Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rocket Dog & When is a Just War a Just Cause?

Last night I dreamt that I and forty other passengers survived a plane crash. To our dismay there was no food on board. The prevailing consensus was that meat from one passenger might sustain everyone else until assistance arrived. Someone asked if anyone on board worked in marketing. An irrational, portly man raised his hand. It was the first time I had consumed a leg wearing an extra soft argyle sock, and Rocket Dog shoes. On the downside we were arrested by police on manslaughter charges as the plane had crashed-landed on the runway 100 meters from the terminal.

This morning I awoke with numb feet, and tingling hands. As my wife had left for work—and they didn’t belong to me—I telephoned my doctor. He told me to drop them off at the local hospital. If they aren't reclaimed by the owner in six months they are mine to keep. At last, someone to talk to.

I haven’t had a shower since watching Janet Leigh in the shower sequence in Psycho. I can’t go near a shower curtain without feeling weak, anxious, and wondering if an enormous bar of soap is going to attack me. I still wear my “Moo Cow” shower hat when I’m working, driving, shopping, making love, or taking our dog for a stroll. That reminds me; losing hair is no joke – especially when it doesn’t belong to you. A new design promises wonders. The innovative shower cap has a hole at the top which lets warm water fall into the opening at the crown. The maker’s profess the shower cap will capture steam, and that the pores will open and allow hair to start growing again—and for only $150? There’s always idiot’s who will buy anything; I’ve got ten of them.

War has never lacked its enthusiasts; especially those wearing armor, and hanging around all day playing Gin rummy (Gin for short; Ginny Rummy for tall). Is there, however, such a thing as a “Just War"? When is a “Just War" a “Just Cause”? To go even further - I’m not sure I have the fare? - when is a "Just War" a “Just Cause”, and a “Just Intention”? Can a “Just War” be fought unjustly, and an “Unjust War” fought justly? I believe war should only be justified if every living creature has gone to the Moon on vacation, or is waiting on the Moon for a connecting flight to Mars. What is happening to our beloved planet and its inhabitants? It’s clear to me but I’m drunk. The people in power are sober.

Reflections: I borrowed my son’s shirt today and immediately became obnoxious. I owed money to everyone, and expected food to appear from nowhere without having to order or prepare it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dreams & Cécile De France

The curse of 'the potato' struck again last night just as I was about to marry Cécile De France. You may find this childish, but to have a potato replace Cécile in my dream was like having the sun replaced by heavy rain, and I don’t wear a coat, or carry an umbrella to bed. The potato, this time, was dressed in clothing of the opposite gender. However, it was the potato's pronounced eyes, exaggerated bodily mannerisms, and missing nose which unsettled me the most. 

Perhaps 'the potato' has been to see the The Rocky Horror Show too many times with the girls from the office? The potato sang and danced to Cole Porter's song, "I Get a Kick Out of You". I can still see the slinky red dress it wore, the flat lipsticked mouth, its wild green eyes; the pitiless hideous voice ...  To be honest I’m dreading falling asleep tonight. What if the potato surprises me and turns up disguised as a carrot? I’d contact the police but they would think I was nuts, and get me to confess my fear of being eaten alive by a large root vegetable.

I have great compassion for anyone who has to write travel brochures. How many ways are there to describe golden beaches, blazing suns, the kindliness of local people, pick-pockets and muggers? It reminds me that I am still searching for my ‘tone of voice.’ Everything I write is dispassionate and bereft of artistic thinking. In fact, any person I show my work to is disturbed by it. An unapologetic acquaintance had the audacity to tell me, 'Please do not take this the wrong way. For now, go back to bed.'

Anyway, I’m still pondering whether to use first-person, second-person, third-person, fourth-person, or fifth-person narration in my novel. Frankly, I could write as a woman, or a vegetable, and still not get published. I haven't ruled out that I might have to wait forever for inspiration that may never come.

Reflections: As I get older I seem to mumble with greater coherence. This is deliberate. If certain people, with whom I do not wish to communicate, understand what I am saying, they are gravely mistaken.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hay Fever, Bliss & Jaws

My wife has suddenly elected to stop speaking. Pleading with her to watch Persona by Ingmar Bergman payed off big time. For months she hasn't uttered a word. She's currently watching Jaws. I can tell she empathises with the Great White shark. She eats all the fish remains I throw at her. Our apartment's a mess but things are going according to plan. How will she react to the last scenes of the film when the shark's corpse sinks to the ocean floor? My wife doesn't know yet, but she's booked to go solo surfing in 'Shark Alley' near Cape Town this weekend. I expect to fly home alone . . .

This afternoon my daughter said something was 'bliss'. It reminded me of attending a play by Noel Coward in London titled Hay Fever - I sneezed continuously throughout the production. I believe it was Noel Coward's first comic success: not the sneezing, the play. The theme of the play is as old as Roman comedy: self-seeking, ludicrous people are attracted to fame and fortune and get their just rewards when they discover they are hopelessly out of their depth. It appears nothing changes in life. Indeed, some people can be slow in recognising the worthlessness of material things.

I'm looking forward to seeing Steven Berkoff (actor, director, playwright, author, etc) in a live performance where he will present an exploration and analysis of Shakespeare`s most villainous characters. Berkoff remains a rare and authentic talent and long may it continue.


I enjoy watching the rain falling when I am sheltered in my local library. When the rain is particularly heavy it's amusing to observe people rushing about with their shoulders hunched up who believe this activity keeps them dryer. Occasionally, the windshield wipers on vehicles travel super-fast sending flying raindrops to torment the drenched souls even further. Those that curse the rain are destined to fight a losing battle.


Reflections: I was stopped by the police today for speeding which I found upsetting as I was walking at the time. I will appeal the conviction with rigor if I can find him. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Day at the Office

Tony is sitting behind his desk. Adam enters.

Tony: Sit down.

(Adam does so.)

Tony: Do you know what I’m holding in my hand?

Adam: A straight flush?

Tony: (sighing) Your latest appraisal. (Pause) Frankly, the organisation expected greater things.

Adam: Well, I've been working on a restricted canvas. (Smiling) Still reading through the classics?

Tony: (pretentiously) Just finished reading Don Quixote for the third time.

Adam: Did you skip the dull bits?

Tony: That would be sacrilegious … Though it’s overrated, of course.

Adam: Of course.

Long pause.

Tony: (uncomfortable) I’m afraid I’ve some bad news.

Adam: You’ve had a full body scan and received a clean bill of health?

(Tony raises his eyes heavenward.)

Adam: Your hair-piece is writing an autobiography?

(Tony shrugs helplessly.)

Long pause.

Tony: Have you lost weight?

Adam: I’m on a diet.

Tony: Finding it easy?

Adam: Definitely. I’ve no money for food since my wife left me.

Awkward pause.

Adam: How is she by the way?

Tony: Melissa? Never better ... Wants for nothing ... Damn gorgeous ... Great in bed. No need to tell you ... eh?

Adam: (thoughtful) Well ... No.


Adam: And the townhouse?

Tony: (smiling) Great. You invested a great deal of time and capital in the property.

Adam: Yes.

Tony: I haven’t had to modify or improve a single thing since I moved in.

Adam: I’m pleased.

Tony: (softly) Did we ... Did I ever thank you?

Adam: I don’t believe so ... No.

Tony: Not a word? (Pause) Astounding.


Tony: How do you relax?

Adam: I play blank CDs full blast and dance to annoy the neighbours in the next dust bin. I hope to move to a skip soon.

Long Pause

Tony: Melissa and I are concerned about your mental state.

Adam: Really? I’m flattered.

Tony: (apprehensively) You don’t mind?

Adam: Mind? I don’t have a mind. I pawned my brain years ago. (Smiling) It’s sitting in a shop window beside a Second World War hand grenade. In fact, it's hard to tell the difference between them.


Tony: Are you undergoing therapy?

Adam: Once a week. The psychiatrist pops pills during our sessions. It tends to interrupt the flow. She maintains I’m the only patient she has encountered who suffers from 'sibling rivalry' and is an only child.

Long Pause

Tony: You’ve been at this organisation a long time without any appreciable increase in rank, or salary. Any ideas why?

Adam: Losing my wife and home to my boss—you— had a profound effect. Other than that, I’m at a loss.

Tony: 'The gods support those who are stronger.'

Adam: Tacitus.

Tony: (unsure) Indeed ... You’ve a sharp mind when used properly.

Adam: Think so?

Tony: Yes.


Tony: No sour grapes?

Adam: None.

Long Pause

Tony: Any financial difficulties?

Adam: Other than being forced into personal bankruptcy several times, and a credit rating below 'Absolute zero'—fine. However, living in a dust bin has drawbacks in terms of comfort and the pursuit of a meaningful social life.


Tony: 'Sometimes it’s necessary to destroy the man to save him.'

Adam: Really? Has it ever happened to you?

Tony: No. I’m sorry to say it’s happening to you. As of today you can leave the past entirely behind. You’re no longer an employee of this organisation. I’d write you a reference ... What would be the point?

Adam: Exactly.

Tony: (smiling) I wish I was starting afresh again.

Adam: Shall I say I was fired, resigned, lost motivation and direction, or that the boss took my wife, home, and assorted assets?

Tony: (uneasily) I would never advise an individual to be less than honest. In this case, however, economy may be advantageous for all concerned.

Long Pause

Tony: (rising from his chair) I hope you found this conversation uplifting and rewarding. I know I did. (Pause) As your contract is terminated with immediate effect, please leave your employee card with security. (Pause) I would advise against returning to your workspace ... We don’t want your 'ex-work colleagues' to get upset, do we?

Adam: No ... Yes ... I understand.

Tony: Just look at the last twenty years as a right step in the wrong direction.

Adam: Really?

Tony: Hell, yes. (Pause) On the bright side, I met Melissa, socialised at your home, and eventually moved in. It changed my life no end. Couldn’t live without Melissa, or the 'townhouse', or my job for that matter. (Pause) Anyway, enough about me.

Awkward pause.

Adam: Do you remember the first question I asked when I joined the organisation?

Tony: No. (Chuckling) I remember asking if you were married. Didn’t realise your wife would be so attractive. I’ve still got that first photograph you showed me―I cut you out, of course.

Adam: 'What are the first projects I will be involved with?'

Tony: (smiling) You’re kidding me? Did I give an answer? ... No? ... No.

Adam: I wanted to make my mark on those initial critical projects.

Tony: Really? I wish I had known.


Tony: 'Fate always goes as it must.'

Adam: Beowulf.

Tony: (hesitant) Indeed ... A sharp mind.


Tony: (blandly) A message for Melissa?

Adam: Tell her ... Tell her, 'I loved her too much to hate her now.'

(Adam moves toward the door.)

Tony: And me?

Adam: (turns round) You have this strange effect on people that causes oily discharge and loss of appetite. In fact, the list is endless. My advice? Come back from the 'dark side'. Trust me, we’re all just one step from the slaughterhouse. You take care now.

Adam exits, leaving Tony shaking with trepidation and doubt.


Reflections: My girlfriend Jennifer rang me to enquire if I'd seen her mustache trimmer, hair gel, brass knuckles and police baton. I replied in the negative. She was still speaking when I ended the call. Her conversation ambushed me when I felt most awake and required silence.

When Jennifer was nineteen she paid to have a mole and a water rat removed from her face. I blame it on her fixation with 'simply messing about in boats' and her constant re-reading of The Wind in the Willows while dressed as a weasel.