Smarmbeard: A Prelude to an Echo

They came at midnight.

Old George had drawn watch duty that evening. As he looked over the port settlement of Old Mandre, he could see all was quiet, all was calm. The sea below lapped and washed across the dark stones of the foreshore like a hungry dog licking its master’s boot.

Yes, all’s safe and sound. As usual.

George sighed. He carefully lit his pipe, then peered down again from his perch on the high wall.

A metallic sound echoed off in the darkness.

He scrambled to his feet, dousing the flame. He squinted, night-blind, closed his rheumy eyes and then peered wide.

A minute passed. Nothing. A hissing in the black was all.

That damned cat.

George sat back down, wiped at his sweaty neck, and fumbled with his pipe. As he brought it to his lips, a soft scuffling sound behind alerted him to the danger. He turned, saw the dark figures scaling up over the wall, and reached for the bell, but it was late, far too late… Continue reading

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Why Does My Head Hurt?

keep-silence

'Why, oh why, does my head hurt?'

These headaches 
are getting far too intense.
The pain is a warning
I heed for the moment,
then I pop a pill,
and the moment is gone.

'I mean, I just don't understand.'

I sit 
at a computer
on the couch
on the train
on a bus
on a plane
head down
thumbs blurring
hunched over
descending
devolving
revolving
around a sun
that will one day go out. 
 Continue reading 

The Horribly Prolonged Adventures of the Right Admirable Falus Aboard the Drunken Parrot.

smarmbeard

The below excerpt is taken from a comedic serial that I hope to make a regular feature on A Dark Moon in Orbit. Think Lucasarts ‘Monkey Island’ series crossed with a demented ‘Captain Pugwash.’

Enjoy.

*           *           *

The Right Admirable Falus raised his ornate telescope and squinted into the distance. A rather tarnished eyepiece gazed back at him.

Who, or hwhat, is that?

The face was partially obscured. Sweeping his viewpoint higher, Falus wrinkled his nose at its strange adornments: a top hat, festooned with rotting grapes, and a rather preposterous feather poking out the top. Then, glancing downwards, he froze. Continue reading

Housemate

Fridge

My beautiful Holden Vectra had committed suicide, taken a dive, lost the will to survive. Within a minute, my mobile—a Sony Ericsson k750i ex-showroom model that I’d bought for $350 (rrp) three long years ago—had also given up the ghost.

I had to grit my teeth and think, It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?

*           *           *

My day had started out relatively benign, similar to most: big breakfast (eggs, sunny-side up, and bacon), big shower (an environmentally-hurtful fifteen minutes), and big argument with my housemate, Sam.

Once again, Sam had left the washing up soaking in the sink overnight. I’d woken up, come stumbling out to the kitchen for my late afternoon pick-me-up of fresh OJ, and found last night’s strained peas floating in a morass of sludge water in the sink, with nary a clean cup in sight. Continue reading

Falling To Pieces: A Parable for Wooden Ears

FallingToPieces

One day, as Thomas was getting up, he stepped out of bed, and his foot fell off.

He stared down in horror at the perfectly smooth, almost ivory-like space at the bottom of his ankle.  With considerate symmetry, his former appendage had parted cleanly from his body. Thomas could at least be thankful for that.

The foot had fallen flat on top of the deep shag rug surrounding the bed, with all the seeming weight that his body had usually put behind it. When he was walking. When he’d used it to walk with.

Thomas’s brain started doing backflips: this would take some getting used to.

‘Is this shock?’ Thomas thought, trying to balance but eventually falling back onto the edge of the bed. ‘Am I in shock?’

He grabbed a pillow and held it to his face, burying his nose in its marshmallowy comfort. Continue reading

Transcripts from a Car

TranscriptsFromACar

[Warning: Bad Language]

*static, incoherent muttering and then a deep, husky voice*

1st Voice: ‘Ya lose, again.’

2nd Voice: ‘What do you mean?’

1st Voice: ‘Do ya really wanna know?’

*pauses*

2nd Voice: ‘You’re going to tell me anyway, aren’t you?’

1st Voice: ‘You totally fuckin’ missed that old granny back there’.

2nd Voice: ‘Which old granny?’

*sounds of movement*

1st Voice: ‘Blue hair. Large fuckin’ sunnies. Dressed like a hessian sack.’ Continue reading

The John Didn’t Care For a Dame

TheJohnDidn'tCareForTheDame

Remick Delhunty stood in front of the full-length dress mirror, teeth clenched. He slowly unclenched and clenched his jaw, all the while staring at his reflection. His hair was slick and neat. He wore a dusty black suit, with patched elbows. There was a grey sheen to the whole ensemble that spoke of the past. In one hand, he held a small Dictaphone; the other was busy massaging his jaw.

With one of his nine remaining fingers, he pressed record and took a deep breath.

‘Day Twelve of Howard Case. Suit looking ratty. Note to self: self also looking ratty. Perhaps time to trade in for newer model? Will pray for vehicular accident of some kind. The Lord provides.’ Continue reading