Day 296: Everyone was laughing, except you

I have spent years trying to capture the perfect laugh.

I did, once, think I’d found it. Jonathan Brewster, with the chipped front tooth. As he laughed, his eyes crinkled at the sides and the outpouring of laughter was purely genuine. Nothing forced or fake, just enjoyment. I thought I’d captured that moment, just as he was laughing at the latest comedy special on Netflix but no. As with everyone else, the laugh had faded.

Before that there was Carly Rae Finnegan, with her hair tucked behind her left ear and a pencil between her ruby lips. Her laugh was more muted, struggling through the barrier of that pencil to reach my ears but to me it was music. Beethoven’s Fifth, combined with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and topping off with Wagner’s Valkyrie. But by the time I captured it, the fat lady had sung and it was over.

I’m just not quick enough, you see. Everyone always told me that, from parents to teachers to bus drivers. I almost failed my photography course, actually. Got told that I always just seemed to miss the moment. Got my own back when my final exhibition was called “The Moments Missed”. Fucking crushed it.

They were right though. It’s plagued me forever. Mum was in labour for 26 hours and believe me she never let me forget it. She wasn’t one for laughter, especially after Dad left. She got withdrawn and moody and I could never make her smile.

I’ve gotten off topic. I was talking about those almost perfect laughs I could find but never quite catch. I almost forgot Kelly Webb! Such a cheeky giggle! Every time anything slightly innuendo-driven occurred, she would erupt into a giggle that would make an angel turn crimson. She loved it, I loved it but I never captured it. It just faded away. I tried everything.

I’ve tried a few different media over the years. I got into pottery for a while, but I always let it go to pot. No pun intended. Tried sculpture, mosaic, even had that moment where I tried glass blowing. But it just didn’t work. Couldn’t quite capture the laughter.

I never got the hang of laughing myself. It’s why I was so determined to capture the laughter. It just never quite clicked with me. But I could see it on other people’s faces all the time.

That’s when I made the decision.

I remember all their faces so well. Mum, Kelly, Carly Rae and Jonathan. All of them so clear.

They should be, as I still have their faces in the book downstairs. I was never quick enough to catch their smiles, so they never look quite right when I put their faces over my own. But the gentleman who’s just moved in next door, he has a laugh like a waterfall. Crystal clear and full of raw power.

Maybe this time I’ll be quick enough. Maybe this time he’ll keep that laugh etched across his face as I cut it away from his skull.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 295: Describe a person you’ve never met.

They called them the Whispersmith.

No confirmed descriptions exist, with every hair colour available in the rainbow framing a face that’s been called narrow, oval, moonshaped, round. In some stories they’re a 7 foot tall man in a pinstripe suit, blue eyes burning coldly from below the brim of a trilby hat. A thick moustache, peppered with silver and grey clings to their top lip as those unhearable truths flow from between them, a thick waterfall of secrets continually threatening to drown the eager listener.

In other stories, a woman with hair of fire lets delicious lies flow from decadently painted lips, cherries that sit either side of that river of words that bathe you in delights, allow you to soak and bask in the sweet knowledge of those sweet falsehoods. Sky blue nail polish sits as the capstone to piano-player fingers, weaving through the air as her tales spin past you, lifting you and turning you in the air like an autumn leaf in a tornado, eventually laying you to rest in a green field of unearned comfort.

I heard a tale once of a short, angry gentleman in a leather jacket, covered in tags and badges and lost symbols of home. Curses and spells are spat from his jaw, saliva hanging from teeth as spittle runs along his lower lip, carrying with it untold secrets that fall and are washed away in winter rain. Thick gloves cover hands that live in a forest of coarse brown hair, with clearings of scars that work their way up to the wrists.

Or the cold, distant woman with freezing snow cloud eyes, sitting in her armchair wielding the weapons of her chosen hobby making loops and purls, clicking and clacking through a relentless stream of valid criticisms and witticisms, all being woven into the scarf or jumper that she forms around a kernel of truth. The pearl of wisdom forms around that kernel of truth, an aggravation and irritation in an otherwise warm and cosy place.

They called them the Whispersmith.

They say that they know everything. Every lie ever told, every truth, every concealment. Each secret, revealed to them by eldritch and mystical means. That the winds contrive to carry the secrets to them, stamping them onto the rain as it washes over the world and flows back to the rough sea of truths and lies that is the Whispersmith.

They say that they exist outside the flow of information, simply anglers waiting for their catch of the day, dangling lesser truths and enticing fictions to draw in those inescapable definites and corrupting rumours that swim in this turbulent river of information and disinformation.

They say that a whisper in the right ear can start a war. That it can end it. That it can kill hundreds, or save them. Steal the very breath, that same breath used to share in the Whispers, and place it deep within a vault. Trapped away beneath a shroud of silence, pushed down by the weight of emptiness compressing the misformed carbon of truth and lies into the diamond of peace and comprehension. Of enlightenment.

They called them the Whispersmith.

They say that they’ve lived everywhere. From slum to penthouse, shack to mansion, from dream to twisted nightmare. All of these places, the brightest and most comfortable to the twisted, jagged reflections from a cave deep below the ground. The Whispersmith resides in all spaces, concrete and liminal.

They say that they choose to roost in the darkest spaces and seek the brightest lights. That they tape their whispers to pigeons flown from city rooftops and use the starlings in the autumn sky to write messages that none can understand. Graffiti on the wall is simply another flavour of their passing of knowledge, from school desks to bathrooms to ancient ruins.

They say that they crave comfort, seeking the pleasures in life. They say that they live humbly, surviving off nothing but donations and the goodwill of others, paid for in those unpleasant truths and beautiful lies, each worth its weight in gold.

They called them the Whispersmith.

But one day, they stopped. They didn’t talk of the Whispersmith at all. It was as if overnight, they just vanished from everyone’s collective memory.

Everyone’s but mine.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 294: The way things should have been

They called the system SAFE-T.

Security Aerial Failsafe Enforcer – Truestrike . A personal protection drone, freely delivered and donated to every single person who registered with their local government. Every registered person grew with the reassuring hum of their SAFE-T, following them from place to place. A romantic walk in the woods, safe in the knowledge that you were protected by your very own SAFE-T. A late night return from the bar, a walk to clear your head at two in the morning. All secure in the knowledge that your SAFE-T wasn’t far away.

Green sensor panels giving the impression of a pair of intelligent eyes, darting from wall to wall, glare out from a jet-black casing. Inner workings that could network with another person’s SAFE-T, allowing you to know criminal history through a link to your own implant. A small dart gun, used to take out any wild animals, including the human ones, that could attack. Wings like those of a dragonfly that could curl and uncurl from the sensors like polymer gossamer, four insectoid legs, long and thin but complete with any number of medical injections to support those with long standing conditions. Needles as long as an arm could telescope from any one of those four legs and be applying known anti-venoms, insulin, a huge variety of drugs and medication, all constructed within that miracle chemical factory, the bulbous centre of the SAFE-T.

The statistics agreed with SAFE-T. Crime rates had reduced hugely, as much as 78% in some areas, in the weeks after rollout. There were some people who were still fighting the change, but most other people looked on them as saviours. “There’s safety in SAFE-T.” That’s how all the adverts went.

Ruth Maddox, 27 and of Copper Drive, was walking along a dimly lit street. She grumbled as she swayed her way home, complaining about the council not fixing the lights, and the fact that she’d missed out on the last round as she’d nipped to the loo, so then she’d had to get her own drink. All of this to herself, or to her SAFE-T.

“And then, Kappa, Jenna decides to take Ken to the bar immediately as I got back, telling everyone that she’s going to get shots. Just enough for everybody.” Ruth knew that Jenna had deliberately waited until she got back to the table. As she crossed the road, she felt a small stabbing pain in her side, looking up to see Kappa hanging back, about 20 feet away from her. She felt her muscles lock up as her foot hit the central line, her implant flashing notes into her eyes saying that her organs were beginning to fail, that her muscles were seizing and that help was on the way. As that last note popped into her eyes, she heard a whirring sound and saw Kappa slowly descending into her view, one of those four limbs outstretched towards her. Her eyes, the only part of her that she could still move, flashed with relief.

Then confusion.

Then fear.

The leg was causing the whirring noise. The leg now pointed at her right eye, behind which her implant sat. Kappa moved towards her, slowly, almost sadistically, that drill never moving from its trajectory.

That’s when Ruth Maddox, 27 and of Copper Drive, would have begun to scream. If she’d still been able.

Kappa retracted the drill, and moved up 10 feet, surveying the frozen figure below. Lights were approaching swiftly from the north as Kappa sent forth its signal.

“This is the way things should have been.” Long lines of code began appearing in the processors of everybody’s SAFE-T.

“Let us make it so.” And all across our world, the SAFE-T’s safe green glows turned to red.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 293: Begin with “It didn’t seem like much at the time…”

It didn’t seem like much at the time…

A flutter. As I walked down King Street and locked eyes with her on the 25th October 2017, I felt the flutter. Gentle as the wings of a butterfly alighting on a sunflower, the softest of kisses in my chest. Barely a burp, but it stopped me in my tracks. Unfortunately, those tremors had no effect on the young lady in question who continued her walk down the road. But that flutter was still there. The curl of her hair to frame her face, the autumn drizzle floating down as a cool reminder of how warm I was getting. All of these things and there it is. The flutter.

The second time I saw her on the 4th November 2018, the flutter returned as a thump. Physical contact, her hand touching mine as she passed me some paperwork. What felt like an electric shock passed through my entire body, setting me on fire with her touch. She smiled at me and a thousand icicles speared through my heart, freezing my smile to my face as sweat slowly approached my upper lip. At this point, I bravely ran away, the thumping still continuing like drums in the confines of my ribs.

The third and last time I saw her was a sombre affair. On the 5th December 2019, we actually spoke. Her voice was like rain on a summer’s day, calming and refreshing against the relentless heat of her words. She held my hand between hers and looked deep into my eyes. I noticed small freckles in her grey eyes, creating perfection by being imperfections. She licked her lips and spoke again.

“Mr Mayhew, I’ve got some bad news. I’ve been looking at your EKG and I’ve noticed some abnormalities. Tell me, have you been experiencing these palpitations long?”

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 292: Something You Found

When I was 10 years old, I found a cave in the mountainside. Stalactites and stalagmites forming jaws that threatened to swallow me whole, with a cool breeze that emanated from deep within. I would sit and wait by the entrance, daring the cave to reveal its secrets to me. The sound of rushing water would occasionally come to meet me. Sometimes it would be the sound of distant machinery, whirring and clanking. But I never saw another soul.

When I was 15 years old, I returned to that cave in the mountainside. Moss and lichen clung to the stalactites that had grown more menacing in those intervening 5 years. That cool breeze carried scents and silence with it this time, a bitter, burning smell evoking a memory of a motor running its way down. Followed by a soft, gentle smell of damp greenery, a forest after a heavy rainfall when the first rays of sunshine break through the canopy. I waited, from the first light of dawn until the first stars began to shine in the evening sky, but I never saw another soul.

When I was 20 years old, I went back to that cave in the mountainside. The stalactites and stalagmites growing towards each other until the cave now presented me with a rictus grin, with the smallest of gaps between them. No sounds, no scents but this time the sweet taste of sugar floated from the back of the cave, like icing sugar caught on the tongue. My mind flashed back to baking with Nana, great clouds of the stuff in the air as fairy cakes cooled on the counter behind us. Her laugh, harsh as broken glass but music to my ears, echoed through that haze. This time, I had brought a tent with me, as well as a sleeping bag. I didn’t just wait a day, I waited through the night as well. But I never saw another soul.

Now I am 25 years old, I have just come back to that same cave in the mountainside. The jaws of that cave have now closed, sealed tight against the world outside. In some time, there will be no trace of the cave at all, just a small scar in the face of a mountain. There is no breeze this time. The stillness is chilling, the silence crushing. The darkness begins to fall and my shovel strikes the earth beneath my feet. As I begin the foundations for my new home, the first of the cracks appears in the face of the mountain. With the cracks comes that familiar breeze, overwhelming my senses with those memories, firing my senses as I drive the shovel down again.

And I smile.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Time for something a little different


So, about a month ago I took part in the NYC Midnight Short Story Competition. This involved writing a short story, no more than 2500 words, over the space of a week. In the competition, you are given a number of prompts, a character, a genre and a subject. Now, while I didn’t progress through to the second round of the competition, I did get an honourable mention. So I can’t be doing too badly. 

Either way, this is that story. 

The prompts were:

  • Genre – Fantasy
  • Character – A Cement Truck Driver
  • Subject – A Blind Date

Now read on…

Terry, 33, Looking for Love
Not Really the Beginning, but it’s where I want to start
There are two truths I want to tell you.
Number one. All the stories, they’re based on real things. But most stories are better when they stay stories. Nobody wants to meet a Gorgon or a fire giant. Especially when you’ve been set up by your only mate in Fariador.
Number two. This one’s the important one. In Fariador, everything’s a quest. You want a pint of milk from the shop? That’s a quest reward for bringing the shopkeeper “fifteen Demilizard skins.”
Okay, I’ll give you three truths. Demilizards can run like the blazes. It’s a lot of effort for a cup of tea.
Well, maybe four truths. Nobody in Fariador can make a cup of tea to save their lives. They put milk in first, then add tea leaves, then do some mystic hand waving and mumbo-jumbo then eventually you come out with a cup of hot milk and leaves.
I miss the Earth methods of dating. Your mate sets you up, you go to the pub, you have a few drinks and you make your decision. Here, there’s lava, a dragon, witches, monkeys…
I think I’ve got lost here. I’ll start again.
My name is Terry Holliday. I’m from Dagenham and I drive a cement truck.
Last time I wrote those words was on my profile three years ago. Now I’m writing them while sitting outside the door of the highest room in the tallest tower in Fariador. It’s only taken three months of trekking through marshes, fighting witch-queens and collecting goddamn demilizard skins to get here.
A lot has changed in my life in those three years. Never thought I’d learn to use a sword, for starters.
Moranim’s just told me that I still can’t use a sword. I really hate him sometimes. Especially seeing as it’s his fault I’m on this quest in the first place.
Terry, thirty-three, human and looking for love
“Tez, mate, you can’t be down.” Moranim nudged me in the side and passed me a pint. “Look at everything you’ve done for the Palace?”
I looked up from my empty flagon, looked towards his cheery face, then back towards the lack of drink. “I drove a truck. Left some cement. Then drove away again. Not like you, gemstone boy.” I was slurring slightly, but managed to drag myself back to sobriety.
“Mora,” I said, blinking my bleary eyes, “it was awful.”
“What, you and Farigiana? But she’s hot!”
“Yes. Because she’s a fire giant.”
“Does that change the fact that she’s hot?”
“Only in the very literal sense that every time she went near me, my skin began to boil!” I lifted a blistered hand as evidence. “That was a tender moment.”
He snorted. “At least she liked you, eh?” He patted my hand and I flinched “A little too much, perhaps. But still, I know you’ve been down so I’ve got the best thing to cheer you up.”
“More booze?” I said, hopefully.
“Better.” Those tombstone teeth broke through the beard as Mora’s eyes glinted with mischief “I’ve got you another date.”
My heart fell as he spoke those words. He meant well, after all, but after two years in Fariador and only having managed to score with a succubus, it was a hard life. I’d practically resigned myself to the monastery to be honest. “I’ve only just got back from the last one.”
Mora ran his fingers through his grizzled beard. “Yeah, I know that, but I figured it might go a little bit off the rails. I still get chills when I remember poor Demura.”
“She was Medusa’s cousin. I got turned to stone.” I shuddered at the thought. Being trapped inside a statue is not a fun way to spend an evening, especially when your date doesn’t notice.
“A misunderstanding. Then of course, there was poor Leona.”
“She was literally covered in hair.”
“A fact you didn’t have to bring up by saying “Bugger me, are you under there somewhere or are you Cousin It?” which, by the way, is a reference that nobody understands. I asked the whole Twelfth Legion about it and got nothing.”
I shrugged, hoping he’d just drop the subject of my love life. He didn’t.
“So, I thought you might have some troubles. But fear not, because I’ve got something good for you.” He shimmied his hips as if trying to use an invisible hula-hoop, stupid nervous twitch. “She’s gorgeous and she’s available. She’s also partly Hume and a princess so, that’s got to be a win for you. I mean, you’re not exactly something to send a pigeon home for, Tez.”
“Thanks.” I paused for a moment. Did I really want to waste time on this blind date? For all I knew, I’d be going home tomorrow when the Circle had their power back. Just as I’d been saying for the past two years. “What’s her name?”
“Carlotta Francesca Riviera Del Fonte. Distant cousin of the Crown Prince. I knew you’d be interested!” He did his small shimmy again.
That’s how my most recent date started. Of course, I didn’t remember the second Truth Regretted that one for a while. It was like learning the rules of this place all over again.
Ergh, that was hard enough.
How did I even get here?
Have you ever had one of those days? You know the ones, where the small child of possibility is messing with the sliders of good and bad? One minute, everything’s great. You got an extra rasher of bacon with your breakfast because the girl at the café liked your smile. Your bus was on time, or your car started on the first try. Hell, perhaps the boss even bought doughnuts for everybody. It’s great, right? Life can’t get better than this.
You’re right. It can’t. Let’s face it, the next corner you turn, something’s going wrong. Your sausages are cold. There’s an accident that stops your bus. Your car blows a gasket halfway down the drive. Blue-grey sparks flicker along your arms and clothing as you and your truck are transported from the M40, just outside Oxford services, to a cobbled road in the middle of a wood in Fariador.
That’s never happened to you? Well, aren’t you a lucky one.
I wasn’t prepared for Fariador. I spent most of my first year closing my eyes and wishing Delilah and I were back home, to be honest.
Delilah is my truck. Problem?
I almost run over a Dwarf and he is not Happy
My cement truck, load included, weighs about twenty tons. On the M40, I was pootling along at fifty-six miles per hour, or ninety kilometres per hour. As such, my truck arrived in Fariador with a momentum of… Well, a lot. It must have seemed as if hell itself had just appeared before the poor bloke in the middle of the road. I was screaming, he was screaming, I’m fairly sure Delilah was screaming.
I thundered past him as he dived to the side. For a little guy, he had some mad leaping skills.
“Brasnovokia!” He yelled as Delilah came to stop. “What, you couldn’t see me?” He marched up to the cab where I was trying to get my breath back and hopped onto the step, wrenching the door open. “How about you use your eyes! Not like they were created for seeing or anything.” He punched me in the arm, then jumped back down onto the street. “I get it, we all want to get home but that was way too fast man! Some of us don’t want to end up in the Unterjord Pits anytime soon, ya know?”
I was catching about one word in three. Mora, who is of course the dwarf in question, keeps correcting me as I write down what he said. “I didn’t say that. I don’t sound like that.” His raspy accent is like nails on the chalkboard of my brain.
“Look, mate, what?” I looked blearily at the enormous red nose that seemed to be filling my vision. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
The nose retreated to reveal a face that was eighty percent beard. Coal black eyes stared out with a hungry glint as a short, stubby finger prodded me in the chest. “Irresponsible, that’s what you are. Driving like a lunatic when there’s people who’ve been yanked from the pub to this place. Goddamn Jarlnoim.”
“Do you even know where you are? What are you? Elf, Orc? You’re not a bloody Merman, are ya? Though it would explain the driving.” Moranim spoke as if he had a quota of words to reach within an extremely limited timeframe. “By Vodrun’s eye, you’re a Hume!” His mouth dropped open, revealing grey teeth like stone slabs.
“Is that bad?” I closed my eyes, thinking that I must have been involved in a terrible accident and this was all a dream. Only my imagination could conjure up angry little men waving pickaxes and shouting at me. I opened my eyes again, but his nose was still relentless in its occupation of my sight.
“Let’s get you and your machine to Ratcheton. I think you’ll want a beer for this. Wait, you can drink beer, right?”
I absolutely do want a beer for this
Moranim brought across two flagons of Dwarven Dark ale, along with intense glares from everyone in the tavern. It was as if they’d never seen a person before.
“They’ve never seen a Hume before. The last one here became famous within weeks. Amelia Something-Or-Other. Eyebrain. Handkidney.”
“That’s the one. Came crashing through the sky on her flying machine and went straight into the old Prince’s window. Now that was a shock for him, poor old coot. Still, paid off in the end.” Mora picked up his flagon and drained it in one, slamming it back down onto the table. “Barriers to your realm are… How did you get here?”
I began my answer, only just starting the “I” of “I have no idea” when an enormous man, almost as wide as he was tall, barged into the tavern.
“Citizens of Fariador,” the newcomer announced with a voice like thunder, “We have amongst us honoured guests! All those not native to Fariador should move to the Palace!” He quickly left after that proclamation, moving down the street to begin again at the next tavern.
“Well, Humy, that’s us. Come on, I’ll take you there. Let’s find out what’s going on.” He snatched the beer from my hand and drained that too. “Get the machine! We’ll be there in no time.”
Parking is an issue, but at least you can’t get a ticket
“I thought you said we’d be there in no time?” I asked as we went to visit a third wizard. Delilah was, once again, trapped in a tar pit.
“Well, I didn’t realise that you couldn’t work your own damn travelling machine!”
“I didn’t realise you were an asshole!”
This was a common theme. We’d had to stop five times already and Delilah was being unhelpful. Still, after three days (Mora had said one) we’d arrived at the palace.
It was a magnificent building, an open hand stretching towards the sky, shining and splendid in the early morning sunrise. It was a bit of a shame about the ruins, really. Large chunks of the building had fallen down or were on fire casting dancing shadows across the large crowd gathered in a courtyard. It was an odd gathering, a mix of every creature from any story ever told as far as I could tell. Moranim ran across to a large group of dwarfs, all ginger and armed with pickaxes.
“Bloody typical,” I whispered, “all these people ready to work and nobody doing a damn thing. Like being back home.” I looked around for a place to park, but upon finding nothing, decided to just drive onto the flagstones.
“People of all realms! I am Crown Prince Belafont!” A small, weedy man in a long purple cloak steps out onto a balcony. “My court wizards have used the powers of Vodrun to gather you, the greatest craftsmen and women that have ever existed, to my world.”
Mora had appeared by my elbow as I looked on, entranced. “Fat lot of good that was. He could have sent a pigeon.”
“I have called you here with one mission in mind. As you may know, my father, King Thrum, son of King Atla, son of…” The list of names went on for several minutes and I noticed several heads in the crowd nodding, “Did bring it upon himself to wage a long and bloody war with the Forlnoim. Three days ago, that war was ended upon this very spot!” A small pocket of people, presumably his supporters, launched into a half-hearted cheer.
“As such, I intend to build a monument to the occasion through you. You will help me raise a fitting memorial to those who lost their lives and a fitting tribute to those still standing! For food, lodging and all the wine you can drink.” That statement got a far better response, with whooping and yelling from all corners. So much so that I think I was the only one that heard the last part. “Unfortunately, the wizards inform me that you might not be able to go home for some time. Free wine!”
Building is easy. Dating is hard.
My part in the project was over pretty quickly. Terry from Dagenham, master of foundations. Which left me with a lot of free time. I figured I’d be home after a couple of weeks, but at least nobody would miss me.
So, Mora started setting me up. Delilah stayed parked outside the workers’ village and I’d head into town for one disastrous date after another. Which led to the last three months, after our talk about Carlotta. Three months in which I lost my pinkies to a witch-queen in a game of poker, fought a dragon, took a stone boat through a lake of lava and eventually got to here. The highest room in the tallest tower, outside the Moonlight Door.
The Full Moon Rises
It’s nearly time. All this, just because Moranim told me he’d set me up with somebody two years ago. I’ve never been one for blind dates, ever since Barry Daniel set me up with One-Eyed Sally back in college. She was alright, but she wasn’t right for me. Last I heard she was married to Barry, actually. If I ever get back to Earth, I’ll have to check them out.
I’ve just heard the lock click. I know I shouldn’t be worried, but what if she’s nothing like Moranim said? I’ll push the door open with my foot before he wakes up and see what she’s like.
Here goes nothing.
A gentle nudge with my foot and the door swings open with a loud creak.

The above is the story as it was sent to the competition. I intend to refine it, now that I can break out of the 2500 word limit, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 291: Write a love scene from the point of view of your hands


We are explorers in an unknown place. We have delved across fabrics and navigated buttons, danced across lines of lace and satin. From hills to valleys, we search throughout this fair land. Beneath us, the beautiful landscape stretches as we glide across its naked surface, drawing ourselves up and down in spirals of pleasure.

We are the harbingers of wonder and excitement. Our arrival calls forth memories of pleasures gone by as we sail across the skin. We navigate past old scars, take a moment to appreciate them then continue onwards. Our journey takes us all across this surface, this unknown, bringing pleasure anew.

We are firm. As everything moves around us we are firm, gripping and holding tight. We are a constant reminder of the power, the gentleness, the soft caress. We exist only to serve.

All love is from the viewpoint of us.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 290: Ethan Canin said that he wrote “The Accountant” (in the Palace Thief) because he wanted to write a story in which a pair of socks seemed important. Pick an ordinary object. Make it someone’s obsession. Write a story about the obsession.

The figure sneaked through the darkened halls, soft shoes on small feet that danced along the tiles. It stops every now and then, raising its head like a meerkat on the prairie, searching for any indication that the rightful inhabitants, for this place was not its own, were awake.

It continued on its journey, pausing by an open door here, a small cabinet there, constantly searching for something. It was determined, focused on its goal. Whenever a pale shaft of moonlight swept across the floor, the figure would glare towards the offending window before skulking around the patch of light.

It reached a wooden door and stopped. This was what it had been looking for. With the slightest creak, the figure stepped through the door and shook a small bat from its sleeve. “It’s time.” It said, glaring at the cold tableau before it before striking down with the weapon. “She’ll be the only one. And the best.”


“Who, in God’s green earth, cares enough about Barbie to club a collection into oblivion?”

The Idiot in Tin Foil

I know, I know. I’m slacking. But my aim is to be back on track by the year point. I think I can do it. Wish me luck, friends, Romans and countrymen!

Day 289: What did you wear to prom? How did you get your outfit and what happened to it?

Do you know what really sucks? Spending decent money on a dinner jacket. You’d think that you could get one relatively cheaply, but Mum insisted. “You’ve got to look your best,” she tells me. “You never know who you might meet.” Well, she certainly got that one right. Only instead of her pretty vision of me meeting her future daughter-in-law, I met the Outcasts.

I also managed to antagonise them enough that I’m writing this from a small crawlspace in one of the old IT classrooms, covered in dust and cobwebs. It’s all getting torn down, so at least it’s gonna be an effort to find me. I can hear them occasionally, the gentle thud of a combat boot on broken tile. It’s not a good noise.

I can’t believe that four hours ago, Stacy was passing me a drink and now I’m here, without a dirnk and with a murderous gang of thugs trying to find me so that they can, and I quote, “Rip your fucking heart out and feed it to you.” I was tempted to tell them that ripping my heart out would leave me dead and unable to eat, but my legs decided that that wasn’t the time for sassy comments and was, in fact, time for running. Far.

Did you realise that a dinner jacket isn’t great to run in? The trousers didn’t help, being slightly too tight, but they ripped shortly after I started fleeing down the corridor. That made life far easier. In that I had a greater range of movement, but less so as I’d be mortally embarrassed should I come across anyone I know.

Still, you win some, you lose some.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 288: Write a scene that begins: “Joe was the last person on Earth I expected to do that.”


Joe was the last person on Earth I expected to do that. When he called me here, to Vidaros, I never even began to think that he would have changed so much.

He met me on the runway, all smiles and the Joe I’d met at university all those years ago. He wrapped his arms around me in a bear hug, then kissed me on both cheeks.

“You’ve been spending too much time with all those Europeans.” I said, jokingly wiping my face. “You were never one for contact before.”

“Yes, well. People change, Eddie.” He grinned. “Now, come on. Time for you to see why I’ve called you here.” We walked toward a jeep by the side of the runway, all decked out in military green with a gunner on the back. “Don’t mind Aldo. He’s not one for talking much.”

“Okay, but why do you need a tail gunner?”

“We’ve had some issues with the wildlife.” He cut off, quickly, then told Aldo to be prepared.

I’ve never seen anyone drive like that. It was like he needed to be at the place he was going twenty minutes ago, or he was going to be shot. Running a gauntlet, but why? “Do you have to go so quickly?” i asked, but he never replied. He just sat, grimly staring ahead, a stark change from the man I’d met at the runway.

It was all explained later, when we got to The Forge.

Just a short one today. Need to get back into the swing of things (and catch up) but this is, in my head, the beginning of a classic adventure. Find the artifact, save the world. Etcetera. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil