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Have I ever spoken to you of the murder of Shady Slim MacAuley and his adenoidal lover, Barabel? I thought not. Few know of it and perhaps it’s best that way. I only tell it now, not because of the interesting savagery and graphically rumpty-tumpty sex-scenes that litter its sordid story, but because it is a tale we would all do well to heed, heedless of the ironing or neighbor’s ass-coveting or personal-grooming or whatever it is you people do on a Sunday. It’s a tale as old as time itself, the theme is universal and all hearts know it. It is a tale of love. In this case unrequited. Although some requiting did happen behind the chip-shop. A tale then of quite unrequited love. But not wholly. Somewhat. It depends on what you mean by the word “is.”
Actually changed my mind. Not going to tell you that. I know you lot and your hearts couldn’t take the brutality, the violence, the sheer pornographic sex. I’m telling you instead what happened the week before and just around the corner.
FOREWORD: The takes place in the sleepy little hiccup of a town known as Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
A woman was dead. Dead as a doornail in the street. That’s all Inspector “Big Ollack” Jamieson knew. The only witnesses to the crime were a staggering seagull with a Monster Munch packet stuck over its head, and the woman in front of him in the interview room now. She was one Mrs. Effie MacLeod of Francis Street, Stornoway, the well-nourished cleaning-lady for the Free Presbyterian manse, known knitter and secret devourer of moor mushrooms and Mills & Boon paperbacks. The Inspector massaged the outer ring of his massive belly with tender affection and leaned back in his dangerously creaking chair. He fixed the woman with a gentle camel-like eye.
“So let’s go over this one more time, Effie.”
Effie adjusted her bosom importantly and told her tale with delighted horror as the Inspector’s mind wandered, trying to picture everything as it had happened…
Effie had been the only passenger in from Tolsta on the bus that grey morning at 5.30. The bus-driver, an habitual drunk, had seen nothing, but Effie though plump was a bird-like, alert woman with nerves more highly-tweaked than a crack-addicted rabbit with a history of near-stew experiences, and she had been peering keenly out of the window as the old bus wheezed through the town. Standing and craning her neck to get a look at the latest mainland biannac fashions in the large windows of Murdo Maclean’s Haberdashery and Sundries, she saw instead something she would never forget til her dying day.
What Effie had seen was a woman, blonde, beautiful and clearly in the full flower of youth, and who was staring right at her like an astonished child as two black-gloved hands from somewhere behind enclosed her slender neck and squeezed the life from her, purpley. Effie screamed but the bus driver didn’t hear her over the radio. Thus it was that the dying woman’s last view on this earth was of a mauve-hatted woman, her eyes perfect rounds of alarm, her mouth a quivering amoeba of horror, cross-hatched with a portcullis of stringy saliva, clinging with her gloves to the bus window like some demented, mute Garfield.
Effie watched her fall, she saw life leave her, and as she fell she saw a face behind, a face she knew very, very well, a face distorted with pale, sweat hate and a face looking right back at her…
How had the dead woman got from the window display to the street? Did it have anything to do with the giant hole in the window and all the glass shattered on the pavement surrounding the body? The inspector mused on these matters, steepling his fat fingers into a sausage-roofed cathedral. Effie twittered on. Then she said a name. The Inspector sat up.
“Yes!” squeaked Effie. “I saw her! It was Dollag-Mary MacLean.”
It wasn’t long before the murdered woman was identified as Bonnie MacNorks, the beautiful, wasp-waisted apprentice haberdasher in Murdo MacLeans. Dollac-Mary was Bonnie’s co-apprentice haberdasher, grand-daughter of Murdo MacLEan himself, certified lunatic and sworn enemy of Bonnie.
Dollac-Mary was not beautiful. Seldom were the words “ a fuschia pear” more aptly descriptive of a nose than of hers, and about her the unmistakable odour of carrots and germolene clung like the mists of the River Styx. A grouser and grimacer, she was close to being fired by her own mother for insolence, insubordination and the documented attempted eye-poisoning of Bonnie by means of doctored mascara. Dollac-Mary had spent a short time on the mainland “resting” after that, but all agreed she was much better now.
But Dollac-Mary was not much better now. In fact, she was feeling a good deal worse. She had heard, as the whole town had, the whispers that Bonnie, and not she, was to be made head haberdasher and that she, poor warty Dollac was to be moved quietly to Sundries at the back of the shop, to be forgotten about. Everybody knew the real power was in haberdashery and if there’s one thing Dollag wanted it was power. If she couldn’t have beauty , she would have power. But now there was even talk of the air-head Bonnie being groomed for management! She couldn’t say anything in case she was sent back to “rest” on the mainland, a despicable place full of strange people and pleasant weather.
Instead, Dollag’s days were spent in silent, carrot-scented seething at sweet-tempered, cooing Bonnie, whose rose-kissed cheeks all of Stornoway loved and petted and whose sweet temper everybody urged her to emulate. Who was this Bonnie to take her rightful place, anyway? It was all wrong! Tourists coming to the island expected the shops all to be kept by hunched rustics preferably with club feet or startling underbites, but at the very least warts. Dollac, stroked the hair on her chin ones with pride. This was what brought money in. Tourists to the Hebrides spent more money out of pity and embarrassment in the face of such quaint genetic misfortune. It was traditional. It was expected.
But MacLeans was losing money from Bonnie. Dollac had seen the books and she knew where the losses were coming from. It wasn’t the recession, like her fool grandpa said. It wasn’t that people were buying more from catalogs now. It was Bonnie. All she ever did was look like Eden’s first flower and dazzle people stupid. Especially the tourist husbands whose less charmed tourist wives then got them out of there quicker than ketchup-covered toes out of a piranha pool, often having not spent a brass farthing in the shop. Deep, deep in the deranged labyrinth of Dollag-Mary’s brain, a plot was forming. A plot with no rhyme nor reason, an insane plot with just one goal. Gentle, beloved Bonnie must die.
Dollag had texted her to come in early that morning for pin-sorting duties. Poor, dumb, beautiful Bonnie had gone, even at the unGodly hour of 5am. A gentle, cow-brained girl, she felt sorry for Dollag and puzzled by the fact that she had tried to poison her through the eyes. Dollag Mary, slipping on a pair of black gentleman’s strolling gloves beneath the counter, had told Bonnie to check the window display for errant pins. Bonnie obligingly floated off. Then, coldly and piggily Dollag came up behind this innocent dream of Nature and murdered her awkwardly. She was a lot smaller than Bonnie and although vicious by nature, she was not a natural assassin. The strangling had already being going on some 20 minutes by the time Effie’s bus came along, Dollac madly pushing and pulling Bonnie’s neck backward and forward like they were two stalks of wheat in a stiff breeze. Or an orchid and a dandelion anyway. It went on a further 7 whole minutes after the bus had passed, but Effie was too busy having the incoherent vapors and reeling round the bus-park in bug-eyed shock to alert the police til nearly a quarter to seven, at which point Bonnie’s beautiful carcass had already been tripped over by Blind Sandy MacKenzie and peed on by Plectrum, his labrador. And then discovered.
Dollag came quietly when the Inspector took her into the station for questioning. She was pale, so they said. Nobody could have predicted what she did next. Nobody could have predicted how she scanned, then lunged into the gathering crowd with a howl of rage and clamped her underbite around poor Effie’s throat. And nobody, nobody could have guessed that over the way, just behind The Gassy Troll – a low sort of hostelry – were two lovers making hot, rumpy-pumpy love. Lovers by the name of Shady Slim MacAuley and Barabel. Oh yes, boys and girls, oh yes. Barabel, the F.P. minister’s daughter who, left motherless by a freak accident when an Chinese missile blew off course right onto where her mother was picking begonias in the manse garden, had been practically brought up by the same woman now being savaged by Dollag-Mary in the street! Barabel who now heard the screams of her surrogate mother, and, with a sudden jerk that left Shady screaming and hopping about clutching himself in an agony he had heretofore never imagined, instinctively ran toward the noise, yanking up her jeggings as she went.
Red-flecked spittle was flying, as she reached the frenzied scene. The crowd was standing back shocked, some on their knees praying to God to let it stop, some taking harmless bets as to the outcome, and the police were both consulting their handbooks to see what the procedure was when a suspect attempted to bite the head off a civilian. Barabel, a quick thinker, ran into MacLeans and grabbed from Sundries the first weapon she could see, a serrated grapefruit spoon on sale.
Displays of buttons and ribbons flew as she barrelled out of the shop and grabbed the hair of the woman who was murdering her dearest Effie. It took a long time for the grapefruit spoon to saw through to Dollag-Mary’s windpipe. The roar of the crowd’s ardent praying was now so great that nobody heard her last gurgles as her windpipe filled with blood and all life for her ceased, as if the water of existence were running down a particularly noisy drain.
Suddenly, springing into action, Inspector “Big Ollack” slammed shut his handbook, stood up straight and prepared himself for the charge. What happened next is still a vexing question of law today. As he stood up to his full enormity, two brass buttons, could not take the strain any longer and pinged from his uniform jacket with two little plinks. Plink. Plink. The crowd later reported it as if it had happened in slow motion as, indeed, it seemed to them it did. One button sailed out high over the crowd and fell smack bang between of the now blood-drenched Barabel’s eyes. Death was instant. The second button turned once in the air and gleamed before flying into the open mouth of a pantless Shady Slim, alarmed by the crowd’s roar and now running to his sweetheart’s rescue. It lodged there in his throat and could not be made to budge until the post-mortem.
The crowd were silent now, staring at the Inspector who gaped and gaped and never again spoke another word in his life. He was arrested a day later by police from the mainland. The charge: police brutality. He died a broken man in the same place on the mainland that Dollag-Mary had been sent to rest. He never could form the words to tell anyone that the woman who had sold him his fateful buttons just the day before was Dollag-Mary MacLean…
Sorry there was no torrid sex or much violence apart from the murders. That’s all coming later, set against the seedy underworld of the thrash-bagpipe music scene on Stornoway’s mean street.
An impertinent friend has suggested I just stuff the orifices with haggis and dead baby seagull and other Scottish delicacies but that impertinent friend has been struck off my Friends I Never Suspected Could Be So Hurtful list. Just to show him.
“Good God, the orifices of what, PCB?” I can sense you shrieking, hands flying to clutch at your throats – and in a few cases your groins: you know who you are, you People Who Are On Another List Entirely. Well let’s draw back a little and I’ll describe what I envision:
It is a beautiful day and all that is six-legged and good is out twittering and buzzing around the glorious green-and-brownery of Southern California. In the distance, children laugh and then trip and cry and somebody says something’s not fair and the teacher has to be called and it’s quite a hullabaloo but it’s not happening right in front of us so we don’t care. Somewhere a dog barks, completing the Arcadian idyll. The lush green canopy filters light onto the long table below and a gentle breeze flutters the sleeves of the cadaver as blood drips bucolically down the white sheet and onto the innocent grass. See the flies buzzing greedily around the exposed brain cavity! And watch as pale maggots inch fatly out of a gaping wound where a tummy button ought to be. In a short while children will gather, having washed their hands and then picked their noses again right afterwards. They will crowd around the deceased and begin to feast from his orifices. For this is the annual school Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Oh yes, hats will be worn. And, oh yes, tea WILL be poured.
Another mother and I have elected that gore is to be the theme of our class picnic-table this year. It is to be a palpably disgusting triumph. To that end, I have been busy sploshing red paint around on white sheets and trying to figure out a way of making a man-sized cadaver with food-safe orifices in which to stuff all manner of despicables. Or Jello in plastic bags mainly. But Jello of many hues, and tapioca pudding! Tapioca to simulate suppurating sores and pus-filled cankers. Brains so far are looking like they’ll be semi-melted marshmallow with strawberry jam haematomas lovingly presented in a screwtop skull. There are huge opportunities for red licorice, obviously, but as yet, the other mum and I haven’t had a chance to discuss them. Eyeballs are going to be black-grape-stuffed lychees because we need to be mindful of establishing healthy-eating habits early on, and there will be more than just the usual two. This is Ojai, so we can just say the extra ones are inner eyes and chakras an’ that and nobody will bat a third eyelid.
The children are going to be wearing surgical masks and using my old pairs of eyebrow tweezers to extract the maggots (white jelly-beans) from the carnage. There is to be spinal-fluid lemonade but it will have been pre-extracted and put into teapots to avoid unnecessary stickiness. There will be no chocolate pudding of any sort, anywhere. They are children, and as such not nearly as puerile as at least three of you, and we don’t want anybody to cry. It’s happening on Monday. If anyone has any suggestions for embellishing our cadaver with edibles please spew them into the comment box where I will pick the sweetcorn out and stuff them into our stiff. The more abominable the better, although grits and marzipan are out, obviously.
His hat had seen some living
And it was his for that
Its straw had taken hits and storms
And it was Gary’s hat.
Its own peculiar story
belonged to it alone
Its beaten frame most eloquent
of the long life it had known
And in that hat so humble
There lived a mind as rare
The vast and storied landscape of
A country warm and fair
It wasn’t much to look at
Plain worn out at the end
It was all in how he wore his hat
Our dear old missing friend
Misshapen, lumpen, beat-up thing
And beautiful for that
Only one man could have owned it
And it was Gary’s hat.
I miss you, dear friend. x
Not carnally for the moment but I’ll call you if that changes. I have to write a short blurb about myself for a thing I wrote for Bret Bradigan’s fantastic new Ojai magazine. Under 100 words. My best efforts are below. Please pick the one that most accurately reflects the Sami you know. No filth please. Leave that to me.
Samantha Zahringer is an upstart housewife of some moral dubiety. She has lived in Ojai for 9 years where she teaches her children stuff.
Samantha Zahringer is a blameless housewife of impeccable character who has lived, written and bred in the Ojai Valley for 9 years, sometimes all at once.
Samantha Zahringer is a housewife of low character, dusty mantlepiece and several outstanding warrants. She has lived in Ojai for 9 years where she writes and teaches her children how to think for her.
Samantha Zahringer loves dawn, rum babas, the way you run your fingers through her hair, and the special light in the eyes of adorable old Tibetan men. She is 35 and married with two children but her number can be found on bathroom walls throughout town unless the despicable swinehunds have painted over them again.
Samantha Zahringer can rather pitifully be summed up in a lot fewer words than Bret Bradigan allowed her.
Samantha Zahringer: men love her, women adore her and small children are always polite and good when she is near. She lives in Ojai with a husband, two children, a clinically obese cat and several trillion beneficial gut bacteria.
Samantha Zahringer has been clinging to sanity, passing handsome men and her unfortunate children in the Ojai Valley for 9 years. She is 35 and 3/4 and enjoys writing, vigorous health, and ribaldry of stripes both bawdy and ticking.
Samantha Zahringer is a wretched solipsist who imagines people have nothing better to do with their time than to read this dreadful tripe.
Samantha Zahringer is out of stuff to say and bored thinking about herself, which is saying something.
Going down to Nawlins
Gonna have myself a time
Going down to Nawlins
Gonna meet some freeyunds o’ mine.
For Britishers, Nawlins is New Orleans. The Tennessee Williams/Southern Lit Festival is on there this week. Absinthe and good books. I might never return.
Friends, it was terrible. It was more terrible than I have words for. I only really have gutteral belchy sounds for what it was like, with the faintest strains of Rick Astley in the background.
As for what my terrible, dreadful, no-good, very bad dream looked like – well, it would curl your hair. More. It would reach deep down into your gametes (gametes of the sort that aren’t a type of Small French ham steak although if you need me to point that out you are most probably a closet Communist or something mustachioed like that) – anyway, this dream, it would get deep, deep down into your gametes and affect the future hair of your future offspring, curling their future hair too. In the future, like. And if they were going to have curly hair, this nightmare would curl the curly bends back on themselves thereby making the curly hair be straight hair. Yes! Even that hair! And who wants that?
A tiny but potentially devastating (!) shift would occur in the shampoo market with brands known for their excellence in curly-hair products either losing or winning – who can tell which? – and shampoo futures would plummet, along with shampoo presents. Leaving only the smug Ghost of Shampoos Past. All rather like that butterfly effect doodad, which basically states that if a curly-haired butterfly flaps its wings in Kansas, the tipping point in global air-streams might be …uuhr…tipped, and, ipso facto, that could cause a tsunami in Asia which would wash away all their shampoo factories and people wouldn’t look so good – curly-haired or no – and nobody would get any dates and the birth rate would decline and people would get upset – even more than they normally would because they’d be extra uptight on account not getting any action – and all because of what could happen if I told you about my dreadful nightmare! Which, curiously enough, featured only hairless people.
You’re not with me any more, are you? I can tell. Neither am I, truth be told. I couldn’t explain this again from about the third “the” on, in the paragraph above.
Anyway, what about them Oscars this year, eh? Who says women can’t direct harrowing-yet-compelling cinema about the complexity of the soldier’s psyche and do big bangs and crashes good too? Probably, the same people who say women can’t parallel park. Probably even the same guy who clipped my car last week, trying to parallel-park for the 3rd time before squealing off to find an easier spot to maneuver. That’s one in the eye for him, then! Hahahahahaha. The rotten, stinking car-clipper.
Righto, just one more teensy wee weensy glass of wine and then off to bed with me, I think. Yep, just the one…
It’s spring! The time when a young buck’s fancy turns to love and there are loved-up bunnies all over our garden at the moment. They are near demented with it and more than once I’ve seen the white of a lusty bunny eye. In the evening they will rear up in majestic rabbit rampant sillhouette causing you to remember good, brave Hazel from Watership Down and weep.
We are very lucky here at Rancho Problemo and have a full orchestra ready and waiting to provide heightened emotion to our everyday activities – things like The Luvin’ Spoonful hits on shuffle at breakfast time, “O Fortuna!” when we prepare fish steaks and, unexpectedly, “I’m Going To Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair” when I’m doing the hoovering. But we’ve had “Bright Eyes” on a loop for a week now and, frankly, I’m about ready to reach for a big ole Elmer gun and thort that pethky orchethtwa out.
Rabbits are not like us I observed lazily this morning, the sun shining in the window and bathing my bumble-bee slippers with light. They don’t have our inhibitions and “meta”ness. Their manners in mating matters aren’t like our’s either. They will tear about the garden like lunatic furballs without a care for the circling hawks above, the possibility of a beaky death only adding to the piquancy of their lust. Then a frisky young doe will suddenly turn coquettishly with a shiver of her little bobtail and she and her suitor will crouch face-to-face, ears flat and stock-still for half a minute or more, only their twitching noses to tell us that we aren’t looking at a still-life painting. Their twitching noses and the lack of a frame.
Then, suddenly! she will leap 3 feet straight up into the air and they’re off again, haring round the lawn and sending little clods of turf flying. Moments later they will disappear into a bush which will tremble and squeak for about twenty seconds before two plumes of lazy curling smoke come out of its top.
Later, you see them pretending they don’t know each other, but she has a new looseness about her hips when she hops, and he’s writing poetry in the mud with his nose. Lovesick and unguarded, he will hop out into the open for a better peek at her as she grazes with her girlfriends, forgetting that he, as a bunny, is one of the most eaten creatures on earth. The sky will darken, a hawk will swoop and a bobcat will pounce and collide with the hawk in a puff of blood and fur and feathers as our hero hops a few hops forward forward, oblivious to the carnage behind him, his only concern whether he should have used the Petrarchan rather than the Shakespearean form for his x-rated sonnet. The end.
Hey, it’s just after Valentine’s Day, folks – you didn’t think I was going to kill the bunny, didja? No, he is flattened later by a UPS delivery truck.
Anyways, this is what our pops orchestra played this morning when I threatened to disembowel them with the cymbals if the played one more bar of “Bright Eyes”:
Bunny lovin’ – had me a blast
Bunny lovin’ – happened so fast
Met a doe, crazy for me
Met a buck, cute as can be
Bunny fun, something’s begun
But ooooooh these springy dawns
A well a well a well a…
(Massed Blue-birds and fawns)
Tell me more tell me more does he have an o-er bite?
(Massed gophers and raccoons)
Tell me more tell me more, was her tail fresh and white?
Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huhoooaaah
She hopped by me, nibbled some grass
He just sat there right on his ass.
She went skipping, I caught her eye
He ignored me, I don’t know why.
Bunny treat, doe and buck meet
But oooooooooh, these springy dawns
A well a well a well a…
Tell me more, tell me more, did he sing you a song?
Tell me more, tell me more, was she wearing a thong?
It grew warmer as the day broke.
I spiked her dew with ‘hypnol and coke.
I woke up, about mid-day
Oh she was flat out and I had my way
Bunny rape, too doped to escape
oooooh ooooooooooh these spri-ngy daaaaaaaaaaaawns
Oh oh oh
Tell me more, tell me mo-ho-ho-ho-ore!
Repost from 2008 to try to get me motivated to start up this cobwebby old place again.
They’re at my house.
30 hours of straight travel ahead, door-to-door, and all night it’s been Nature loud in hoot and chirrup at my house. There is a cricket stuck inside in the the sitting-room somewhere, making more racket than you think a single cricket in a house could. I’ve been up twice trying to bash it/release it lovingly back to the wild, but every time I turn the light on it shuts right up and I can’t find it. But worse than the cricket were the owls! Two of them! I don’t know if they were getting it on or having a tete-a-tete, a heart to heart, dancing beak-to-beak or what but they had a lot to say to each other and it sounded like relationship stuff.
“Get a room, owls!” I silently shrieked.
Silently, because Problemchild 2 snuck into bed with me at about 3 and by then all sleep would remain just a crazy, waking dream.
So, up, fully dressed and leaving an hour earlier than I thought becasue I couldn’t check-in online last night for some reason and that’s making me nervous. Why? Why can’t I check in? Why is that? I figure if I’m there an hour earlier, more shouting and bawling can be packed in if there’s any problem, and shouting and bawling is a more efficient use of my time than listening to owls getting it on while a cricket plays its mournful, incessant dirge for freedom. On the other hand, maybe cricket-squashing and owl-slaughter are more efficient uses of my extra hour. Oh, If only I’d remembered to exercise my constitutional wotsits and become a gun-owner.
Well, I didn’t think I’d be seeing Stornoway again quite so soon but today I find it’s so. Flying out tomorrow, back next week. Then off to Bulgaria for my dad’s wedding. So, it appears that I have falsely alarmed you about my coming back to live La Blogge Vita. I really thought I was. Bit busier than I used to be but I was slowly catching up with everyone and thoroughly enjoying myself. But life is exceedingly lifey right now, so I’m orf for another few weeks. Take care, kids. Love yoosall. I do.
(Or extremely touching verses composed upon the occasion of my father’s weddng to Jenny The Tremendous)
My dad’s getting married next month to a lovely Bulgarian lady. She is a polyglot Bulgarian translator at the American University over there, and that’s nice because my dad has neglected to learn Bulgarian in his whole 62 years on the earth, the wastrel. Their’s is a story of such beautiful and affecting romance that I was moved and tautologically stirred to spoil it all with a poem. Also I can’t sleep.
Very Romantic Poem.
More than the fleas on a zoo-full of bears
More than both tres and beaucoup
More than marzipan’s icky and vile
That’s how much I love you
More than the squeak in a violin
More than a chicken is feathered
More than the spots on a teenagers chin
More than Al Greenspan looks weathered.
More than a teller can tell, do I love
More than avoiders avoid
I love you as surely as death will come true
Just as surely as eggs is ovoid.
More than Obama can stir with his speech
More than W couldnae
More than the good Sister Wendy will NOT
And Clinton, he did but he shouldnae
I love you more than feelings can hurt
More than a wee brother’s pesky
More than collagen trouts up your pout
Making you look all grotesquey
As loud as the sound of a fart in a church
And more than that last line was dirty
More than a butler called Igor doth lurch
And more than a grapefruit is squirty
More than, climactically speaking, we are
So thoroughly now in the poo
O! More than this poem’s romantic, my dear
That’s how much I love you.
Hear ye! Hear ye! Fantastic new blog launched by four of the Irish blogosphere’s most talented and delightful smashers. Every last one of them a snorting good read. Stir the pot and see what fascinatin’, funny-lookin’ (often tentacled) things bob up for your nourishment. These things will be technically unclassifiable but every gobful will make your eyebrows shoot off your head and ping back onto your face, as if on elastics. Dat’s darn good eatin’, dat is.
Abob in this pot there are: vegetables torn from the dark, sunless soils of the mind; there will be forks and green smoke and heaped tablespoons of joy; there will be prickle of hedgehog and chortle of child (or maybe that’s a choking sound…?); there will be snarfs and sagacity, soft sighs and boogersome sniggers; and a bit of rage will be boiling at all times in one continually moving spot of the pot; there will be meat of unidentifiable origin and not all of it will be fully dead; but most of all there will be coddle which is a kind of Celtic sputum consisting of bile, tears, spittle and sunshine. Bet you thought I was going to say gism there instead of sunshine, didn’t you? That will depend mostly on…well, I’ll not name names. Anyway, you’ll be fed a most unique and unforgettable stew-like stuff or, to put it more accurately, a stuff-like stew, and you will not be sorry you supped. Here’s Coddle Pot!
PS: Still on hiatus for a bitty longer. Back soonly.
You’re never going to believe this, it’s the funniest thing, but I’ve been away conducting anthropological research into a tiny wee ancient culture I found one day while walking in the San Fernando Valley. Nobody walks there which is why I’m the first from the outside world to ever make contact with them. For the past 4000 years they have inhabited the area, unbeknownst to the so-called “modern” people living all around them. The name of their tribe is Robert and they are a proud and warlike people. Devastatingly, however, there are only 3 members of Robert left, trying to eke out their existance in a copse on the centre-island at the corner of Burbank and Cahuenga. They are a fascinating people with a vibrant culture and have adapted amazingly well to the development of the past 70 years, developing leathery smog-resistant lungs and a strange screaming language to overcome the noise of incessant traffic. This is the language I am now trying to learn in the hopes of communicating their story to the outside world. It’s not a very inflected language but I am having trouble mastering their gerunds and parts of their participles. Theirs is an oral tradition, which means of course they can’t get into heaven or some parts of the South, but, once I had screamed to them about how that sort of thing can really cut off the funding for research into their ways and how that would mean no more Bacardi Breezers and pictures of a young Woody Allen - whom they worship as a prophet - they stopped their deviancy and started screaming their story to me.
I’m only back now to collect some clean underwear and to explain to the children that I still love them and “abandon” is really too strong a word. My work will end in or around the second week of July when, unfortunately, I predict all three remaining members of Robert will be dead. They are old tremendously old for one thing and, for another, the centre-island is due to be demolished in late June to make way for a billboard publicising Bob Hope regional airport. The shock is sure to kill them. This would be, narratively speaking, very neat as my research funding runs out about then too and I shall have to leave my luxury suite at Sherman Oaks Hyatt for the (bloody) real world once again. Also, the irony of the hopeless, hapless Roberts being wiped out by a Bob called Hope will lend a poignancy to their story that’s sure to translate well into book-sales and movie-options.
I’ll be back to visit all your lovely blogs then, then, and, then, possibly, also begging you for money to support the lifestyle to which I’ve grown accustomed on my State of California research expense account. So, til then, “SKUGGILSCREAMYWAILWAIL!” (That means “Your (pl) continued good health and fortune,” in Robertese.)
Jesus wept, Jesus wept;
He never laughed, just cried.
In all the Gospels, tell me once
Did he see the funny side?
Poor, lied-to, broken, holy man,
Who suffered for our sins,
If you believe, or not, by God,
He paid for all our grins.
Then don’t we owe it back to him
That we should crack our face,
With heavenward heads and howls of mirth
At our sweet, cracked, human race?
It is true that, though he weeps several times, Jesus never once laughs in the Gospels. The only record of God laughing in the Old Testament is when he is deriding mankind’s weaknesses or laughing at us as he punishes us. He relishes our pain. If anyone can offer me another interpretation of that I am willing to hear it, I really am, because that is chilling whether you are a believer or not. I don’t believe in God, who seems to me indifferent at best – and that’s using all my human charity – but I do believe in powerful stories and that they can be, in mysterious ways, truer than the “Truth.” I think I believe in an extraordinary man called Jesus who had some sort of a handle on some sort of truth, and that’s the best I can do.
Brought to you by a pain in-the-arse-day in bed with some virus that is making my neck feel like a knotty sapling. Gah!