What’s going on here then?
Good question… I’m afraid I’ve never been altogether sure! Broadly speaking, I’m not one for standing still and change isn’t something that particularly bothers me – consequently I feel that my blog should reflect that and be capable of accommodating a degree of diversity and change.
This page is an attempt to capture that feeling. It’s very much experimental and isn’t terribly structured or formulaic I’m afraid – think of it as a sort of scrapbook. You will find it a little grubby and unwashed behind the ears at times.
What goes here? – Stuff that doesn’t fit so easily within the main bloggage… writing that’s unrelated to sl or, for that matter, rl – perhaps a touch of rampant fiction. Short stories, maybe even just random notes intended to provoke the imagination – often a little more edgy or darker than what you might be used to from the everyday sweet and innocent me.
The truth is, this is an unstructured and evolving space that will change on a whim, and if you like it, hate it or want to add your own critique, thoughts or observations, please feel free.
Only the most recent addition will feature on this page. To see previous works, please visit the Alt. life: Archive page.
31st October 2018
He sighed, easing his body into a more comfortable position to enjoy the warmth of the autumn sun. There was birdsong in the air and, for a brief moment, his park bench could have been the leftover vestige of a forgotten paradise. Although, he mused wrily, it wasn’t his bench at all – according to the tarnished brass plaque screwed to the wooden slat against which he reposed, his seat had been presented to the park in loving memory of Lee, ‘who loved this park and spent many happy hours here’.
He smiled as he read it; good old Lee; he’d have been pleased to know that people were still enjoying the view that he’d once loved so much. A shame really, that it wouldn’t be for much longer…
He put the thought out of his mind. He had much to do, and there would be time enough for such things later. He wasn’t about to waste the last day of his life, well the last day for everyone, to be more accurate, in worrying about what was to come later. In the meantime, he had plans to grab a coffee and do a leisurely crossword at his favourite cafe, maybe even indulge in a slice of their lemon tart – why not? Even with that tempting lure in his thoughts, he was finding it hard to leave his spot on the bench, the sun’s soporific effect making him want to linger. It was a pleasure that he was often denied – the simple act of taking a stroll in the park, on his own, without being bothered by other people around him or the pressing demands of his everyday life, was one that he was able to indulge far less frequently than he would have liked. Even grabbing a coffee and Italian style dessert could prove far more problematic than you might have thought in these difficult times… But he hadn’t got to where he was today without pulling a few strings, and it was surprising what could be arranged, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Dammit! There was reality again, creeping into his consciousness and distrurbing his sunny reverie. Annoyed with himself, he sighed and forced himself to his feet; not for the first time, he reflected on his need to lose some weight – not that it mattered any more, considering today would be the day the world ended… And there it was again – no matter how hard he tried to put it our of his mind, it kept forcing itself back into his thoughts. He breathed deeply, clearing his mind and focussing on the present, rather than the far-too-near to contemplate, dismal future.
The cafe was – as expected – completely devoid of other customers, and the waitress fawned around him as if he was the most important person in the world, which in a way, he was. The coffee was average, but almost certainly the very best that was available and, if anything, the tart was a little bland, but again he was sure that nothing better could be found locally, no matter how much you were able to pay – and he could certainly afford the best.
As we watch him, sipping thoughtfully on his coffee, we might pause a moment to wonder how this enigmatic gentleman could possibly have come to the knowledge he held. To look at, he was nothing special – somewhat portly, unfashionably clothed and with a look of almost constant surprise, mixed with confusion… Or perhaps the expression of someone suffering from chronic flatulence. He looked like a grown up version of the fat kid at school, perpetually worried that the teachers might find his stash of chocolate, or his mother’s note might fail to excuse him from football – that was the impression he gave, but in much the same way that same fat kid would often be the class bully, you’d also get the feeling he’d not think twice about pulling your hair and stealing your lunch money. Perhaps that’s why the waitress was so careful not to spill his coffee, and the barrista looked on with barely concealed nervousness.
So, this was the man who believed that today the world would end.
It would be easy to dismiss this as nothing of concern, but the self-assurance and certainty he appeared to carry was disconcerting. What knowledge could he possibly have, denied to the rest of us?
The simple fact of the matter was that, unlikely or not, our friend in the cafe was utterly convinced that the fate of the world lay entirely in his hands, and thanks to his rampant paranoia, coupled with a disturbed night’s sleep and waking this morning with a bad headache, he’d come to the conclusion that life wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and that it was probably time to put an end to it all. Typically, like most bullies, he was too selfish to show any restraint or concern for others, and so he’d decided that if today was going to be his last day on earth, then everyone else could damn well say goodbye to their lives as well!
Of course, it was a meaningless threat – no one person can wish that sort of doom upon the world, especially our overweight, uninspiring, coffee swigging friend in his low end eaterie, in some nameless backwater location in the middle of nowhere.
After all, how could he possibly make good on his promise? Declare his hidden superpowers and blast the world with laser eyes? Individually mail every person on the planet a nerve agent impregnated death threat? Create a new suicide cult and recruit every man, woman and child as followers? Of course not… It’s just fantasy and foolish talk, and I think we can leave our enigmatic chap to his lemon tart, without worrying too much about his global death wish.
Maybe he did mean to end it all for himself, but even then the rest of the world would carry on turning without him; few would notice and few would care – just another death among billions.
But we’re not without compassion, are we? So perhaps we should accompany him on his final journey and not simply leave him to die completely lonely? That would be the right thing to do. So let’s continue, observing from afar as he treads the path of his final journey.
He chews thoughtfully on a forkfull of tart, frowning slightly at a particularly difficult crossword clue…. ‘MAD! The end of an agreeable family unit (6,7,11)’, then smiles as the answer comes to him. He’s pleased, almost as if the final piece of his own mental puzzle has satisfyingly fallen into place. As if that moment signalled his next steps, he brushes a few stray crumbs from his jacket, stands, and without a backwards glance at the nervous cafe staff, walks out of the door and back into the now failing October sunlight.
He seems nervous his walk home, constantly glancing over his shoulder, as if expecting to see shady characters lurking behind the sparse hedgerows that lined the bare fields. He shuffles, rather than strolls and you can tell that he is unused to walking anywhere – this is a man to whom the countryside seems unfamiliar and who is uncomfortable when alone; but, out of necessity, his predetermined plan is not one for sharing with others.
As he walks, we peer ahead, searching for clues that will tell us what may happen next… A previously concealed rope, tied i in the classic hangman’s noose, perhaps? A hidden jerrycan of kerosene? Or simply a convenient bridge, railway crossing or cliff edge? There’s nothing obvious however, just a nondescript building in the distance and, midway, what appears to be some sort of workshop or large shed – concrete construction, with a light blue painted tin roof and a couple of small windows, blinds drawn, giving no clue as to its purpose. It it’s towards this building that he is heading, now purposefully now.
The door is bolted shut, a heavy duty padlock securing the hasp. His chubby fingers struggle a little to fumble with the key, but the lock is soon dealt with, and he enters the building, closing the door carefully behind him.
Inside, it is dark. Rather than open the blinds, he flicks a switch, and fluorescent tubes stutter into life, filling the room with their clinical light. Apart from a pedestal chair and a metal desk, upon which sits a somewhat dated computer, with an old style CRT display. He sits uncomfortably upon the chair and starts up the computer.
As we peer over his shoulder, we begin to understand just what it is that he possesses that we do not. We grasp the reason for his calm assurance that today will be his last day on earth, and the end of life as we know it, and we see exactly how he intends to wreak disaster upon the planet.
He is writing an email.
Such an everyday occurrence that any one of us might g give ourselves doing, any number of times a day, and what’s the worst that could possibly happen? Maybe, thanks to an indiscreet disclosure, an unintended recipient or even a misinterpreted intent, something could go terribly wrong. Relationship breakdowns, commercial disasters, maybe even the occasional multiple death… All these have occurred, but in the greater scale of things, they’re really not that significant.
It all depends on the content though, and who you are, and who the intended recipient might be.
And in this case, those things hold great significance.
He is struggling. Painstakingly copying from a carefully hand written note he has pulled from his jacket pocket – a translation, since the edge he is writing is not in his mother tongue. The keyboard is conspiring against him too: The QWERTY layout is unfamiliar, and confusing, but he is nothing if not determined to see his two through to the bitter end, and bitter it will certainly be…
I have planned this majestic communication now for many timeless weeks.
Your posturing and mockery of this great Democratic Republic and off my noble and beloved self have reached unparalleled bounds of audacity and disconcertment. You are purporting great friendship and brotherhood in your public words, even we are lovers, yet in other contextual circumstances, I know that you plot against me and the beautiful Republic in your heart and sew malcontentness.
You are a cad and a disparager who’s insolence knows no curtilage, a risible buffoon in the essence of evil.
You are not my friend. You have never been my friend. And you never shall will have been my friend of the future.
You are my enemy.
Upon your receiving this proclamation, it will already be beyond late. I have already issued the command for launching of the terrible thunder of fiery death to rain ample destruction upon your good self and you’re pitiful nation and also upon all other nations who stand in support of the great evil and pursue trade between it thereof.
I know you will in turn retaliate, and though your pitieous reprisal and that of the associated evil nations that stand with you are mere intrusions, I have little doubt this world is at an end.
I have little fear.
This Great and Beloved Eternal Leader cannot be held by the mortality of death, and will rise again like a vulture from the ashes of the burned world to rule over a True and Nobel Eternal Democratic Peoples Republic. I will prevail?
Remember this as you burn in dire and permanent agonies. I am your enemy, and you are mine.
I hope you die with much acrimony.
Kim Jong Un
The fat man, wearing the unfashionable suit pressed ‘send’ . Leaned back in his chair, and prepared for the end of the world.