

There was no question, of course, that in any fair fight my master swordsmanship could shred the Sheikh with ease. But he was not a man who would give up a prize so fine as the lady without resorting to more sinister measures. I had seen the results of his temper more than once. His last great soldier died a most terrible death when the Sheikh had him brutally strangled with the silken robes of his lover. He had failed to attend for duty when ordered, due to his preoccupation with somewhat less official attendances. The Sheikh had a vengeful, bitter nature, particularly when it came to love, due in no small part to his own unfortunate history. I dared not return with only my sword and courage to meet his wrath. Fortunately, my love had a plan.

She repeated; “I have faith in you. Challenge him!” With my love behind the small of my back I knew comfort, and I realised how my challenge might work. She outlined the way I was to behave. I was to be masked as a Nahood – one of the initiates. As one who loved me, yet who had not granted me herself in corporal consummation of that love – Lowhen was integral to my task. She also knew from her own father many of the words of power in deep Goldow – the dark language of trance – a sort of Ur-tongue of the Shaman. The challenge would take place as a fight on a deeper level altogether than that of temper or viciousness. There would be words and meeting of hands – two men in combat. But the end would be swift. Yet I must be strong and prepare myself for the terrible pain I must yet bear.

week 3 (all): piece 1(the pirates)

“The jewel centre of interest is the eye within the eye”.

“Aye Captain, I quite agree sir”.

Well, I had to. The Captain, as we called him still in those days, had a grim penchant for poking miscreants in their optical orbs with his stick. And believe me Sally, a miscreant in the Captain’s world was anyone who disagreed with him. So, as usual, I bowed to his generalisations and went off to continue the endless process of brining the log-book up to date.

It had been an eventful few days, there was no disputing, and the usual meticulous bookkeeping had fallen foul to the think-I-care air of the Captain himself. Busying himself with various trawls (treasure and otherwise), all that had been heard from beneath deck in the days since our successful ransacking was the odd yelp and groan, warning us not to press the matter too thoroughly.

He emerged extravagantly and big, his arms thrown wide, his voice bellowing over the wind, a smiling discovery on his lips. He slapped me hard on the back and chuckled to himself.

“Aye!” he said loudly, knowingly. “Tell everyone I’ve something very important to tell them at dinner.”

Then he turned on his heel and returned to his hiding place, moving his stiff body like a badger.

He was waiting at the dinner table to greet the very first arrival, a hint of murder and a hint of wit in his big black eyes. None of us had any idea what he was up to. We filed in, pulled up a chair, and sat quietly sipping our ale until he decided to speak.

“Men, we’re going ashore. In two days time we’re due to arrive at an island never before visited by men. It’s not treasure we’re after, but wives. Aye. Beautiful mermaid booty! I reckon it’s high time Captain Rolf sees some action!”

No one protested. We were all on the boat for different reasons – some treasure, some love of violence, some fleeing jail – but none in search of mermaid sex. Something had to be done. We all knew it. But we would wait until he was asleep to hatch a plan.

The whole country by now knows where we were moored while this happened. And few are the ones who cannot repeat our plan word for word even now, ten years after the events. And I tell you Sally, if I could change now what we did that day so that you and the world would have no knowledge of our captain’s fate then I would do so. But I have no such power and it is perhaps well that there remains in the kingdom one story that is known to all, known to be true and will be a warning to those hungry for such pleasure as our Captain wished for.

You all know what we did, but I will tell it again, so you caqn hear it from one who was there. And for Sally, as she says this is her favourite tale of all time.

When the captain dropped off to sleep that night, snoring like a bear from drinking two bottles of rum, we slipped a sack over his head and shackled his hands and feet. It wasn’t that we wanted to harm him, we loved our Captain Rolf, he had steered us through battle and helped us pillage a hundred merchant ships. But now, after years of rape and murder on the high seas, his brain was addled by syphilis and sea air. Happens to the best of pirates…

We carried him gently above deck and tied him to the mast. The idea was for him to enjoy the view, feel free, but not force the rest of us to pursue his foolish dreams of mer-brides and coconut lust. We never dreamed he’d be able to escape from our shackles, still less that his mind was sharp enough to come up with some plans of his own. But such is your perspective at sea – we no land and moorings to ground thought on, things can spiral out of control sometimes. And such was what happened here.

The captain knew, in his heart of hearts I’m sure, that man and mermaid were never to make a happy couple. Besides lacking the conventional leg-spreading techniques of the ordinary wenches we dragged aboard, there is also more than a little evil in souls of merwomen. Descended from the Sirens who tempted many weaker men than Odysseus to their deaths, the mermaids of the island had long preyed on the lusts of men (as women are wont to do) and manipulated them to their own ends. So we devised our plan, calculating the best manner in which to teach the evil mermaids the lesson they so deserved, and snap the Captain out of his addled grumblings while we did so. There were benefits for us too of course; no such plan is without joy for its founder. It had been a long time at sea, as has been said, and the meagre shoals of fish our nets managed to catch never left a full-blooded pirate entirely satiated. No, today our eyes were on a much bigger catch, and by evening it would be a ship of full-bellied pirates too.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

week 2 (all): in the kitchen

It was something I ate in Grandma's kitchen: lemony sweet, the texture of butter.
My new adventure in the garden had moved inside the realm of quiet.
While adults slept in the afternoon while I stole through rooms, my heart aflutter.
I found a treat on the table to be incorporated in my diet.

Today as I breathe I wonder more,
is it to sugary for me now?
This melting goodness I stole before,
which Atkins or low-carb could never allow.

The repression of Eden is heavy in weight.
All those calories left unconsumed,
I'm eternally waiting at a closed gate.
Now for women, food will always be ruin.

Monday, February 14, 2005

feb.14th: jane and cam (duets)

part 1.
Fahls. I like this word. I thought it was a word at least. I thought it was the title of a book by my feet. Sad sad blurry eyed me. Fahls was not the word. In fact it says fables. But no matter, I have created a nice new word.

Fahls, what do you think is a Fahls? It is a German thing to be sure. The most popular beer in Leipzig? Or perhaps the hottest fishing resort south in southern Haufland (that is due south of Auschinschloss). The hills there are alive with the sound of Fahl.

part 2.
Falls.
I like this word.
I thought it was the title of a book by my feet,
in fact it is a fable.
falls.
what is a fall?
a german thing in leipzig,
with fishes in oceans.
sploosh.
Oh to a love lamp love tinged phlegm asexual undulations magnified withdrawn gape eyed piles.

EXTRAS:
Oh to a love lamp
love tinged phlegm
asexual undulations magnified
withdrawn
gape eyed piles.

Oh I is escort working 75 pound coat-rack wooden handbags
You can tell pink cheeks are over cooked with pepper neighbours

Let’s camel holiday hints, face it hottie. India is gosh, inflamed and spurned and burned like dubai. Ahh that boat dates the drama dairy.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

week 2 (all) - suggestions of easter

Suggestions of Easter:
Beach boys, ukuleles and feathery hair. Hours of the day eked out to show sunshine to the cigarettes and puke in the Grassmarket.
The grass warmed and uncrumpled itself from the mud beneath the city trees.
Braving constant beatings of frisky urinating springtime mutts. Frisbees sailed out fourth floor windows to scatter pigeons cooing barbara ann to the street sweepers. Stretched white cloths on the four daffodil bibs gracing the fenced-in park area. Dare the bunny hop across the path of the number 22 to deliver chocolates to the good children of Pilrig?
Do I know them all yet? They were my own sweet things
Which I have made and loved so true.
Set free, they do now what they will
And I stay here and wait for you.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

week 1 camille: version2

The night smelt grubby. The neighbourhood throbbed with love and luciousness.

Slit-eyed partygoers stumbled towards the kebab shop. They flocked to the blue neon lights like pissed party moths.

It was three am and the night now belonged to serenading, surprising, and feeling furry pianos.

Serenading: In one flat, life was quite the opposite. Ali went to bed each night at eight pm and rose each morning at eight am. There was no cider, regret or bile to be had here... the door to the party had long since been closed. Ali didn't want to know about life outside her regulated sphere of accounting, running and phone calls to her family. She had given up hope for things turning out differently, as you do when you settle into a groove. You forget how good life can be. You forget that you are not enjoying life, you are merely preoccupied. Busy.

Until that night, when a rock hit her window at 3:05am. She sat up with a start. Terrified.

As a woman living alone, this was the scenario she'd always been terrified of. One too many Hollywood movies about a man in night vision goggles lurking in the closet or forcing his way into her flat, pretending to be the dishwasher repairman.

On her bedside table were the usual protective objects. One kitchen knife (it was a paring knife. Usually she aimed to have a sharper, more menacing carving knife, but had needed it to slice up a roast just Weds.--shit!). A mobile phone: to phone 999 in the event the devil himself reared his head. 999 was on her speed dial, as was the British Association of Chartered Accountants (she would one day be Treasurer!), and her sister Carrie. There was also a golf club propped against the nighstand. She imagined herself wielding it like Uma Thurman in a deadly Kill Bill fashion if need be. None of these objects would prevent the burglary that was to happen in two weeks time. But they made her feel safer.

In her sleepy panic, Ali grabbed the object closest to her--the paring knife--and peeled back the curtains just enough to look outside. In the bushes below her third-floor flat, something was moving. A figure. A man. Looking right up at her window.

Eek! She dove behind the curtains. Had he seen her?

A low moan swelled into what became a recognisable tune. A song? Muffled song erupted from the bushes, it was the second verse of Heartbreak Hotel.

Surprising: Trailing along the puke-soaked pavement. Deja vu.

Feeling the furry piano: In the park, against a tree, a couple kissed in the shadows. They had worked together for years. Cultivating a smouldering keyboard crush since he brushed her thigh during a funding meeting.

She was married. He was a Contractor. Both were more interested in the moment's passionate snog than impending consequence. For him, it would mean missing his last train to Fife, a fifty pound taxi fare and a hangover so crushingly strong, he would throw up on a small child at tomorrow's Heineken Cup rugby. The father of the child would punch him squarely in the nose, forever marring his handsome profile with a crooked hook nose. He would become a chronic snorer and lose several serious girlfriends to the sleep incompatibility. There is nothing less sexy than a chainsaw snore.

His mother forced him to take piano lessons since age seven. How he hated the lessons. The piano teacher was a closet fag who harped relentlessly about having limber wrists and light fingers. Nick's true terror was that he would develop musical talent (to be ridiculed for sure) or even worse, a faggy wrist technique. So he did his best to fumble along, practice enough to get by. Had he practiced more, he might have discovered he was musically gifted. But it was not meant to be. The one true gift that years of piano coaching gave to Nick was nimble fingers. Tonite Helen was very pleased with nimble-fingered Nick, she never imagined that he in his head, he compared the moment to playing a furry piano.

The world beyond 3:05am did not yet exist.

week 1 Jane: peroxide and god

The nun sat on the train, writing idly in a white leather-bound notebook. She seemed incongruous, like a ladybird on a telephone receiver or tiramisu in March. Leather notebooks are the guise of journalists reverberating their seedy thoughts and sleazy tales, sordid like hustlers on wet pavements or razorblade self-punishment. She was blonde too, which clashed with her ironed wimple and catholic beliefs. Peroxide and God make peculiar bedfellows, and the shimmering curls which poked free echoed her short hold on orthodox religious dictates.

...tbc