Friday, March 16, 2018

At Gambollers Anonymous

My name is Stephen and I am a gamboller.
God grant me the frivolity to leave what can be changed alone,
To incessantly belabour what cannot,
And the folly to bedamn the difference.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


I went on a big demo with Dad. He's one of the leaders. On the way back there was a bit of argy-bargy and an obstreperous kid got hauled away. Back to our home in B-. It's crowded, with so many of the activists here. I think they've taken the interloper outside, and I'm worried they may have killed him. It's night already. I go out front to see what's happening and they are just in the process of launching a nuclear missile from the field outside our house into the city. The flames of its rocket engines fire in the dark. This, it goes without saying, is astonishing and beyond terrible.

I'm inside now, beside the wall in the crowded living room. I go out the back with my acquaintances, with my overcoat on. It's a sort of cul-de-sac with the back gardens around it, and it is crowded here too. Police are arriving to look for the missing kid, a youth really. I say I'm worried I will be mistaken for my father and blamed by the crowd. "I'll be lynched." In the distance the city is a conflagration, with fires everywhere, but the police arriving have not seen it, as they're coming from that direction and facing this way. People try to tell them about the nuclear explosion, but they are officious and insist they must follow-up their search for the kid, one thing at a time.

But they soon realise they must investigate the source of the nuclear missile, as people are telling them it came from in front of my house. We go inside, and I feel I must tell them about the murdered kid, as I think it's only right, and anyway, it would be worse for my Dad to be blamed for the nuclear missile. Nobody knows where the kid is. They've got Dad in handcuffs now. I don't feel I have done anything wrong, but I'm not feeling righteous, it's just something I had to tell them. He's brought it on himself.

But now the floor of the room is flooded about a foot deep. Everyone else has gone. Somehow they drain it. I don't know what's happening. The floorboards are lifted. It's not the kid. There are what looks like two sacks there, possibly the size of a big person and a smaller one but they're shapeless, so it's not certain, it might be something else. I am seized with terror and guilt.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Lost, run, jump, chat

Getting to the place is alright, it's finding the way back afterwards that's difficult. I see a station down that way and set out. But I've gone down the wrong side somehow and now I've lost sight of it. And I've forgotten my phone, so I can't check maps. The further I walk, the bigger the streets. This is a big city, I know. Office blocks, etc, vast expanses everywhere I look, but no sign of a station. I am totally lost.

It's later. Running, we leap into a sort of silo, as big as a huge barn, half filled with whatever. We go out onto a little outside balcony on the opposite wall above the huge pit. It's barred above with giant beer pump handles. Dad doesn't have a care, chatting away. I can jump and pull one of the giant handles down a bit but that's not going to get us out of here. Dad is in a good mood, talking and, in that way of his, making himself laugh, while I realise we're never going to get out of here.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The twilight zone

Up in the office block. Briefcase? To the top floor to get something that's mine, while the boss is not around. Was that a sound, is he here? To get away, go out and back to the past.

The woman in a big dress tags along with the others. I wish she wouldn't. At last she has drifted away, I can see her float down the landings. This building is mostly glass.

There's nobody else on the stairs or in the corridors in this block. I wonder if there is anyone inside one of the doors, as we reach the end of the corridor where my apartment is. The others are still just behind.

The apartment is modern, spacious, open plan, minimal. There is a small saucepan sizzling on the hob. Further on in, another identical little saucepan, steaming, boiling. And there's another one ahead on the next worktop too.

I realise that no one else I know is here, no one else can be here, because this is the past and they've all gone. Everyone else is in the future.

But the ones who tagged along came into to the apartment behind me. I point at them. My speech is feeble, so I strain to raise it, but it's rough and fluctuates. I say, "You are in the twilight zone."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Vanishing points

This must surely be what happens when picking blackberries. You see the best ones first, then after you take those, others appear "out of nowhere". There are spots at all the junctions in the image but "your brain won't let you see them all at once". This could be an advantage when many other hands are competing for the best fruit, allowing you to home in on one you've identified.

Other ideas I've had about evolutionary traits. I don't know if they are common knowledge anyway:

  • The horrible feeling of scratching your nails on a blackboard, which sets your teeth on edge, must be a protection against damaging your teeth or nails on stones when biting or scratching in the ground for food.
  • The start when falling asleep (technical term ...) forces you to check that you are not in a position to fall out of bed, or - way back - to fall out of the branches of a tree in which you are nesting.
  • Could stentorian snoring have had a purpose as a scary sound to keep other creatures out of caves where humans were sleeping?

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Into the rainy night

Back with the B.....s again. This time I did meet E.... but also the others and even B......., whom, ostensibly I was there to see. In fact he left me alone for a while and who should come in only E-, and we got talking. She wanted to make some point, to harp on about abortion, and there it was, the same old religious incompatibility. It soon became clear that I had to go. It was raining hard outside, but while dressing I couldn't find the coat I came in with. I was looking for it - they have so many clothes strewn around - and eventually took something I'm not even sure was mine, which was only a vest, I think. After that fuss, I thought better of trying to find a box of chocolates that B- had given me earlier, which I had since lost sight of. It might seem selfish to ask after it, and there was still no sign of B-. As I was leaving, going out into the rain, ill-clothed and with a long walk ahead, most of the family, though not B-, was there in the hallway to see me off. Even the reverend himself - tall, smiling, happy. I couldn't really say anything, not about what had transpired, neither the missing box of chocolates, my difficulty with clothes nor the unwanted topic with E-, on my way out the door.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Into the shrill

I carry someone back to the flats. The shrilling of evil is all around. One kind friend guides me by, towards the entrance. Another cheerfully leads the way. She has only a clean robotic mechanism exposed across the shoulders and nothing above. But the dreadful shrilling of evil is all-pervasive.