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The Neon Starling

The Neon Starling

 

Copyright 2015 Frankie Lassut

 

Published by Wonky Books at Shakespir

 

ISBN: 9781311327338

 

 

Dear Mr Spielberg,

 

Firstly, thank you for entertaining so many people so much over the years; a labour of love if ever there was one. Hopefully, here’s a little back for you from a satisfied customer; a labour of love also.

A friend, who I’ll tell you about in a moment, had what would be considered a negative experience to the everyday Joe (and Jill?). However, when she told me, this silly story began to construct itself in my mind. I started to write it down and, it went entertainingly dark; maybe you’ll like it if you ever read it?

On a positive angle, it should keep you up at night so you can then do the chores your wife wants you to do in the daytime, to which request you probably answer ‘me?! Take out the garbage!? Do you know who I am woman?! ‘I’m Stephen Spielberg! The mega popular blockbuster movie maker is busy thinking of new films and waiting for a great, refreshing script to come in the post. I’m the same as John Williams and Tom Cruise, except they just sit by their pools all day smoking, drinking, eating pickled nightingales with the fortunes I paid them.”

 

If their wives yell ‘take the garbage out love’, they reply ‘who me? ME?! Do you know who I am lady?!

Ok, well I was told that because of all the ego shouting, they have both been hit in the head by flying objects.

I would bear that in mind, but be careful when you’re taking the garbage out at night because you don’t know what’s lurking in the shadows.

 

I hear that if Stephen King’s lovely wife, Tabitha gets a refusal to take out the garbage because he’s working on his seven hundredth novel, she threatens to ring up the Mayor of Castle Rock, Maine and as she knows him well, will get him to force her beloved husband to change the story location this time (Mrs King being his favourite proof reader, has never suffered from insomnia).

Rumour has it that he ‘soon moves’ then.

 

Imagine that if in the Beginning of Misery, author Paul Sheldon drove through the snowy wastes of Merry Hill in Birmingham. He was going to the desolate Little Chef Motel to stay overnight in room 13 (the one with the weird atmosphere and the view of wilderbeest running majestically up the M6) and type the last word and smoke his celebratory spl … ‘cigarette’. Doesn’t sound quite right does it, the location ‘has’ to be Castle Rock, Maine, on highway 257; or some other highway that cuts its path around Maine, the home of Castle Rock.

 

 

 

SK’s Muse: “Where?”

“Castle Rock, Maine.”

Muse: “Ah right! Yes, we’ve used that location a few times, but no one in our legion of fans has caught on yet.”

This is because the border of Maine is a sheer, bottomless cliff, which is on the edge of the darkness of infinite outer space; obviously then, it’s the only place Mr King can set his novels.

Same goes I suppose for the British series The Midsomer Murders, or in Mr Kings Shiny language ‘Midsomer Redrums’.

Midsomer estate agent: “This one is for sale.”

Customer: “Really? It’s beautiful! What happened to the owners?”

E Agent: “Murdered.”

Cust: “I see next door is also fo…

E-Agent: “Murdered. In fact, the whole street is for sale.”

C: “Reall …

E-Agent: “Murdered. We think it’s someone from the nearby Midsomer Asylum, that’s it over there. Would you like to buy the whole street?”

 

As Carrie White walked up Midsomer Main Street …

As Paul Sheldon drove up Midsomer Main Street.

Annie Wilkes, the Midsomer Gothic Asylum’s angry matron wondered which house author Paul Sheldon was hiding in on Midsomer Main Street? For she must maim and then murder him for killing Misery.

 

Midsomer Main Street, twinned with Castle Rock, Maine

 

Enjoy the story and have a spectacular day.

 

Frankie L.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talking to friend Sarah on the phone.

“I’ve had a disaster” she says … “I left the bath running and the water went over the edge and started coming down the wall. What a mess!”

“Oh dear. Maybe if you … hmmmmm?” … that was my trigger.

In my mind, a lady had an idea. She had the ground floor windows sealed in the back kitchen and the living room. The same done to the back door, the inside kitchen door and the living room door … in short, she transformed her living room and her back kitchen into aquariums, filled with her overflowing bath.

She then charged people to look in from the outside. Very enterprising. If I were to do it, I’d get the guys from the National Geographic Channel, The Fish Tank Kings, the company Living Colour to do the coral and stuff, they’re brilliant!

 

***

 

LUCY

 

Lucy Falfa had tried it both ways … not sexually, be clean!

She had always thought that life was supposed to be bloody good fun. What was the point if it wasn’t?

Her search for fun was a simple search, carried out by millions who weren’t actually searching. She tried ‘proper’ work, but found it boring. She couldn’t work out why ’proper’ jobs were seen to be so happy making ‘precious’. She had tried being on the sick and staying at home, which is what she craved when she was at work. She was quickly bored though and then she wanted to go back to work. She went back to work and quickly discovered how to dislike it and wanted to be at home.

She tried being at home with her savings and doing her own business, but it was slow, like wading through treacle … she was scatty mad with the mind inactivity and worry. She went back to work, but it didn’t take long for her to loathe it again, and she wanted to be at home. She had tried it all, but nothing worked.

What she really wanted was to be rich and have nothing to do which was uninteresting. If she was wealthy she could pay her bills, drive around in nice cars and live in the country … what happened when she got bored though? Driving great cars around the country was ok, for a while.

 

Life was supposed to be fun; she just naturally knew that; bugger religion and the promise of Hell for sinners for having a good time … total codswallop. She wasn’t having much success at that though; where was the fun? Elusive stuff was fun.

Was life’s puzzle unsolvable? When she was free, she craved slavery’s activity, yet when in slavery, she craved freedom’s inactivity. It was one hell of a ‘hell’ of a dilemma. Really, the only enjoyable part was when she travelled to work, B and home, A, but that was because she actually had something to do when she arrived at B, or A. When she didn’t work, she could go out, but … for what?

Lucy decided to relax ‘properly’ on Sunday. That meant meditating, which meant going out with the camera … meditating doesn’t mean sitting in the Lotus Position going Ommm … that’s just another form (and that Lotus Position can pop your hips). She wandered down her city’s University; Coventry was her Castle Rock, Maine.

There was one part of the campus next to the Cathedral, which, artily designed, consisted of several fountains which appeared from holes in the ground, on a selective timer. She didn’t know why, but she raised the camera and just started clicking off images of the dancing tops of the water jets; her invisible friends, her inner being and the Universe did the rest. Quite novel that, connecting meditationally with the Universe on the grounds of a University (not curriculum, too woo woo). She took ninety shots; she got about six pictures …

This is one of the images, you can see the bird?

 

 

 

Then, for no good reason except her mind was obviously ready … the trigger inspiration hit. She set off home at a brisk pace and the first thing she did upon arrival was hit the electronic bookshelves of Amazon, and headed for the clever person’s department. She bought a rather thick book on genetic engineering which was incidentally by her father Alfred (Al) Falfa who was what may be termed as a ‘closet genetic engineer’, but brilliant none-the-less (yes, there are stories of Al’s exploits which you wouldn’t believe). Al was not a fame craver and preferred to do his work on the quiet; in his kitchen and his shed. Lucy hadn’t shared his passion in the past but now she was all consumed with it.

She clicked order with the promise of Prime delivery.

 

Lucy awaited the book’s arrival with baited breath, which simply means she had eaten two corned beef sandwiches for her dinner. She could have rung her dad and borrowed his book but she hadn’t spoken to him for years after he had turned her boyfriend who he didn’t like, into a frog. It did actually make him better looking, but that wasn’t the point; you simply can’t turn your daughter’s boyfriend into a better-looking amphibian and still expect her to speak to you.

Delivery with Amazon is always crazily fast, they’re so good in fact, that sometimes the goods arrive the day before they have been ordered; it’s as if they have time machines and Precogs working for them. Her book arrived the next morning, which was Monday.

 

Quick rant:

Yes! Monday! A good champagne fizzy fresh start to the week. The first day of the week that people wake up, fizzing like a glass of champagne, and shout “Brill! It’s Monday! I can’t wait to get to work! Why is it though that when it’s finishing time I never want to come home?!”

You see reader, when people say; ‘I hate work’ they’re actually telling lies. Why would they do that?

Why one minute would they kill to get the job, get it, celebrate and, then all of a sudden after an incubation period, hate it? No one knows. We have more chance of working out infinity as a measurable quantity.

Rant over.

 

Lucy sat down and speed read the pages … and, because she was so bloody clever like her dad, had the whole book memorised and understood in not much time at all.

 

Here’s what she needed to carry out her plan … part 1 anyway:

A pestle and mortar.

Two six-inch test tubes with rubber bungs.

Several neon tropical fish.

Two starlings.

 

 

The neon fish were easy … they were in the pet shop’s aquarium section. She bought two dozen, a lovely tank, pump, heater and tube and Grolux lights. She loved neons because they were nice chill out colours as they swam around, doing their best to avoid the pike that she had popped in with them (joke); so beautiful; ‘nature is such a brilliant designer’ she thought. But, brilliant design or not, she had a use for them.

The starlings were slightly more difficult to acquire, but she used an age-old method which had been practiced since the invention of the dustbin. She put some bread in her garden, and placed an old-fashioned dustbin lid, propped up on a stick, covering the bread. She then tied string to the stick and ran it into her living room. The starlings, who liked to eat alfresco in the shade got used to the lid after a while as they were so ravenous, and when one hungry bird walked nervously under the lid, she pulled the string. Easy! It didn’t take her long to capture the two birds she needed.

 

Killing neon fish was hard, hard to end such beauty, but easy; she just stuck a pin through each fish’s head. Killing one of the starlings was … harder. The knife was blunt and cutting its throat was a tad difficult, but she managed it. She washed the dried sticky blood off her hands and got on with the job. The book said, ‘pulp’ whatever you want to bugger around with genetically. She put twelve little neons in the mortar, and started to bash them with the pestle (or, the other way around).

Anyway, eventually both creatures (‘set of’ in the case of the neons) were pulped and in two separate test tubes with corks on top. It’s funny, you could never get a real live starling in a six by two inch test tube; well you could, but their eyes tend to pop out and their guts come out of their a … ugh. But you can when it is beaten to a pulp. The thing is, Lucy didn’t do it through hatred, she did it through love … love of mankind, progress, and things like that … and anyway, the starling was flitting about happily in heaven now (until it discovered that God had a cat).

As for the neons? … Who gives a shit about neons; you can’t even tell when they’re dead, as like all fish; no bloody facial or body expression clues to indicate their emotions … too primitive by far for their own good really.

The book said that she then had to use a centrifuge to spin the test tubes around in order to separate the creature from the juice, where the DNA was now hanging out. The trouble was, she had no centrifuge, so she had a cup of tea and a deep thought. ‘Hmmmm?’

The answer then came to her mind from her memory bank.

She had recently been to a disco called The Nuclear Disco, and had seen some people spinning vessels of glowing liquid around on the end of strings … so, she bought some string. The next Saturday morning, she got the starling goop filled test tube which had been in the deep freeze so was still fresh. She thawed it in the microwave and tied the string around the top. She then stood in the middle of the garden and began to spin it … thirteen minutes, break, thirteen minutes, times ten, the book said. Ok, she began to spin it for the first thirteen minutes. To make it easier, she got a disco CD and played it on her portable CD player and had a dance while she was doing it. After about forty seconds, the test tube flew off the end of the string and went shooting straight up. It was destined to land on her path, but Destiny’s partner in crime, (a double act which likes to screw with human minds), Fate stepped in and the tube hit an unlucky passing starling. The feathers dislodged blew away in the wind, and the starling was as dead as a nit … which fell into her garden right at her feet; this was a pity because it was excess to the needed two. However, looking on the bright side, it was a good ‘inadvertent’ shot with a test tube. The test tube smashed on her path (as Destiny had predicted until Fate stepped in):

 

Destiny: “I know what’s going to happen!”

Fate: “Can I step in just for fun?”

Destiny: “Of course you can, keep these humans guessing. That’s what it says in our job description.”

Fate: “Yeah. But what about in ‘our’ mission statement?”

Destiny: “Don’t go there. We can’t teach them the ten effortless steps to happiness, with the five effortless steps to understanding and implementing the ten effortless steps. I’ve tried, but I can only think of one at a time, and then when I try to sleep, another one I’d forgotten about comes into my mind. Drives me bloody mad.”

 

Just think reader, the starling the test tube killed? Well, that’s another starling flitting around happily in heaven avoiding Herod the cat, and all because of Lucy! She repeated everything and even worked out a secure fastening for the disco test tubes … Saturday Night Fever STILL got the best results. I must say that it took a few tries to get the fastening correct, and Fate had to watch Lucy waste several starlings (I wasn’t going to tell you that she got a taste for killing them with her new weapon) … but that’s part of Fate’s job, pissing living things off; but when they get to heaven, party time! … Especially for starlings. Destiny also likes to piss humans off, but humans tend to accept Destiny, but hate Fate (I think), let’s check.

“Fate, what do people think of you?” …

 

Destiny: “Sod Fate. People don’t like me though.”

Fate: “Ah, never mind, they like ‘me’”

Destiny: “Bollocks! Anyway, it could be worse, each individual one of them could be in a relationship with the author”

Fate: “That’s true. That’s a fairly cruel thought for an imagined thing like you.”

Destiny: “Don’t get deep! You make my head spin when you say things like that. I’m stressed now. Should we have sex?”

Fate: “How?”

 

Eventually she had her two test tubes with the mush and the juice DNA separated, so she carefully used pipettes to transfer the juice DNA into another two tubes. She then had to go to the Doctor’s because of her right arm, which she couldn’t stop spinning around like the speedy hand of a fan. It was a pity she was going anticlockwise, because the local cricket team found out and tried to get her as a bowling machine as theirs was away for servicing. But, as she didn’t like sheer boredom, she told them to trot on (rugby league, she would have given some thought).

Eventually though, Lucy was ready to get on with the tests for her new business; she had decided that it was going to be mega, and passionately talked about the world over. She caught a neon from the tank. She had even more of them now because she had decided that she actually loved them. She then got a syringe (she had a friend who was a haematologist) and injected some of the starling DNA juice into the fish, which didn’t look bothered at all.

She then gave the starling a good shot of neon DNA juice (that’s a great name for a kid’s sugar based, glow in the dark, drink … 10% please), and put it back in the cage ... its ‘opinion’ didn’t count either. She then had no choice but to wait.

One month passed, and nothing had happened. Oh but, because of all her past inactivity, she could play the waiting game very well, especially with such excitement involved … ok, ok, she filled a little of the time with Drambuie and prescription drugs, but that’s just normal for working people.

 

It was time.

Fate and Destiny joined forces and arranged a storm on a Monday night, as is standard with these sorts of situations, the neon and the starling both wrapped themselves in cocoons made from their own saliva, which is similar to Eurasian cave swifts, which build nests from their saliva (I don’t think it’s their poo, but it might be).

 

An entertaining general knowledge insert.

 

Fancy that eh? Building your nest from your own plop. My dad once said to me after I answered back to some mentally disturbed insane statement my mother had come out with. My dad said, “You’re shitting in your own nest!”

I replied, “well, that’s ok, so does the Eurasian cave swift, and no one moans at ‘them’.”

He said, “Ah! But you ‘aren’t’ a Eur … whatever it was? Cave swift!” The next day, to prove a point to my unreasonable and stupid parents, I went to the local shrink. I told him I thought I was an ECS, and he agreed when I took a crap on the desk and began to build my nest on his wall.

 

End of entertaining insert.

 

When Lucy inspected the experiments the next morning, she found two cocoons, and just knew that inside them magic was taking place i.e. one (or two even) of nature’s beautiful, natural miracles (all miracles are natural).

Actually … no it bloody wasn’t, it was one of genetic engineering’s beautiful ‘un-natural’ miracles (but, we do have free will). A week later, on the Monday night, there was another storm, and the cocoons began to hatch … as they do in these sorts of stories when there’s a storm remember? The next morning, Lucy came downstairs to inspect. She went to the birdcage first, and had a terrible shock, which was silly, because what had she expected? That’s like people who have kids knowing full well what kids are like, and then getting stressed because of the child’s behaviour which is nowhere near as bad as what theirs was … insane?

In the bottom of the cage next to the open cocoon lay the bird, was it dead? Lucy tapped the glass … nothing. Again … nothing. She decided to up the stakes on the rousing and went to the kitchen and got a wooden spoon from the cutlery drawer. She opened the cage and poked it with the end of the spoon’s handle. The starling opened its eyes as she poked at that really annoying part where the bottom ribs are (some say it tickles, but they’re insane). It then stood up very quickly and as it was pissed off at the rib tickle, flew at her. Of course, the cage bars stopped it but she still stepped back. The starling saw its opportunity and managed to fly quickly from the cage’s open door. Lucy gave out a little scream, she hadn’t expected that. The starling flew onto her pelmet (not her helmet as she didn’t have one on). She put her hands on her hips, sighed and shook her head. She would get it later … somehow. The starling then crapped down her curtain thinking it was her washing … ‘great!’ she thought.

She then looked into the fish tank. That cocoon was open too. Hmmmm … she lifted the lid slightly and peered in. The starling watched, closely. Suddenly, a three inch, very thin beak shot out and punctured her eye … her eye was quickly drained of optical fluid.

No, it didn’t.

She had a plastic moulded tree branch in the water to make it look like a tropical stream. The top of the branch stuck out of the surface, but it couldn’t be seen because it was behind the black border around the edge of the tank. Through the little gap, she could make out something colourful sat on the top of the moulding. A little more gap and she could make out what looked like a hummingbird.

She became courageous, it was unlikely that a hummingbird would harm her, and she fully opened the lid, slowly and propped it on the catch. The neon-bird’s modified brain remembered that it had been her who had kept it warm and fed it, so it knew she meant no harm … isn’t that lovely reader? Mind you, if it had known that she had stabbed its friends through the head with a pin and then pulped them? Hmmmm?

To describe it, here goes. If you acquired a fish and then, without moving the body, bent its head to an angle of about forty-five degrees just behind the gills … I was going to say neck then, but fish don’t have necks, do they? The same as humans: who do not have a lap when they stand up.

Do the same with the tail, so it looks the shape of a bird. Twist the tail around until it’s flat with the floor, and put holes in the end for the main tail feathers. The head and the main body are featherless and have dry, lizard like scales the same colouring as the fish. It has wings, feathered of course, and legs the same as a bird.

This little bird took off and buzzed like a bee. Lucy put her hand up automatically to protect herself, and the fish-bird hung around in the air … waiting. Lucy caught on and stuck out her finger, and the bird landed on it. How sweet!

As she was admiring its beauty, there was a ‘flutter’ sound followed quickly by a ‘plop!’ … The water of the fish tank had been disturbed. In the water, flying gracefully like a starling in slightly slower motion than usual due to the resistance of the beautifully waterproof feathers, was a starling.

Lucy firstly thought it had fallen in by accident, but then it landed on the bottom and began to explore the gravel with its beak. It looked at her through the glass and it seemed happy as a pig in doo dahs.

***

 

 

 

 

Lucy took the genetic science world by storm and had lots of claps from people with lots of fingers and more than two arms. Her estranged dad was so proud of her.

 

It was one thing genetic scientists messing around with fruit and veg and stuff rendering it tasteless for the masses (a crime for which they should be hung drawn and quartered in public), but this was something different. Bird fish and birds that acted like (were?) fish. Once each new strain was accustomed to their new environment, they permanently changed their breathing techniques i.e. once a bird was comfortable that it now lived underwater, its new natural feeling home, it couldn’t then breathe air out of water … vice versa for the fish birds. She was dubbed the new Charles, or the unisex ‘Charlie’ Darwin and had actually created the origin of two new species.

She was given enough project development money to convert the large living room of her house into two halves. One side was an aquarium called an Aviquarium (aviary and aquarium), and the other an aviary called a Piviary (Pisces and aviary). In not much time at all, people were coming to see beaked goldfish flying from branch to branch like tiny toucans, eels were a bit strange as were flat fish such as plaice. All in all though, the fish birds were a delightful attraction and she soon had a gift shop. This time she wasn’t bored because she was passionate about her work and was enjoying every minute. She was also now a successful lecturer with invites all over the world telling her tale. The most popular ‘residents’ were the colourful birds such as the birds of paradise she had acquired, people would stand transfixed as they flew gracefully through the water … poetry in slow motion. The Aviquarium was too small to see something like a golden eagle, or even an albatross gliding gracefully through the water, the huge manta ray would be out of business.

As she travelled the world lecturing, evolution was taking place. A guy holidaying in Martha’s Vineyard injected his pet seal with bird serum he had managed to acquire at great price on the Dark Web. That would be fun. Wally could fly with him when he was on his hang glider. Wally the seal liked to go on boat trips with his ‘family’. He would splash around in the pool on the boat and throw the ball back to the kids and play around with them if they jumped into the water. On the boat trip when Wally was injected, he was sunning himself on deck when a shoal of grey mackerel went past in pursuit of a shoal of bait fish, silver sprats. Wally raised his head and looked. You can’t expect a self-respecting seal to ignore his natural instincts …

***

 

Fate and Destiny are the Ant and Dec of the Universe, and when they get together with time, sometimes expect shit and fans. Time though, now there’s a concept.

 

There are those who think it unfair that time should go quickly when one is enjoying oneself, and slowly when one isn’t having such a good time. Well, one can have a good time only for so long, so if time goes perceivably quicker when fun is the order of the day, one can finish it without getting bored. But when one is bored or hanging about in the ‘life is crap’ emotional area, one then has the chance, as time drags, to alter one’s mind, when it will speed up again to avoid boredom coming back in … you ‘can’ get ‘too much’ of a good thing (which is actually superb).

Time sometimes goes by without making itself noticeable, just like after a certain age is reached … and the daily routine can seem to pass very quickly. Every other day when time shouts ‘cooeee!’ drags. This is where Fate and Destiny combine and do their best work, and in this case the work was dramatic and very scary … and I suppose, exciting.

 

 

Fate: “Should we?”

Destiny: “Well, a lot of them say they are bored … so, hell why not. This shit happens anyway, so we may as well make it more interesting. We’ll have to get time to alter its perspectives to speed things up a little here.”

Fate: “Ok chum, let’s do it! You ok with that, Time?”

Time: “Fine by me … oh damn!”

Fate: “What’s wrong?”

Time: “My watch has stopped again. What ‘me’ is it?”

Destiny: “Two thirty pm.”

Time: “Thanks … damn!”

Destiny: “Now what?”

Time: “I can’t find my diary.”

Fate: “It must be a large one, how do you lose that?”

Time: “My Butler, Father Time, keeps borrowing it and he never puts it back in the drawer.”

Fate: “How long’s that been going on?”

Time: “Yonks. Anyway, I’m going to find him, he’ll be with the Grim Reaper, he’s helping him with his horror novel, quite good by all accounts, Bye!”

Wind: “Phweeeeeoooooheeeeeehoooooheeee!”

Destiny: “Oi you! Very dramatic, but piss off back to the physical world, bloody trespassers!”

 

***

 

The Martha’s Vineyard Bugle’

 

Newsflash!

 

Large bird spotted far out to sea, reports say at least fifty foot wingspan.

 

 

The Coastguard began to find fishing boats, empty. The cabins were torn to bits, and those with space beneath deck, the decking was torn up. None were found like in Jaws where lumps were bitten from the sides of the boats.

One lovely afternoon, a group of killer whales were intent on taking a baby sperm whale from the side of its mother, and having a good time doing so (very human style behaviour). The leader of the pod, a whale we’ll call Lenny, was a 32 foot animal, big and powerful. Lenny was watching the rest of the pod surrounding the baby whale, and feeling quite a lot of satisfaction with his ‘talented family’.

It took him by complete surprise. The large claws tore into his back, and he was lifted from the water as easily as an osprey lifts a medium sized trout. At the same time, another of the killers, a fifteen foot female was also lifted effortlessly. The two ‘raptors’? Flew off together with their lunches. Bodies of forty feet, wingspans of sixty five feet, the two great whites had moved with the new version of evolution. Meanwhile, not too far away, Lucy was getting a standing ovation from an auditorium full of professional people with magnificent brains, the self-styled ‘saviours’ of the planet (or, its best chance at least … be scared, be VERY scared).

***

 

There are no rules to say that such a magnificent species with such freedom capabilities have to stay out in the habitat they have been in for years. Basically, they could go anywhere. They were the only fish birds with no beaks, they didn’t need them … beaks would be a hindrance. They, unlike other fish birds had more feathers; theirs covered their bodies, although the feathers reflected exactly the coloration of the skin below. Their legs were like tree trunks, the feet large, and the talons … in a fight, a T Rex would have turned tail and run; the Rex wasn’t that stupid even though it had a small brain. Normally, sharks have to keep moving or asphyxiate, but not these two, a male and a female … they were free, magnificent predators; humans were on the menu and this time, they didn’t have to wonder whether or not it was safe to go back into the water … the contents of that scary water were now able to come to them. Fear had taken to the wing; call it migration.

 

***

 

BRITAIN AGAIN

 

 

British people thought they were gliders someone had designed to scare people; that was the only reason they could think of. Why would someone build a glider in the shape of a massive beakless bird other than to scare people?

The birds landed on the snowy top of a mountain in the Cairngorms … they were just house hunting. They decided on Cairngorm (the green hill) which overlooked the town of Aviemore, famous for its skiing. In the past in the water, they had attacked from below, but now, due to their rather quick evolution, they were ‘death from above’ … silent as owls and deadly as great white sharks … what stood a chance? Their first victims were walkers, solitary figures, and as they disappeared, the fell rescue teams were sent out.

They would fly at a good height, see the prey, work in a pair, swoop, and because of their magnificent jaws, quickly eat each walker then move onto the next … the people had no chance. The newspapers reported the Cairngorms killer, and fear spread quickly. They weren’t coloured like great whites any more in the snowy expanses, evolution had acted quickly again and rendered their plumage white with black random streaks and dots to emulate rock. They were as invisible as snowy owls and a thousand times more deadly. Handy hunting gear to have in the winter, which it was.

Word spread quickly as it always would about the birds and the Cairngorms became deserted of humans. The great whites, stomachs rumbling, decided to spread their wings for their hunting trips, and they extended to the rest of the highlands. There were always people who didn’t heed the warnings, and there was no real excuse, because they were now making all the news programmes, but in their extended hunting grounds the odds went up on the number of people outdoors; intentions and expectations are always met be it for man or beast.

Hunters came out with guns, but the birds had incredible eyesight, and most of the hunters were taken and torn apart, and eaten. The birds could swallow a human whole, easily, but now, the fast evolution had actually given them the jaws of great whites with a slight modification i.e. chewing action and taste buds. This meant that they could now enjoy their food, and to chew a human gave them the same pleasure as an average human chewing a juicy steak. Their great delicacy was venison, and they balanced their diet between the herds, cattle and humans, even if it meant visiting towns and villages. Farmers couldn’t do much, as they would put the cows etc., in barns, and the fish-birds would tear the barns apart with their huge talons.

They would call to each other, a deep noise with a slight rasp like Aaaaarch! Aaaaarch! And the vibrating molecules would echo around the wilderness … instilling fear in the very souls of the people. What to do?

The birds didn’t seem affected by shotguns, and the rule with rifles was, and it has always been, for safety’s sake … always make sure there is a safe background when loosing off a bullet in case of a miss. It seemed slightly ironic that a Police Marksman for instance, if he or she shot at a bird which had killed maybe thousands of people, and he or her bullet flew past the creature and carried on and actually hit someone, they would get the book thrown at them for manslaughter. Surely it was worth risking one human life to kill one of these ‘magnificent’ creatures?

The gunmen, be they farmers or country sports people were risking an awful lot, but they didn’t have much choice. One bird would land on the top of a tree and usually bend it, or a telegraph post and look menacing as it stared at the gunman (who was shitting him or herself), and shout the bone shivering Aaaaarch! The sight was so, erm, primeval, the gun person was transfixed as some deep memory had been stirred. The fish bird would then take off, which was a sight in itself, and then, despite its sheer size which should have made it a laboured flyer, it would put on a display of aerobatics so wonderful, the gun person was almost mesmerised and would forget the job in hand. The other bird would circle very widely, and the gun person would then be picked up from behind and very quickly decapitated. This was a great use of distraction. It was amazing, because the birds could recognise the different weapons.

Whichever area they were in, it was deserted. I would also say eerie, but that’s almost a bad joke (a golden eagle’s nest is called an eyrie). Come on people, I can joke. This story is ridiculous as genetic engineering could never do this. It could only do ‘super-nature’ like this if God had put it in one of the pathways of choices mankind’s mind could go when creating reality …

 

Fate: “Destiny, did you make this a probability?”

Destiny: “I might have, I might not have.”

Fate: “You’re an arse, you know that don’t you.”

Destiny: “Whatever.”

Fate: “So childish.”

Destiny: “Speak to the hand, the face ain’t listening.”

 

Their Aaaaaarch(!) call could be heard for miles around. It made people gulp and shake in their shoes; the prospect of a horrid death will never be savoured except by members of the Horrid Death Appreciation Society, and now, people knew something they had never even considered … what mice and voles in a field felt like when the kestrel was hovering above (or was it? Constant fear). If anything, it was worse than the thump! Thump! Approach of the T Rex in Jurassic Park. Instead of causing rings to run across the surface of the liquid, the call of the great white bird made the surface of the liquid ‘shiver’ like sand on a stimulated snare drum.

As winter gave way to jolly old spring, the male began to act rather strangely, doing the shark samba around the female for the first time ever, it was handy having legs, feet and wings. The dance was magnificent, better than a capercaillie lek and would have looked great on the Saturday Night Fever light up dance floor … both birds loved it. This was followed by lovemaking i.e. the touching of tails and the dirty bits underneath, with him on her back; why should the male take all the strain on his legs? And then the gathering of material for the nest, which as you will imagine, was huge. You can guess what happened?

Three eggs were laid, which deserves an ‘awwwww’, cos they are babies in a way … ‘awwww!’. This was watched from Aviemore through a large telescope from the inside of a steel toughened building. A picture of the inside of the nest was sent by Bluetooth from a small plane, which was, rather unexpectedly brought down by both birds (it was silly to send it up in the first place) … you can imagine how powerful their talons were to successfully perform such a task.

To stop the unimaginable happening, the military at last sent in a jet and ‘shot’ the eggs with three inch thick calcium piercing bullets, problemmo solved.

The birds had flown away though; they had been watching from a distant peak. The three eggs though were infertile, they were decoys. The fertile eggs/cells were dividing and multiplying inside the mother bird, she being ovoviviparous, [*(*]sorry) … fast evolution hadn’t changed that quality.

As they flew to a new location (England?), he shouted Aaaaaarch! She replied.

Can great white shark birds think … ‘not a bad day really’? and as they cried their call, the young inside the mother grew by a fraction of a fraction of a millimetre.

 

***

 

 

 

TOILET ROLLS AND JOB CENTRES

 

It was Monday morning and a ‘fresh start’ to another brilliant week for millions of people. Marty Jackson kissed his wife Heather good bye, he was off to the job centre.

Marty had been very successful in the toilet roll industry, but had gradually evolved from stress to ‘proper’ depression and had eventually razed his small firm. It was sad, because he was a rather good guiding light with his eight staff. It was OK you see while the, ‘Bum Friendly’ loo roll company had had just one machine which produced, puppy-free double layered ‘Sno-White’ toilet roll, and the same in beige. The trouble had started when larger firms started to fool around with ‘luxury’.

Aloe Vera, Soft Aloe Vera, Wavy Havey Aloe Vera, Natural Aloe Vera with a smidgen of Jojoba oil, Jojoba oil with hand quilted wavy sheets with mustard, Wavy sheets with a hint of Jojoba and nettle butter, Wavy Crinkle cut toilet roll, etc., etc., etc. People went for it because they wanted to feel posh and at the same time to impress their ‘ordinary roll’ friends. Toilet roll wars where you can’t be hurt by missiles.

Why can’t genetic scientists all just kill themselves in planned steps so the undertakers can cope? Don’t mess with what we don’t want to handle. Look at those Great White Shark birds that were getting closer and closer to London, killing people and animals all over the place. On a positive note, the government were putting up large shark cages everywhere, paid for by tax paying people, so the same people could run into the closest one if the birds were spotted … it was damn scary.

Marty’s brain though couldn’t handle this thing mankind had done to a simple toilet roll in the name of ‘progress’? And a fuse blew. He went goo goo gaa gaa for a while, did a Gerald Ratner on TV (Google it) as far as his firm went i.e. he said they were obviously crap, and then he was out of a comfy living.

 

 

 

 

 

THE JOB CENTRE

 

He sat humiliated in the waiting area of the job centre in among all the baseball cap wearing clientele. He was there in his suit and tie … he felt about as welcome as a fart in a space suit. He was feeling very upset with the chav conversations by the time his name was called. He walked the Green Mile and sat at the stern looking ladies’ desk …

“Good morning Mr Robinson, are you available for work?”

“Well, it depends on what sort of job it is?”

“I’m sorry Mr Robinson, but you don’t get to pick and choose here (you trash), are you available for work?”

“Erm, ok. What’s the job?”

“I will look after you. Tell me MR ROBINSON whether or not you are available for work?!”

“Oh, ok. Yes.”

“Thank you Mr Robinson. Well, age discrimination being no barrier any more, I have three jobs. First one is production line operative. That is filling windscreen wiper bottles on Jaguars as they come off the end of the production line in the new factory in Hackney. The second job is a call centre where they ‘cold call’ people to sell double glazing and also do a survey on why people don’t like cold calling. The third job is Amazonian Rain Forest Explorer. Which one are you interested in Mr Robinson? You have ten seconds to tell me Mr ROBINSON! I’m starting the clock NOW Mr ROBINSON.”

Marty thought quickly … ‘which one would make manual work seem like a fantastic holiday?’ … “I’m very interested in the Amazonian Rain Forest Explorer job please.”

“Eight seconds Mr Robinson. Well done! Anything over ten seconds and I’m afraid I would have had to fast track you onto the New Start Job Seeker’s Gateway test Project Prince’s trust Project, where you have to phone up employers for a job and learn how to use a basic computer programme which teaches etymology. But, that’s not to be, which is a good job because it’s just been shut down and the cardboard boxes have had to be brought out of storage to put all the paperwork in ready for the next Government devised scheme … those cardboard boxes must be really well constructed. Would you like me to see whether there’s a job making the cardboard paperwork storage boxes for defunct government hair-brained schemes for people who can’t reed or right Mr ROBINSON?!”

“No, no. Explorer will be fine thank you.”

“Explorer?!”

“Amazonian Explorer?”

“Oh! Amazonian Explorer. The Rainforest one? Sorry Mr Robinson, but you have to use the full job title, anything less cause’s confusion. I got this job because I was the only one who didn’t get confused when everyone else was VERY confused.

This job consists of you going to an, or ‘THE’ Amazon Rain Forest and looking for undiscovered indigenous tribes, plants, animals, butterflies … and, oh yes, to spread religion to the tribes people and introduce them to pharmaceutical drugs such as Statins to lower their cholesterol and to slow them down a bit because they move too fast for satellite photography which is checking the place out for a spot of progressive fracking.

There is no inter country relationship bonding in not seeing the natives and then drilling right through the stomach of one of them when he’s lying there taking in the beauty of the heavens through the rapidly disappearing canopy, is there … their camouflage is very good.”

 

“Will I need to get some shorts and a hat?”

 

“Oh no, the secret companies involved will provide you with everything you need. You get a tent, a mozzy net, a sleeping bag, a lamp, digital camera, a Bible … updated, edited, renewed … a clip-on dog collar, some cages, a couple of large plastic fish bags which hold water ‘obviously, duuuuuuh!’, some shirts, a pair of shorts and an explorer’s hat … oh, and a plane ticket.”

“First class!?”

“Mr Jackson, you’re unemployed! You’re a failure! You messed up your life! Don’t be ridiculous! Deep vein thrombosis! Deep vein thrombosis! That’s what you get in economy class. Ok, sign here, and we will see you in two weeks on your sign on date and time. Thank you Mr Jackson. Work hard for your country ... oh sorry. This is a voucher for 95% discount for the tropical diseases ward in hospital should you catch anything such as Beri Beri or Malaria.

Oh, just one thing. To do the Missionary thing to spread religion, you get five to choose from so as not to upset any major clerical leaderships too much as they’re a little touchy. You have to go to a Catholic church to get blessed by God to protect you as it is a big task you take on trying to talk cannibals into taking on religion. I’d suggest you do it now, the church is just around the corner, here’s a letter to give to Reverend Roschlaub Black. It’s really incredible, because everyone who has taken on this job says how much he looks like Max Von Sydow. Apparently, he’s a bit short tempered and pissed off, because God is; and he likes to take his job very, very seriously.”

“Ok, I’ll call in now. Will I be a priest or something?”

“No Mr Jackson, you aren’t being ordained I don’t think, just blessed. I think ordination is a two-week Bible course, 10 am until 12. A sort of a watered-down version of the Alpha Course (gosh, is that still running?). Anyway, take this introductory letter. Last time someone did this they just walked in and asked to be blessed, and the Reverend threw a hissy fit, screamed at God to help him banish this sinner, grabbed two of the finest gold and jewelled candlesticks crafted from the treasures left to the church from poor wizened widows on their bedside cabinets in the care homes wanting into heaven but surely expecting Hell.

He held them together like a crucifix and chased the man out. Luckily, he came back here and he’s happy now on a car production line putting valve caps on tyres for twelve hours every day. His job security is fantastic, and from his four hundred and fifty pounds a week, his therapy apparently only costs him two hundred, and his every other weekend stay in the nuthouse after his last break time suicide attempt is free!”

“That’s horrible!”

“I’m only joking Mr Jackson. You see, we DO have a sense of humour in here!”

“Oh, ha, ha, yeah!”

“Actually, I’m not! I am not allowed humour Mr Jackson, it’s deemed very, very, very, veeery unprofessional and qualifies for several levels of disciplinary procedure.

But, joking aside, here’s your letter. You should receive your flight tickets in the post in the next couple of days, and if you wouldn’t mind going to your doctor and getting your inoculation after you’ve been to church and, there is a three day course on what to do if you happen to get grabbed by an anaconda, which is a two day course in one day’s time I think, hang on … no, it’s a one day course in two day’s time at St Teresa’s school in the gym, starting at nine o clock; I think they use a real anaconda that’s been anaesthetised, apparently these twenty foot ones are a bit of a handful when fully alert. Thank you, Mr Jackson, good luck.”

“Erm, has anyone who has taken on this job ever not come back?”

“Next please!”

“Erm? …”

“Thank you, Mr Jackson. NEXT PLEASE!”

“E …”

“Security!”

 

Fate: “This should be good.”

Destiny: “Yes, can you get some popcorn please? The butter salted type.”

Fate: “That’s not good for your health.”

Destiny: “Like that matters; large bowl please, extra, extra salt, plus salted butter … that stuff with the big salt crystals in.”

Fate: “Don’t come crying to me when you realise you should have had sweetened stuff.”

Destiny: “Sugar was destined by me to be called pure, white and deadly … and then ‘you’ came up with Aspartame. Salt, which I destined man to employ, came from the natural sea. Ok, some came from the Russian salt mines, but that was your fault.”

Fate: “Woteva”

***

 

 

 

THE REVEREND ROSCHLAUB BLACK

 

 

It was the first time Marty had been in a church for a while. Why was it always scary in the house of God? Shouldn’t it be an extraordinarily stunningly ‘good’ feeling to be enveloped in love?

 

Creativity: “I blame the Hammer House of Horrors.”

Reactivity: “Mumbo jumbo!”

 

The next little section is a bit of fun in which the Reverend reflects some people I’ve known in the Church in the past. I’m an excommunicated Priest by the way. Forgive me for my selfish indulgence.

 

He walked down the aisle; the light from the large arched, beautiful stained glass window above the altar licked the tops of the pews with coloured light.

 

Creativity: how very descriptive! Well done mate!”

 

He looked at the life size statue of the crucified Christ set against the wall behind the altar; it hadn’t been the fellows best day. He, in his doom had certainly proved the point that the good guy finishes last. Maybe though, Jesus had been a right villain, the head of a local crime organisation (that’s in the pre-edited version of some edition of some Bible somewhere).

This thought landed in Marty’s head when he heard the booming voice …

“Who trespasses in the house of God!?” (od, od, od, od … called the echo from the Divine, well-built walls … churches are fantastic constructions).

Marty turned. It was Reverend Roschlaub Black. Reverend Black was happy in his job when no people were around and actually had the world’s only invisible ‘nice’ Devil on his shoulder; whispering in his ear

“Hello Reverend Black, I’m Marty! I’ve come for a blessing before I set off to the Amazon Rain Forest as a Missionary.”

“A blessing?! …” (ing, ing, ing …) ‘Oh no not another fool!’ thought the Reverend, in a mood living up to his name …

Shoulder Devil: ‘Erm, excuse me, but doesn’t it say in one of the gospels somewhere, Judge ye not? Just be nice?’ Whispered the Devil into his ear (pleased he’d done his job well again).

The Reverend scratched his ear (it was a habit due to the slight itch from the invisible goatee tickling his ear lobe), and wondered where the little thought voice in his head had come from?

“Hey, you do! Don’t you!” … said Marty.

“Do what?!” (ot, ot, ot, ot …)

“You look the double of Max Von … you know, Exorcist, Father Merrin! That’s amazing!”

The Reverend’s face suddenly matched his name.

“Silence in the house of God (od, od, od, od ….)! You have the voice of a sinner. To enter this house, you must place no less than ten pounds in the tainted soul box for MY sinner sheltering roof! (oof, oof, oof …) And, to further help MY roof (oof, oof, oof …) you can also have a very realistic autograph! (Aph, aph, aph …) ‘you God offending little bastard, there again, who gives a shit about God?’ thought the Reverend …

‘This man is a child of God! We must treat him as such’ (said the Devil, who suddenly found himself back in despair at the Reverend’s attitude to his Divine employer).

The Reverend scratched his ear.

“Well, I think I’ll pass on that” replied Marty, “although I wouldn’t mind the real one, because he was really good in the Exorcist and Needful Things … brilliant is Max V …” (Marty handed the Reverend a tenner for the roof).

“Then so be it! (t, t, t, t …). You are trespassing in the house of God, so, being very, very kind, I will give you a blessing, but it will be in tongues, for speed!” (eed, eed, eed, eed …) ‘then you can fuck off and die you, some dirty little sinner prostitute’s husband’ … thought the Reverend.

Shoulder Devil: ‘Shocking! Truly shocking. His wife is really lovely.’

Ear scratch.

 

“What’s tongues?” asked Marty.

“There is no time to explain something so beautiful and sublime … bleurgalleurgal gleurgal teurgal leglagleglededelgalldegh! (gh, gh, gh, gh…) there, you are blessed in the name of God, NOW GO! (O, o, o, o …) ‘And never come back or I may stab you in the head and crap in your sinner gob’ …

Shoulder Devil: ‘this angry attitude to that which is good will give you inner mechanical problems one day and God may not help you!’

Ear scratch …

 

“Are you ok? You sound like you’re going to vomit?” asked Marty, completely misunderstanding tongues. “Will I have to do the Missionary position with the indigenous women to teach them how to breed? And do I leave my Bible for them, or should I get some more from WH Smiths? What if they can’t read? Do they do Bibles in tongues? How do you spell those guttural noises?”

‘The football has begun! I am now MISSING IT!’ … thought the Reverend. “Now GO SINNER! Go and spread the word of the almighty! …

Shoulder Devil: ‘People before profits and people definitely before football!’

Ear scratch.

Reverend Black crossed himself beneath the statue of the pain ridden Christ, and reached under the altar. He then raised above his head the same two candlesticks, made from solid gold and jewels, crafted from the valuables of vulnerable wizened widows who didn’t want to go to hell. He raised the sticks and formed a crucifix. Immediately, there was a roll of thunder outside, Marty heard it … and again, but, he was relieved, it was his stomach, not God.

“Out of the beautiful house of God, SINNER! (R, r, r, r, r …). Go forth and spread the word to the heathens and the ignorant infidels and the sinning whores of Babylon!” … roared the Reverend, who was very good in the local theatre organisation …

Shoulder Devil: ‘No wonder I feel unfulfilled and quite exhausted at the end of each cursed day!’

Ear scratch.

Marty made haste …

 

Cut Scene

 

The Reverend, free now from his bonds of saving humanity for a dead God who didn’t exist and he didn’t believe in him anyway … cursed the job centre, tipped himself a glass of confirmation wine, burped, farted and pulled out his executive chair which was laying down under the altar, stuck his feet on the construction, and flicked the switch. The commentators voice came through the Christ’s mouth … Umbagango, to nagnabundo, To Van cregglarty, to Nog Nogginus, to E Dragabbalo, to Christos Nistos, to Paddy McGlunty … and yes, United Have Scored (D, d, d, d …)

“Yeeeeeeesssssss!” (esss, esss, esss …) shouted the Reverend. This was THE life!

 

 

This next bit is a very realistic memory of the Reverend Joe Isaacs from Millom, Cumbria, who I knew.

 

Ten minutes later, the church door opened and there was a bit of a kerfuffle.

‘Oh Bollocks!’ thought the Reverend, and looked, he’d forgotten to lock it.

It was a wizened old widow probably wanting to avoid hell … she was trying to drag what looked like two shopping trolleys full of clothes into the church.

‘Oh no!’ thought the Reverend. ‘More clothes for the bloody poor, more fleas for the flea ridden. Shit! Why can’t sinners all just die?!’ …

Shoulder Devil: ‘You are far worse than those you curse.’

Ear scratch.

 

He walked towards the door. It looked as though the two shopping trolleys had been welded together? And it was actually stuffed with old clothes. As it was a little old lady, he would be ok for a while, and then very rude to get rid of her and he could then get back to the two-nil game … at least United were winning! He actually knew her.

“Ahhhhh! Mrs Goldsworthy! Welcome to the House of God, what can I do for you today?” … ‘hurry up and disappear you sinning old hag’ …

Shoulder Devil: ‘Hail Mary.’

Scratch.

“Well Reverend Black, I’m getting old now and I may not last long, so I brought you an offering for the church to help you a little, and maybe some starving orphans somewhere. It may get me a seat in heaven too as I could go to hell for sinning.”

“Oh, Mrs Goldsworthy, surely not? What did you do?” forgive the old bitch then get her out! … ‘Yeah, go and join your dearly departed mother sucking sinners in hell’, thought the Reverend …

Shoulder Devil: ‘pure, pure blaughsphemy!’

Scratch.

“Well Reverend, I went to the cinema years and years ago to see a bad film called the Exorcist. It was about a young girl who was possessed by the Devil. There was a bit when the older priest, Father Meringue was telling the demon off, and the demon was sick all over him. I thought ‘poor thing’ it must have an upset tummy. As soon as I thought, ‘poor thing’ for something evil, I knew I had sinned, and I have been carrying that darkness around in my soul ever since. I may not get into heaven now.”

“Oh, Mrs Goldsworthy, I’m sure you will, I fo …”

“Oh, my golly gosh! They’re right! You do look like that Father Meringue … Mr Mack Vern Siderow. Oh my, I’ve come over all funny.”

The Reverend didn’t think he should pitch for the tenner autograph to buy the scratch cards, just get rid of the old cow and hope she gets splattered by a car and dies painfully …

SD: ‘you are completely without God.’

“You are forgiven Mrs Goldsworthy, and I am flattered that you think I look like the amazing Mr Max VON SYDOW. Now, if you don’t mind, I am a bit busy” …

‘it would be lovely if you just get paralysed then buried alive as punishment from God for your sins’ …

SD: ‘I don’t know ‘how’ you can stand in this building; now show that woman some unconditional love! That’s the BUSINESS you’re in!’

Ear scratch …

The Reverend by the way has a permanent sore on his ear (he puts make up on it).

“Oh, thank you Reverend. I won’t be going to hell then! (sniffle). So, you don’t want it?”

“No thank you, we appreciate your kind gesture very much of course, but we have a skip full of clothes for the poor orphans. The Oxfam shop is just around the corner, they will love you for this wonderful gift.”

“Clothes for orphans? Oh well, I’m sure they will take it in the Oxfam shop. Bye, bye Reverend and thank you so very much, God bless you!” …

‘I’d like all sinning, stealing orphan’s dead and screaming in Hell!’ The Reverend smiled at the lady. …

SD: I wish I had tear ducts, do you HEAR THAT you EVIL man! …

Ear scratch.

“And you too Mrs Goldsworthy.” … el ‘fucko offo’ you piss smelling old fart! Hurry up! I’m getting depressed listening to your old age drivel’ …

SD: ‘I LIKE her! You will in a moment.’

Ear scratch.

As she was leaving the church, she turned to the Reverend and said … “My husband got it from his brother you know, from the Potala Palace in Tibet. It was in the Golden Temple, I think it’s solid gold as its heavy enough, believe me!”

It took a second for the information to melt into the Reverend’s head … he then fell as he ran from the church doors. “Oh! Mrs Goldsworthy! Mrs Goldsworthy! Please could you wait just a minute?” … hang on you old oxygen bandit …

SD: ‘I have no comment, all I can do is emanate love to you in forlorn hope.’

Big scratch.

“What is it Reverend? I thought you’d finished with me. I’m ok now you’ve forgiven me for the puke incident.”

“Yes, yes Mrs Goldsworthy of course I and God have, but I would like to give you a, erm, a … goblet of wine to taste. You wouldn’t be a member of a pensioner’s wine tasting group, would you?” … don’t choke though, if you die I’m going to look bad and I can’t afford that, I might lose this lovely job …

SD: ‘truly horrible!’

Scratch …

“I am yes! How did you know that?”

“Lucky guess Mrs Goldsworthy. We have this new wine we use, but I think I’m paying too much for a bottle, maybe you could advise me?” … ‘gold! Gold! Gold! Yahoooo! …

SD: ‘wrong kind of love my friend.’

Scratch …

“I’ll try Reverend. Lead me to the bottle honey. Call me Maude by the way.”

“Ok, this way Maude. Here, let me help you with that heavy load” … and bloody hell! It WAS heavy, very heavy! ‘Gold! Gold! Gold oh goldy goldy oldy oldy gold! …

SD: ‘I repeat, wrong kind of love …’

Scratch …

Once inside the church, the Reverend locked the door and said the obvious … “These clothes are heavy Maude?” … ‘oh, gooooold oh gooooold! Oh, I love goooold!

SD: ‘oh dear’ …

“Clothes Reverend? I wondered what you were on about. No, no, you don’t understand …”

She began to remove the clothing, and began to reveal … the Reverend saw what it was and actually broke wind as his bowels went into shock.

“Ohh, was that a pigeon Reverend?”

“Oh, my dear! A crow in the eaves I think Maude. That looks …” … oh goooold! It is gooooold! Oh, I love God and God loves meeeee! ‘I’ll have to like her for a bit, even though she smells of week old urine to me’ …

SD: ‘I am out of words …’

“Yes Reverend, it’s a solid gold jewel encrusted Buddha head and shoulders from the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. My husband was Chinese Li Hung Twa, and his brother Ming Po Do Hi was the armed to the teeth warlord who led the march into ‘unarmed’ Tibet to award the Dalai Lama with the Nobel Peace Prize, or so my brother told me. The Lama ran off on holiday, but he was very grateful and left this for my husband’s brother, who gave it to my husband as a gift. My husband’s brother said it was gold painted lead, and that one day he would come and get it back off him to put in his summer house when he came to England, but we never saw him again; pity, he was nice. We had it for years in the garden and it looked very lovely. Nobody believed it was solid gold with real jewels, but I had it tested and it was! So, the non-belief was handy I suppose. Mind you, gold and jewels? I don’t see the point in the stuff, and on the quiet, I didn’t think it was worth anything much. My husband then died and I was stuck with it. I got my friends husband to weld me these two trollies together and take the middle side bits out and I put the head in to take it firstly to those nice people on the Antiques Roadshow, where all the experts fainted, and then to the shopping arcades and other places, you know ‘we will buy your unwanted gold’. On the first stall the young man looked, realised, and fainted. The girl started to slap his face and was saying ‘Scott! Scott! Wake up!’. It crushed their weighing scales and their spares and they said that it was worth about seventy pounds. I thought it was worth a bit more, but they said they were only looking for gold and they would have to pay a lot to have the jewels removed and they would have to bin them because they weren’t in that market. As it was only seventy quid and David Dickinson wasn’t there to bollock them, I decided to bring it here and use its real worth to get rid of the dark sin on my soul. As you have been so kind as to do that, you can have it as a gift Reverend, you are a very nice man, as entertaining as hell! Now, that’s the business done with … where’s that glass of wine, am I still worthy of it?”

“Maude, you are a beautiful and wonderful woman, and there is a special place in heaven for you … God tells me in my mind that he cannot wait to see you, but at the same time he says he hopes it’s a while.” In his mind the Reverend said,

‘Thank you, Maude, now hurry up and sip this wine and clear off will you, you Hell bound old pus sucking hag! How dare you call me Mack Van Sideshow!’ …

SD: ‘I feel dirty!’…

Ear scratch.

“Here is your wine Maude? Tell me, do you like football?” …

SD: ‘What?! You’re going to invite her to listen to the football with you?! That’s Lovely” … and the Devil kissed the Reverend’s ear.

No ear scratch.

“No Reverend I hate it. I’ll just down this in one (gulp), and go back home to do some baking with Mary Beret and nice Mr Hollyoaks. Good wine that even though it tastes like week old cat piss. The worst tasting ones are the best you know Reverend. I’ll see myself out, thank you and goodbye Reverend. Oh, and I’m sorry for the stench of week old urine, it’s my bloomers you see. Old age means I wet the gusset and then forget about it. I should get some washing powder and wash my undies but I spend my pension and my disability allowance on wine and fags.”

“Goodbye Maude, call by again! And don’t you worry about your gussets, I never even noticed…

SD: ‘Hey, that was really nice of you, I thou’ …

“Bollocks! I could have given her a few glasses and got a blow job then! Sod the piss stink! Damn! Damn! Damn you God! Bloody hell my ears extra itchy now! Ouch! Blood?! Damn! Where was the score before that smelly pox ridden leper witch turned up?”

 

Fate: “Well, that was pretty awful …”

Destiny: “Yeah. Oh look! She’s just got splattered by a speeding car … uuuggg, look at her brains, in a streak up the road. My fault I suppose. Although my feminine side says it’s ‘your’ fault.”

Amen.

***

 

 

AT MARTY’S HOUSE

 

The next Morning, Marty’s phone rang at seven thirty.

“Hello?” He said. He was busy wondering what to wear for his course? T shirt and jeans?

“Hello Mr Jackson. Sorry, but the course has been cancelled. Apparently, the drug given to anaesthetise the snake was water, someone had swapped it for a joke, and the snake has eaten the trainer. Ok, bye. Enjoy your job. If you would please ring us when you arrive back and we will tell you where to take your samples you collect. Bye.”

“Bye.”

‘Great!’ thought Marty, ‘what if I meet a large anaconda now?’ … he remembered seeing the Hollywood film Anaconda and thought that even if he’d been completed the course it would have been of little good.

The postman then called and some letters dropped through the letterbox … bill, bill, bill … and one from Virgin Atlantic, his tickets! His wife Heather liked the idea as it was a break he needed, and she could go and stay with her mum for a couple of weeks. She made breakfast while he moped around. An hour later there was a knock. He opened the door. There was a truck parked outside, one of those with the small crane on the back which usually delivered bags of sand and containers of bricks and stuff, but this time, there was a wooden crate on the back with ‘fragile’ written on it. The driver had him sign for it, and plonked it in his garden.

The Great White Shark birds were, at this time, in Blackpool. The female, a week from having her ‘chicks’ alive and ready to fly was sat atop the tower. He was on the shore tucking into one of the two donkeys he had killed. He tore it up and swallowed the pieces quickly and then flew the other to the tower top so his mate could eat too. Blackpool’s streets were deserted. The local council and the business owners had had an emergency meeting and discussed plans to reinforce the tower top with a cage type device, how with the birds there they didn’t quite know, but the thousands of people had to be put somewhere. Like in the Jaws film, the town’s mayor had not quite believed what was happening and was in a little bit of denial, but now, they had a problem … and how could they put up a large cage around the tower while the birds were there. The Winter Gardens were the same, anything with a roof and the birds could get through to the meat inside. If they had trouble, they could, together, pick up a coach and drop it on the building … the diagnosis wasn’t good.

It was of course nonsense to think that all buildings would be reinforced with shark cage like structures, that project was simply too big and time too small for the common man. The usual happened and the ‘elite’ were protected. Some people had read a small article in the papers a few years back, that the Government’s top members i.e. those with the most contempt for the working man and his brood, would be housed in caves here and there in the case of a nuclear holocaust. Personally, I would do what it said in the toilets of a nuclear plant I worked in.

In case of nuclear disaster (we were always on the brink, just how near the edge depended on which idiot was in charge) … fold paper and place on floor at side of toilet. Place head between knees. Kiss ass goodbye.

The commoners were of course left and. became involved in a game which could have been called ‘Sanctuary’. People would run from building to building (usually because of the queue for the toilets) and the birds came to enjoy this. It made them seem almost like kingfishers, or kestrels waiting for voles to show themselves. The birds weren’t restricted as they could, with a little effort, use their magnificent talons to tear into buildings … but they liked the game. There was also a supply of domesticated animals somewhere nearby if the hunger pangs got too great.

If a human got clever and took the wingspan of the bird into consideration and ran up a narrow back alley (i.e. a woman running from Debenhams to Next on a clothing search … no one will ever stop that), they then found out, as the talon tore into them, that the birds could hop faster than kangaroos. People also took to drinking, especially in Blackpool (as that is the role of Blackpool, to cater for the party reveller), to ease this pressure, and that gave them the courage to move between buildings.

It was of no use to think that the bird’s eyes were no good at night, they had their vibration detectors and sonars and whatever other hunting devices the sharks had had for quite a while now. The birds looked around, not really hungry but just eating because food was so plentiful (there were always tourists, and as spring was beginning, the sun brought weekenders to the bright lights), and the developing young inside the female wanted to eat of course … then their keen hearing picked up the trumpet of an elephant from the zoo, they looked at each other, gave out their blood curdling cries, and were off, for the banquet. After they had had the zoo’s baby elephant, two lions, and a giraffe, they headed for the Lake District mountains to sleep for the night, before heading South.

Intelligence had increased with evolution even though evolution had been a cross over, and these birds could decipher that some larger places contained collections of animals. Do humans discredit some animals with having consciences that don’t understand what ‘things’ are? Some monkeys can sign, killer whales hunt, dolphins are a bit ahead of man … so, what is the dolphins word for fish … ‘grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrkr?’ … does that mean fish? Why do we do that? Why do we make it hard for ourselves?

 

Fate: “Is that evolution’s responsibility?”

Destiny: “Well, it’s definitely not ours.”

 

*****

 

AT MARTY’S HOUSE 2

 

Heather and Marty looked at the large wooden box that had been delivered when they were at the supermarket. He pulled up onto the drive and got out. Heather began taking the shopping in while Marty looked at the well-constructed timber box which had been delivered i.e. dropped ‘carefully’ onto his garden (at least whoever it was hadn’t put it on the drive). It was such a nice box; he hoped they wouldn’t want it back from wherever it had come.

It had a door, with a proper brass handle and a key hole. He could use this as a safe holder for his garden tools, or, a better more practical use was … it was the ideal man hiding box when he wanted five minutes peace from the wife’s nagging (most men say that even if it isn’t true, because it’s sort of normal and manly, or boyish to be nagged by his replacement mother). All he would need was a chair inside and he could have found his perfect bliss box.

There was a padded envelope taped to the door by the handle. He removed it and opened it, a key, and a spare. Without further ado, he inserted a key into the keyhole, turned it, and turned the handle … the door opened very well on its very good hinges. “Hello” said the man and shielded his eyes.

“Shit!” cried Marty, “Who the hell are you?” … he rather reasonably enquired to the small man who was sitting on the chair in the middle of the box.

“I’m Archie French; I think I’m your assistant Amazonian Missionary explorer. You’re Marty I hope.”

“Are you? They never mentioned anything about this to me.” They shook hands.

“Oh, are you looking for logic when government scheme meets job centre mission? Play it one event at a time, but don’t look for understanding. Actually, in a way, that lack of anything, erm, what’s the word? ‘Common sense?’ … makes things fun?

Maybe ‘predictable’ would be a better word?

They thought it would be easier and cheaper just to send me like this. I’m from a small Northern town and was out of work. I had to go to the church just after the job centre, the Reverend was a bit mad.”

Archie spoke quite nasally, and was quite small, like a cross between Danny DeVito and Ronnie Corbett. He didn’t seem to have a sense of humour, but obviously wanted a fun life.

“I’m with you Archie, I understand. I think all those Reverends are mad. Would you like to come in for a coffee?”

“That would be very nice, thank you.”

Archie was already dressed ready for the trip. He wore those trousers with loads of pockets in them, a fishing waistcoat, and an Aussie type hat with corks hanging around it … and hiking boots.

They sat in the living room talking about the absurdities of life, whilst Heather acted as waitress and then pottered around in the garden, which was her hobby.

“Did you do the anaconda attack avoidance training?” asked Archie.

“No, it was cancelled.” Replied Marty.

“Oh God, you’ll need to do that because if one of those things attacks and it manages to get hold of you with its teeth, you could be a gonner. It is essential to know how to deter them. Do you want to do the course ‘now’?”

“Oh, ok …” said Marty.

Archie had Marty lay on his stomach at one end of the room, and he then stood about four metres away pretending not to notice.

“You pull yourself along with your feet, knees and elbows, and then when you get to me, kneel up and kind of prepare to lunge at me with your mouth open, hissing viciously.”

Archie stood sideways pretending not to notice Marty who crawled very anaconda-like it must be noted. For someone who had never seen an anaconda in the wild, it wasn’t bad, and could easily have won at least a certificate at the International Anaconda Impersonation Society’s Annual Open Masters Anaconda Impersonator World Championship, won last year by Antonio Cobera Ponthy from Brazil. Home of the deadly Coffee Adder, which has been there for millions of years.

Marty then rose into a kneeling position, showed his teeth and did the best hiss he could. Immediately, Archie turned, raised his hands in the air, and cried, at a very high pitch “Grrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! …. Now you have to slither off. They can’t stand that sound. You should have seen our anaconda shoot off across the gym and hide in the horse, even thought it was a tad drowsy. Surprised the horse, I can tell you.”

Marty immediately got back on his stomach, turned tail, and slithered off … Archie did a couple more ‘Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’ just to make sure Marty was properly spooked.

“Is that it?” Asked Marty from his original place in the room.

“That’s it” replied Archie.

“Amazing” said Marty. What else was there to say?

“Government scheme you see” said Archie. “Anyone who applies for this job who has that speech defect where they do a W for an R can’t get the job, it’s too risky, ‘Gwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!’ I mean, it lacks the shrillness of the rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

It had to be said that some of the crystal glass in the room did rattle during this most important of exercises specially designed for those that got jobs as Amazon Rain Forest explorers from their job centres.

Tip:

If you go to the job centre and see the two jobs Amazon Rain Forest Explorer, and Pilot, full training given … go for the Explorer (it’s much less boring). I don’t want to put you off, but it is actually a little-known fact that when some pilots drop explorers off in Rain Forests, they look down at the explorers and then think of ‘their’ boring day (it ain’t that glam), and say … ‘those lucky BASTARDS!’. Some pilots have become so angry that they have circled, and then when they are right over the spot where the explorers jumped, they drop something heavy out of the plane. One pilot who was particularly angry dropped a box of itching powder … how is that for spite?! Apparently, he was an ex Reverend who sold the wizened widow’s gold and did a runner (after the match finished I think).

 

***

 

CHRIS TIPPER’S HOUSE IN WEST SUSSEX

 

Chris Tripper put the finishing touches to his great invention. He pointed the parabola at the glass jar at the end of his garden and pressed the button … it took about two seconds of the horrible shrill shriek and the jar exploded into a trillion pieces.

‘Excellent!’ he thought … surely this would net him his millions. Good old Bible!

Chris was a bit of an electronics man, it was his hobby. He lived in West Sussex and quite liked it, although he wasn’t keen on the new fad of fracking which seemed to be coming. There again, he could more easily entertain the thought of fracking than the awful thought of being ‘food’ for the great white shark birds which were, according to the news, heading in this direction. Last reports had seen them heading for the Lake District mountains after giving Blackpool a hard time. His device consisted of a stacking stereo system, a mid range Sanyo, with ‘doctored’ circuitry, and a speaker in a parabolic reflector. He had heard of attempts to shoot the shark birds and the failure to drop them, so, he decided to go in the opposite direction and attack the sharks’ keen hearing. He had got the idea from the Biblical story of Jericho where the walls had been razed apparently by the sound of trumpets … which seemed a bit unlikely, but, who can argue with the word of God. Chris had wondered what frequency of sound would be unbearable for the birds, and the Universe had answered him with the ultimate ear piercer … the sound of sub class babies screaming in the towns. He had recorded a few hundred of them screaming and crying over the misdemeanours of their mothers, and put them together in a five hundred amp note chord; maybe he should sell the device to farmers as a bird scarer in the fields.

 

***

 

MARCIA HODGSON BROWN’S FARM

 

Five miles up the road from Chris lived Marcia Hodgson Brown, the wife of a wealthy farmer who had passed away five years previously. Not only had Edgar run the farm, but he had also eagerly collected stuff from scrap ships, especially old whalers. Some of the stuff he sold on but some he kept. He specialised in ships optics and compasses, which he sold to people who had nice views from their houses so they could get an incomparable view of the hills and trees and shorelines … it was a nice idea which had netted a few quid and delighted people. There was a field next to the house in which Edgar, at great expense, had had a large hole dug, and then the front-end half of an old Norwegian whaling ship placed in it and then concrete tipped in.

For a while, the hold had been padded out and a bouncy castle type set up had been put inside, which played host to his grandchildren and their friends every once in a while, which was fun. The best part of the ship for Edgar had been the harpoon, which was a working example. Sometimes, if a customer was due, Edgar would charge the gun with gunpowder, and get a harpoon from his cellar (he had got two with the boat), bring it to the boat, load the gun, and get the customer to take a shot at the target which was mounted on hay in a wooden paddock one hundred metres away. If the customer scored a bull, he got a twenty percent discount … fun.

On this day, Marcia was making plans which involved a friend of hers. Harry, who made wrought iron gates, began a structure for her. There were already two small JCB diggers, chains and ropes in one of the barns; they would do for the lifting, if plans went right.

***

 

NEST

 

The birds awoke early the next morning just as dawn was breaking. They preened, looked at each other, smiled (in their minds), and then made every living thing in the hills shiver with their call. They flew high and fast on their powerful talented wings, and headed, although they didn’t know it, for London. Upon reaching there, they had breakfast of two pedestrians each, and then it didn’t find them long to find the O2 arena, and immediately began to construct a large nest on the top …

***

 

 

 

AMAZON ADVENTURE

 

Marty and Archie were parachuted into a clearing in the rainforest from a helicopter with their gear by a nice pilot who used to be a Social Worker.

The pilot wouldn’t land because it had been known before that some helicopter pilots had had their vehicles ensnared by vine lassos by natives and pulled to the ground in a clearing. The tribeswomen, who would wash their hair when they heard a chopper, would use the wind off the rotor blades to dry their hair and have their friends take fan type glam pictures of them to send to big magazines in order to get a new life like such people as Grace Jones. The pilot and ‘would be’ missionaries would be offered as novelty sex toys in a peace-making bid with the bad tempered local gorillas. The gorillas ended up being taught the missionary position by the desperate missionaries. This was never enough for the female gorillas who tended to get a little more adventurous until the missionaries died of pleasure. The helicopter was then filled with nets and plastic balls and called the ‘Civilisation Missionary Junction’, and used to amuse the tribe’s kids and young gorillas.

 

Marty and Archie got themselves together and then tossed a coin as to which way to go … each way was as good as another (a bit like being in Birmingham, England). All they had to watch for were hungry anacondas, but, at least they knew how to scare the moral-less beasts off.

When they stopped for the first evening, they both put up their one-man tents, and then sprayed each other with a can of a product called ‘Taste like Shit’ ... a chemical mix to render them inedible to any animal except an anaconda ... so, it was like using a disinfectant that killed 99% of germs, there was still that one which would be effective, the one with the biggest teeth and shittiest reputation.

In a one-man tent in a tropical rain forest especially on the first night, it is still hard to sleep with all the noises going on around you, even if you taste like shit. Lying in bed with a mouse in the room back in England would be a cakewalk compared to this, if the situation ever arose for either of them? … For the author (me) it would be a four-foot rat with toothache and rabies, and therefore in a foul, ‘worrying’ mood.

The next day, they rose bright and early, had a cuppa and then got on their way. They had macheted their way through about two miles of forest when they came across the first body. It was a man of some indigenous tribe who had either hung himself, or had been hung …

They both gulped, looked at each other, and then felt immediate relief as they remembered that the, whoever it was who had given them the stuff, had put an advanced technology invisibility cloak in each rucksack. Actually, they didn’t … they just carried on crapping their pants and looking for useful specimens. Then they found another body hanging from a tree. They checked once again for invisibility cloaks, but still … nothing!

Eventually, they came across a large clearing which was dotted with huts and had fires burning etc. They turned to leave, both thinking simultaneously that it may not be a clever idea to enter the village. As they turned, they found themselves staring at a group of tribesmen.

“Hello guys, we have been following you for a long time. We hope you have come to help us? We have some good news and some bad news … which do you want first?”

“Good news” said Archie.

“Ok, there are some good specimens here you can take back and build chemical weapons and make pharmaceutical drugs with.”

“Ok, and the bad news?” asked Marty.

“There is no point in you teaching us the missionary position using some of our very beautiful women to demonstrate … although we would appreciate the teaching of the logic behind the Revelations section of the Bible, if you have Bibles that is? We can’t wait for that bit as we are all very receptive to being converted, which will make our hut roofs, which are all painted exactly like the Sistine chapel by missionary artist Michelle Angela, even more meaningful to us. We can then lie on our backs as we go to sleep, looking at the scenes thinking, ‘how refreshed I feel now that I understand Revelations AND have a nice ceiling’. “Ok, but what’s with all the hanging bodies?” asked Archie.

“Oh, they all victims of Nut Piranha” said the leader … come and have some leaf ant, slimy mango slug beer, and some crispy orangutan fritters with baby orangutan gravy, good bush tucker. Serve them right, hairy red bastards … keep them out of our pine oil trees … and I’ll tell you all about it.

***

 

CAR BOOT SALE

 

There was a car boot sale in Waterlooville, near Chichester. Chris Tipper thought he would pop along and see what electronics junk was there. He worked as a cloud computer engineer through the week, but at the weekend liked to fiddle about with electronics, and of all things, knife sharpening, which he considered an art; art was a lovely thing.

He was an interested fitness biker and liked to go for a pint in a pub which was next to a ‘push’ bike shop. He considered the bikes to be works of art and liked staring at them through the display window. The things were beautiful. They were shiny, beautifully designed, the brakes had obviously required alien intervention to perfect … it really was a pity to ride them and get dirt on them. There was bad art as well, but that was usually restricted to galleries; in Chris’s view, of course. He just loved looking through the junk, junk was art, beautiful. The whole car boot sale was a ‘real’ art gallery. He thought he would get a cuppa from the heart attack trailer grill, but miss out on the bacon sarnie because they didn’t butter the bread.

“Those genetic screw-up great white shark birds, I’m going to kill them, or one of them at least, and then roast them on a barbecue … barbecued shark bird! How does that sound Harry?” said Marcia to her welder friend and fellow car booter, at the tea caravan.

“How are you going to kill them?” asked Chris Tipper who was right behind them.

That was the beginning of a quite entertaining friendship …

 

***

 

 

NEST

 

It took the birds about a week to build the nest. It was actually quite amusing, as ordinary birds collect sticks and stuff off the floor, their normal material. The birds went to Hyde Park and Holland Park and collected large branches by tearing them off trees.

 

***

 

PROJECT ARMAGEDDON 1

 

We have forgotten about old friend Lucy Falfa, our original genetic engineer … remember?

She was very near to Chris and Marcia actually i.e. at a sunken military base near Chichester (they are everywhere; there are more sunken military bases in Chichester than baltis in Brum. They were i.e. the military and Lucy, and you won’t believe this … they were concerned about the birds multiplying, and not being controllable so as they could be used against an enemy. They couldn’t be missiled, and, what happened after they actually bred? More and more of them … the sharks had come out of the sea and onto the land via the air, which increased the chances of shark attack for anyone by a large percentage. It wouldn’t be long before they started using children and babies as Milky Ways, the organic snacks you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite.

The project was top, top, top secret because it would be both blasphemically unacceptable to the few, but a Godsend to the mass.

The swan’s consciousness slowly ebbed as the blood ran from its throat. The other subject of the project. It’s okay, permission had been granted by the Queen.

 

***

 

AMAZON ADVENTURE

 

The chief and some of the villagers sat with Marty and Archie and told them the terrible story of the fate which had befallen the village. Apparently, it had been fine there apart from the anacondas, which had forced them to sometimes carry on foraging and hunting instead of shopping in their superstore hut Jungle Goodies. It was a lot easier to buy your monkey meat in a vacuum pack rather than blowing poison darts at them through long blowpipes. The tribesmen’s lungs had become so strong that when a Scottish missionary had turned up to teach them the bagpipes, they popped all five instruments he had in his pull along case.

The chief told them that they used trained monkeys to do the shopping and that he would show them later. One of the things they could buy was:

Tribesman’s Choice Prime Monkey Rump in this. It was:

Low in cholesterol, fat removed, E578 preservative.

Or:

Buy a whole monkey and get 22% off!

Get it cheaper anywhere else and we’ll refund the difference (if you have receipt, seven witnesses, a lawyer and a note from the opposing Store manager).

Yes, it had been fine and all were happy, plentiful monkey meat, milk, tea bags which made the women happy and constantly in the mood for love; which pleased the men … until the day the feathered devils had come from the river; we called it ‘the day of the feathered devils’.

Something awful had happened somehow. It seemed that the locally feared testicle eating piranha had somehow become birdified, and had begun to nick the nuts of the tribesmen. They did it by one of the snapping little shits ‘worrying the person’s head and hair, and while they were distracted as if by a wasp or a hornet, the other dived down and very quickly snipped through their flimsy thongs and through the scroat, and hey presto, before the man knew it, the bird was winging away with his nuts on the two strings; like clackers. After this, because the man could not make love with our famously beautiful women, they would hang themselves because they were of no use anymore. Human sweetbreads were apparently a great delicacy amongst the nut piranhas.

 

 

Marty and Archie listened, and decided that all they could do was report this back home and see what could be done. The chief then took the lads through the forest until they came across the nut piranhas cocoon tree … the duck egg sized cocoons were stuck all over the tree, so the dynamic duo decided to take a dozen back as their specimen collection. They had a day or two with the natives where they converted them to Paganism and Wiccanism i.e. Pagwics, because it was more interesting than the more mainstream traditional religions as they get to burn things and do weird rituals. It was all in the Bible for those who were bothered to look and be flexible with interpretation … the Book of Revelations is really useful! They also got a few snogs off the women they were going to show the Missionary position to, but there was no point because it wouldn’t be long until none of the tribesmen had plums the way things were going.

The next morning the chief took them to what he described as the supermarket. It was set in a long cleared piece of forest about one hundred metres square. There was long grass which made the place look like an English wheat field, and a road ‘flattened’ through it which looked like the ‘leg’ of a crop circle. The road was about four metres wide.

 

“This very troublesome road” said the chief.

“Why’s that?” asked Marty.

“Well, you see the superstore hut is set in middle and wheatgrass planted all around?

A sign stuck on a tall post said:

 

“JUNGLE GOODIES

 

“Why Forage when we do all forage stuff you forage four?” (Christ, they even have chavs ‘there’).

“We have all EXCLUSIVE offers and will refund the difference if you get it cheaper anywhere else … which we do to make refund lot of hassle for you and so not worth it” (that last bit was the small print, in large font so the victim is clear as to not play with fire).

 

“This week have special offers on:

Fish

Feathers

Monkey meat

 

SHOP TILL YOU DROP AND THEN COME IN THE

Cafe and the Civilisation Mall bar.”

 

The chief then told them: “The shop vulnerable to local criminals, and there is no security alarm system in shop, plus we cannot go online to Amazon and order because we have no computers although we do have rocks with plug points in … that local joke, you get it? Plug points in rocks? They have security but it too not right.

Never mind. Well, watch this” … the chief whistled a special whistle, and a monkey came out of the trees. The chief said something to the monkey and gave it some jewels and pointed at the shop.

“I telling the monkey to go get coffee, sugar, ginger snaps, and Hello-How-You? Magazine … cost two emeralds and two rubies.”

The monkey looked at the jewels and looked at the chief, then at the jewels again. It then reached into the bum bag it was wearing, took out a small pad and pen, and wrote something on the pad and handed the pad to the chief …

The chief studied it and looked at the monkey and handed the pad back. He stuck up one finger. The monkey wrote something else and handed the pad back … the chief studied it and said “Ok.” The monkey then set off.

“What was that all about asked Archie?”

“It’s one of our trained monkeys. He was pissed that I gave him right jewels for the job. He wanted two spliffs as well on his return, so I offer one, then he said one and a half … I agreed. Watch.”

The monkey got about twenty yards and then a blur shot out of the long grass and the monkey screeched … the anaconda grabbed it and swallowed it. Then it slithered back into the grass.

“Shit said Marty, that’s a good security system, but it doesn’t care who it ‘collars’, does it.”

“No, it’s not discriminate … store has receivers coming in soon. The shutters may go up. Anaconda snakes are making high street shopping very bad around here, soon no shops at all. Their wrong security system means they are a victim of their own success.”

There was then a ‘phwerthhh!’ and the bum bag came flying out of the grass.

“Well, at least we get our non-organic gear back” said the chief.

“Ahhh, we can help here chief” said Archie, and he set off walking to retrieve the bag.

“Blimey! What he do?!” asked the chief.

“Oh it’s ok chief, he did a course through the job centre via the government before we set off. How to dissuade anacondas.”

As Archie bent down to pick it up, the anaconda which had swallowed the monkey thought it was its birthday, and launched itself from the grass to snare Archie … Archie heard the rustle in the grass and turned to face the anaconda which was almost flying towards him with its mouth open with its ‘point backwards for grip’ teeth. Archie’s arms shot into the air and he shouted “Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” … the anaconda almost did a U turn in the air and shot back into the grass.

The chief looked amazed. Archie did it another half dozen times before he reached the shop, and only another two times on his way back.

“You can keep the spliffs chief, here are your goods.”

The chief was very grateful and he promised the boys some party time before they went back, and would they be good enough to do a seminar for the women who could then start shopping again. They had a good old time … not a bad place to be sent for employment by the job centre system.

When the time came for them to go back and sign on, they phoned and ordered their helicopter to come and pick them up and drop them off at the airport … it would be signing on day in a couple of days, as this job was now all but over. All that remained was to ring the job centre and tell them they had the cocoons and would they like to send someone to get them; which they did as soon as they returned.

They said their tearful farewells.

 

BACK AT MARTY’S HOUSE

 

A strange black van turned up at Marty’s house at midnight on the day they returned. On it was written ‘Government Job Centre Special Services’ … there was a safety deposit box on the side of the van which said “Please deposit Cocoons in here. Thank you.”

They did, and the van then slid silently into the night.

 

***

 

NEST

 

The nest, perched on the O2 looked like the pterodactyl’s nest in One Million Years BC and the eyes of the world were on it. The world waited for the eggs, but the eggs had already hatched. One day, the male was stood on the nest, resting; the female must have been away feeding. He then took off and disappeared into the distance; and then he climbed high.

His mate was flying above the clouds with a slight pained look on her face … she glided along and then nature provided yet another miracle. In the presence of the now ‘present’ male, a young bird entered the world, wings folded, eyes closed … until it hit the air. It opened its eyes, and in freefall, opened its wet wings which dried in the air, and very quickly indeed it flapped its six-foot wingspan and with a ‘cheep’ joined its mother. She looked and called to it, and if she could have, would have smiled.

After all, seven which had grown to functional level inside the female were born, four males and three females, she spoke to them in shark, and then left them flying for pleasure. She and her mate headed back towards the nest with a great feeling of euphoria inside.

The young were free, but would hang around near the adults for a while … the world would find out soon. The adults reached the nest, looked at the male and then gave the world what it was waiting for i.e. three eggs in succession. They then took to the wing … the world’s eyes stayed put on the nest and its ‘empty’ eggs. Humans watching didn’t feel the sense of ‘finished here’ hanging in the air.

The birds headed in a south westerly direction.

 

Fate: “That was nice.”

Destiny: “Yes, sweet little things, aren’t they?”

Fate: “What’s next?”

Destiny: “Not telling you, or I’ll have to kill you.”

Fate: “You baby.”

***

 

 

THE DYNAMIC TRIO

 

Marcia, Harry and Chris stood by the newly constructed metal hut which was right at the base of the whaling ship’s bow. It was a solid construction with a table and chair inside and all the equipment needed i.e. the doctored stereo, a TV monitor screen, and a large barred window. The table was more of a shelf set just under the window. The cables ran out of a hole cut into the bottom front left hand corner of the hut. One led to the parabolic microphone set on the back of the ship’s deck, and the other one to the parabola set on top of the hut, which pointed to the target which was now removed to make way for the wooden stake that the bull would be roped to … bait. Chris wired it all up and switched on. The sound of hundreds of babies screaming wasn’t at all pleasant (which is why young mothers too unwise to be mothers, shout, and fathers wear a scowl), and they could still make it out through their ear muffs. The farm animals and the wildlife went a bit crazy; some birds fell from trees (to recover later with their ears ringing). Even the birds which were miles away having a bit of a group chomp raised their heads. Chris smiled, “that was only one quarter volume” he said.

The harpoon gun had been primed by Marcia and Harry had welded to it a metal shield like the WW2 military field guns had. They hadn’t heard of anyone using a crossbow, but if the birds hide was tough (it was, it was like a lightweight version of Rhino hide, plus feathers on top which were very tough … nature isn’t stupid). There again, enough people owned crossbows, but it would have taken one of those larger medieval types to penetrate the bird … where was one of those available at short notice? Then, both stations were covered in camouflage netting. Marcia’s only modification to the old harpoon gun was a set of large telescopic sights which were digital and led to a TV monitor which would give her a clear shot without having to look from under the netting or drop it from the gun.

Chris also had a disc on which he had recorded the call of the male bird, and he set a loudspeaker up next to the pole which would have the bull secured to it … “this should fetch them in from two or three miles away, it’s pretty loud” said Chris to Marcia and Harry. “I’ve put it on a repeating loop which I’ll turn on tomorrow morning.” She also had a walkie-talkie connection with Chris. They would wait for news of the bird’s whereabouts on the news, and then it was party time.

***

 

PROJECT ARMAGEDDON

 

Lucy was working flat out with the head scientist in the secret underground military base. They had juiced a couple of swans and injected the Special Services volunteers with the serum. The men were each put into a separate padded cell, and cameras were trained on all one hundred of them, no one knew what would happen. Everything else that had changed into the new species seemed to build cocoons, except it was a mystery how the great white sharks had managed the evolutionary change. How to build a cocoon though? What materials would the men need? … No one knew.

The answer came two days later, the men, all about the same time, seemed to become sick and began to cough up a ‘slime’ … and then, they began to work it like someone on Masterchef would work warm melted sugar in their hands.

Each cell had, as well as a bed, a polystyrene padded box that the occupant could use as a pouffé on which to put their feet to relax if sat in the comfy padded chair. The men, when they had worked the toughening slime into a device where one end was a ball with a flat end, and the other end was two loops. They all stood on the boxes and stuck, by spitting some more slime onto it, the end to the ceiling, after rubbing some on their fingers which seemed to melt the paint, which was obviously for the grip. The ‘stuff’ must have changed to very sticky very quickly when the air hit it. The rubber like device was now hanging from the ceiling. They then, did handstands on the boxes, and put one foot into one of the loops. They could then lift themselves up using strong stomach muscles, and secured both feet … it was like watching one of those girls doing the rope trick. Something strange then happened (honestly; I couldn’t make this up), they began to sweat the same stuff, until their bodies were covered. Like sugar, this substance had moulding time, and the guys, when fully covered, began to work it out into a shape that allowed space around their bodies. The ‘stuff’ then went milky white and seemed to set … then, all activity stopped.

The military and the government, good on them, had decided that this battle would be fought without weapons to ensure no collateral damage … that’s worth voting for.

 

***

 

PROJECT MOBY DICK

 

As they sat around the dining table drinking beers, Marcia asked the two men what they should call their project. “It should have a name, makes it more exciting and official”, she said.

“Well, whaling ship and a whaling spear, how about project Moby Dick?” suggested Harry.

“Way to go! That sounds good!” said Chris.

“I name this project, Pro …”

“Hang on!” said Chris … “shouldn’t it maybe be project Orca?”

The others thought a second and said, “Oh yeah!”

“I name this project, Project Orca! God bless her, and I think our boat is big enough! Cheers everyone!”

They partied for another hour and then went to bed. 1 a.m. and all’s well. Outside, the breeze tickled the leaves on the trees and the bushes and there was a squeal as a rabbit died in the jaws of a fox.

***

 

The nine birds roosted in a disused barn on a deserted farm five miles away from Project Orca … this family were on holiday and had no idea they were playing host to such guests. The barn was a storage barn and the farm produced beetroot and potatoes … there was no livestock to raise the alarm.

***

PROJECT ORCA

 

The team rose at six am just as a beautiful dawn was breaking across the western skyline, and after Marcia had tied the bull to the stake (she had bought it specially), they took their positions like pigeon shooters. Chris nervously entered his hut and Marcia and Harry went trepidatiously up to the harpoon, sat on the chairs, and waited. They did a radio check and Chris turned on the ‘Aaaaaaarch!’ call sound, birds and wildlife scattered (four starlings, one crow and a rabbit) …

One hour later almost to the minute, there was another loud call, it was the male bird sat in a tree five hundred metres away, giving the branches a real hard time, and the chicks were sat in two more trees a few metres behind him, he had told them to keep back (do great white shark bird chicks worry like humans?) … He was expecting some hassle from another male (life had been a bit easy up to now), a new one on him. The female had set off on her huge circle to dispatch the gun-person. She had flown high and surveyed the scene through her fabulous vision. She would circle round and take the two people out on the gun (she had seen them walk on deck and enter the camouflage netting) by landing on the deck and using her talons to snare them and her teeth would do the rest … they would be good appetisers before the tasty looking bull. Her mate she trusted would sort the rival male out … she wondered where the coward was hiding?

The male bird made his approach when he saw her turning on her ‘quasi one man and his dog’ last arc to head directly towards the boat. Chris now caught her on his TV monitor. As he did, the male bird on the other monitor landed on, and dispatched the braying bull. Chris turned off the rival call … the male now looked confused …’where was the enemy?’

“You ready Chris?” asked Marcia.

“Ready when you are, earmuffs on NOW (they all donned their muffs) … you have the female coming up behind you and Harry at a good speed, he won’t do anything yet he’s watching her and wondering where the rival male is as the call is off. Five, four, three, two, one … click. There was the sound, very loud, of five hundred babies screaming directed directly at the female, and the male …

The female did something strange, she opened her mouth and her eyes closed and her wings came up in a vain attempt to cover her ears … she fell from the sky and hit the ground from thirty feet with a bit of a thump. Good on her, she picked herself up and with her wings still trying to cover her ears …she hopped off very quickly like a kangaroo on her very powerful legs.

The male stood there, eyes closed, obviously in pain, and Marcia very quickly zeroed in and Boom! The harpoon fizzed across the field, rope trailing … the male opened its eyes and mouth. Despite the noise pain, it went to actually fly … but … ‘sthunk!’ The harpoon hit it in the neck region. The missile went right through the male breaking his spine on its route. He was held secure by the rope anyway, but no need … he was dead. His wings and legs flinched, but soon he lay still.

Marcia and Harry loaded another harpoon and charge as quickly as they could in case the female returned, but all they could see was her making off with the young crying her cry ‘Aaaaaaaarch! Aaaaaaarch!’ Then, it was silent and the birds began to sing again. Photographs were taken, calls made and the press and TV arrived within the half hour. The two JCB’s were used to lift the bird, and the large barbecue Harry had built was utilised for the very large legs, wings, and a nice bit of breast … it tasted lovely, everyone enjoyed the barbecue and one of the TV teams used their helicopter to go to the supermarket to get some more booze in.

***

PROJECT ARMAGEDDON

 

After one week, which was pretty quick, the men tore the bottoms from their chrysalises and emerged with magnificent muscle structures to enable flight, eyes the same colour as swans, and extremely beak like noses, they were called the Swangels.

They demonstrated their flying skills in a huge underground chamber but said they found it a bit restrictive and would do it better in the real air. For now though they would stay in barracks underground and then be taken to the surface to fight what had been called in secret circles, The Battle of Evermore. This was because of the migration … about two hundred great white shark birds had been spotted travelling from warmer climes to England, probably in answer to the distress signal, the SOS the female bird had inadvertently been putting out since the horrible death of her mate … they would avenge his death by destroying humans.

A large hole the size of four football fields, thirty foot deep, sloping sides and playing host to twenty foot sharp as pins, spikes, named The Bed of Nails had been dug in a location as far away from people as possible. The Swangels were given body armour, and they were then instructed to go coax the birds which now numbered about two hundred (they had all migrated to the call of distress, telepathic?). Where had they all come from? Maybe someone mischievous had been feeding great whites lumps of meat injected with the serum?

The Swangels were excellent flyers and led the birds who had grouped on a hillside like a grotesque version out of the Alfred Hitchcock film … to the vicinity of the Bed of Nails. The tactics of the Swangels were then to have one of them manoeuvre superbly and land in the usual place, on the birds back on the base of its neck, and start to prod the head with a metal stick which annoyed the bird (supposedly it could have been killed like that as in Moby Dick when Ahab jumped onto the whale, spear in hand, bad intentions in his mind).

As it was then distracted, two more Swangels flew quickly alongside the bird and with a circular saw each, chopped off the wings in flight … it was horrible, but the shark bird then plummeted and ended up on the spikes. Some Swangels suffered the same fate too after being taloned or jaws savaged, and at the end of the battle, which you can imagine? Have a drink first) about eighty Swangels were dead, impaled, which looked like there had been a battle in heaven (maybe the banned angel had come back with his troops of demons to exact a bit of revenge. About twelve birds made off, but weren’t reported as being seen in England again.

The pit was then cleared and filled back in; even the dead Swangels were given an early grave (the military could always breed some more). The post mortems carried out on the Swangels were fascinating. Their minds had metamorphosed the upper body bones into the lightness of bird’s bones with the inner scaffolding for strength, while blood production took place on the heavier hips and legs.

Crowds had obviously gathered on the road despite the attempts to stop them, after all, it was an event, like the Farnborough air show with blood and plenty of excitement. It was after all, their world too. Women who had been in the audience as if it was this repeat of the Battle of Britain, became desperate for ‘real’ guardian angels and were ringing the military asking when these ‘beautiful men’ were going to be allowed a public life. It was all denied, although the world’s people had seen the battle with their own eyes. This battle had been for the love of man, rather than the 911 hatred of the common man and the almost erotic love of war.

Over a short period of time the rest of the shark birds were dispatched. You’re wondering how? Well, Chris Tippers screaming babies sound was put onto MP3 players with large headphones and the Swangels were given the task of putting them over the bird’s ear cavities. It was found that if this didn’t kill them, surely the Devil’s music, ‘folk’ would?

When all had been peaceful for a while, a mile square area of rainforest was cleared of old growth timber for the newspaper industry, quite a few of which would be thrown on the floor after the bad news was digested by easily influenced minds.

Meanwhile, in an area of forest which was not cleared yet (one square mile), a two foot long nut piranha landed by the edge of the water to actually wash the pair of testicles it had just snipped from a tribesman. As it washed them, it forgot itself and like lightning a crocodile shot out of the water and grabbed the fish bird. The croc then slid backwards back into the depths to eat its meal, and the genes made their way into its bloodstream.

 

The end.

 

 

 

It’s in the water Phew!

 

***


The Neon Starling

The story consists of a letter of appreciation to a famous film director, plus a story which is the next ‘logical’ step to one of his famous films. The daughter of a brilliant genetic scientist/engineer wants to do something interesting with her life. She gets inspired and gets on with her desire, which turns out brilliant. End of story. But, her ‘stuff’ falls into the wrong hands, hands which are actually working in an innocent way. The shit then hits the fan.

  • ISBN: 9781370589340
  • Author: Frankie Lassut
  • Published: 2017-04-18 17:05:11
  • Words: 20208
The Neon Starling The Neon Starling