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Showing posts from 2009

My Mother's Mince Pies

Matilda (Tilly) Kerrigan
Christmas reminds me of my mother's mince pies. She used to throw them at me as dusk was falling and shout, 'Get a bloody job and don't come back until you've got one.' Then she would slam the front door. The fact that I was eight years old never entered, what I believe, was an irrational mind. I remember sitting for several hours in a snowdrift listening to the church bells ringing in the distance. I wondered what would be in my brown parcel on Christmas Day. I'd swear and curse if it was mincemeat again.

My elder brother always received the best present: a wooden train set, a plastic trumpet, or a Cowboy Annual. Who in their right mind gives a son mincemeat? My sister once got a wig. It's not like she was bald or anything. And it looked just like a cat's hairball.

My mother often sent me away with 'cold ironic words', for example: 'Bonehead!' 'Don't forget to write!' 'Who's got the I.Q. of a…

Uncle Hoppy's New Partner

Uncle Hoppy's New Partner
I come from a respectable, humble family. My father is a great game hunter. One memorable afternoon he found a complete Scrabble Deluxe crossword game, a Snakes and Ladders game board, and three dancing dice doing the Tango on a transatlantic cruise. He's an excellent horseman and swimmer. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the death of six horses due to their failure to execute the butterfly stroke successfully, or to understand the meaning of the 'prone position.'

My father is tall, attractive, full of vitality, and is at one with nature. His empathy with birds borders on the remarkable. In fact, he flies south each fall with a flock of warblers he counts as dear friends. Ladies are irresistibly drawn to my father. At least fifty-three people in our town bear a striking resemblance to him, right down to the 'mark of the beast' on their forehead. 
Everyone within a family, of course, likes to score points, and 'family feuds' …

Foolish Wondrous Things

I met my current girlfriend, Kerstin, in a drive-thru pharmacy where she is the Chief Pharmacist. While she looked weary, I was drawn to her intense blue eyes, the curve of her lips, her natural dark brown hair and overt beauty. I also felt attracted to the tattoo lettering on her forehead: Shake Well Before Use. I tried to cheer her up with a few witticisms. It seemed to work. She listened, smiled, and said, 'You're crazy'. Then she laughed, 'You're crazy.' I began to worry that this might be the extent of her vocabulary. Thankfully, I was mistaken.

She has a habit of pinching my cheek but always brings it back. She enjoys it when I quietly plead,'Who's stolen my soft, well-shaved cheek?' 'What shall I do without it?' Infantile, I know, but if it makes Kerstin laugh, I'm happy to oblige. Kerstin loves dancing; I love shooting inanimate objects. Perhaps, that's why she doesn't hear every word I say to her; too busy dodging bullet…

Something in Common & The Seagull

I've fond memories of my first wife. If only I could find them? One Sunday while throwing stones at a neighbour's house - they constantly complained about the noise of our gramophone which only played German tunes - I saw her for the first time. That morning I felt like an empty bus going back to the depot but I couldn't find one without a driver. Suddenly pleasure came back into my life; albeit temporarily.

In the half-light - a slender girl with a pale face named, Betty Blocker - looked beautiful with her crossed legs, crossed arms, and crossed eyes. It was only when she stepped into the full light I could see all her sensitivity. She only had two teeth: an upper and a lower at the front, which she brushed with vigour. If only she had used toothpaste. She talked without thinking, and I thought without talking. Did I love her? No. Did she love me ? No. At least we had something in common. Something attracted me to her. It may have been clean undergarments.

I was only eigh…

The Recession & A Catastrophic Book Launch

Presently, I've more debts than clothes, more toes than my left foot can accommodate, a home that slopes precariously towards the sea, and a dog that believes it's the reincarnation of Cyrano de Bergerac. It wears a large prosthetic nose over its left eye and looks remarkably like Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf in the film The Hours. Instead of barking the dog shouts at me through a 30W megaphone: "Lug your guts away, salami, or stay and I'll remove you slice by slice!"

Am I the only person who covers his head during the day and stares wide-eyed into the darkness? I've just made a swift decision. It took me three days and five nights looking through a bored hole into my neighbour's house. We must move to a smaller house with a cheaper rent or preferably no rent at all. Christmas will soon be upon us and we are not prepared, financially or emotionally, for its arrival. At least my wife and I will not have to worry about where to hide presents this year. I…

Can You Ever Get Too Much of Anything?

One morning last week I woke feeling dizzy. As Dizzy is our live-in nanny - our last child left home fifteen years ago - I was charged with sexual harassment. I felt like drinking long and hard but opted for alcohol instead. Regardless, I pleaded 'sexsomnia' but the judge, Mr Justice Useless, was arrested during the hearing for 'sleepwalking'.

I should have pleaded 'parasomnia' only the police officers' fell asleep while taking my statement. To make matters worse, my counsel, Mr Lola Heyday, snored while addressing the bench during my plead. The cost? Well, the facts! On the morning of the alleged incident I had woke from a deep sleep - recorded in my statement as 8 feet in depth - believing Dizzy to be a 'two and a half metre' high veggie pizza called 'Barefoot Sally'. I was mortified this was not brought to the court's attention.

I was gratified, however, to be fully exonerated of the alleged charge. The jury unanimously agreed that…

Trying to Live an Authentic Life

Samuel Beckett in Waiting for Godot identified the fear of being forgotten as possibly one of the greatest anxieties which humankind face. Conscious of the fact of death and annihilation; conceivably preceded by protracted and painful suffering and illness, it is not uncommon for individuals to wish they had never been born in the first place. However, as Mark Twain remarked, ‘In religion and politics, people’s beliefs are, in almost every case, acquired second hand and without examination’. Acceptance without questioning leads to ignorance and prejudice, and the failure by individual’s to seek enlightenment concerning other people’s ideas, beliefs and culture.

Any study of anthropology will illustrate, while variable from tribe to tribe, some form of religious belief has persisted; a durability. It must be acknowledged, that similar to other words in daily use, the term ‘religion’ is open to a wide range of interpretations. What does the word ‘God’ mean? It can't represent a…

Owner of a Foggy Mind & Bathing in Yogurt

This morning I'm looking out of the living room window of my home. There is a muddy pool of rain water on the grass. I may, however, be looking in through the window of my home at a pool of water on the green carpet in my living room. If only I could dig into my memory . . . Wait a minute . . . Yes! . . . My foggy mind is laid to rest when a thin, little man drives up in a car to ask directions.

The little man is lost and explains that he turned into my driveway to seek help. I tell the little man to leave my house immediately! I tell him I have no driveway! I find his little manners despicable! The thin, little man leaves my living room with great haste. In fact, through the living room ceiling leaving his little car and two little legs in the process. I could tell his temperature was going up during our encounter. I will, of course, try to ascertain his name and address tomorrow. Tomorrow? Yes. No sense getting myself worked up over nothing.

I hate to watch individuals suffer un…

Attack of The 50 Foot Woman & African Horse Sickness

Today I feel like a leafcutter ant which has lost its switchblade. My adolescent son is starting to resemble a marsupial mole. His eyes and ears are hidden by fur and his nose has enlarged and covers his whole face. On the upside it prevents him popping white heads over the breakfast table. 'What if it's African horse sickness?!' he says, rubbing his swollen head and neck.

To make matters worse my son continually plays 'Highway to Hell' by AC/DC on his didgeridoo into the small hours. He's been arrested three times for loitering in our home. He calls everyone a 'liar and a hypocrite'. I can barely stand the truth, and he talks so slowly. Sometimes I believe I'm not parental material. I'm too authentic, full of anxiety and dread. Having my frontal lobes positioned at the rear of my brain doesn't radiate any degree of security. In fact, it only raises curiosity, especially at the beach.

I've always enjoyed going to the movies. It was …

'What is "Great" about Jay Gatsby?' - (Part 1)

At least the post was on time. One of the letters was addressed to me. It contained a note: C♯, or was it D♭? I knew this cryptic note held a deep dark secret. For some reason it reminded me of the noise the automatic doors at the local library make when they open and close, and go for lunch at a deli across the street.

When I entered the library it was half-full. Two police officers were at the scene. An officer was reading the library its rights; the library was charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI). I overheard it got the alcohol from a nearby second-hand book store. It looked on the verge of collapse. It was drinking coffee, and eating pretzels.

I approached a librarian; a tall, dark-haired woman with bright eyes, a generous mouth, and an old woman's face. I watched her place the old woman's face in a drawer which she immediately locked. She put the key down her considerable cleavage. She looked at me and said nothing. I cleared my throat.

'I'm looking fo…

What is "Great" about Jay Gatsby? - (Part 2)

Sometimes life plays tricks when you least expect it, or need it. As I walked towards my analyst's office, LIFE decided to play a virtual game where the supposedly 3D "me" became an extension of the real "me". I began to float in some hard-to-pronounce netherworld, where you can dance, chat, play, and hang out with other nuts in 3D. Not my scene. I'm 2D - always have been; always will be - at least, until I receive confirmation my current wife has vaporized, and I can't stick hard alcohol.

Suddenly, I stop floating, shiver, then smile. I remember my pal, Jesse (named after Sitting Bull's left leg, and Standing Bull's left ear) only drinks wine, and it has to be the most expensive on the list. He's sixty-two, tall, with tousled white hair in his pocket which magically appears on his head when he thinks he spots a female.

Jesse's eyesight is poor, and he refuses to wear anything to improve it. I believe it stems from a bad experience wi…

Marcelline: Out of my League

During a recent sojourn in London I observed many beautiful women; some with wondrous faces; some with wondrous legs, and some with faces like used newspapers. Who amI to talk? My face has a deep-grained tiredness, which makes me look permanently worn out. When disorientated tourists ask me directions - holding an open map of Paris while in London is a giveaway - I begin to stammer and flush. My beard makes strange noises not unlike Orca, the killer whale, when he's hold up in a hotel without a view of the sea. Implausibly, the male killer whale is the only creature - other than human beings - who kills for revenge. Furthermore, he has to be paid upfront in used banknotes.

I find women who look tense, determined, and have an abrasive edge, are great as friends, but not as lovers, or adjustable footrests. As I went for a short walk on Long Acre Street, Covent Garden, I first saw, and met, Marcelline. She was wearing a thin, black dress stretched tight over her hips, and walking - …

The Thin Man

The cottage is silent and deserted, and rain falls through holes in the roof, delicately touching my shoes. I recall exceptional times, and exceptional people to whom this ruin was once home.

I met Arthur for the first time at the grocery store. He was thin, and wore his clothes like an old, wire, coat hanger. Though much older than me, we talked, wherever, and whenever, we met. In fact, he worked along with my father as a farm labourer. Arthur treated all women with courtesy - an old-fashioned trait, seemly, by some men today - and had an easy, relaxing disposition. He was full of commonsense, and not an inkling of bitterness permeated his body.

One day, Arthur, told me about the night he first met Ellen. I listened intently as we sat beside a stream; the glint of the sun playing with the steady current. His first recollection of Ellen was her kicking him in the face. It was during a dance held in a local church hall some thirty years earlier. Ellen's right foot had caught Art…

Can a Perpetrator of Crime change Him or Herself?

Can a perpetrator of crime change him or herself? I doubt it. I'm in my father's home. My home, also, before I married. I'm not frightened: I'm angry, frustrated, disheartened. Empathetic to the despair, pain and sorrow my father is feeling. What would my mother have thought? I sense, not for the first time, the total indifference of the universe. I'm not ambiguous about my love for my father who is awake in the next bedroom. Is he another victim of apathy? Are we both looking into the same abyss?

From my bed I see the dim colour of the walls, the white of the ceiling, the flowery curtains. A world of fragrances and faint sounds, mainly the ticking and chiming of clocks. Random memories appear. I want to see my mother's face. I get up quietly and fetch a photograph from a sideboard downstairs in the living room. While the black and white photograph captures my mother in stubborn mood she is undeniably beautiful. The photograph radiates her strength of will, …

'Dance, Boy, Dance!' - A Play in One Act (Part One of Three)

TESS: early 20's - a confident, vibrant and cocky female. She understands life has more to offer than her present existence.
JOHN: early 20’s - though well-dressed in a suit and tie he appears submissive and nervous. His conversation and actions display considerable unease.
ROSS:  mid 50's -  a part-time lecturer and unsuccessful writer. He possesses a dry, acerbic wit. His marital status is ambiguous even though he wears a wedding ring.

The action is continuous and takes place in a bar.
Early afternoon. The present.

When part-time barmaid TESS and a middle-aged customer ROSS are joined in the bar by JOHN, the divisions between fantasy and reality become vague. None of the characters remain untouched by the events that unfold on a quiet afternoon.

ACT ONE (Part One)

[TESS is behind the bar wiping the counter. ROSS (the only customer) is sitting on a bar stool. He lifts his glass - half-full of brandy - to enable TESS to wipe the counter.]

'Dance, Boy, Dance!' - A Play in One Act (Part Two of Three)

ACT ONE (Part Two)

JOHN: I’d rather stand ... If you don’t mind?
ROSS: Mind? I don’t have a mind. I lost mine a long time ago. [Pause] No, that’s not right. I hocked it to a pawnshop. It's still there in the window for all to see. 
[BESS returns from the storeroom and sees JOHN standing at the counter.]
ROSS: I’d like to buy my fresh young friend a drink. I've never seen anyone so clean. He has - what can I say? - the most extraordinary fluttering blue eyes. Here stands a sensitive, young man completely sound in body and soul. Naturally, I'm consumed with envy and despair. He reminds me why I keep a low profile.
BESS:  [to ROSS] And what’s the young man’s name? We haven’t been properly introduced.
ROSS: [to JOHN]: What did you say your name was?
JOHN: I ... er ... didn’t. [Pause] It’s ... John ... 
ROSS: The nice young man's name is John
BESS:  Well, John. What would you like to drink? [Quickly, with a smile and a raised hand.] Don’t tell me. Let me guess ...…