Day 182: A translator doesn’t want to translate what he’s just been told

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‘Konurran, Shika not aluba.’ The Grenzing emissary, whose name translated roughly to Joolan Freel, spoke powerfully, his voice carrying throughout the Decision Chamber. ‘Oanoka, shup shup. Kanika!’ He drew a claw down a foreleg to reveal a piece of shedding skin, a symbol of sacrifice in Grenzing culture.

The Earth emissary, Callie O’Halloran shifted in her seat. ‘What’s he saying?’ She turned to Joe in the seat next to her and watched his lips move around the alien words. She could almost see as the information flowed around his mind and then back out of his mouth.

‘The time for peace is over. I require the brothers in arms to rise against the growing threat. Now.’ Joe North sighed. He hadn’t signed up for war declarations, he’d signed up for the schmoozing and the parties. Before yesterday, the most entertaining thing he’d had to translate was “How much Riolakka* will it take to get your earth woman into bed?” and that had been trouble enough. It had taken hours to find Senator O’Halloran again and she’d been dancing on the table with the Loputti. Damn, those Loputti bastards could drink.

The only reason he’d even taken xenolinguistics was to get a shot at a doss job and to be able to chat up girls in their native language. Alien chicks love that sort of thing.

He’d been thrilled when he’d got the translator job. Who doesn’t want to be trundling around the known galaxy with a smoking hot senator, meeting mostly cool aliens? The Europans can be a little bit standoffish, but that’s understandable considering they can only exist off Europa in their tanks. That was a language that took some learning, all dependant on the shape and size of bubbles through Convergel. Thankfully, I’ve got an ear and eye for language so picked it up in a few weeks. The enhanced lung capacity from learning to down a pint in three seconds probably helped.

A sharp elbow dug into his ribs. ‘North! I need to follow this. Get a fucking grip.’

‘Rocku, nortiliamu carn. Shoonla, britzo makiko!’ Joolan continued, sweeping his stubby forelegs around his body as his speech became more impassioned. ‘Cobbalitia Shalakan burka. Donsoota parsen. Grenzing, Loputtan, Europ. Ordan Ert.’

‘The time has come. All of us must play our part. The Shalaka have taken Gurn. Nothing else matters now. Grenzing, Loputtan, Europan. Even those from Earth.’

O’Halloran snorted. ‘What does he expect us to do, poke them with a stick? The Shalaka will eat us alive. Once he has finished his monologue, you’ll tell him that Earth will have no part in this war.’

‘But Callie. We could…’

‘We could let millions of our impressionable youngsters die for a foreign cause. I wonder where I’ve heard that before. We will not fight. We do not have the brawn or the brain at this time.’

Freel was coming to an end of his sermon. ‘Porchlu, garpin. Shalaka carnim shortuka!’ The Decision Hall erupted into applause, bubbling and the various cries and shrieks that meant bravo. Callie clapped politely, then rose from her seat and began to speak.

‘Ladies, Gentlemen, those of races where gender is neither function nor form. I would like to begin by thanking Joolan Freel. His warning has come at great cost to his people.’ She lifted a glass of water to her pink lips and took a small sip before continuing.

‘Sherken, Lotantia, shibulba shrolatta dis nekva da looni. Shebaka J’Oola N’Friel. Er ntuki shana ferto.’ North spoke in Grenzing as it had become the galactic standard. Only the Earthlings weren’t fluent.

‘I must say, in my capacity as Earth’s representative in this Decision Hall, that we will not put troops forward. Ours is a growing civilisation, that can barely fend for itself. We fight with each other, we fight against nature, we fight for survival. You cannot expect us to join in a war on the other side of the galaxy. I’m sorry, Honourable Freel, but our answer must be no.’

North looked shocked. It may be her words, but it would be his mouth they came from. This moment would be known throughout history as the day that Earth lost the war, with North as the source.

‘Shen… Calor…’ He paused, fighting for breath against the oppressive weight of the future. This was a tipping point. ‘Shen calor, canro rep Ert ara Keepo Al…’ He drew in a deep breath, then looked out into the chamber. He stood up tall, keeping Callie in the corner of his eye.

He was probably going to end up in jail for this.

‘Ert appa notika el endra toona labe nika molo.’ Earth pledges one hundred thousand warriors.

North felt the cold metal bracelets around his wrists, even as he finished speaking the final word. He smiled, straight from his eyes to the room, where every delegation was cheering.

Earth would not sit out this war.

*Riolakka is a spirit made by the Berlese. It appears that the process of putting fruit into a container, mixing it with some sugar or sugar equivalent and leaving it to ferment has spread the whole galaxy over. Who’s surprised?

Is it the words, the people, or a combination of the two that shape the future? I’m fairly sure this counts as treason, but it may have been the right thing. Will he be vilified by the people of Earth, or sanctified?

The Idiot in Tin Foil

 

Day 181: Write a story based on the title of your favourite song

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The Boys of Summer

There are a lot of gangs in this town.

A ridiculous amount when you think about the size of this place. More gangs than districts and if you threw a stone there’d be a fight about whose territory it landed in. You’ve got the Harlequins down by the docks, all the fired workers and old sailors ganging up to protect their piece of the pie. Parklife over in Highfield Green, Alcatraz in the prison district. The Mechanicals, The Bootlegs, The Cartwrights, the list goes on.

Then of course, nestled in the black heart of this dirty town, you have the Boys. The Boys of Summer.

They’re the current kings of this place, around which every swirling eddy of misfortune circles. The drugs, the guns, even the banned toys go through them. That’s right, the Boys control everything here in Clifftown.

The upper echelons gather sometimes in Summerhall. It’s the fancy manor that sits incongruous amongst the factories as they belch their foul smoke into the atmosphere, coating the hall’s stone walls with a thick layer of soot and grime. The inhabitants were much like the hall, dirty, out of place and filled with secrets. The best of them would gather in the dining room, at least half of them every night, for the parties. There would be honoured guests from the other gangs, like Hercules Watley of the Harlequins. He sat at the top table, laughing and carousing with the leaders, waving a tankard in his fist as he raised his voice in song.

Mother Van Cartier shook her head shook her head at the interruption and turned back to her fellow Widows. They were in charge of the old religious district, long abandoned by the priests and the martyrs. It was now a hive of scum and villainy, just like the rest of Clifftown. Their conversation was quiet and reserved in a direct contrast to Watley’s squawking.

A gong sounded, deep in the bowels of Summerhall. The revel stopped dead, a veil of silence falling across all of the guests. They knew what the gong meant.

The King of Winter was joining them. This was going to be an important night.

Two of the Autumn Knights threw open the doors. The Knights were the elites of the gang, those who had worked their way up through the ranks of the Boys to positions of responsibility within the gang. The one to the right of the door as the guests were looking at it, was Irwin Smedley. He was the shorter of the two, broad shouldered and condensed. He wore a perpetual grimace as if the world disgusted him and every step was a stomp, a vicious attack on the ground. He could be found at most revels in a corner, in an argument and in trouble.

His companion was his opposite. Tall, gangling and he barely spoke a word. He was known only as the Stranger. He wore a mask over his face that covered everything but his eyes, eyes trapped inside two small windows of glass. They are frenzied and bloodshot and constantly roaming. If the eyes are the windows of the soul, the Stranger’s mask turns them into mirrors. They say that the King knew his real name and what face he kept hidden beneath that mask.

Smedley and the Stranger stood to attention on either side of the doorway, ramrod straight. Silence remained the champion of the room, stilling even Watley’s enthusiastic tongue.

A series of sharp ticks grew in volume, spurs clacking against the stone slabs of the hall. A figure grew from the shadows, a long coat swirling the shadows into a frenzy. As he passes, the gas lamps to either side grow in power and then dim again, as if the King gives power to his surroundings. He walked into the room and surveyed his guests, all of them sitting expectantly with drink and food raised to their mouths, conversations paused, all their interactions halted by this mans power.

He grinned and clapped his hands. ‘Don’t let me keep you from a good time!’

I’ve had this idea floating around for a while, ever since I heard a cover of Don Henley’s The Boys of Summer by Front Country. It’s one that needs some work, needs a few of those details ironed out, but as a start it works for me. A city of criminals and crime, with everything led by my mysterious Boys of Summer. I’ve put this into the Sky Pirates category as I can see this linking in with my Argent Siren stories, though it could yet be something independent.

Also a favourite song? Out of all the available music in the world? Can’t do it. I can’t even choose a top twenty, let alone a favourite. The other idea I was going to go for with this one, had I not gone with the Boys of Summer, was a collection of very short pieces based on ten or twenty of my favourites. Then I would link them together. 

That sounds a lot like hard work though…

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 180: Open with a bad joke

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I stared along the barrel of my pistol into his frantic eyes. My mouth curled into a grimace and I spoke.

‘Not on my watch.’ Then I pulled the trigger.

Dorian spun as the bullet caught him in the shoulder, teetering on the edge of the building. He grinned, slammed his foot into the ground and then fell backwards. This happened as I was rushing over to him, trying like mad to get to him before he could make his way over the precipice.

I didn’t. I fell to the floor and watched as Dorian’s body fell down, spinning in the wind before…

I can’t describe the next bit. Mostly because I’d screwed my eyes shut, but also because I swear I heard the thud and it makes me feel a little ill.

I rolled onto my back, staring at the sky and shifting uncomfortably when I realise I’m lying on something hard. I reached behind my back and drew out the offending object.

I was looking at the broken face of my old wristwatch. The bastard had stamped on it before he took his swan dive.

***

“Mr Roanoke, you understand that this isn’t accusing you of anything. We simply need to understand everything that led to Mr Dorian Webster’s unfortunate demise. You fired your gun?’

‘Yes Sir.’ I kept my eyes facing forward. I’d been through this a few times before, though most of those times the guy hadn’t died. One of them was getting out in a couple of weeks. I gave the stock answers to their questions, how many rounds were fired, did the assailant have a weapon. Two and yes, respectively. Then they threw me.

‘How did he get your wristwatch, Mr Roanoke?’ Captain Harvey leaned onto his elbows, cricking his neck loud enough to echo through the boxy room. ‘You were wearing it in your academy graduation photo. So, tell me. How did a murder suspect get your watch?’

He’d been a consultant, of sorts. Back in the early days, when I was still getting to grips with the city with all its confusing streets and smells, the constant bombardment on your senses. I’d noticed Dorian pawing at my wrist in his attempt to steal my watch, it was like being mouthed by a toothless dog in how obvious it was.

He’d protested all the way to the car. Claimed he was innocent, he wasn’t trying to take nothing. I ignored him all the way to the station and was wrestling him towards the cells when he’d said it.

‘I know that guy! That’s Biggy Phil!’ He’d pointed with his cuffed hands to the suspects board.

That was the start of an interesting friendship. We’d ended up arresting Biggy Phil, or Phillip Keenan as his mother had named him, then we parted ways. It wasn’t until I got home that night that I realised the little bastard had nicked my watch.

I figured he could keep it for his help.

‘So it was a gift?’

‘Yes Sir.’

‘Very well, Mr Roanoke. You are dismissed. Go and get some rest.’

***

I drove towards my home in a daze. What the hell had caused Dorian to turn like that? Last I’d seen of him he’d been going straight. He’d found a girl, or a purpose. Either way, he’d talked about getting out of being a criminal.

Something must have changed his mind. The clouds burst above me and unleashed the rain on the cold ground. The headlights thinned out and I ended up alone with my thoughts. Dorian wouldn’t have just turned like that. Something must have changed his mind.

Or someone.

I pulled a vaguely illegal U-turn and started driving towards Halifax Road. That’s where Dorian had lived. It was definitely the place to start.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 179: Your favourite recipe

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There was a boy who got lost in the woods and never was found.

It’s not very fulfilling, when it’s put like that. Bread and water claiming to be a hearty meal, as opposed to the veritable feast that should flesh out such a story. Those words hang heavy and pregnant on the page, filling our heads with questions. Who is this boy, where are these woods?

What happened?

Read on and perhaps you shall be enlightened.

***

Michael Williams is seventeen years old today. He is slowly turning into the man he is supposed to become, but not yet. No, at the moment Michael is still a boy, all arms and legs and teenage angst. He is walking down the busy road, traffic flashing by but ignored by young Mr Williams who is far too engrossed in the tinny music that streams into his ears from his mobile phone. His hair is shaggy and long, with a fringe that covers his eyes to the point that he can barely see, but that is how he likes it and he won’t be talked out of it by his mother.

He swings his head from side to side, passionately playing an air guitar as he shambles back towards the school. He has survived the morning, with its oppressive maths classes and its faux hierarchy of cool people and geniuses, before getting his brief escape to the shops at lunchtime. Michael just floats through it all, oblivious to all the teenage bullshit, or so he thinks.

He’s heading out to the clearing tonight, with Charlie, Mira and Oscar. They’d already been a tight-knit group of outsiders when he’d moved to St Augustine’s and they’d welcomed him. He guessed that they’d just seen a fellow outcast who had something to give.

They meet up a couple of times a week. Charlie’s a bit older, so he’ll get some booze in and they can chill at his place. Perhaps they’ll go for a drive in Mira’s car, play some video games. Then on special nights, they’ll go out to the clearing. They’ll set some stuff on fire and Oscar brings the burgers. Michael has never tasted anything so good, all he wants is to eat another one of those burgers.

The memory of that taste gets him through the rest of the day. That and the anticipation for tonight. Watching Mira dance in the firelight, feeling the buzz as the beers flow. He slouches home when he’s finally released from the social prison and waits. He watches the sun get lower in the sky and as it ducks below the horizon that ten year old, canary yellow VW Polo pulls up outside and the horn sounds twice. He grabs a scarf from the hook behind the door. A shame that the only one he owns was knitted by his grandmother in the more shocking shades from the rainbow. He considers leaving it behind, but is now most of the way out the door.

‘I love you, Sweetie!’ His mother shouts as the door closes and he hurries to the car. The night has fallen quickly and the temperature with it. Mira is waiting with the door open and he hustles inside, smiling in response to her grin as she sees the scarf.

They drive to the woods, a little over the speed limit but it’s all about the thrill. Besides, even if they got pulled over Mira would just smile and the police would let them move on. They get to the woods in no time at all and the Polo sneaks in to nestle  against Charlie’s pick-up. Why Charlie had a pick-up was a question that Michael had never learned the answer to, but he was happy to go along with it all the while he was still accepted by these people.

The growing firelight throws shadows amongst the trees, illuminating the hidden pathways that lead to the clearing. The woods may not be large, but they are dense in their rank and file, great boughs spreading above them with the final leaves of autumn clinging on for dear life. Mira takes his hand in her own soft palm and leads him through to where Oscar and Charlie are waiting, the smell of burgers floating toward them on the slight breeze.

Michael is thrown a bottle of Budweiser and cracks it open with a hiss. Screw top bottles were a great invention he thought, as he let the night sweep him up. It passes in a blur. Music, dancing, even kisses from Mira and Oscar, both of them laughing as Michael blushes. They eat the burgers off the small barbecue, dance some more, drink, drink and drink until they fall to the ground in a pile.

Mira’s lips moved close to Michael’s ear, close enough that he could feel her breath against it. The slightest kiss grazes his cheek, then she spoke.

‘You like the burgers, then?’ She said as her hand moved onto his chest, slender fingers deftly unbuttoning his shirt. He nods, thinking it an odd question but letting that thought disappear as she rolls on top of him, straddling him. He is getting excited, completely ignoring the movements of everything else, the firelight, the heat from the flames, Oscar and Charlie moving for what he assumes is another beer. All he can focus on is her eyes, boring deep into his. She straightens up, lifting her head to the clear night sky. ‘Do you want to know how they’re made?’

The knife flashes gold in the firelight and abruptly descends.

***

The only sign that Michael Williams had even gone into those woods was a garish scarf lying near the remains of a bonfire. The newspapers ran the story every year after that, always with the same headline.

There was a boy who got lost in the woods and never was found.

All this writing is making me hungry…

The Idiot in Tin Foil

 

Day 178: A kid in your grade who you don’t know very well turns up at your house one day to tell you something important. What does he look like? What does he say?

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Caleb always sat at the back of class. He’d have his sketchbook open, no matter what lesson we were in and he would doodle. I caught a glimpse of a page once where he’d drawn a swirling vortex dragging cartoons of his classmates into the twisting maw. I was searching for my own face when he looked up with startling grey eyes and snapped the book shut.

‘Sorry, I was just…’ That was as far as I got before he’d turned back away, staring at the equation Mr Thomas had just written up. He didn’t move to pick up a pen or open a school book, just resolutely ignored me and left me with nothing but the memory of those eyes. It was as if they didn’t even see me.

I’d gone back to my seat a little shaken. I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of Mr Thomas’ lesson, not with his eyes burning in my mind, a dirty blonde fringe falling over them but the rage still cutting through. He’d been so angry, all because I’d looked at a sketch pad.

What was his problem?

Thankfully, we went our separate ways after maths. Caleb went on to the art rooms and I had a French lesson. Not that I could learn anything about the past perfect tense. I started doodling instead, a swirling pool of water like Caleb’s. Mine was lacking all those cartoon faces pulled into agonised rictuses, however.

French went quickly and I had the rest of the day off. It was a short drive home in my battered Fiesta, but today it was filled with danger. I couldn’t keep my head in the game, telling myself I just needed to rest, get my head down for a few hours. I don’t know why it had rattled me so much, but it was enough that I nearly ran into someone at a set of traffic lights. Always fun to defy death on the drive home.

I bustled into the house, dumping my bag on the sofa so fast that it ejected my school books all over the living room floor. I ignored them and raced up to my room. I needed to sleep, anything to get the eyes to go away. I fumbled with the buttons on my shirt and threw it into a corner before crawling into the duvet’s welcome embrace.

My dreams were twisted and tortured, swirling round and round. The only thing that came to mind was Yeats’ The Second Coming. Turning and turning and things fall apart. All the words sweeping around me and an insistent knocking, a pounding drumbeat setting the rhythm of the dream.

The dream that wasn’t a dream. The knocking was from outside and it yanked me awake. I opened my eyes and sat bolt upright.

Knock, knock, knock.

I brushed the sleep from my eyes, flicking the grit away. I pulled on a pair of tracksuit bottoms and walked groggily downstairs. Pulled open the front door to a rush of freezing air.

Standing in front of me, wearing a leather jacket and clutching his sketch pad like a lifeline, was Caleb. He stared straight at me, before pushing the blonde hair up and over his forehead.

‘You need to come with me, right now.’

Those grey eyes burned into my skin as I looked blearily on. I leaned against the door and weighed my options. I didn’t know Caleb. All I knew of him was that damn drawing that had turned my world upside down for a day.

There was only one option.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

 

 

Day 177: The general manager of the New York Yankees’ personal to-do list

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Shit shit shit shit shit.

How was I supposed to know I’d gone into the wrong office? I was in the building for an interview anyway, they come out and they ask for Mr Alex Smith and well, that’s my name after all, so I went in.

They asked me all those questions. I thought they seemed odd at the time, but I gave them the heart and soul approach. All fire and gumption, you know, the kind of stuff that all recruiters are looking for.

They lapped it up. Honestly, it’s as if they were waiting for someone to show some spirit for this thing. I thought it was weird, expecting so much from an office assistant job, but I figured I’d just roll with it. And like I said, they loved it!

“Mr Smith, why do you feel like you’d be suited for the role?”

“Well, I believe I can bring fresh eyes to a project that may be considered tired and downbeat. Meaning no offence, of course.” I’d giggled nervously. Thought that was a deal breaker and they were going to send me away. I’d actually giggled at a job interview.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Well, apparently not. Because I got the phone call the next day. “Mr Smith, we’d like you to take on the role of General Manager to the New York Yankees.” I’d spluttered and gulped, trying to get my head around what I’d just heard. “I can understand you may be surprised by this, but being speechless is fair enough. The current owners were very impressed by your passion and drive during your interview. If you could please start on Monday, as you didn’t provide a notice period?”

The phone had gone dead. I sat staring at it, confused as hell. I thought I was interviewing to be an office assistant for crying out loud!

I sat at my desk and began to write.

TO-DO LIST

  1. Find out what sport the New York Yankees play…

The Idiot in Tin Foil

 

 

Day 176:Your first fight

 

vintage-grey-airplane-plane.jpgI’ve been fighting my whole life. Everybody has.

It’s the world we live in since the Hammerfall Protocol. Colcannon proposed the idea back in the early nineties and they actually built it.

God damn Julian Colcannon. It turned into one of the ugliest words around after they actually commenced Hammerfall. You can say what you like about somebody’s mother or their sexual preferences, but if you call someone a Colcannon you’d best be prepared for a punch to the throat.

The bombardment only lasted thirteen minutes, that’s what we’re told. It levelled everything. Everything became rubble and dust. The fields and lakes were poisoned, the land itself was pummelled into a new shape. Everything my family had every known, taken away in thirteen minutes.

As you can imagine, food and resources became scarce. Everything is a fight for survival. That’s the world I was born into.

Mum never talks about how she survived Hammerfall.

Dad didn’t.

I was eight years old when I was out scavenging. I’d gotten away from everything else at this point by running. A lot of running. But this time I was feeling cocky. Mum had let me go out scavenging into the New Forest. I’d never been so far from Lakeside, but she’d told me that I was growing up now and had to learn to fend for myself. I was thin and wiry and in no way prepared for a fight.

Especially when I found the plane. It had split into three sections, two of which had been ransacked and only the barest skeleton remained. But the tail was still waiting in the deeper in the woods. It must have been.

It was. I found it after a couple of hours searching and there it was in all it’s glory. Pretty much intact, all the panelling. Mum told me we needed more metal and there it was. I’d marked its location on the map mum had given me and was about to start heading home when I heard them. Three of them, cutting through the woods towards me all yelling to each other.

‘Look, what’s that?’ One of them shouted. They’d found my plane. They started talking to each other about it, how they were gonna be rich when they traded in all the sheeting.

That’s when I made my move. I had a branch in my hands, bark rough against the soft skin. It was a really satisfying thud as it connected with the first guys head.

The other two rushed me as he went down. The first guy sent me to the floor with a shoulder to my chest, knocking all the air from my lungs. The second guy started kicking me while I was down, his boots thudding into my ribs, my arms, my legs as I curled into a foetal ball. The first guy joined in quite quickly.

Hey, you asked for my first fight. Not my most successful one.

I’ve got no idea how long that lasted. It could have been seconds, it could have been hours. All I know is that eventually they dragged me away to the edge of the woodland and stole my map. I was bruised and broken, but managed to make it back to town, hobbled and lame.

Mum screamed when she saw me. She wouldn’t let me leave the ramshackle hut that we called home for six weeks.

She sure as hell didn’t let me scavenge again for a long time.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 175: Write from this quote from Claude Levi-Strauss, “I am the place in which something has occurred.”

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I am the place in which something has occurred.

The tiniest seed of an idea has taken to the fertile soil of my mind. It is one of many cast, though most land amongst the rocks and stones and sand. This one, however, lands in the patch of healthy soil. It is not too acidic or alkaline, no poison coursing through it. Everything is just right.

It sends roots out through the crevasses and pathways of my brain, exploring the mysteries and seeking out the waters of nourishment that lie within. The idea is fed, then it twists and turns to gain a more solid grounding. It will take more than a couple of whiskies, or the following hangover, to dislodge this idea.

The plant is bursting from the shell of the little seed now, pushing the initial kernel our until the pressure is too much and the green begins to show. Slowly, it works its way to the surface, no longer hidden inside but showing its face to the world through word and deed. Phrases amongst friends, such as ‘I’ve had this idea…’ and ‘What do you think of this?’, become common in their usage as the plant decides on its ability to survive. It checks all incoming attacks and remains resilient.

The plant has broken through the surface now and is crying out to the sun. The rays of the sun, unconscious of the little plant thirsting below, feed it nonetheless. All that information, flowing from sources like the internet, the media, conversations on the bus all hammering down and nurturing that seed into the flower, the bush, the tree that it can be.

My idea stands in all its splendour, stretching high into the sky, out into the world. This is the thing that has occurred.

I am the place in with something has occurred.

You are also the place in which something has occurred. What is your thing that has occurred?

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 174: Write a letter from the point of view of a drug addict

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Jim,

You’ve gotta help me man, I’m struggling here. I just need a little bit more, just a top up. I know you can get it for me.

The police got Digger. That’s my supply down the toilet and I’m spiralling with it man, I’m chasing the spiral, round and round, all the way down to the U-bend and out and away.

Jimmy, you and me, we’re mates! You can set me up, just for a little while. I know you said you’d never deal to friends and that the best you could do is put me on to the next best person and Digger, yeah, he sorted me out for a long time but then he got busted with Blackout and…

Shit, I’m rambling again. Jim, just a short term thing, just until I find another person who can get me what I need.

Jimmy, Jimjam, Jimeroo… I need your help.

I’ll meet you at the usual spot, the usual time. Just… Get me some Blackout man.

I’m dying here.

Alby

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 173: You are going to appear on a talk show. The producer comes backstage to elicit a funny story that the host should focus on. Write the story like a monologue you’re giving on national TV.

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I fell off a building once.

No, I’m serious. I fell off a building.

I should probably go back to the beginning. It started, as most of the best stories do, with a drink. I’d gone to a friend’s Pokemon themed birthday party in all my fancy dress, where we had proceeded to play drinking games like Never Have I Ever and all that.

 

The evening progressed out into town, we went to a few clubs and ended up in the traditional night closer, the grotty club where you stick to the floor, the lights don’t come on until five in the morning. The drinks are cheap, probably because half of them are all over the aforementioned floor and the only songs they can play are the big cheesy numbers from the nineties. The drink kept flowing and I danced, loved it and lost all of my friends.

So, I decided to go looking for them. I checked upstairs and downstairs, no sign of them. Eventually, I decided they must have gone outside.

I did later find out that they hadn’t gone anywhere and were right behind me, but that’s beside the point.

So, I’m outside the club. I look to my left and there’s a line of people still trying to get in. To my right is a line of people who have already been in and want to get back in. This is when my vaguely drink-addled brain decides to inform me that I am in dire need of a restroom. There’s no way I’m getting back into the club, not with a line that long outside. McDonalds is too far away so I figure that I’ll head down an alley.

The joys of external plumbing, eh?

Unfortunately, down this alley there is a couple engaging in… Adventurous outdoor activities, we’ll call it. Being drunk, I decide that the best thing to do is to head on past them further down the alley to a gate at the end. This gate is usually shut, mind you.

Not this night, for some reason. I think this is a win and wander through, finding a wall that’s about four foot high that I proceed to jump over.

As it turns out, it’s only four foot tall on one side. So that was my first fall of the evening. A practice run, of sorts.

So, I’ve landed in this yard. The wall I came over to get in is twelve feet, perhaps. It’s part of a set of three, then there’s a building. With a ladder.

My genius brain decides that this is the only way out. So I climb up this ladder and I get to a rooftop, flat and nondescript.

All I’ve done is trade one bad situation for another. I’m looking around for a way down and I see a cat. I remember this bit so clearly. It’s a fat, ginger cat and it starts running around this roof. Me, being drunk, decide to chase the cat. So there’s me, the cat and whatever the cat’s following, all of us running in circles around this roof. I got lost. Lost the ladder, lost all my bearings. Though I am fairly sure I’d actually travelled maybe two metres.

This is when my genius brain pulls its best idea yet from some kind of dark crevasse. Quite possibly, it found it in a box that said “Stupid Ideas. Do not open.” I spot, along the edge of the rooftop I’m on, some ivy or some other creeping plant. I’ve seen this in films, I know what I can do.

I get down, one elbow clinging to the edge, a handful of plant in the other, my feet dangling. I take a deep breath and take the elbow off.

Next thing I know, I’m on the ground two stories below in some patch of overgrowth. Somehow, all I come away with is two bruises. That’s it.

How I got out of the patch of overgrowth, that’s a whole other story…

Yes, this one’s a true story. One of many from my misspent youth (He says, as if he was older than 23 years old…)

The Idiot in Tin Foil