When bad science fiction gets too close for comfort

I wrote this.  A long, long time ago, or that’s the way that 1998 seems to me now.

It eventually ended up in a collection of equally appalling short stories that are available on Kindle under my real name.

I’m not trying to sell it..

When I wrote it, I borrowed from other dystopian stories and added a grim twist.

And now. This week, fiction is hard to tell from reality.

Anyway.

Anybody want to take a bet on the whole thing being real in a few years?

 

Mik darted into a doorway as the poli-cruiser hummed past, red and blue lights blinking their danger signals into his eyes. He wasn’t wanted for anything, it was just an instinctive reaction, similar to an octopus darting under a rock at the first sign of a big fish.

He waited for a few minutes, just in case they decided to pull him in for routine questioning, which always left him bruised and bleeding, and then carried on walking.

Mik was tall, around the two metre mark, and very thin. His blonde hair was thinning and hung in greasy ropes around his shoulders. He dressed well, as befitted a member of his profession, and was one of the lucky few who could afford real leather shoes.

Thanks to a friend, he never had to stand in line for food, or even meat. Although this was not much of a consideration these days, as he was unable to hold anything down for any length of time.

As he walked, he constantly scanned the street, eyes flicking left and right with the regularity of a metronome.

“Mik.”  A whispered call from a shop doorway.

He turned slowly, carefully making his face impassive. George, an old customer.

“Yeah, What’re you after?”

“What’ve you got?”

“Something very special, been banned for years now, one of the first ever to be banned as a matter of fact, just possession of this will be enough for six months in a cube.”

George’s eyes gleamed at this exciting snippet, moisture beading on his top lip.

“What is it? Come on, hurry up.”

Mik, in command now, reached slowly into one of his hidden pockets and found what he was looking for.

Waved his hand in front of George’s eyes, too fast to follow, the contents of his fist a blur.

He grinned, George was hooked.

Slowly he opened his fist and displayed the treasure held within.

George was openly sweating now. “How much?” He asked, voice trembling.

“Four hundred ecu’s to you, being as I know you that is.”

“Okay, okay, here’s the money, hand it over.”

Mik moved like lightning, snatching the small plastic coins from George’s hand with the speed of a striking cobra, and only then did he hand George his prize.

” A real classic that is, first film that Michael Caine ever made as a matter of fact, not many people know that.”

George smiled blankly, oblivious to the world, all he could think of was going home and watching his black-market copy of Zulu.

Mik shrugged his shoulders and walked away, there was no point carrying on the conversation, besides, he was going to the happy clinic soon, and he didn’t want to be late.

He checked his pockets as he walked, running a quick inventory of his stock, more copies of Zulu, Waterloo, The Dam Busters, Henry V, 633 Squadron, The Battle of Britain, the list ran on and on. Most of these films had been banned since 2020, when the EGov had decreed that “Offensive Imperialist Propaganda” would be banned.

This was not a move aimed exclusively at Britain, rather an across the board removal of each member state’s military past. Some subjects were removed from school curriculums, for example the First and Second World Wars were not even obliquely referred to, the same applied to Napoleon’s rape of Europe and Nazi Germany’s attempt to eradicate all “Untermenschen”.

This attempt to somehow lessen the old hatreds between the member states, predictably, did not succeed. The French still hated the English and were coldly polite to the Germans, The Germans still harboured a festering dislike for Britain, as did the Italians. The British still hated almost everybody, with especial venom reserved for the Ancient Enemy, the French. 

People in authority denied that these hatreds still existed, or in fact, had ever existed. But, every summer, coach loads of young men made the trip through the Channel Tunnel and kicked the shit out of people on the other side.

These incidents, often involving hundreds of people, never once made the nightly news programmes. Neither did stories of unemployment or crime, except when the crime rate went up more slowly than the year previously.

In 2018, the EGov decided upon a policy of trying to keep civil unrest to a minimum, therefore, certain news items were banned, crime, unemployment (currently standing at 97,000,000), pollution and Global Warming.

Alongside this policy, the Happy Clinics were opened. For a small amount of money, people could go along to the clinics and take the drugs of their choice.

This accomplished two things very quickly, the first that drug dealers were driven out of business almost overnight. The second was that the number of addicts skyrocketed, and now stood at a staggering 200,000,000.

A side effect of this was that drug-related crime dropped almost to nothing, just the occasional knife or axe-murder committed under the influence. These incidents also never made the news.

Mik was unconscious of most of these decisions, the only one that he was aware of involved the banning of films and books, and he didn’t sell books, too big and bulky. No, give him a mini-vid any day, small, compact and easily erasable with the coat that he wore. This had thousands of strands of wire all connected to a power cell, that when activated by a simple voice command, turned his coat into a powerful electro-magnet.

He drifted along through the crowds, still scanning for potential trouble, occasionally glancing up at the video cameras positioned on strategic rooftops, eyes squinting against the yellow sky.

He was sweating himself now, body reacting to the pressure of the sale. He tried to slow his heart rate down, he was losing weight all the time these days. He wondered if he should mention it to the doctor at the Happy Clinic.

He decided against it, they might want him to cut down on the number of visits that he made. He was up to two hits a day now, heroin followed by crack cocaine at each visit.

He really was getting hot now, sure that he couldn’t remember a January being so hot, it was almost thirty degrees today.

And getting hotter.

A thin trickle of sweat ran down the back of his neck, down his back and spread out across the base of his spine. Making him sticky and uncomfortable, his mouth was getting dry and he had the beginnings of a headache.

He decided to go for a drink before he went to the Happy Clinic, a couple of large vodkas was always a good base for the drugs.

The pub, as usual, was packed. It took Mik what seemed like ages before he could fight his way through to the bar, nobody seemed to mind being pushed aside these days, idly, Mik wondered if they were putting something in the booze.

In fact they were.

Two years ago it had been decided to drastically cut the duty on alcohol, it was also decided to add a harmless tranquilliser. This meant that more people could afford to drink, it also cut down on the possibility of violence, and most importantly, it nipped in the bud any thoughts of “what are the EGov doing about unemployment, crime, poverty…….”

Most people, after a few hours in the bars and taverns had no more thought processes than a homing pigeon.

To save time, Mik ordered a quadruple round of treble vodkas, sinking the first one before the second had even been poured. He paid the surly looking barman and fought his way out to the “beer garden”, which had been covered over with a super hard plastic many years ago.

After a careful look round at the other customers, he casually laid out a neat row of vids on the bench in front of him. He wasn’t too worried about the police, the euro commissioners scared him more, they had almost unlimited powers of arrest and seizure of goods. Within five minutes, a large part of his stock had gone and he was several thousand ecu’s richer.

And quite drunk.

Unsteadily, he made his way out onto the street and just stood there for a moment, trying to remember where he was going to next. Just stood there in the reflected yellow glow from the windows, mouth open and slack. Looking almost like a dummy in a shop window, except that dummies didn’t drool.

After a while, an image of white coats and needles fought it’s way into his drugged brain and he shuffled off like an old, old man towards the Happy Clinic.

He arrived ten minutes later and sat in the waiting room with all the other people, hundreds of them.  He suddenly realised that he couldn’t remember walking there from the pub, had only a vague recollection of moving among a swaying sea of blurred faces. Didn’t even remember sitting down.

He was worried.

He was forgetting more and more lately. He made a mental note to cut down on the booze, he vaguely remembered reading something about it killing brain cells. Drugs were ok though, the EGov had published a report on the beneficial properties of all the major drugs dispensed at the Happy Clinics.

Mik stood up and stretched, rubbed gently at his temples, the headache was still with him, it even seemed a little worse. He looked at the number that he’d been given and compared it to the number currently showing on the monitor above him, just under two hundred to go. Roughly ten minutes. He hoped that he could last that long.

The Happy Clinic was enormous, at any one time; at least thirty doctors were on duty and giving people their dosages. This particular clinic had at one time been a small hospital. It still retained a vaguely hospital-like air about it as doctors and nurses bustled busily about and porters carried the too-far-gone to the front door, where they were dumped.

Mik was starting to get itchy now, the spiders of withdrawal starting to climb all over his body, he tried not to start scratching, knowing that if he did, he’d not be able to stop for hours.

He waited.

And waited.

After what seemed an eternity of the spiders crawling over his flesh, even seeming to creep inside his eyeballs, his number came up on the monitor. Taking his ticket from the grim, unsmiling, security guard, he made his way to room number thirty four.

There was no need to knock, his image was being displayed on the closed circuit monitor inside and compared to a database. This process only took a few seconds and the steel door hissed open.

The doctor was waiting.

Poised over his monitor, Doctor Hamilton looked the very essence of a professional medical man. Crisp white coat, desk neatly laid out, hi-tech monitoring and test equipment surrounding his desk.

Only two things spoiled the look, his cold, cold blue eyes and the bucket of blood-filled used syringes behind him.

“Hello Mik, how’s business?” The question was friendly yet innocent. Professional.

It terrified Mik.

“Oh…. Not that great at the moment….. But it’s picking up. Honest.”

“No it’s not, I was talking to Feo the other day, he said that you’ve been ordering less and less each month. Maybe it’s time that you cut down on this a bit.” Gesturing to the syringes and drug cabinets.

“It’s not that… It’s just that I’ve not been feeling that great for a while now, I don’t know why.”

The doctor’s eyes narrowed, taking in Mik’s appearance fully.

“Yes you do look a bit thin, perhaps we’d better do a blood test. Give me your arm.”

Mik, knowing that it would be pointless to resist, held out a scarred left arm fro the testing unit.

A brief whir of machinery, a sudden sharp pain in his elbow joint, and the machine began its work.

The doctor hummed quietly to himself, Mik sweated.

The display changed, row upon row of figures traversing the screen, reflecting in the cold eyes of the doctor. Coming to a halt. Giving an instant diagnosis.

“Oh dear Mik, this doesn’t look very good at all, perhaps you’d like a small hit of a cocktail before I tell you the bad news?”  Already knowing the answer, preparing a syringe with practised hands.

Mik just sat there, too frightened to ask, and too frightened to do anything except hold his arm out for the injection that would give him the courage to hear the bad news.

He hoped that it wasn’t AIDS, everything else was curable, except AIDS. If that’s what it turned out to be, he’d kill that fucking bitch Martine.

Slowly, the drugs cut in and he felt their calmness spreading through his mind.

“OK, tell me the worst, it’s not AIDS is it ?” His voice seemed wrong, slower, deeper than it should be.

“No, not AIDS, you’ve got cancer of the liver and bowels.”

Mik sighed in relief. Curable.

“What are you smiling at Mik?” The voice was cold, detached.

“Curable.” His voice was slower now, but happy-sounding.

“No. I’m afraid not. We gave up on cancer research twenty years ago.”

Mik could feel panic building up in his head. He couldn’t move his arms or legs.

Or his head.

All he could move were his eyes; he looked at the doctor, who seemed to be smiling.

“As I was saying, there were too many new cancer causing factors around, chemical spillage, air pollution, solar radiation, nuclear radiation. You name it and it was on the increase. So we started doing this.”

He waved the syringe through the air.

“This….. Used to be called a Hot Shot, but these days we just call it Option Three.”

Mik couldn’t see, he could only hear. And his hearing was fading fast.

“It was the best solution really. Cheap, quick, effective. Much better than raising people’s hopes with chemotherapy and radiation treatment. This way you just disap……”

A button was pushed and two burly porters, lobotomized to make their work easier for them to live with, came in and removed the body. Then took it to the sealed-off rear part of the clinic for incineration.

Another button pushed.

A new patient.

 

 

 

 

 

Apropos of nothing – Gluesniffing

I’m a violent man, I keep it reasonably well hidden and very much in check. But, deep down and very much part of my DNA is the knowledge that violence is an option when all else fails. Those of you who barely know me may be surprised at this, although one twitterati at a recent meeting wondered if I would be offended if they compared me to a gangster.

My great grandfather had to be locked in a room every full moon as he was an actual lunatic and very much affected by the lunar cycle. By all accounts he was lovely the rest of the time, but I’ve often wondered at the origins of the thread of violence running through my family.

I’ve seen the very real negative effects of violence over the years and watched as friends and family have been sewn back together or taken off for nights in the cells or longer periods with some real prison time. I’ve also seen that violent action is an enabler for change.

So -apropos of nothing, here’s a real life story.

Let’s go back to 1983.

Spandau Ballet, Culture Club, Wham! and the Eurythmics dominated the charts and it was a warm, dry summer.

And my youngest brother, a full six years younger than me, started doing very badly in school and developed a nasty rash around his nose and mouth. He was tired and groggy around the house and had become increasingly secretive.

It didn’t take long before my parents discovered that he was glue sniffing with a group of ‘friends’ and they then embarked on a plan to get him to stop.

They met with the school and it was agreed that although he was 15, he would be escorted to and from school every day.

The school agreed to monitor him and ensure that he didn’t leave the site at any point in the day.

This worked for less than a week, by the Friday, he was spaced out and reeking of glue again. He didn’t care about the anguish that my mum in particular felt, or the impotent rage of my dad who wanted to do something but knew that he couldn’t.

They tried counselling – it was pointless, he did it because he liked it and because of peer pressure.

Then the police became involved – the group that my brother was involved with had expanded their brief to petty theft – there wasn’t enough to charge any of them with but all parents were visited.

I remember my mum crying.

And my dad raging at the copper to ‘just stop them sniffing glue, you know who they are, where they are, just stop them’

And the policeman looking at the floor, saying that nothing could be done.

I remember it all too well.

The spotty-faced, spaced out thing in the corner that was slowly turning into a stranger.

My parents torn between rage and grief, powerless to stop this – unless they had the idiot child sectioned.

Yes. Sectioned.

That was a real alternative put forward by the counsellor.

And me and my other brothers watching from the sidelines, terrified as to where this was taking us all.

And so.

I sat down with my next youngest brother and we drew up a list.

It contained:

  • the whole glue-sniffing group
  • All the shops within two miles (walking distance) that sold glue
  • manned public spaces (parks etc.)

and we went visiting.

First we went to the group members and made it explicitly clear that Steven Thunderdog was now excommunicated and would not be invited to join in with their activities anymore.

By the time that we’d gone through the group, they all understood and they all agreed.

Then we went to the shops that sold glue.

We took photos with us and asked the shop owners to ban this particular under 16 year old from buying glue, gas, spray paint, thinners, etc. etc.

Most shops agreed without a second thought, those that demurred and talked about their right to sell products to whom they chose were presented with a hypothetical future.

One without a shop or stock, just an insurance claim for smashed and burnt property.

Interestingly, they found this hypothetical future more worrying than losing £5 or glue sales a week.

And then.

We went to the parks.

In those days, parks had big teams of groundsmen and park keepers. they knew exactly what was going on and turned a blind eye. As people do.

Once again, we showed photos of our errant sibling and asked that he be moved on if they saw him sitting in the bushes or with his ‘friends’.

We were polite but insistent.

One member of the staff from the biggest park, asked us a direct question in what I thought at the time (and still do) was a vulgar and threatening manner.

‘What the fuck are you going to do about if we don’t then? you pair of cunts.’

This to me was the root of the problem, we were trying to dry up my brother’s network, his friends, his suppliers, his safe places and rather than being concerned and helpful, this gentleman, this public employee, wanted to make it an issue for all the wring reasons.

So, quietly, persuasively and believably, I told him.

I told him that if my brother carried on sniffing, that if he carried on sniffing here, in this place and anything bad happened.

That we would hold him personally responsible.

And nail him to the workshop doors.

He finally saw our point then and assured us that he meant no offence, it was the beer talking – for in those days, public employees would happily spend all day sitting drinking tins of lager.

we went on our way pleased that we’d made so many people see that glue sniffing was a bad thing.

Sadly, this tale is not only true, it’s a little toned down.

But – my brother had to stop sniffing glue, we shut down his network, his supply and the facilitators.

It took less than three days from start to finish.

I don’t know what made me think of this little story, but sometimes we have to do things that are unpalatable to get things back in order.

Just a thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Curious Case of Gary Lineker

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Gary seems to have had quite the damascene conversion in the past few months, he’s an open critic of Brexit and has had a go at trolling Donald Trump

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No. Scratch that, he’s becoming obsessive about Trump, and hardly a day goes by without a mention of how awful / evil he is.

Gary has now taken to the streets and is marching in solidarity with something or other along with other great thinkers like Lily Allen.

What’s caused this amazing change in his outlook? In my cynical little mind, there’s only two possible reasons that a man with a reputed £31m fortune and a TV career can have for this.

Cherchez la Femme and Follow the Money.

Let’s start with Cherchez la Femme

The expression comes from the 1854 novel “The Mohicans of Paris” by Alexandre Dumas.

Cherchez la femme, pardieu ! Cherchez la femme !

Meaning; whatever the problem may be, a woman is the cause, A new girlfriend, an angry ex, a mistress – whatever.

Gary seems quite open in his private life these days and a quick trawl through the horrors of the tabloid internet doesn’t show any new relationships, so unless he has a new, very young, politically active girlfriend, this doesn’t seem to be the reason.

Maybe we should try Follow the Money.

In the immortal words of Lester Freamon from The Wire, “You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don’t know where the fuck it’s gonna take you”.

Before we do though, here’s a short list of the things that Gary has spoken out about recently:

  • Immigration- the ‘Children’ who came through Calais.
  • Brexit
  • Trump
  • Nigel Farage
  • Press Regulation – he hates the Sun

Quite the list really, marking him out as a truly modern, left-leaning, liberal sort of multimillionaire.

Curiously, Gary has stayed clear of only one major story in the past few months – and I’d actually be happy to see him come out in support of the victims.

The story gets bigger week by week and very few footballers have made any comment at all, but Wayne Rooney was vocal from the first few days. screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-11-17-43

The Metropolitan Police force released a statement revealing that 255 cases of abuse in London (just London) teams have been reported, relating to individuals at 77 clubs.

The sex abuse claims include all five Premier League teams as well as three Championship teams, three League One and Two teams and 66 other named clubs.

The force refused to disclose the names of the clubs involved or the nature of the allegations against each club.

But the city’s top teams believed to be involved are Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham and Crystal Palace.

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A massive story in fact – With Gary having played for two of the clubs now named.

Still maybe his silence is just him being sensitive and thoughtful, because he’s not the type to mindlessly opine about something on Twitter is he?

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Or perhaps he’s helping the police by quietly pointing out the people that he suspected when he was a player. That would be nice too.

In the meantime, he continues to pontificate on international politics and appears to be regressing back to the student activist that he never was.

He recently hosted ‘Have I Got News for You’ and managed to annoy a percentage of the population who still watch the BBC with a joke about Brexit voters being dead in 10 years, and maybe, just maybe, this is where the new persona is taking him.

Lineker is a freelancer to the BBC, although his work is almost exclusively for them these days, so it’s likely a tax arrangement which also enables him to sell crisps, rather than a desire to stay independent.

He’s building a media profile up with Twitter, interviews in the foreign press

and marching on the streets to protest things that will never affect him.

Can a new chat-show with a political slant and early guests such as Charlotte Church and Lily Allen be far behind?

 

Framing the discussion

I went to my first ever Christmas Lights switch on last night, which given that I’ll be 54 tomorrow, came as a bit of a surprise to me. I’ve never been a great proponent of Christmas, I can take or leave the whole present thing, but it’s always been a good time for Family, meals, booze and a good laugh.

More of the lights later.

Let’s talk about me for a bit.

For the first ten years of my life, my family lived in the East End of London, a place that was undergoing rapid changes in demographics and culture. Which, to be fair, is what the East End has always done, with generations of immigrants moving out to make a place for the next batch.

It was a harsh and hard place, I learned to fight and fight hard at a very early age, the first time that another boy pulled a knife on me was when I was nine years old. I’d just had a trial with the England Judo team, he didn’t stand a chance.

By the age of ten, I was fighting fifteen year olds and sometimes winning.For my parents, it was time to move out, we were becoming a minority in the area anyway and the promised land of Essex was calling.

However;before you start thinking that this is about race, my first curries came from a neighbour named Mrs Hewitt, whose family had come from the West Indies, she made huge bowls and brought them to our house, because she could and because we loved them.

I still think of her occasionally and hope that her life remained as sunny and pleasant as she made other people’s.

My parents had lived through the war and the ‘Germans’ were still the enemy in the abstract, although one of my godfathers had been a Luftwaffe fighter pilot who’d done enough to earn the Iron Cross.

Television was only three channels and the press gave you your opinions – unless you had a massive curiosity about the world and read book after book after book, as I did through my teens.

Still, attitudes become ingrained and the Germans would be ‘teutonically efficient’ and ‘humourless’ in my mind for many years to come.

The North of England would remain a wasteland in my jaundiced view for even longer. This view not being changed after visits to hellholes such as Hull, Doncaster, Rochdale, the list goes on.

Mind you Luton is hideous, as is Basildon and London is now almost a lost city, the Tower Hamlets of my youth when I delivered milk with my Dad to the sink estates is now a foreign land.

I learned both French and German at school and with a few days immersion, can navigate my way around both menu and conversations (particularly in German) well enough  that German colleagues no longer speak German in front of me, just in case.

And after many years of avoiding the place, I went to Germany, Specifically Hamburg on a work related trip and fell in love with the country, everything that I thought I knew was disproved on an hourly basis, Berlin is now one of my favourite places in the world.

In the past five years, I’ve worked a lot in the North of England (as well as India, Germany, Malaysia and Australia) and slowly but surely, my attitudes have changed. Rochdale is still a hellhole, as are many of the surrounding towns and the less said about places like Rotherham the better.

Guess what?

I was wrong about the North too.

I now live in Nantwich, I moved here for work, but plan to stay. My current job means that I have to work in London now, but I have no plans to move back to the beautiful South.

The pace of life here suits me, the town is reminiscent of 1960s towns everywhere but has ensured that all of the good things about traditional English market towns have been retained.

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People are friendly, nearly all of the (many) pubs positively encourage dogs and I confess that I now find London a bit too much for me and can’t wait to get back home.

And last night I went to the turning on of the Christmas Lights and it was fantastic.

People of all ages attended, I was surprised to see so many teens and young couples alongside the families and older people, the town was completely packed, there was a small funfair, mulled wine, music and fireworks.

All in all, it was awesome and I wandered back to the pub, which had put our beers behind the bar for safe keeping with a massive grin on my face.

So.

I was wrong about Germany and the Germans.

I was wrong about ‘The North’

I found this out by myself, I didn’t need to be harangued by people who didn’t actually live there, I didn’t need a diversity lecture, my ‘racism’ didn’t need to be called out and shamed, nor my ‘ignorance’.

And finally. Here’s my point.

I watched the video of that farrago of the Hamilton cast haranguing Mike Pence at their show and cringed. How does that help? Who does it help?

I know who Pence is and think he’s got some views that I really don’t agree with, but instead of taking the opportunity to welcome him in, show him that he’s wrong about things, get to meet with him, ask him backstage or to maybe come back another day  – and engage – the cast gave him an embarrassing lecture via an ambush.

Opportunity wasted – all for some virtue signalling.

I’m finding myself turning off from anybody that can’t frame their argument, ‘racist’ ‘sexist’ ‘ableist’ are just words now. If you’re not sure enough of your argument to actually discuss it, don’t bother.

 

 

 

Bearing with the consequences 

Mr Brown sighed quietly as he switched the TV off. The constant feed of terror, rape and assault made him fearful for the future of the country that he still loved.

He remembered being a fiery young union organiser back in the 70s and the evening meal that would change his, his family’s and the nation’s life forever. And he now wondered if he’d done the right thing.

It was a cold evening in January 1974 and the Brown family walked happily to the local Italian restaurant, having first checked that the power would be on that night and that food could indeed be cooked. The meal was a happy one and Brother Scargill was toasted a number of times, Mr Brown being sure that the 35% pay rise for miners was a sure thing.

It was young Doreen Brown who noticed the snuffling shape outside the window, looking in with huge hungry brown eyes. Before her father could stop her, she ran to the door and walked an adorable little black bear into the restaurant. The bear wore a cute little outfit of Shalwar kadeez and had a little label attached to his clothes.

It said.

“Please give this bear food, shelter, money and clothing for the rest of his life, thank you”

‘Dad, can we keep him?’ Cried Doreen, already smitten with the little chap.

‘Fahishah’ said the little bear, expelling a cute stream of slobber over Doreen’s face.

The Brown family giggled as the little bear then repeated the action to Mrs Brown, shouting ‘Bay Saleeqa’ at her before stealing some pizza from the table.

Mr Brown wasn’t certain, little black bears could be such a nuisance and the cost of keeping him in these tough times was likely to be high. Still, he was a committed socialist and could never turn his back on another soul  in need of food and lodgings.

‘Maybe for a week or two until we can find him a real home’ he opined, secretly revelling in the love reflected in Doreen and her brother Arthur’s eyes.

‘What’s your name little bear?’ He asked in a kindly fashion

‘Suar, Kuffar, Najaiz Olad !!’ Said the little bear.

‘That’s a bit of a mouthful, perhaps we could name you…’

‘Masborough!!!!’ Shouted both Brown children in unison, looking at the railway station opposite.

Mr Brown smiled at Mrs Brown fondly.

‘Masborough it is’

‘Jhag!!’ Said the little bear, stealing some more pizza from another table before they walked into the night.

Back at the Brown household, Mrs Brown made Masborough a bowl of warm milk and built him a small bed made of cushions and old blankets before they all retired to bed.

Now, all these years later, Mr Brown wondered if perhaps he could have seen things a bit clearer, the reluctance of the bear to learn English, to use the toilet and his insistence at pawing on Doreen’s door in the  middle of the night, whispering ‘Fahisha, Fahishah, Fahishah’ over and over again.

But in his innocence and his solemn desire for all to live in socialist harmony, Mr Brown ignored these things and when Masborough was featured in the newspaper, he gave a gushing and glowing interview in favour of the little bear.

Soon everybody wanted one.

The council, wanting to appease a union man such as Mr Brown, allocated a liaison officer and soon Masborough had shipped his brother, uncle, 2nd cousin, their wives and his own two wives into the now bursting at the seams Brown household.

Within months, the council moved the families out of the two adjoining houses and the extended Masborough family occupied the centre of the street, a second liaison officer was appointed as translator / teacher for the little bears and a specialist team was created to clean up the scat from the floors and gardens.

Time passed, the Brown children found jobs with the union and council respectively and Masborough’s uncle, a cleric established a place of worship for the growing bear population in an abandoned public house, the site becoming a subject of curiosity for the townspeople who watched the bears  divide by sex and enter through different doors, both sexes prostrating themselves before Al-Lan.

There was very little trouble, the bears kept to themselves and the local politicians, seeing the sudden change in the demographic of the area, actively courted the Bear vote, granting them taxi licenses in record time and assisting with benefits for those bears who didnt wish to work.

Bear temples began to appear in more areas and neighbouring towns also began seeing an influx of the cute little creatures.

Meanwhile, Masborough had moved to a house of his own, and with council money and donations from well-wishers had started  a fig and banana based restaurant and was doing very well for himself.
Now fluent in English, he greeted diners personally at the door while his wives worked in the kitchen and his nephews waited tables.

Time passed.

Masborough made friends with the local population, particularly the shopkeepers, who saw him as a symbol of the changing face of the town and the undoubted prosperity that would follow from having these wonderful creatures living there.

He made particular friends with Mr Schicklegruber who owned a small miltaria shop and who spent his afternoons drinking schnapps with like-minded friends.

Masborough, although tee-total would sometimes be known to partake of a few glasses of apple schnapps and wistfully sing along to ‘Erika, humming the tune as he wobbled on all four paws back to his council house.

The Thatcher and Major years were hard for the Brown family, the unions, once all-powerful were reduced to snarling from the sidelines, council houses and public utilities were sold off and the country was populated by a mass of militaristic capitalist running dogs.

Mr Brown kept his union role, but was reduced to working in the town council as an immigration officer and supplementing his salary by working for Masborough’s cousin as a taxi driver.

Then in 1997.

The glory years returned, Labour swept to power in a landslide victory, the hated tories were in disarray and as the song went, ‘things could only get better’.

Mr Brown became busier in his job in late 2001, when the new government opened up the country to more races than ever before; and the town, alongside many others in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Hertfordshire, along with major cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester faced a huge influx of the cute little bears.

It was in 2003 though, that Mr Brown began to have doubts, the 2nd Iraq  / Afghan war touched upon some of the areas inhabited by Masborough’s tribes and the tone of some of the conversations changed when he greeted new arrivals to the town, showing them their accommodation and presenting them with a multi-lingual pamphlet on how to claim benefits. Some of the bears were downright hostile, and their use of Masborough’s cute little phrases such as ‘Najaiz Olad’ seemed somehow more sinister.

By 2003, Mr Brown had been elected to the council and was able to move into a higher-paid job as policy advisor and had direct links to the wider Labour Party which helped the town immensely with any difficult policy decisions and with the problems now arising from the lack of control that the indigenous white-trash population had with their children, particularly their daughters.

Large numbers of children were now in care, parents desensitised to the problems of their children, senses blurred by alcohol and the grind of signing on for benefits.

And it seemed that the bears were now openly causing a problem.

Many young girls in the town were being plied with drink and drugs, some being taken from care homes in full view of the staff by the bears, openly taking the girls in their taxis with the licence details in full view.

Mr Brown was asked to look into how the matter could be handled and he went to his old friend Masborough,now a grey and wise bear whose wisdom was courted by many of the now very large,  bear population.

Masborough’s advice was this.

‘Leave it alone, this is our way and if you can’t keep control of your little Fahishahs, why would you be surprised at what happens to them?’

‘But there’s stories of abductions, torture, beatings and rape’

‘As I said, leave it alone, you don’t want an outcry of thousands of bears marching on the council and calling you Ursophobes do you?’

Mr Brown sighed and walked away slowly, knowing in his heart that the council would have to prevail upon the police and social services to keep this from the public at large.

He cried himself to sleep that night, having now heard similar stories from towns and cities across the country.

In 2013, Mr Brown retired from the union and council and two days later a serving soldier was murdered on the streets of London by men who were allied to the more radical arm of the church of Al-Lan, blaming the murder on British attitudes to foreign bears.

Now people lived in fear of attacks from the radical arm of the Ursine faith but were also afraid of being charged with Ursophobia, now a hate crime that could end careers and put people into prison.

Mr Brown still saw Masborough occasionally, but the little bear was open in his contempt for the kindly family that had taken him in and ignored him if he saw him on the street.

Checking that the TV was switched off at the plug, Mr Brown climbed wearily up the stairs to bed, Mrs Brown having retired hours earlier after taking her antidepressants.

Sometimes he wished that he’d placed the bear on the railway tracks and left him there.


 

Many Thanks To Hadley Freeman for the inspiration.

 

 

 

 

The Behemoths of the Boulevard

It was in the summer of 1934 that my fever returned, the drama and stress of city life was not proving conducive to my health and I was plagued with bizarre dreams and night sweats, awaking paler and weaker every morning; my body unable to heal itself and my spirit growing tired from the nightly torments. 

It was in the spirit of love and hopefulness that my beloved Cecily booked us a suite of adjoining rooms in the resort town of Innsmouth by the Sea and that we arrived there on that fateful July afternoon to take part in what the Innsmouth Herald called ‘a localised disturbance’, in reality – an event of such horror that I can scarce bring pen to paper now. 

But my time runs short and if future generations are to be spared such abominations; the truth must be told. 

Here then is the unadulterated account of what occurred in Innsmouth that summer  – May merciful God please take my soul tonight; so that I do not have to relive another day. 

The train journey down had been uneventful, our first class carriage was protected from the smoke and soot from the engine and although we travelled for a little over nine hours, the food and wine were outstanding and we arrived refreshed and hopeful of the sea air working its primordial magic upon my system. 

A carriage was awaiting at the station and the porters loaded our cases onto the back with alacrity, hoping for and receiving a sizeable tip that occasioned both of the otherwise grim-countenanced men to smile broadly. 

Innsmouth had been substantially rebuilt following the fire that devastated the town in 1922, although the shiny-cobbled streets looked unchanged in the older part of the town with some houses leaning into each other at perilous and strange angles. 

The coast runs close to the town and a sparkling new boulevard had been laid that stretched for over two miles – a substantial piece of investment for a small town and dozens of new businesses, including our hotel were built alongside, with a view of both boulevard and beach. 

The Innsmouth Grand Hotel lived up to its name – a four story columned building finished in pearlescent white and built in the grand Gothic style with towers, turrets and cleverly designed doors and windows that reminded one of multi-faceted jewels. 

The concierge swooped out to our carriage and with a whirlwind of activity, Cecily and I were shown to our adjoining ocean-facing suites and it was from our adjacent balconies that we clasped hands and looked at the beauty of the sea and shoreline together. 

It had always been a mystery to me as to why Innsmouth was not as popular as Long Island or some of the California resorts, the coastline is magnificent, white sands, azure sea and stunning rock formations a few hundred yards out to sea that seemed to change shape as the reflected light from the sea bounced from their faces. 

The mystery that surrounded the events that led up to the fire of 1922 cannot have helped the town rebuild itself as a vacation and relaxation resort, for no satisfactory explanation of that day ever made it to press. A fire occurred and some of the population were found to be missing afterwards. The assumption put forward by the press was that they had relocated. 

Still; rumours and whispers lingered, of strange practices, of lights in the sky and of half-glimpsed figures that appeared in the flames but of which there were no signs once the fire was contained. 

I mentioned nothing of this to my sweet Cecily; the town seemed to be absolutely charming and completely dedicated to the new industry of leisure – service at all points so far had been immaculate and I looked forward to our dinner in the new hotel’s ocean-facing restaurant. 

I dressed carefully for dinner, my best suit had been unpacked and pressed, my diamond cufflinks gleamed and my tie reflected the green of Cecily’s eyes. 

Did I mention that my fiancée was a beautiful woman? Small and elfin-featured with heartbreaking green eyes and a way of seeing into your very soul. Her blonde hair gleamed in any light but seemed made for the moonlight where it seemed to reflect more light than received; she shone like a beacon. 

It was with a sense of deep pride that I escorted her to our table, a bottle of champagne already open and glistening in a silver ice-bucket and our waiter attentiveness itself. 

I shall not dwell upon our meal, save to note that no food has ever tasted as fine, no wine, spirit or champagne since has  filled my soul with the glow that comes from eating well and basking in love. 

Following our meal; much of which I confess was spent in contemplation of Cecily’s beauty, the glow from her eyes, her flawless pale skin, the music of her voice – we gathered our coats and joined the happy throng of people upon the boulevard. 

Innsmouth had eschewed electric lighting at that point, electing instead to light the boardwalk with regularly spaced flaming torches, giving a party-like atmosphere to the boulevard, which was enhanced by the soft music that rang out from the bars and restaurants, the end of prohibition giving businesses a new life and spirit of hopefulness. 

I clasped Cecily’s hand lightly as we walked, our steps light and in time with the music that flowed around us. Our matching smiles seemed to grow as the evening wore on and I knew that I would spend the rest of my life with this wonderful woman.  

The boulevard was full of like-minded couples and our steps gave a strange rhythmic counterpoint to the music, heightened by the flames and the unusually bright moon that gave Cecily’s hair an eldritch glow and was reflected in her shining eyes. 

I leaned in close, so as to drink in her beauty and so did not see the attacker until it was much too late. Not that I really saw anything at all. There was just an impression of darkness and fangs and then Cecily’s throat was laid open and I was frantically trying to staunch the flow of blood. But the dark thing did not stop there and another five young women were similarly attacked, all within seconds and before any defence could be mounted by the men of the boulevard. 

Cecily had fainted outright and it was with uncertain steps that I carried her back to the safety of the Innsmouth Grand Hotel and to the tender ministrations of the doctor. 

Grim countenanced and with an air of utmost concentration, the doctor began the task of irrigating the wound which I was pleased to note was less severe than I originally thought – a slashing wound rather than a deep puncture. He then cleansed the area with surgical alcohol before closing with small sutures. Cecily was mercifully asleep during this operation and he then woke her with smelling salts to ensure that her mental faculties were not impaired following the attack. 

The five other young ladies were similarly treated by the doctor and his assistant and I was left trying to explain to the town constable what had occurred. 

My tale was viewed  with deep suspicion and I was left feeling strangely, guiltily glad that there had been multiple attacks as I was sure that my next view would be of Innsmouth Gaol if this had been a singular occurrence. 

A militia was raised and the boulevard rang with voices and shouts throughout the night. I confess that I did not join the hunt as I stood watch over my darling Cecily as she fitfully slept through the hue and cry of the men and dogs on the boardwalk and the clattering of hooves upon the cobbles. 

Dawn arose with a pink blush over the sea and my heart was gladdened to see that the colour had begun to return to Cecily’s cheeks as she slept. 

And then..

Her beautiful green eyes opened and she spoke. 

Dear reader, I am not a vulgar man by nature nor is it my wish to overdramatise my account. However, if I do not report things accurately, how will you future generations know how to diagnose the evil in the early stages of its appearance?

And Cecily Spoke. 

‘WHADAFUQAREYOULOOKINATYOUPUNKASSBITCH’?

Her voice was utterly changed, deeper and more booming and the look of horror on her face as the words emerged broke my heart asunder. She ran from the room, weeping and mortified and it was over an hour later that she appeared, normal in countenance and voice and we wondered if the strange words were just a reaction to the shock. 

I cancelled our plans for a boat trip out to the rocks and convinced Cecily that a picnic upon the boulevard would help to mend our shattered nerves. 

The hotel prepared a grand repast and two porters carried table, chairs, awning, a picnic hamper, beautifully prepared food and an ice bucket with a fine meursault to the beach where we whiled away the afternoon with soft talk and murmurings, wine and food, linked hands and shared gaze. 

And then another young couple walked past on the boulevard and I could see that the woman had been similarly attacked the previous night, a small wound on her neck marked her as another victim and the couple paused as if to share sympathies, a look of deep solicitation on their faces. 

Until the two women locked gazes. 

Something occurred in that second, depths swam behind their eyes and a bone chilling cackle emerged from their mouths simultaneously as they communicated. 

‘SUPBITCH?’

‘SHEETNOTHINGOINONHEYARWITDISPUNKYO’

The other woman’s beau looked at me aghast and I knew that this was not the first outburst of the day for this couple, both women had been infected by something. 

I resolved in that moment to return Cecily to the doctor, something was badly wrong with her and it was now clear that this was not isolated to her alone.

Cecily once again looked to be in shock at her outburst, but I was concerned as I could now see something other swimming behind her eyes, which now seemed to cut and mock me with every glance. 

And then a further surprise, Cecily; as was the fashion of young women who had suffered a shock to their nervous disposition, took to her room and announced that she would sleep until the next day at least. 

And the door was resolutely closed in my face and stayed that way until noon the next day. 

Despite my knocking and imprecations, Cecily would not budge from her quarters until, in despair and I managed to convince a maid with pleading and no small sum of cash to open the door so that I could check on her health . 

What we found caused the maid to swoon, I was just able to prevent her from falling to the floor, but how I achieved this I do not know. For Cecily was changed.  

Her hair was both darker and thinner, closer to black than blonde, her eyes were open but unseeing and were now a muddy shade of brown and her limbs had swollen to twice their original size, the pale skin stretched over porcine flesh that seemed to writhe and ooze under the thin covering. 

I confess that I screamed aloud at that point and did not cease until the hotel manager arrived with a complement of porters, all of whom blanched at the repulsive sight before them. 

Coverings were found and the beleaguered physician called, although it was at least an hour before the poor man arrived, haggard and drained-looking. 

He engaged the hotel manager in private conversation before consulting with me and it was at that point I learned that all of the young women that had been attacked by the dark shape on the boulevard were exhibiting identical symptoms. 

The county sheriff had been called and was due to arrive the next day, but it was clear that there were no theories that would lead to a perpetrator, nor a medical reason that the physician’s research for the condition of the young women had yet discovered. 

All we could do was wait. 

I sat vigil over Cecily that day and night and watched her young slim body metamorphosise into a bloated thing that reminded me of the walruses that I had once watched in San Francisco Bay. Her arms and legs were huge blubbery things that had now changed colour to that of a dark aubergine, her features were coarser a and spread across a face that now had a ring of a fat -like substance around the outside, over which multiple chins flowed. Her once pert and pretty breasts were now massive and flowing across her upper body. 

I could see no sign of the woman that I loved within this monstrous being and yet I hoped that when she regained consciousness, that her sweet and loving nature would reassert itself and that we could begin looking for a cure to this madness. 

And then. 

At dusk on the third day, she awoke, looked groggily around the suite and heaved her huge bulk from the bed. 

I stood to take her hand and was struck to the ground by a giant paw. 

‘DAFUQ’

And with that strange imprecation ringing in my ears, a thin trickle of blood clouding my vision, she was gone. 

All of the affected women disappeared that evening and despite the best efforts of the townspeople and the County Sheriff’s men who conducted a wide ranging search, they were not seen again for another week.

I had set myself up in the hotel , searching the area daily, including hiring a boat to take me out to the rocks, where I searched the strange caves and shouted myself hoarse in the search for my beloved. I spent the nights under the influence of a mix of champagne and absinthe and my dreams were haunted by dark shapes and the smell of blood. 

At dusk on the last Saturday in July, the boulevard began to vibrate and THUD as if an army had been set to marching, sand danced in the last rays of the sun as the vibrations sent it high into the air. 

Restaurants and hotels emptied as people rushed outside to see what strange events were about to unfold. 

And we saw. 

Six hugely bloated things now clad in material that fluoresced and glowed, whether from some chemical reaction to the crteatures’ skin or by some other means – I do not know. Their huge limbs oozed as they walked and their bodies were so massive that if I had not known that they were once human, I confess that I would have thought them another, alien,  species. 

Their voices boomed and the boulevard rattled to their steps and war cries. 

‘WASSUPMUTHAFUQA’ 

‘YOMANIGAWASSUPWITCHOO’

They were terrifying. 

And hungry. 

A young waitress wandered too close to their orbit, terrified but curious, her eyes wide open with fear and awe. A huge meaty paw closed around her wrist and before anybody could react, the creature took a huge gory bite from her forearm, leaving the poor girl screaming and spurting blood in its wake. 

The six behemoths continued on their way as if the incident had never occurred, thundering their awful way towards the town. I confess that I now had no inkling as to which of these creatures had previously been my sweet Cecily, so changed were they all and so alike to each other as to be almost indistinguishable. 

I did not believe at that point that things could possibly get worse. 

And then. 

And then…. Oh dear God, I wish it were not so, but with a bellow of ‘FUQYOOYOUFILTHYFUQINHOE!’ The waitress began to mutate into one of these foul creatures, changing before our horrified eyes into another huge monster, her uniform now in tatters around her pulchritudinous flesh, drool escaping from her huge open maw. 

The crowd ran and I confess that I ran with them, lungs heaving and in terror for my immortal soul. 

We ran as a single entity and made for the the safety of the Innsmouth Grand Hotel and my heart was gladdened to see that the County Sheriff and the Town Constable were stood there, tall and strong, with cocked rifles and a complement of armed men equipped with flaming torches. 

As I reached safety, a rifle was thrust into my hand and I knew that no matter what the outcome of this night was to be, my soul would be damned for all eternity.

The foul beasts that our women  had become did not seem dissuaded by this show of force and stood in the middle of the boulevard, moving lewdly and bellowing strange taunts. 

‘TOOMUCHJELLYFORYOOWHITECRACKAMUDAFUQAS’

‘COMEGETSOMEYOULILBITCHES’

And other imprecations the seemed to be in no known language. 

Then a shot rang out and a lump of blubber peeled from the upper arm of one of the monsters and a gout of blood sprayed the boardwalk as if ejected from a firehose. 

Emboldened by this, the throng of men opened fire, although I confess that I aimed skywards as I no longer knew which of these things had been my own dear Cecily. 

And the behemoths, sorely wounded in the first few seconds of the exchange turned and ran. If ran was the correct term. 

Boards splintered under the assault of this migration of massive creatures ; blood stained the boulevard and sand to both sides, making crazy patterns that haunt my dreams to this day. 

Then the monsters stopped and began to walk into the sea opposite the rock formations, red waves billowing behind them. 

And they seemed to be praying to gods or goddesses from another time and place, causing me to wonder anew at the identity of the strange dark catalyst for these events. 

‘LaShaquanishia’

‘LaToya’

‘Kalisha’

‘Beyoncé’ 

‘Shabooboo’ 

It may be that if they had begun swimming, they could have escaped, but they stood in the waves, making mournful sounds as the assembled men on the beach gunned them down and turned the beach into a charnel house remisniscent of Inuit hunts. 

When it was clear that none of the stranded hulks would move again, ropes were attached  to the six corpses and they were heaved ashore and their corpses burnt on the beach. 

This is where my story ends, I have been back to Innsmouth every summer since, partly in search of answers, partly in search of the seventh leviathan. 

For in all of the exultation and terror of that night, nobody but me ever thought to count the bodies – there were five of the original behemoths and the poor afflicted waitress. 

One of the monsters was missing and remains so to this day….

I am old now and near death, but I implore you all – ALL who read this to watch the beaches and resorts for the survivor, if survivor there was. Just one of these things will infect your shorelines and towns with massive crude beasts in female form, I just pray that this never comes to pass. 

God bless you all. 

Togetherness

*Video System initiates, connection made*

*SYSTEM MESSAGE – YOUR ONE HOUR VIDEO CALL BEGINS NOW*

‘You’ve changed your hair’

‘Yes, I did it last week, what do you think?’

‘It’s lovely, it shows your eyes more somehow. They’re more intense than they were, greener… – Hang on, they’re adjusting me at this end’

*background noises* 

‘That’s better, I can see you properly now……It’s like you’re lying next to me, let me just look at you for a second, I want to bask in the glow from your eyes if that’s OK……I’ve missed you so much and this feels like I’ve been granted a moment of grace and peace. I just want to take it all in.’

‘Take your time, I’ll watch your eyes while you do, I’m not going anywhere.’

*sighing noises*

‘So, tell me about your day. You know how mine has been. It’s always pretty much the same, except today the call got scheduled. Tell me everything. All the little details.’

‘Well, I woke up early again, I don’t really sleep through the night at the moment, but it gave me the chance to choose clothes for the call and to take the dog out for a nice long walk. He’s so funny these days. It’s like he’s trying to make up for you not being here. He goes and finds his own sticks and brings them to me. This morning he tried to drag a whole fucking branch out of a ditch. I was in hysterics, It was five times his size, like a man trying to drag a tree..’

*laughter*

‘Then the little shit decided that we were going the wrong way for the walk and just kept going til we reached the fountain. He wouldn’t come back no matter what. Just sat there and I think…. I think he posed for a picture. Look!’

‘That’s beautiful and.. random. Maybe he’s psychic, I was only thinking about him and the fountain this morning and looking through old photos. But… God  – that’s a beautiful picture. Thank you… Then what?

‘I took him to the cafe for breakfast and we shared a sausage sandwich. Well, you know. He ate most of it and then started looking for people to beg food from.’

‘I bet at least one person fed him. AND gave you a dirty look for starving the little bastard.’

*laughter*

‘Yep, some old boy gave me a few treats for him, just in case he was hungry later.’

‘Evil genius… I always knew it.’

‘Very evil. Then we walked home, I took my time because I wanted to be relaxed for the call and to be here for you properly. Can they bring you a cup of tea? I’m going to make one and it’d be nice to share one together even though we’re so far apart’

*mumbles and background noise*

‘Yes, they’ll bring one. Let me watch you make a cup of tea…’

‘OK, let’s just wander into the kitchen.. It hasn’t changed really – see?’ 

*background noises*

‘Ok, that’s the kettle on, I’ll just sit here for a minute, tell me what you’re thinking.’

‘I’m just so happy that we got the chance to do this, it feels… normal, like I’m there in the room with you. You have no idea how much I’ve missed that. Whenever we’ve talked on the phone, theres been distractions and I haven’t been able to picture you properly. This is like.. like coming home. ‘

‘I know, I can’t believe it.. My tea is nearly ready, is yours coming?’

*mumbles, noises* 

‘Yes it’s here, I’m going to drink my tea and just look at you if that’s OK. I want this normal thing to carry on and never end..’

‘Of course, let me just take the tea back to the bed so I can lie and watch you drink too.’

*background noises*

‘I’m back…let’s do this tea thing.’

*background noises*

‘Ahhhhh, that’s lovely. I’ve missed all these little things, I don’t think I realised how much until this was scheduled and then it hit me. All the things that I took for granted, they were so important and I never knew. Like I said, it feels like I’ve been granted some grace. And I’m making the most of it’

‘Good. I know what you mean, life just gets in the way of life somehow and we miss the things that matter. Let’s enjoy this moment and store it away – it feels like some sort of magic anyway, so let’s use it.’

‘Magic is a good word. It’s so lovely lying here and looking at your beautiful face. Thousands of miles and five timezones apart and I’m in the room with you, those eyes shining at me.. Hang on is that…..?’

‘Yep, he’s woken up and wants to join in. “come here, say hello” .. here he is..’

‘Hello you little pisswizard, where’s my stick?’

*Barking and yelping noises*

‘Be good, bite every fucker that even looks dodgy.. good boy.’

‘Oi.. are you trying to corrupt my dog again?’

‘Yep.. he needs reminding that he has a worlwide reputation to live up to.. the god of small dogs and idiots.’

*laughter*

*SYSTEM MESSAGE* *15 MINUTES REMAINING*

‘Shit this is going quickly, I could do this all night – as a matter of fact, I can’t imagine anything more lovely than watching you drift off to sleep and listening to your breathing.’

‘Me too. do you want me to stay to watch YOU sleep at the end of the call?’

‘I don’t know, do you want to?’

‘Yes and no, but I think so.. I want this to be as complete as possible. I’ve missed you so much and I don’t want to miss anything now.’

‘OK’

*sighs*

‘So…. what else happened?’

‘Well, I had lunch, cleared up, did a bit of work and then put the dress on that I chose for the call. Then changed it. Then changed it again. Then tried jeans and a t shirt. Then another dress. Then started it all again.’

*laughter*

‘Which one did you choose? Wait.. it was the third one… No the original..’

*laughter*

‘Yes.. do you like it?’

‘Beautiful. Perfect. Like a dream come true. I mean that. This whole thing is like a dream right now… God… your EYES…’

*SYSTEM MESSAGE* *5 MINUTES REMAINING*

‘Shit.. where’s the time going.. hang on. they’re adjusting me at this end again.. sorry…’

*background noises* 

‘OK – I’m back, is there anything you want to know from me?’

‘Just to look at you, does it hurt at all?’

‘It did at times and I’m told that it will in a few days as things get closer. That’s why today is happening, I want some beauty and there you are..’

‘I never understood why you went all the way there for treatment, but I think I do now.. you always had a plan B’

‘Yes. this is it. If things had worked, it would have just been expensive, but this is the other doorway and I’m choosing when to walk through it.’

*indeterminate noises*

*SYSTEM MESSAGE* *1 MINUTE REMAINING*

‘Thank you for doing this. I’ve got your beautiful face locked into my brain now and  I know now that your eyes are the stars that will guide me home.. You know I….’

‘Yes. me too. Always. Him too’

‘Good.. look after each other.. Can you hear me Pisswizard?’ 

*background noises*

It’s time.. I’m told that I’ll jus.. drif… sleep… your eyes…. lov… Oh GOD.. so beautif……….
*VIDEO ENDS*