Category: Writing stuff
Story Time: 731 Days Later
*Hey Clicky. Is it that time?*
*Hopefully Dear Reader knows my penchant for synchronicity and the number 137 by now… /lights up and smokes…*
Howdy, Dear Reader 😀
I thought today would be a good day to post my short story from Underdog Anthology XVII: The Wrong Kind of Leaves. It sees the return of Harry Egg, last seen in 2020, entering lockdown…
… And I thought it time for a catch-up, 731 days later…
731 Days Later
By Roo B. Doo
The best thing to come out of the past two years of the Rona pandemic was the shift to working from home. Not my home exactly, but my best friend Lol’s home, as he’d asked me to move in with him to ride out the initial ‘lockdown’. How naïve we all were thinking that sacrificing weeks off work for time on the sofa could ever defeat a virus. At least I didn’t partake in the weekly doorstep pot bashing ritual; that seemed totally medieval to me.
Three weeks ‘to flatten the curve’ inevitably rolled over into six and then nine weeks, and even after we were allowed back to work, restrictions remained. Wave after wave of illness and death were predicted, so that the threat of further lockdowns became endemic and it seemed pointless moving out. Besides, Lol and I rub along together great; we’re like brother and sister but without the fights or incestuous thoughts getting in the way. Even his pampered puss Mr Tibbles now considers me fam.
When the opportunity to work remotely presented itself, I gladly took it. Not that I was afraid of the Rona per se, but the possibility of catching the ‘Stupid’ from my colleagues at F. A. Kontrell has always been a constant fear. Well, from one work colleague in particular – our virtue signalling receptionist Shazza is something of a super-speader when it comes to the ‘Stupid’.
Unfortunately, when I woke up this morning, I discovered the wi-fi was on the fritz; I had to go into the office, breaking my current record of three straight months working from home. Up until now, 2022 was going so well.
Good grief! She’s still wearing a mask? I don’t know why I was surprised; of course Shazza would still be wearing a face-mask. Personally, I was torn on the face-mask issue that had come to dominate so much social interaction during last two years. On the one hand, there was no way the weave of a cloth mask could ever stop an itty-bitty virus passing through it – it’s like using a chain-link fence to stop a mosquito – however, on the other hand, wearing a mask is definitely an improvement for some people. Massively so in Shazza’s case.
“Slava Ukraini!” Shazza repeated, this time with a raised fist. Her face-mask was two-tone: bright blue over gold, like the Ukrainian flag. I wondered how long before the next cause de jour would adorn Shazza’s face. Probably May.
It’s wearing your heart on your sleeve in the new normal, I concluded sadly.
Raising my right forearm, palm outward facing, I smartly snapped my heels together. “Heil Hitler!”
Shazza was shocked. I could tell because one of her chins slipped beneath the bottom edge of her face-mask. “Oh my God, Harry, how could you say that?”
“Say what?” I asked, feigning confusion.
Shazza’s eyes compressed into a glittering squint. “Heil Hitler.”
Sometimes it’s just too easy to wind our airhead receptionist up. “Heil Hitler!” I replied abruptly, this time with a straight arm and accompanying finger moustache.
The office appeared sparsely populated, so not too many heads poked up at the sound of Shazza’s astonishment. Pammy in Payroll smiled and waved hello. I waved back.
“Aren’t we doing Nazi greetings?” I asked innocently and signed in. “I’m sorry, I thought we were doing Nazi greetings.”
“What are you talking about?” Shazza demanded.
“You do know that Slava Ukraini is neo-Nazi, don’t you?”
Shazza crossed her chunky arms in front of her ample bosom. “No it isn’t,” she replied fiercely.
“Sure it is. You should research it,” I suggested nonchalantly.
Of course Shazza had no idea the month-long war between Russia and Ukraine had actually been going on for a good deal longer; she thinks ‘Crimea’ are the first three words of a Justin Timberlake song. She didn’t move except to furrow her brow and, I assume, purse her thin lips behind the mask: I know that look; best to skedaddle.
“Seriously, you should google it,” I said, moving away from reception. “I’ll be at my desk.”
Shazza mumbled something darkly into her face-mask that I didn’t catch, but no matter. However, whatever she said seemed to greatly amuse her because she cackled loudly as I rounded the corner to my work area.
I stood and stared at dozens of archive boxes surrounding my desk and piled high upon it. A large paper shredding machine stood off to the side, with fat sacks labelled ‘Confidential Waste’ stacked against the wall. Everything was covered in a film of grey dust and ribbons of paper littered the floor.
“I said, you’ll be lucky, Harry,” Shazza laughed from right behind me; for her size, she can be deceptively light on her feet.
“What’s going on?”
“We’re having a clear out.” Shazza couldn’t keep the glee out of her voice at my consternation. “Getting rid of the old crap, you know.”
“And you’re using my desk?”
“Why not? You’ve not been around to use it.”
Shazza had a point – I hadn’t stepped foot inside the place since Christmas – but I didn’t appreciate the total takeover of my work area, nor the snarkiness with which the point was made. “It would have been nice if you’d let me know, just in case I had to come in to work. Like today.”
“Sorry.” Shazza’s apology dripped with insincerity. She was far too happy to be contrite.
Touché, I thought and smirked. I do believe you’ve missed me.
”Apology accepted,” I replied graciously. That was a mistake.
“It is very dusty round here,” Shazza said, wiping a fat finger over the nearest archive box. “I can always lend you a mask.”
Eww. Now she’s getting nasty.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, Shazza, but I’d rather lick a tramp than wear one of your masks,” I replied irritably.
Fortunately our sparring was interrupted by the sound of rolling laughter, as the side door to the office opened. The Fat Kontroller stood holding it open for a young woman I didn’t recognise. She shuffled beneath his outstretched arm, intent on not spilling any tea from either of the mugs she was holding.
“Boss,” I called out.
“Harry!” The Fat Kontroller seemed genuinely happy to see me. “The prodigal assistant returns.”
“’Fraid so.” My eyes swept over the mountain of boxes. “Glad you’ve not let my desk go to waste.”
The young woman carrying the tea stopped and smiled shyly. I’m a sucker for doe eyes and this filly had the biggest doe eyes I’ve ever seen. I could feel the wolf in my loins start to salivate.
“This is Lucy,” the Fat Kontroller said, placing his hands on the young woman’s shoulders. “My wife’s niece.”
Oh shit! I hoped he hadn’t spotted the lascivious look on my face.
“Lucy’s been helping us out with the archiving since the leak,” he said, giving those slender shoulders a squeeze.
“That’s right,Uncle Farn,” she said sweetly.
Lucy must have been all of 18 years old and nubile as fuck. She was petite but fully rounded in all the right places. Her thick, blonde hair was feather cut like a 70s rock chick, but coupled with those doe eyes, she could have walked straight out of manga. Or hentai…
“A leak?” I suddenly felt adrift. “What leak?”
Shazza, was still hovering and eager to join the conversation. “The leak from the roof caused by the storms last month. Rainwater got into the store room. I sent out an email.”
Ouch! Shazza is a prolific sender of emails. They’re usually over punctuated and full of inanities, but I do read them all. Eventually.
“Has the leak been fixed?”
“Oh yes,” the Fat Kontroller said, taking one of the mugs of tea from Lucy. “But we had to move the box files out here while the room was drying out. Your desk was the obvious choice, Harry.”
I couldn’t fault his decision; it’s the logical place to put them.
“No problem. I can work from any desk.” I looked around, trying to work out which one would give me the best view of luscious Lucy at work, but not place me in Shazza’s direct line of sight. I could feel her beady eyes boring into me – I’d already disrespected one of her sacred cows and Shazza had a whole herd of them.
“You can set up in my office, if you like,” the Fat Kontroller offered. “I’ll be out here going through the old paper records with Lucy. I’ve become a dab hand with a shredding machine,” he boasted jovially.
“It’s always nice to see you roll your sleeves up, Mr K,” I gently teased. “Thanks, I’ll go and set myself up. Nice to meet you, Lucy.”
“Yeah, you too.”
Perfect! The glass front of the Fat Kontroller’s office would give me a very good view of Lucy in action. I could feel my nipples stiffen in anticipation; it seemed I was destined not to get any work done today after all.
* * *
“Please tell me you didn’t hit on her, Harry,” Lol asked as he refilled my wine glass. “Not your boss’s niece.”
We were sitting in Dionysus, our regular place of respite after a hard day at our respective grindstones. Or rather it used to be before the Rona turned everyone’s lives upside down. It was still our weekend bar of choice, but this was the first week night Lol and I had pitch up there in quite a while. It wasn’t very busy, which suited me just fine. I’d had enough of people for one day.
“No, of course I didn’t. What kind of idiot do you take me for?”
Lol didn’t look convinced; he knows exactly what kind of idiot I can be.
“Really, I didn’t,” I said, taking a surreptitious sip of wine. “I mostly just looked.”
Lol laughed. “Harry, when you say ‘mostly’, I picture a TV reporter describing a riot as ‘mostly peaceful’, whilst stood in front of a building on fire.”
“Yes, but you fancied the pants off that guy. You were glued to his reports.”
“Well, that’s true, but stop deflecting, Miss Egg. Did you go out of your way to talk to Lucy, the young and impressionable niece of your boss?”
I could feel the wine start to course through my veins and flush the day’s tension away. “No. As a matter of fact she approached me.”
“Really? And where was this?”
“In the kitchen. I was making a coffee and she came in to get some god-awful concoction in a Tupperware box from the fridge. It was her lunch. Ugh, it was full of carrots and beans-”
“Stay on target,” Lol interrupted. “What happened?”
I took a gulp of wine. “Nothing, we just chatted. She’s going to Manchester University in September and we talked about that.”
“Our university? Interesting. Did you give her any tips?”
“On how to become a PA? No.” I placed my glass back on the table.
A look of concern crossed Lol’s face. “Harry, what’s up?”
I wondered if I should tell Lol about the epiphany I’d had whilst talking to Lucy. I thought about it as I emptied the last of the wine into our glasses. Oh fuck it. Just tell him.
“Lol, I want to have a baby.”
To his credit, Lol didn’t spit out his mouthful of wine, although I thought for one moment he was going to choke.
“That’s… that’s…that’s…” he stuttered after he’d swallowed his wine.
“Unexpected? Yeah, for me too.”
Lol was speechless, his bottom jaw hung loose.
“Please don’t hate me for what I’m about to say, but you did ask.” I took a large slug of wine. “Whilst Lucy and I chatted, I could see that her bright and shining future in front of her was exactly what I had in front of me once. And I didn’t take it.”
Lol furrowed his brow. “You didn’t want it. You’ve told me before. How does that get to you suddenly wanting to have a baby?”
“Well, that’s the thing. See, as I was telling Lucy about you and our university days and how we’re best friends and that I’d moved in with you at the start of the pandemic.” I paused to check Lol was following along. “She said ‘Lol? He sounds like a laugh’.”
The corners of Lol’s mouth twitched. “I have heard that one before.”
“Well, I hadn’t. In fact, I laughed like a drain when Lucy said it. I think I frightened her.”
Lol shook his head. “But I still don’t understand, Harry. Why would I hate you? I love you.”
“And I love you.” I reached over and placed my hand over his. “Do you realise that today is the two year anniversary of the first lockdown?”
“Yes, it was on 23rd March 2020, I looked it up. We’ve been living together for two years exactly and they have been the best 731 days of my life. The very best.”
Lol turned his hand over so that he could hold mine. “Me too.”
“And whilst Lucy is gorgeous and vivacious and under different circumstances I could totally plate her, in that moment I knew exactly what I want, like right now want, and that I’ve actually known it for some time.”
I took a deep breath. ”I want to start a family. I want a real baby, Lol, and I really want to make that baby real with you. You would be a fantastic dad. Please don’t hate me.”
Lol stared at me intently before raising an eyebrow. “Is this because you had to go into the office today?”
Now my jaw dropped. Why didn’t I keep my mouth shut. Oh, why didn’t I keep my fucking mouth shut?!
Lol barked out a short laugh and stood up. “You never cease to surprise me, Harry,” he said, holding out his hand. “It’s one of your more endearing qualities.”
I let out a sigh of relief; he didn’t say no.
“I am intrigued to hear your views on the mechanics of your suggestion. Shall we go home and talk about it some more?”
I took his hand and stood up. “Well, I was thinking turkey baster, unless of course you prefer-”
Lol shut me up with a kiss. It was tender and surprising and full of love. Lots of love.
Oh my God, I’m having incestuous thoughts. Who knew the new normal would turn out so perverted?
“Yes, let’s go home, Lol. Mr Tibbles will be wondering where we are.”
*Not for a while yet, Clicky. Harry and Lol will have to conceive first…*
*I have some ideas…*
*We shall see… /stubs butt… Time for a Song, Clicky…*
Until next time, Dear Reader… Have a Song ❤
CLICK5: Underdog Anthology 17: The Wrong Kind Of Leaves…
CLICK5: Doublespeak In The Nanny State…
Extended CLICK5… CLICKB8: Tooting Broad’s Way…
CLICK5: Don’t Have A Bercow, Man!
Missive From ‘Merica: Steamy Fixins…
*Whoa! What you doing, Clicky?*
*Is that? …/rustles pages… It is! It’s a new missive from Cade…*
*Fabuloso! Let’s get down to it, Clicky…*
Hello there, Dear Reader 😀
I know, I know; it’s been exactly 100 days since our last taste of the Okie Devil of TextUS’ special fixins…
*Yeah, it was on 5th November last year, Clicky… /lights up and smokes…*
… This one’s a bit on the steamy side. Enjoy! 😉
There are many moments in life. One of the more interesting being when you are folding a comforter, having to suspend it way up in the air by holding it up over your head so you can straighten it out, your knuckles come into contact with particleboard paddles moving at speed, and you suddenly remember…”HEY! I have a ceiling fan, and the damn thing is on!”
Don’t fret tho, I’m fine. I really didn’t need those particular layers of epidermis anyway.
I GOT LAID LAST NIGHT!!!
OK, so, calm your sex hormones, I was asleep and it was a dream, but…I GOT LAID LAST NIGHT!!!
About as close to sexual intercourse as am ever to get again, so, close enough. Anyway, she was quite young, probably 35 years old, and quite fit. Yeah, lotta red flags there, and I’ll go ahead and spoil it in that I honestly didn’t wake up feeling great about having an meaningful erotic dream because the whole damn dream was so full of red flags that I’m still torn as to whether I had a good time in the dream or not. We’ll get to that tho.
Anyway, I’m in this huge room in a house that I do not know, the room is painted flat white, plenty of lighting although I would not exactly call the room bright, the dark beige carpets and many assorted rugs everywhere, and the room is rather strange because it had to be at least 30 x 30 feet (9 x 9 metres) but the room contained no vaulted ceilings nor even elevated ceilings. Seemed more like a giant garage that someone had finished out. Another weird thing was that there were all manner of people coming and going. Seemed like every 5 seconds, someone was popping in one door, then exiting another, which brings up another oddity about this room in that it had an excessive amount of doors. Only 4 walls but each wall seemed to have way many more doors than even a room of this size would require, and I started to think maybe this room I found myself in must be a centralized type room rather than some add-on type room.
To make matters even more strange, everyone who popped into the room never loitered, and they always closed the doors. They’d walk into the room from one door, close it, make a beeline for another door, open, ingress, close. And yes, there were also a ridiculous amount of people moving about. So yeah, here I am in this room, reading a book, and this gal pops in and starts chatting me up. Really strange as not a single person has paid me one bit of attention, then all of a sudden this on lady not only notices me, but she makes a beeline for me instead of a door, then starts up a conversation.
(red flag...no one, and I mean NO ONE in my real life ever strikes up a conversation with me, and if they do, I can almost be assured that they want something and they think I have it)
I cannot recall how it was that this conversation turned into a sexual encounter so rapidly, but I do recall her beginning to strip down to reveal a bikini, immediately removed her bikini top, mentioned that she’d been interested for some time in perhaps becoming friends with me but could never work up the courage to speak with me, and she then said something like, “I’ve also heard you were a great lay and I want to see for myself”.
(yep, another red flag)
Let me interject at this point to explain that “the feeling” of the dream was as such that none of this felt particularly awkward within the framework of the dream itself. Yes, I recall having a “is this really happening?” type of feeling, but at the same time the environment itself did not emit that “RUN!!!” vibe. Like, somehow, and embedded within the framework of the dream itself, there was nothing within the perceptible realms of sensory and logical data which even hinted at the “something is really fucking wrong here dude! Fucking run! Run for your fucking life!”, which I know for a fact is quite prevalent within my actual life. Which is why I am single, why I do not “chase women” or date or whatever, why I am hesitant about trying to find a relationship, blah blah blah.
So, at this point I’m sitting on the floor with the book I was reading still in hand, this really attractive and shapely woman is standing right in front of me wearing only bikini bottoms, looking at me, and I finally have this strange vibe wash over me. It is not really a warning signal of sorts, more of a “this relationship is unlikely to work out long-term” more than a “this relationship will end very badly” sort of vibe. It is at this exact same moment that she quickly stoops down, begins kissing me quite passionately (or at least, forcefully) and simultaneously begins to unbutton/unzip the shorts I’m wearing. Is it weird to say “the shorts I’m wearing”? Is it really necessary for me to point out that the shorts she is unbuttoning/unzipping are not a pair in my dresser drawer? Should I have said “my shorts” instead of “the shorts I’m wearing”? Not sure how to phrase that as both of those seem odd to me.
Once unbuttoned and unzipped, she grabs the sides of my shorts, then backs away and pulls them off. She’s bent over facing towards me and she pulls my shorts down rather hastily but unevenly/alternates which side she is pulling on, and as a result her breasts, which are not large nor particularly pendulous even due to her posture, rock side to side as a result of her pulling motion on my shorts. Gonna take a moment here to mention that the form of a woman and the motion(s) of her being are fascinating to me. Even when a woman is standing still, and even in/with women who are somewhat less than “the ideal woman shape(s)”, her form is moving always. The curves, the bends, the way in which a woman moves…everything about a woman’s form is an absolute delight. Oh, and again this woman was quite fit, but she had hips for days. Even if she’d had more substantial breasts, and even had she not been wearing French-cut bikini bottoms, I don’t think either would have diminished the majesty of her hips. I’d not seen her ass yet, but I’m about to.
As soon as my shorts came off, she dropped them to the floor, and without missing a beat she grabbed her bikini bottoms, off they came, and to the floor they also went. She quickly marched right back towards me, straddling my legs and facing me and placing her public mound almost right in my face, again leaned down/bent over, grabbed my shirt at the bottom, which now placed her breasts right in my face, she then stood again taking my shirt off as shit did, dropped it to the floor, then offered me her hand. I put my book down, she pulled me to my feet and then led me to one of the many rugs that were laying about the room. She sat down, never releasing my hand, pulled me to the floor then pushed on me indicating I should lay down and on my side, she then turned opposite me and then laid down in the 69 position for a moment, but then immediately flipped over laying facing away from me putting her ass right in my face and she said “I want you to start by my licking my ass”.
I told her, and rather matter-of-factly I might add, that “we are not well acquainted enough yet for me to do that sort of thing.” She sat up on an elbow, looked at me, then gave a mock frown, she then got a really alluring look in her eye, her face turned from the fake frown to a sultry smirk and said, “well then, that will give me something to look forward to at some future meeting. But as for now…” at which point she flipped back over facing me, and things get a little blurry at this point.
Yes, we engaged in all manner of “freaky sex” encompassing just about every position and configuration you might be able to imagine, but it really was blurry. We were doing these things, but within the framework of the dream and even now that I am outside of the dream, there was all kinds of stuff happening but it all had this strange air that it was not actually happening, even tho it was. Keep in mind that during all of this, people are still coming and going in and out of these doors. Not a single soul is paying us one bit of mind, and we too are generally not paying them any mind other than perhaps I did seem to notice that people were coming and going.
So, with that in mind, we’d been “at it” for some time, when suddenly, a woman walks into the room via a door, and she makes straight for us. This is quite jarring of course since everyone else seems to not know we exist at all. This woman walks over and seems to know this woman I’m having intercourse with. She is what some might call “a bit heavyset” or perhaps “chunky” or “healthy” or some other nonsense nomenclature that we pigeonhole folks with. She’s pretty, with long hair that is kinda frazzled as if she’s been walking outside in the wind, sizeable breasts that do not appear to be restrained by a bra, and through her shirt, I can see that her breasts almost appear to be resting on her belly, even tho she really doesn’t have “a belly”.
I guess I don’t feel bad about somewhat “sizing her up” as I’ve tried since she arrived to make eye contact with her but she is ignoring me completely, and it’s almost as if she can see me attempting to make eye contact but consciously avoid it it. So, here I am sitting on the floor, my legs extended out straight and my hands behind me/holding me up, the woman I am with is atop me in “regular cowgirl”, and this other woman is just standing there and looking at my partner, who is also looking at this woman/they are in eye contact, and this new woman says rather flatly, “Can I have him next?”
I didn’t laugh in the dream, but I gotta laugh here because I think at this point my brain has to KNOW, even in slumber, and without a doubt, that this, is a dream. The woman I’m with shoots me a glance, has a smirk on her face, and whilst still looking at me she says “I don’t mind sharing him if he doesn’t mind giving you a turn of your own.” The other woman did an immediate about-face, went straight for the same door she’d entered the room via, and left, all without so much a shooting me a single glance or acknowledging me in any way, other than her request to my partner “for a turn”.
OK, so at this point, the fuzzy sexual encounter with this current partner gets even more fuzzy. I only know that we seemed to have continued our exploits in some way(s), but I honestly have no idea in what way(s) nor the length of time expended. I only know that it seems like a large amount of time was somehow compacted into a small space, and then suddenly, she was gone. The very moment she was gone, her “friend” reappeared, marched right over to me, and said “did you know that she is married?”
Somewhat aghast, I replied that I did not know she was married, and now I’m suddenly thrown into this rapid depression of “fucking hell, now I gotta deal with this shit”. I guess this friend of hers “wanted a turn” only to come back and tell me that her friend I was banging, was married. This had all been some kind of setup I guess. But to make matters even more strange, this revelation did not seem to phase the friend one bit. I guess she could tell that I was distressed at the news she’d just provided me, she’s standing above me staring at me rather blankly, she then reaches down and grabs the bottom of her shirt with both of her hands, removes the shirt in an extremely rapid motion, then bends down and starts to kiss me. Her breasts are indeed quite large, and not only are they pendulous, but they are very pendulous.
Yeah, that’s where the dream ended. An no, I did not wake up in a puddle of goo. I recalled upon waking that she had a lot of orgasms, but I myself don’t recall having any in the dream. I guess I was having entirely too good of a time to bother with the orgasm. During the entire dream, the first lady had some kind of air about her that made me feel at ease. I’m unlikely to be able to describe it to you in any detail, but there was something about her and something about being in her presence that caused no alarm bells, even tho there were most certainly red flags popping up everywhere.
The only actual alarm bell I got was from the second woman, and that was only because of her telling me that the first woman was married. I got no alarm bells from the second woman either, but there was the one red flag (other than the fact that she wanted to have sex with me) and that was that she told me that the other woman was married.
Yep, a red flag and an alarm bell in one.
Lemme splain…see, I got no alarm bells from the first woman, so, even tho this second one says the first is married, how do I know that? The second woman may be lying. I got the red flag in the dream, I got the alarm bell in the dream, so why is it that it only occurred to me after waking that the second woman may have been lying?
Fucked if I know either.
I only know that I felt totally at peace with the first woman and she seemed totally comfortable with herself. Maybe it’s because most of the time she was speaking to me as if I were a person, other times were very matter-of-fact, and there was little in the way of actual seduction or vamping, and I never had the feeling that she was trying to charm me. More like a situation where two people were talking, and it evolved into something else. And for the record, I don’t think that her being considerably younger than I, and also falling within a physical category that I tend not to pay much mind to really played much part. I personally have always had eyes for older women, and “older women” tend to almost never fall into the same physical categories as “younger women” with respect to dimensions and “perfect dimensions” and all that jazz. Got nothing against anyone being younger than me, and at 54 I’m not even sure what “being younger than me” even matters or what part it might play once a woman is deep into her 30’s or 40’s.
Yeah, if some 23 year old woman waltzed up to me and expressed interest? Fucking hell, Jesse Owens time, cause something is wrong with this scene and I’m getting the hell out of there. But someone that is 45 or so? Yeah, that’s weird to contemplate as even tho she’s 9 years younger than I….SHE’S FOURTY-FUCKING-FIVE FOR CHRISSAKES!!! Probably already has an AARP card, owns a burial plot, a vegetable garden, and cares for a minimum of 5 indoor cats and probably at least 10 outdoor cats. Levity aside, she’s been around, and likely loaded with battle scars and baggage.
That, I can relate to.
Experience. And that’s not to say that younger woman or younger folks cannot have experience, because they absolutely can. I guess I’m just a bit weirded out that this one particular woman appeared to be in her early to mid-30’s, but she moved and behaved like someone that was much older. Well, perhaps not physically moving as an older person because she was quite spry and I guess it’s possible that older women may not have the ability to be all sporty and ambitious sexually, but I really wasn’t thinking of “how she moved” as it pertained to coitus. More her mannerisms, how she carried herself, how she behaved.
And why was my time with the second chick so brief? Why did my brain decide that I’d had enough? Very perplexing the lot of it. No idea what it all means tho.
Dreams are weird.
Not a clue why I’m suddenly having a dream about a woman.
Two, no less.
Yeah, I’ve had eyes for a few ladies (and I do mean few, meaning, I think exactly four to be specific) over the past 5 years, but I’ve never pursued any because I am in no position to do so. Were my position different, yeah there’s a good chance I would have likely prompted them for an immediate rejection long ago, but I’m in no such position. I’ve not much money, no automobile, I’m old, I’m weird, I’m outcast in my family and have few friends, and am unattractive in just about every way imaginable. Question here being, why am I now dreaming about a woman/women? And why so casual? Is this something in my subconscious thinking about finding a partner that accepts me for who/what I am, as I am?
Meh, I’ll shutup about it and figure it out on my own. Maybe I can figure out something that will result in me getting laid. Will keep you posted.
Actually, I won’t keep you posted. I’m not very gossipy and certainly don’t kiss and tell. Cept maybe that which transpires in my dreams.
If you are plumbing the depths of philosophy, and suddenly find yourself thinking that you are smart or wise or learned or have reached enlightenment or you’re a master now or whatever? That feeling of power you are experiencing is actually nature’s alarm bells ringing. You can go ahead and get all high and mighty if you so desire, just know that if you do choose to go that route, an ass-kicking is likely awaiting you somewhere down that path.
Maybe even more than one (assuming you survive the first one and decide to continue on).
Hell, maybe the ass-kickings are worth it. Maybe some special something lay at the end of the path paved by cravings for dominance. And if you think about it, probably the most egotistical path that anyone ever took (or at least so far as I know) was the path taken by God. And yes, that “God” of the Holey Bobble.
I mean, Bible, Holy.
When dissected, that entire creative act was nothing but ego, and all for ego, resulting in a shitload of ego and egos. Seriously, have you ever stopped to consider that God had to, at some point, stop themselves prior to actually creating things, and contemplate the concept of “what if things go wrong?”
Really...chew on that for a moment.
The resources of “existence” are, so far as we know, finite. There’s only so much matter and only so much energy available to work with. If you burn up too much, or even burn it all up, what are you left with? What are your options? To me, I read the creation story of Genesis as an entity taking a very big chance. Yes, this entity was totally alone, probably quite lonely, maybe wanted some company, but if this fucker was/is as smart/intelligent as advertised, that means they HAD to know that, if this doesn’t work, I’m (potentially) fucked forever.
Lotta dynamics in that creation story, but it’s been my experience that no one ever wants to plumb these depths. Really break down what God may have been thinking. Too much reliance on the “all powerful” and “all knowing” angles, with no exploration (nor empathy) at all regarding the psychology of the act(s). Not publicly or outwardly anyway. Good fucking way to get your ass ostracized or maybe even tied to a pole and set on fire. THEN who are you gonna have to talk to, eh?
Yeah, at the end of that previous section, I suggested that “siding with God” tends to get one’s ass kicked to the curb, or at least sent to the back of the bus. Even by “the godly”. People have their own understanding of things, and that’s good enough for them. Trouble is, they also require it to be good enough for everyone else.
What I also suggested in the end of the previous section, was that maybe God is isolated because we put them there. Cast them out. Push them away. Look, I am totally honest with you when I say I have no fucking clue if God is real or if there are gods or whatever. But I can also say in complete honesty that “there is something”. I don’t believe, I don’t disbelieve, I exist, and I attempt to assimilate and understand the data provided me as best I can. And holy shit is there a fucking mountain of evidence to suggest that “something” exists. “Something” outside of our understanding and beyond it. Not just and only in the myriad of tales coming to us through the ages either, but here, and now. That the unknowable exists, it can be known to exist, and simultaneously remain unknowable. Now, if that doesn’t instill you with some kind of hope, I don’t know what will. To me anyway, it says that not only can the unknowable be known of, it can be incrementally known, which means that at some point the unknowable can be entirely known.
I would imagine that our mortality/our finite amounts of time as we measure it here could put quite the dampener on such thoughts. Make such a quest seem hopeless or maybe even impossible. But let me add this, and that is, if it is impossible, then from whence does this desire to seek it emanate?
Something is feeding this desire.
If knowing the unknowable was truly impossible, I’d think that the desire to seek the unknowable would also be impossible or incapable of existing. The desire to know the unknowable cannot exist on a plane where the unknowable also exists, yet cannot be known. That says to me that, not only does the unknowable actually exist, but the possibility of knowing the unknowable also exists. I’d also think that the desire to know the unknowable could not exist if the unknowable did not also actually exist.
Wait, did I just repeat myself there kinda? Say something I already said? Meh fuckit…just wondering aloud how I can posses a desire for a something that does not exist. How I can have knowledge of a something that does not have even the tiniest of perceptible indications as to it’s existence.
Ya know, another thing that seems to be dangerous within philosophy is omission. Suppression. Relegation. Dismissal. Unqualification or even misqualification. These things seem to express themselves for a reason, and to dismiss or otherwise incorrectly qualify them seems to be an invitation for disaster of one kind or another. I know I know, you cannot have distinction without specificity, and specificity requires some level isolation. But this is philosophy we’re talking about. If money ever had competition for attracting gluttonous and/or insatiable persons/entities, I’d think philosophy would be it. Meaning, to “not want it all” with respect to philosophy almost seems like missing the point of philosophical meanderings entirely.
Hey, do you catch the irony in me saying to exclude exclusion? Suppress suppression? Relegate relegation? Dismiss dismissal?
I think maybe more than anything I’m thinking of being mindful of when one is being exclusive or when one has excluded a something. Remember that you have done so. Might provide some insight upon encountering impasses. Just, be sure to remember not to suppress your remembering, lest ye forget.
The stress finally got to me yesterday. It took a shade over seven days to crush my spirit, and I spent a good portion of the late afternoon and evening feeling absolutely terrible.
Like some part of me had given up or maybe just collapsed under the strain. So much hope and so many thoughts of a fresh start, plus perhaps some thoughts of maybe just a little time to breathe and reflect and maybe do some soul searching in the midst of a new perspective…
An extension of the old. And why not tho? I’m still me, right? Same old person? Seriously, will anyone ever allow you to be anything other than what you are, which is actually an amalgam of what you have been? Nah, people like you the way you are…even if they hate or despise you. People like reliable things. Consistent things. They want others to be reliable, and yes, even if you can only be counted on to be a dirty dish rag. It bolsters their own position. I mean, if you get your shit together and they no longer have complaints about you, they’re out of a job. Suddenly, they become what you were…
an unemployed loser.
On top of that, they were wrong about you, and no one like being wrong. They gotta figure out how they were so wrong about things. And I’d figure they’d also need to either endeavor to put you in your place, or find a new recruit.
Q: Is this what codependency is?
A need to find individuals on which one can project their own world view, and self-reinforce that world view in order to reinforce individual perspectives on how the world is and/or how they think the world should be? I only ask because it sounds like codependency with a healthy portion of gaslighting. But, I admit that I don’t understand a lot of these psychological archetypes, and I also think that I’m too hopeful of a person and too happy a person to always try and paint folks in such lights.
Wait! Hol’up, hol’up…wait just a damn minute here…
Q: Is “being hopeful” and/or “being happy” to be considered a psychological condition and/or psychological conditions?
A: Like, a negative psychological condition?
What is it that we are ever, supposed to be. What, is, “right”? Anyone have any ideas?
One of the problems with philosophic, psychological and similar or related studies is that you cannot engage in studies of such areas without getting dirty in some way. You must leave who you are behind and become something you are not, or at a minimum get out and dabble a bit. Let’s be fair, one does not really need to obtain 3rd degree burns over 90% of one’s body to know that fire is hot and/or fire burns.
One of the interesting dichotomies about the realms known as Heaven and Hell is that these places and the entities that reside in them are so wrapped up in their own individual archetypes that they lack any empathy for their opposition whatsoever, hence, they cannot step outside of their realms and know anything except their own realms. This includes any preconceived notions they have about their opposites and the inherent need to support/reinforce these notions due to where they are. I mean, if you are a resident of Hell, probably not the best of ideas for you to start making “what’s so bad about Heaven?” types of inquiries.
If the Heaven/Hell example doesn’t work for you, maybe think “Democrat/Republican” or “Tory/Labour” or similar. Anyway, the point is, to truly understand the whys, it would appear that you cannot take these answers from the lore of your peers. To truly know, you’re gonna have to go.
You’re gonna have to soujourn, and you’re gonna have to do your best to carry some objectivity with you, otherwise, you may as well just save yourself the time and hassle and just stay home. I have sometimes wondered if this is how the plane we currently find ourselves in, first came into existence in the first place. Entities stepping outside of their bounds of light or dark, questing to know otherness, and here is where they wind up. It’s neither, it’s nor, it’s…whatever this is. Some call it a “middleground”, but I personally have a problem with that because it suggests that “purity” can only exist in light/dark or good/evil, and that this plane cannot have a purity of its own. Cannot have its own essence. Cannot have properties of both (or neither) which make it a thing unto itself. Wholly unto itself. It’s not that, and it’s not that, it is this.
When I think in those terms, this “3D” existence that we are said to occupy, in my mind anyway, breaks down entirely and retreats to its base forms of light/dark. Hell, maybe that’s how universes are destroyed. When the dimensions are as such that they can no longer support a thing where it is a thing unto itself, it collapses.
Standard stuff, right?
Welp, what about the opposite tho? A thing becomes such a distinct and well-defined thing unto itself, that the sources which originally created it are no longer required, and those source universes/dimensions collapse. I have to wonder if it is possible for the ether or perhaps nothingness to collapse. Nothing becomes a something that is not nothing. Would that be a singularity? Or maybe a type of singularity?
/shrug...I'm miles from where this section started.
Water is a thing.
Dirt is a thing.
Water + Dirt = a thing called mud.
Mud ain’t an actual thing tho. It’s more of a state of two other things when within a proximity to each other.
What I’m getting at here is how “physical laws” pertain to the abstract concepts known as good and evil or right and wrong or whatever. More than that tho, assuming that pure evil and pure good are tangible things which actually exist, why is there no “pure neither”. When thinking about “states”, there’s a transitional or transient nature to the idea, or at least a finite one. I’d think anything “pure” could be none of these things. It is fixed and yet permeable. Non-reactive. Non-finite. Scale or amount within a wider context is irrelevant. Even if a only single atom of a something exists within the entirety of the known universe, and if it is indeed “pure”, it is non-finite. I guess what I’m pondering here is our own definitions and applications of the term “pure”.
EX: There are those who say “Adolph Hitler was pure evil”. Well, if he was pure evil, why was he so finite? The fucker had been dead for 22 years before I got here, and my entire life, people cannot shut the fuck up about him. Moreover, does chalking up Hitler as “pure evil” give everyone else in history a free pass from evil? Comparatively? Ok yeah, Torquemada was bad, but not as bad as Hitler. This makes no sense as it lessens “the evil” of Torquemada.
What I’m really thinking about tho is how, if Adolph Hitler really was “pure evil”, why did it take so long to manifest in him? An opposite to Hitler is Jesus/Yeshua, and that fucker came out pure pure pure from the get go. Occurs to me that if someone is indeed capable of being “pure”, they’re gonna be pure start to finish whether good or evil. You cannot catch the the good bug or the evil bug for a period of time, ride it for a while, and expect to be “pure” good or evil. It’s more like you’re infected or have had some kind of mental break. Finite. Passing. A phase.
Look, I’m think that it’s impossible for us to know anything “pure” because we’ve developed some really fucked up ideas as to what pure is via our ideas on how purity is obtained. Mainly via absence of impurity, which if you ask me is totally fucking backwards. Like, water cannot be “99%” pure, but it can be “1% impure”. We just flip it on it’s head because it sounds better to focus on the pure bits instead of the impure ones. We basically lie because the truth is too painful.
That's....that's totally fucked up.
I guess such is life in a world that exist because of, and survives upon, percentages.
Ya know how they say “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”?
So, why is it then, that when some do-gooder who has nothing better to do gets a wild hair up their ass to go out in the world and shake things up, why then, are they operating under the assumption that they are doing good?
Oh, that’s right, they are “good” hence anything they do is also “good”.
Soooooo…all one really need do is obtain the title of “good”, and everything you do after that can be concealed under the title?
Fucking hell…you never have to be wrong, ever again…if when you are wrong.
HEY! That reminds me…you douchebags been participating in the Gloom Dog Book Club? If not, you should be. I’ve gotten so excited over the concept that I’ve been reading and reviewing books that aren’t even on the list. Gotta be honest tho, that trend started because there have been a few books I could not find, so I read and reviewed some random something just to have something to read and review. Will say this tho, this reading adventure that CStM is guiding us through has rekindled my love of reading. I went to the library the other day, got this month’s selection called “The Help”, and I checked out 5 other books too.
I’m telling you, I’m getting jazzed over this reading stuff. Anyway, if you were unaware of Gloom Dog, you’re aware of it now. Join us. Or not.
cYa | cFa
*I don’t know if that’s a thing or a state, Clicky… /stubs butt… Here, have you got Leggy’s tweet?*
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Cade’s missive, Dear Reader. Just to let you know that CstM’s other half, Leggy, has opened submissions for the next Underdog Anthology. Short stories of all genres are welcome 😀
Have a Song… ❤
CLICK5: The Write Stuff…
CLICK5: Underdog Anthology XVI: Slay Bells In The Snow – Coming Soon!
Story Time: OK Charon!
*Thanks, Clicky… /lights up… We should probably mention… /drags… ‘Christmas Death Wish’ and… /streams smoke… ‘Walk I, With You’ as well…*
*Already done? Excellent…*
Happy Halloween, Dear Reader. Today is in fact Sunday 31st October 2021 and I hope you remembered to put your clocks back last night…
*S’okay, Clicky, I did it… /flicks ash… I made sure after reading Leggy’s story…*
… As promised, the latest installment in my Ronageddon series, ‘OK Charon!’, from Underdog Anthology XV is presented for your enjoyment, below…
by Roo B. Doo
Death was feeling anxious. Until a year ago the Grim Reaper was incapable of feeling anything, but that was before Halloween 2020 when the Devil had given him a front seat to the start of the attempted apocalypse. Since then, Death had developed, if not exactly feelings and emotions, then certainly intuitions. Right now he was intuiting anxiety and he didn’t like it.
“Where is she?” He demanded, pulling his PsiPad from the folds in his robe. He held it out so that Brian, the haughty goose overseeing the God Lobby, could see the on-screen flashing message. “See that? It’s an emergency audience request from God.”
Death squared his shoulders and gave Brian his most menacing death-stare, but to no avail; Brian was not easily intimidated, least not by a homunculus grim reaper, no taller than himself.
“You said that ten minutes ago,” Death fumed, “And ten minutes before that.” He casually extended the retractable scythe from his sleeve so that the feathered receptionist could get a good look at the blade and the sparks of electricity that buzzed along its keen edge. “Some of us have work to do.”
Brian hissed and reluctantly pulled the PA microphone on his desk closer to his beak and switched it on.
The sound reverberated around the vast God Lobby, bouncing off the walls and ricocheting into silence. The swelling sea of souls beneath the elevated position of the reception area seemed to collectively hold its breath for a moment before continuing its low moan.
“There,” Death said, retracting his scythe, “that wasn’t difficult now, was it?”
Brian gave Death a withering look and flapped his wing, indicating that Death should take a seat.
“No thank you. Liquids go straight through me,” Death replied drily and sat down. He placed the PsiPad on the seat next to him and drummed his bony digits against the cover. From his island vantage point at the centre of the vast cavern that stretched far beyond the horizon, he watched the tides of souls ebb and flow with hypnotic sway. All was rhythmic movement and soft murmur, dampened by the rolling Mists of Time.
Death attempted to meditate while he waited, inviting calm to flush out his anxiety, but still the phalanges of his skeletal hand beat out a steady tempo. It wasn’t God’s emergency request or even Brian’s truculence that caused Death such disquiet, although neither were particularly helpful. He suddenly had a flashback to the previous year when he’d sat impotently in the front of a London taxi cab, driven by the Devil, listening to the destruction of Famine and Pestilence as War savaged them in the backseat. He’d experienced his first bout of anxiety then and knew the cause of his anxiety now – it was the date; Death was haunted by Halloween.
A deep shadow loomed over him…
“I’m sorry, but times have changed and we have to change with them,” Jocasta Darling’s manager informed her from the safe distancing of a computer screen. “If you don’t agree to get vaccinated, you will not be able to work for us any more.”
Although it had been universally accepted that everybody’s lives had significantly changed with the advent of the Rona, the rogue virus that in less than two years had shuttered businesses, relationships and minds worldwide, Jocasta was precisely aware of when change had come to her. It had been back at the beginning of spring, on a cold, bright morning in April, when a chance encounter with her repugnant Member of Parliament had afforded the usually placid Jocasta the opportunity to serve up a piece of her mind. It turned out to be a generous slice, as a cold fury took possession of her. She had let rip, and the recipient had promptly dropped down dead. The experience had changed Jocasta alright.
“But I had the Rona last year, Suzie, you know I did.”
“I caught it at work.”
“As a consequence, my natural immunity is far superior to anything a vaccine can provide.”
“It’s company policy-”
There was no stopping Jocasta; she was on a roll. “Then do what you have to do, because I refuse to consent. I don’t agree to having my immune system dumbed down by an experimental drug that’s still being tested. And I’m certainly not going to take it just so you can keep your fat salary job.”
“Now, that’s unfair,” the image of Suzie wailed.
“Well, so’s my backside. Deal with it.” Jocasta terminated the zoom call and snapped the lid down on her laptop. Her hands were shaking but her voice was steady. “For God’s sake!”
Tiny fingers plucked at Jocasta’s sleeve, demanding attention. Molly, her daughter, stood next to her in silence, but her eyes were full of questions.
‘Everything is fine. Do not worry,’ Jocasta signed. She got up from the kitchen table and walked over to the sink.
‘Are you sure?’ Molly signed back. ‘You look angry.’
Jocasta sighed as she let the icy flow from the cold water tap beat down upon her wrists. She was angry and she needed to calm down and cool off. She did not relish having to find a new job, not if vaccination against the Rona was to be a prerequisite for future employment, but right now she felt far worse for the residents of Frampton Lodge, the retirement home where she worked.
Jocasta had gotten to know the old folks there as she cleaned their rooms, listening to them tell their stories of past glories, complain about the food or simply wonder when their families would visit. On weekend shifts, she used to take Molly along and the residents simply adored her, especially Mrs Roundtree. In fact Molly and Mrs Roundtree had struck a deal in which lessons in signing were exchanged for reading aloud. Both thrived in the attention given to each other, but especially Molly, who’s speech had developed to such a level that her profound deafness wasn’t so readily apparent when she spoke.
But that was before the Rona and lockdowns had arrived. Now the residents were more like inmates. Where they were previously starved of visitors at the best of times, now no visitors were allowed at all, and on top of that, a shortage of staff meant basic needs at the home were barely being met. Jocasta shuddered when she thought about what lay in store for the old dears, and all because a stupid virus had managed to scare half of the world batshit crazy.
She turned off the tap and dried her hands on a tea-towel before turning to Molly. ‘A little bit but I am mostly sad. Do not worry, it will pass soon enough. Now, should you not be getting ready? It is getting late.’
Molly didn’t move but continued to stare at her mother. ‘We do not have to go.’
‘Of course we do; it is Halloween. We never miss trick or treating.’
Molly didn’t look convinced. ‘I do not want you to get into any trouble.’
‘Me, get into trouble? Never. Besides, it is all arranged. We are going to have a lovely time tonight.’ Jocasta playfully shooed Molly from the kitchen with a flick of the tea-towel, before following her into the hallway. “And we won’t let the bastards grind us down either,” she said over her daughter’s head.
Jocasta flopped down on the front room sofa and switched on the TV whilst she waited for Molly to change into her Halloween outfit. She immediately regretted it when the jowly, grim faced Prime Minister filled the screen. He had all the appearance and gravitas of an obese Wurzel Gummidge.
“Not another bloody press conference,” Jocasta moaned and stabbed the off button on the TV remote. “Begone, you bloviating baboon. And brush your bloody hair.”
She remembered that day in the park and the stricken look on her ex-MP’s face as she berated him, just before he died. Oh yes, if I ever get the Prime Minister alone, Jocasta thought, I won’t hesitate to tell him a thing or two.
“Ey up, Chuck, is this seat taken?”
Death glanced around at the rest of the empty chairs in the deserted reception before looking up at the source of the shadow. “Hello, Marge. Be my guest.” he said, picking up his PsiPad.
Humans once believed that babies were delivered by stork, although Death doubted they had anything quite like Marge Gerana in mind. To be certain, she had the long legs, slender neck and stiletto-sharp beak of the order Ciconiiformes, but the stripy stockings, chiffon scarf and pince-nez she wore are not generally found on specimens in the wild. Neither do they carry oversized carpet bags like the one Marge clutched in front of her body, accessorization not making the list of priorities for storks.
“Did you get the emergency alert too?” Marge asked, sitting down and carefully placing the bag by her partially webbed feet. A muffled wail came from within. “Shush now,” she crooned at the bag. “I was – am – in the middle of a delivery. Have you been waiting long?”
“Yes, I’ve been here for 25…No, 26 minutes,” Death replied tersely. Tardiness is not tolerated in the Grim Reaper Service, he thought to himself.
“Oh well, we in Newborn Deliveries can be a tad more flexible than your lot,” Marge said, reading his mind. “Do you know if we’re waiting for anybody else to turn up?”
“I wasn’t aware that I was waiting for you.”
Marge lifted her beak disdainfully. “I am surprised. Didn’t you read the She-mail that came with the alert?”
Death hadn’t; he rarely ventured into his inbox after the first foray, when he had balked at the sheer quantity of spectral spam he was expected to wade through. He switched on his PsiPad and tapped the winged envelope icon. He scrolled down the list until he found a She-mail entitled ‘DEATHCON ONE’, opened it, and read:
Would you be so kind as to make your way to the God Lobby immediately. The situation with humanity has significantly worsened and a high-level conflab is in order.
p.s. Additionally I will also send an alert direct to all of your PsiPads as I am aware that some – Big D – do not keep up to date on She-mails. G
“She’s got you sussed,” Marge smirked.
Death scrolled back up to the addressee line but the names of the other invitees were missing. “There’s no indication of who else has been summoned,” he sighed. “I hope they turn up soon whoever they are; I have a schedule to maintain.”
Marge adjusted her pince-nez and coquettishly crossed her long, stockinged legs. “Do you think he’ll know?” she asked Death, raising a plucked eye brow as she directed his attention with an obvious glance in a specific direction.
Death followed Marge’s eye-line to the reception desk where Brian stared back, preening himself. “Possibly.”
“Shall I go ask?” she whispered conspiratorially, without taking her eyes off Brian who was now slicking back the feathers on his head.
“Perhaps you will have more duck, I mean luck, than I,” Death replied. “Brian has been less than forth-”
“Okay I will,” Marge cut him off. She stood up and slid her carpet bag in Death’s direction. “Watch this for me.” She puffed out her plumage and sashayed seductively toward the reception desk.
Death was impressed. Mardi Gras Passistas have nothing on you, Marge, he thought.
The carpet bag wailed again. At first Death ignored the cries that came from within, but as he watched Marge and Brian flirt with each other, he grew more and more irritated at the length of time Marge was taking to illicit any pertinent information. Eventually Death had had enough.
“There, there,” Death cooed as he extracted a crying baby from the bag. “I agree – waiting around and being ignored can be very, very annoying.”
Death cradled the babe in the crook of his bony arm and gently rocked the fleshy bundle. Gradually the baby’s cries transformed into whimpers and then a gurgle.
My goodness, Big D, you’re a natural.
Still holding the now yawning baby, Death slid down from his chair and bowed his head. “Ma’am.”
God had finally arrived and she wasn’t alone.
“Well, fuck me. That’s not something you see everyday.” War mocked from behind God. She was dressed in tight, lycra shorts and an even tighter tee-shirt. The name of her earthly side-business ‘Fighting Fit’ was emblazoned across her ample bosom. “That’s a proper Kodak moment, that is.”
Pass the child to me, Big D.
Death handed the now mostly silent baby over to God.
You’re a cutie, aren’t you? Yesh you are, oh yesh you are.
“Hello War,” Death greeted his long-time teammate. “Still doing the keep fit? I thought you would be leading several armies by now.”
Death had last seen War in the spring when he transitioned one of her conscripts, who’d suffered a fatal heart-attack following a punishing workout.
“I do, short-arse. I have a franchise now,” War sneered. “Who knew a politician’s death would prove so popular? Fighting Fit now has a presence across the UK and I have plans to take it global at the start of next year. It’s gonna be brutal.”
Indeed. That’s why I’ve invited War along to this meeting. I apologise for being late, Big D; I know how much you value punctuality, but for some reason War isn’t on the CCNN network, so I had to go and collect her.
“Yeah, I was in the middle of a mega-high intensity workout class and I couldn’t just bail half-way.”
War made me run, Big D.
“But you feel so much better for it, Ma’am,” War said, as she clucked at the baby in God’s arms.
God remained silent.
“Ma’am, are we expecting many more to join us?” Death asked.
No. I take it from the presence of this little one that Marge Gerana has also arrived. Ah, I see she’s somewhat engaged with Brian. Shall we head for the Situation Room?
Death and War exchanged glances. “I didn’t know we had a Situation Room,” Death said slowly.
We didn’t. I created one this morning specifically for this meeting. Come along.
Death collected the carpet bag and PsiPad from the seating area and followed in the wake of God – with babe in arms – and War to the reception desk.
Good to see you Marge.
“Ma’am,” Marge whispered hoarsely and curtsied.
I believe this is one of yours?
“Yes. How ever did you escape, little one?” she asked the baby jovially, whilst shooting Death, who was still lugging the empty carpet bag behind him, an evil stare. “I’d be happy to relieve you of the child now, Ma’am.”
That’s quite alright. I’m enjoying the cuddle.
Death dropped the bag at Marge’s feet. “You’re welcome.”
Could you buzz us through please, Brian?
Brian reached under his desk and pressed a button.
The air behind reception began to coruscate and a set of glowing gates appeared. The gates, inlaid with iridescent nacre, shimmered with a rainbow lustre that only mother of pearl can provide. Brian hit the button again, and the gates slowly opened.
The baby blinked as if in agreement and blew a spit bubble as it cooed.
One by one, God, War, Death and the Great Birthing Stork Marge Gerana walked into the luminous cloud of aether that lay beyond, and disappeared.
The rain was starting to come down harder by the time Jocasta and Molly arrived at their destination. The evening was already dark, and although there was plenty of traffic on the journey over, the pavements were completely deserted. No groups of trick or treaters this year, lockdown having put paid to any of that, and the poor weather was lending an assist in keeping any brave or rebellious souls in their homes. People are still afraid or have simply forgotten, Jocasta thought sadly as she parked up at the rear of Frampton Lodge.
She looked over at her daughter sat in the front passenger seat, who had a look of nervous excitement on her face. She was dressed all in black, with a pointy hat and cape. Jocasta crossed her fingers and held them up for Molly to see. “Ready?”
Molly nodded vigorously, so that the witch’s hat shifted backwards and forwards on her head.
Jocasta couldn’t help but smile. “Go,” she said, punching both index fingers forward.
Molly exited the car, unknowingly slamming the door, then ran towards the back of the building, dodging the raindrops as she went; her mother remained in the car and looking on, smiling ever wider as her daughter progressed. Once Molly had made it to the staff entrance, Jocasta reached over to the back seat and grabbed the straw broom and Halloween goodie bag that were laying there. She drew a deep breath and opened the car door, plunging herself into the downpour. She reached the entrance in a far soggier state than Molly had. Jocasta pressed the intercom button.
“Hello?” a tinny voice replied from the speaker.
“It’s Jocasta and Molly.”
The door made a long buzzing sound before opening. They pushed against it to get inside and out of the rain.
Jocasta’s colleague, Mary, was waiting for them. “Oh my god, look at you two.” She waved at Molly. “How long do you have left, Jo?”
Jocasta flung an arm around Mary’s neck and kissed her cheek. “A month.”
Mary placed her hand on Jocasta’s swollen belly. “I must say, you’re looking very well.”
“I’m doing okay, thanks. Getting the odd twinge now and then but other than that… Is the coast clear?”
“Oh yes,” Mary replied, helping Jocasta out of her wet coat. “It’s Sunday. Skeleton staffing, you know, and management have already pissed off for the night.”
Jocasta was relieved. She positioned herself so that she could speak directly to Mary without Molly being able to read her lips. “Suzie zoom called me today. I’m not going to be allowed back after my maternity leave, not unless I get jabbed.”
Mary frowned. “I’m so sorry. That’s totally fucked up.”
“It’s the way the world is right now,” Jocasta replied.
“But will you get it?”
“No, I’ll still be breastfeeding.”
“I’m thinking of jacking it all in,” Mary confided. “I know I’m double jabbed but it’s all just getting too much.”
Jocasta’s face fell. “That bad?”
“It’s only the residents that keep me going.”
Abrupt silence fell between the two women. Molly looked up from one to the other, before tugging on her mother’s sleeve.
“Oh my goodness, we have some trick or treating to do,” Mary cried. “Molly, your outfit looks fantastic. Very witchy.”
Molly beamed a gap-tooth smile and took the bag from her mother. She held it open for Mary to look inside; it was full of chocolates and sweets and paperback books.
“Thank you,” Mary said, pulling out a chocolate bar. “That’s my favourite. I will have that with a cup of tea later,”she said, placing it in her pocket. “Now, we had better get moving before the residents go to bed.”
Molly gave the bag back to Jocasta and took the straw broom. She slipped her free hand inside Mary’s outstretched hand and the three of them took the stairs to go trick or treating.
It is a fact that the vast majority of humanity never have, nor ever will, step foot inside a Situation Room. If asked, a person might describe such a room as having a huge table dominating the space, dozens of chairs around it for generals and other important types to sit in. Moreover, there will be wall to wall computers, all manner of communications equipment, and a large viewing screen at one end, of the highest definition of course. This has been learned from countless films and TV shows that this is exactly what a Situation Rooms looks like. Or perhaps even that this is exactly what a Situation room is supposed to look like.
That was not the kind of Situation Room God had envisioned at all. Hers was a perfect cube six foot by six foot by six, with slate grey walls, ceiling and floor, inside and out. It looked like a block of stone from the outside and a bare prison cell from within. The only fixture in the cube was a light bulb set in the centre of the ceiling, with white pull cord hanging down from it.
“I’ve been in some tight spots but this ain’t like any Situation Room I’ve ever been in before,” War said dubiously, inclining her head to one side so as not to bump it on the ceiling.
“It’s certainly cozy,” Marge agreed, feathers ruffling.
For once Death’s diminutive size proved to be a distinct advantage, so he remained quiet, preferring to keep his own counsel.
God stood at the centre of the compact room, still holding the baby.
I thought the most productive way to discuss a situation would be if we could first see it for ourselves.
She reached up and pulled the cord on the light bulb and the room immediately pitched into solid blackness.
And then it wasn’t.
“Where are we?” War asked. “It looks like some old lady’s bedroom.”
The slate grey walls, floor and ceiling of the Situation Room had dissolved into transparency, giving the occupants a 360 degree view of their surroundings.
War spotted an elderly woman sitting in an armchair with a tartan blanket over her legs. She looked contented as she listened to classical music from a transistor radio beside her. The overhead light was switched off so that the room’s shadows were lit from the soft glow of the lamp on the night-stand next to a bed.
War was intrigued. “Can she see us?”
“Can we leave the box?”
You mean the Situation Room? Yes, but you definitely shouldn’t.
“Me specifically? Why?”
Because you will be seen and heard.
War thought for a moment. “Because I have an earthly body?”
“So the Situation Room is completely invisible? I like it. I mean, it could do with a bit more headroom, but invisibility is a cool feature.”
“Actually, why do I have an earthly body?” War asked. “I’m still confused about that.”
“Because,” Death answered gravely, “you died last Halloween. Pesto poisoned you.”
War’s jaw dropped. “What?!”
Death knew this time would eventually come. “To be fair, you did eat Pestilence first. And Famine. You should have seen the mess…”
War’s jaw took on a sardonic twist.
“Of course, you don’t remember.”
“Whoa there, short-arse.” War stared down at Death, mouth agape. “How?”
Death hesitated. How much of that particular ghost story should I tell? he wondered.
He felt the light touch of God’s hand squeeze his scapula. “The Devil tricked us all, War. All of us.”
There was a sharp knock on the bedroom door. The old lady turned the volume down on the radio and removed the blanket from her legs. She made a couple of attempts to stand up, finally managing to push-pull herself out of the armchair. “I’m coming,” she called out.
Inside the Situation Room, Death could feel his PsiPad gently vibrate. He pulled it from his robes and checked the PsiCalendar – there were two alerts, one of which read ‘Molly’. “Ma’am. I do believe the situation is about to occur.”
“Trick o’ trea’!”
“Molly!” Aida Roundtree cried as she opened her bedroom door. “Come in, come in.”
“Trick or treat, Mrs Roundtree,” Jocasta said, grinning.
“Oh, Jocasta. Come in. Quickly. Don’t let the Gestapo catch you in the corridor. You too, Mary.”
Aida ushered her visitors into her room and shut the door. “It’s so lovely to see you both.”
Jocasta and Mary moved further into the room, whilst Molly grabbed Aida’s hand and guided her to her chair.
“Well, don’t you look lovely, Molly? Give me a twirl,” Aida said sitting down. Molly duly obliged.
“And how are you keeping, Jocasta? You look ready to pop.”
“Another month to go.”
“Do you know the sex yet?” Aida beckoned Jocasta closer.
“No, we want a surprise,” Jocasta laughed but allowed Aida to feel her belly.
“Low and heavy. Ripe. Feels like a boy,” Aida pronounced. “Molly, you’re going to be a big sister soon.”
Molly raised her arms in a silent cheer before wrapping them around Aida’s neck and kissing her cheek.
“I’ve missed you too, darling.” Aida hugged Molly back. “Terrible times we live in,” she addressed Jocasta and Mary with solemnity over Molly’s shoulder. “It reminds me of the war.”
“Aida, you were born in 1945,” Mary chided. “How could you remember what the war was like?”
“I grew up in the aftermath, bombed out buildings and rationing. I remember those and I also remember what my parents told me about what went on during the war. Terrible times,” Aida said and hugged Molly tighter.
“Great times,” War sighed wistfully, breaking the silence within the cube. “World War Two was brilliant, so much innovation. In fact the whole of the twentieth century was a fucking blast.”
“It was a boom time for us after the war,” Marge reminisced. “There were so many deliveries to make, we were pulling double shifts left, right and centre. So many babies.”
“See? It wasn’t all bad.” War sounded vindicated. “Humans had a fucking good time, too.”
What is it Big D?
Death was thinking. “She mentioned rationing, Ma’am. I believe there are reports of food shortages currently in the press.”
Mary moved toward the bedroom window. It was slightly ajar and the net curtain inside was getting soaked from the lashing rain. “Aida, have you been smoking in here again?” she asked accusingly, closing the window.
“So what if I have? What are they going to do? Put me in prison? Ha! I’ve been in one for nearly two years.”
Mary shook her head. “If they find your cigarettes, they will confiscate them.”
“Then I’ll get some more,” Aida replied defiantly.
“Ah, that reminds me…” Jocasta tapped Molly on her back and motioned her to offer the bag to Aida. “Now, Mrs Roundtree, dig deep. I put your treat in at the bottom.”
Aida rummaged inside the goodie bag Molly held out. She pulled out an olive green box with a grotesque image on the outside. “Lovely. Benson and Hedges kingsize. I’d offer you one, but apparently it’ll harm your baby,” she said, holding up the pack for Jocasta to see the image of a sick, intubated baby.
“Aida!” Mary snapped.
“That’s alright, Mary. I saw the picture when I bought the pack. Aida and I know it’s just propaganda.” Jocasta was keen to the calm the situation; Mrs Roundtree was something of a smoking militant and could rant for hours on the subject if given free rein.
“That right, it’s propaganda. Goebbels would be proud.” Aida grabbed at Jocasta’s wrist. “You haven’t had the vaxx, have you? Please don’t get it.”
Jocasta gently removed Aida’s hand and held it in her own. “No, Mrs Roundtree. I will not have the vaxx.”
Molly had been watching the conversation silently. She pulled on Jocasta’s sleeve. ‘Mummy, what is ‘go bells’?’
“She’s got a point,” Marge said, stretching her neck. “We’ve never delivered a smoke damaged child. Now Thalidomide, DDT, the Rona vax…”
You are seeing damage from the Rona vax, then?
“Yes, Ma’am, some. Mostly miscarriages though.”
God stroked the soft brow of the sleeping baby in her arms.
Babies poisoned in the womb.
“Pesto,” Death whispered.
Mary had had enough of the conversation. She was tired and her head was starting to ache, plus she still had another three hours of her shift to work. At least three hours, and she was beginning to regret agreeing to Jocasta’s request for the secret visit. She tolerated Aida’s smoking rants but she didn’t want to hear her opinion of the Rona vaxx. Not again. And was it really worth getting caught for a chocolate bar, even for a Kit-Kat Chunky?
“Okay, I think that’s enough for tonight.”
“Oh no, Mary, can’t they stay a little longer?” Aida appealed.
“No, it’s okay, Mrs Roundtree. Mary has rounds to do and Molly has school tomorrow.” Jocasta lent down and gave Aida a kiss on both cheeks. “It has been lovely to see you.”
There was a rapid knocking on the room door. “Mary, are you in there?” a voice beyond it asked urgently.
Mary motioned for the others to stay quiet and walked rapidly to the door. She opened the it a crack. “What is it?”
The person outside sounded flustered. “Mr Perkins has collapsed in the lounge. Oh Mary, I think he’s dead.”
“Okay, I’ll be right there.” Mary turned away from the door. “I have to go. It was lovely to see you Jo, Molly. Can you see yourselves out?”
“Of course, you go. Thank you,” Jocasta called as Mary left the room. “Oh no, poor Mr Perkins.”
“Double vaxxed,” Aida said smugly. “Had his booster shot two days ago.”
Death checked the alert on his PsiCalendar. “I hate being late. Excuse me.”
“Well, he did get his booster shot two days ago.” Aida was adamant. “They’re finally doing it; they’re trying to kill us all off.”
“Who are they?” Jocasta regretted asking as soon as the words left her mouth.
“The new world order, same as the old world order.”
Jocasta looked blank.
Molly could tell something serious had happened and that it had happened to Mr Perkins. Her eyes widened when the little man she sometimes saw appeared out of thin air from the corner of the room. He was always dressed in black and he sometimes carried a big stick with a knife on the end. She watched as the little man glided across the room.
He paused as he reached her. ‘Hello,’ he signed.
Molly smiled, signing ‘hello’ back.
The little man nodded and made the stick-knife suddenly appear before continuing to glide out of the room, through the door.
Molly looked around nervously, but her mum and Mrs Roundtree were still talking. She didn’t think they’d seen the little man in black. No one ever sees him, except me, Molly thought.
“We really should be going.” The last thing Jocasta wanted was to get into a conversation about Nazis. If Mr Perkins had died, then management would be called and it was best that she and Molly weren’t here when they arrived. Plus she really needed to pee. “Mrs Roundtree, can I use your bathroom?”
“Of course, Jocasta, you know where it is. It’s clean but the new girl isn’t nearly as thorough as you.”
“Thank y-OwwW!” Jocasta clutched her stomach. “Ow. Oh no, I hope to god I just peed myself.”
Mrs Roundtree looked at the puddle of fluid forming on the carpet between Jocasta’s legs. “No, dear. Your waters have broken.”
“Oh my god, it’s too soon.”
Aida turned to Molly and looked at her squarely, hands either side of Molly’s face. She spoke slowly and clearly. “Molly, go into my bathroom and fetch the big towel on the rack.”
Molly was scared; her mum was in pain and had wet herself. “Wha’s happnin’?”
“Don’t worry. Mummy is going to have a lay down on my bed.”
“Is it the beby?”
Mrs Roundtree nodded. “Yes, dear. Now, after you get the towel, go and fill my kettle over there,” she said, pointing to the far corner of the room, “and fill it with cold water from the tap in the bathroom. Then switch it on.”
Molly nodded and sprung away like a gazelle.
Jocasta leaned back against the bed panting. “Not again.”
Aida got out of her chair at the first attempt and rushed over to the bed. “Not again? Did Molly arrive early?” she asked as she helped Jocasta onto the bed and plumped up the pillows behind her.
“You could say that.”
“At home?” Aida started to remove Jocasta’s boots.
“In a taxi.”
Aida paused mid-pull. “Oh my.”
“The taxi… oh, oh,” Jocasta noisily breathed out,”…crashed.”
“Awkward.” Aida dropped the boot on the floor and lifted the hem of Jocasta’s dress. “This should be a doddle for you then.”
God was gazing down at the baby in her arms and softly crooning.
“Ma’am.” Marge Gerana held the open carpet bag between her wings. “It’s time.”
War was pressed up against the side of the cube watching the two women in the room. “She gave birth during a car crash? That’s brave.”
“And the old girl seems to know what’s she’s doing.”
“She should,” Marge snorted. “Aida Roundtree is one of the best midwives I’ve ever worked with.”
War pointed at Aida. “She’s a midwife? That’s convenient.”
The walls of the cube suddenly rippled and a small witch, wearing a large hat rushed through. Molly stood stock still, with eyes like saucers. God stepped aside, allowing the child to collect the kettle.
‘Thank you,’ Molly signed.
The walls of the cube rippled once more as Molly left.
We had better leave before the child comes back.
God placed the baby into the carpet bag.
Be yourself, little boy and good luck.
“Ma’am.” Marge bowed her slender neck and left.
God grasped the cord to the light bulb.
“Aren’t we waiting for Death?”
No. Big D is on duty. He’ll find his own way back.
“What’s the dealio with Death and those two anyway. They were there that day in the park when my rich politician kicked the bucket. I miss Jimbo; he always paid over the odds.”
God cocked her head to one side as if contemplating what to say. She smiled.
The mother sat on him.
On Big D.
War’s eyes fluttered as she tried to comprehend what God had just said. “Wait…” She counted on her fingers. “Did Death give her a boner?”
God tugged the cord and it all went black.
And then it wasn’t.
*I’m glad you enjoyed it, Clicky… /final drag… It was a lot of fun to write… /stubs butt…*