Monday, June 22, 2009

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 Arthur's nose as she fell on the floor. After an abrupt silence they both went outside and successfully suppressed the bleeding. He recalled it had been an unseasonably warm and windless night.

Ellen looked at Arthur with her bright eyes.

'Would you like to go out?'

'We are out!'

'No, silly. Would you like to go out on a date?'

'Well, I don't know? You just kicked me in the face. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think a relationship with you could lead to more violence down the line?'

'What weight are you? Seven stone? I'd take you for ten at least?'

'Ten what?'

'Ten stone, stupid! What weight do you think I am?'

'It's hard to say. It's getting dark, and the moon isn't bright tonight?'

'Go on. Have a guess?'

'You're upsetting my blood pressure!'

'No need to be shy.' Ellen whispered in a warm and sensual tone.

'Ten stone!'

'On the nose!'

'What's on my nose?'

'Not your nose!'

'Well, whose nose?'

''Nobody's nose!'

'I know that song.'

Ellen started to sing:

'Nobody nose the trouble I've seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody nose the trouble I've seen
Glory Hallelujah

Sometimes I'm up and sometimes I'm down
Yes lord, you know sometimes I'm almost to the ground O yes ...'

They sang two or three choruses together. Arthur sighed, but there was something about Ellen he liked. She made him feel good with her boisterous laughing, nudging and winking. There would never be a dull moment with her around. They agreed to meet the following Saturday night.

Spring turned to summer and they tied the knot. Arthur got drunk at the modest reception after the wedding, and Ellen had to carry him the whole way back to their cottage. Arthur & Ellen; Seven stone & Eighteen stone; Skin & Bone. When Ellen died, Arthur moved to England, and rented a small room from an elderly lady who cleaned the local Mission Hall.

It's cold and dark as I depart the ruin of the cottage. The rain plays tricks, and voices and conversations appear to flow from the cottage; forging their way into my mind, memory, and the depths of my soul.

Reflections:: Did you know the name ‘digestive’ originated by reason of the high content of baking soda used to aid food digestion? Neither did I, until I sought an explanation from one of my teacher’s.

Ms Peters seemed to know a lot about biscuits. In fact, she informed me about the history of biscuits, including tube packaging and brand portfolios. During her account Ms Peters became quite energised and passionate. Her eyes bulged, and her hands whirled in escalating loops. I thought she was deranged. Imagine knowing so much about the history of biscuits, and getting excited telling how different generations enjoyed eating them. What sort of nutcase is that? I bet she went home every day after school and scoffed digestives until she fell asleep.

Anyway, someone told me that Ms Peters exploded in school one day and as a result all the pupils in her class were covered in baking soda. For some reason, after this incident, there was a startling decline in pupil's attending the school with 'acne and pimples'. I never found out who Acne and Pimples were? Probably got married? Who nose?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

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, wisdom, and humour, which, thankfully, she never lost.

Today, my father's home is a house of clay. My father no longer feels safe. He sits in grief-stricken silence. Is it any wonder the church buildings in the area remain locked when not open for Sunday worship? In fact, the buildings resemble security-leaden fortresses, not places of worship.

As my father, who is eighty-five years old, and I eat breakfast the trauma of yesterday's events are clearly etched on his pale face: his speech is scarcely audible. We talk and ask each other questions to which there are no answers. Who? Why? When? My father is fearful they will return. I try to allay his fears though I am unable to tender assurance.

The perpetrators used a 'jemmy' (a small crow bar) to break the wood surrounding the side door of my father’s home to gain entry. My father and I had been out for something to eat and visit the local library. It happened between two and four o'clock on a sunny afternoon. Incredibly, no-one seen it happen; the physical appearance of strangers. Strange. Each room, cupboard, cabinet, drawer, armchair, seat, was overturned and ransacked. The thieves took cash and other sentimental items. It is impossible to describe the scene. My late mother's clothes, and personal items, jewellery, did not escape their onslaught. Property crime, while constantly in the spotlight, is one area of human endeavour where perpetrators largely go unpunished. Odd but true.

Photographs of the scenes of destruction are taken as we try to settle our father, while visibly upset ourselves. The police come and take a hazy statement from my father. Next, the forensic team. The police don't voice any hope of catching the perpetrators. In fact, the police have no information regarding the level of burglary in the area, possible offenders, or those known to handle stolen goods. It's a struggle to get a basic answer to a basic question out of the large silent garbs. I could go on but it would provoke a sudden shift in my already bleak mood.

I shiver with despair. I'm sure the burglars carried out some kind of reconnaissance prior to breaking into my father's home. Perhaps they called at the house? Stalked him at the local post office, or the local shops? An elderly person living alone is an easy target.

Throughout the world jails are full of people who feel no guilt for their crimes. They are deluded and undaunted by their shameful actions against humankind. Some perpetrators relish their life of crime and live with impunity. They sleep sound at night because they see no higher power than themselves. They have an inordinate ability to lie to themselves. Cut of from the real world they remain ignorant of their own faults, and, regrettably, remain free to commit further offenses.
Reflections: What is evil? I cannot answer that. All I know, is that actions which by their nature are destructive of human life and property, are customarily carried out by individuals who find it easy to blame others for their behaviour. They live in denial and with scant though for the well being of fellow human beings. I'm just thankful we're not all cut from the same cloth.

Friday, June 12, 2009

'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.]
ROSS: The one thing that radically changes one's life is death and believe me I’ve experienced both. I died in New York last Tuesday and was boxed home by Friday. Here I am; a man devoured by life, reborn!

TESS:  Is that a fact?

ROSS: Facts are to play with when bored and you feel utterly useless. May I kiss you good night?

TESS:  It’s two o’clock in the afternoon.

ROSS: A pure technicality.

TESS:  How many times have you been married?

ROSS [softly]: I believe twice. My first wife died of old age ...

TESS: And the second?

ROSS: She lived ... I died.

[TESS laughs and continues working.]

ROSS: We should hit the road together. You can be Clyde and I’ll be Bonnie Rabbit. Of course, we'll be the focus of outrageous attention. They'll say we're both mad or one of us. Photographs will confirm it's me. [With a slight snigger.] At night I'll play your favourite songs on a piano. I don't believe you've heard me sing?

TESS:  I’ve heard you talk and I’m not sure what language it is?

[TESS and ROSS both smile.]

ROSS: The place is quite today. Must be a lot of people in their bathtubs ... perhaps to calm their nerves? Playing with their little boats. I get out the old tin tub once a week. I, however, require a heavenly creature  present to restore my soul, keep me in high spirits and to pass me a lovely warm towel.

TESS:  What exactly is your line of work?

ROSS: Let me get the chronology right ... For a short period I was Emma Bovary’s accountant. Then I read street, shop and advertising signs for a man in Paris who was hard of hearing. For four weeks I was a chestnut tree: one of many surrounding a square in Montparnesse. Presently, besides being a fruitless writer, I make cameo appearances in flourishing novels. [He finishes his drink.] The money’s not great ... [TESS laughs.] Which reminds me?

[TESS takes the glass; fills it with brandy, and places it in front of ROSS.]

ROSS: Cheers. [Takes a mouthful.] Marvellous. [Pause} My lungs have resumed full working order. As for the rest of my body ...? I await confirmation.

[TESS smiles and goes in to the storeroom behind the bar. JOHN enters, walking slowly and awkwardly towards the bar. He runs a hand through his hair and nods sheepishly at ROSS.]

ROSS: Have you brought news from the outside world?

JOHN [puzzled]: News? ...  uh ... what news?

ROSS: I’m starved for news. Is the world all right? [gestures towards the door.] I’m curious? Aren’t you? Isn’t everybody?

JOHN: Uh . . . what?

ROSS: Curious? About other people? What they do? What they say? Do they mean what they say? [Pause] Do I mean what I say? Am I acquainted with what I’m saying?

[During a brief silence ROSS takes a drink and looks at JOHN again.]

ROSS: You remind me of a zombie. An ex-wife, in fact. Why don’t you sit down? Let’s have a tête-à-tête. I’m all ears. That’s a figure of speech by the way, just in case you have poor eyesight.

[JOHN remains standing at the counter unsure what to do with his hands. He taps his fingers on the counter.]

JOHN: [timidly; an afterthought]: Uh . . . pardon?

ROSS: Deaf, too. [Feigned surprise] Probably genetic.

End of Act One (Part One)

Read Act One (Part Two)

Reflections: My neighour isn't pleased with my new garage. He says it takes up most of his living room and kitchen. He has no thought for anyone but himself. When I'm revving my car engine all I can smell is cooked food.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

'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 ... vodka?

JOHN: Not exactly ... I haven’t drunk vodka in a while. [nervously] It makes me woozy ...

BESS: [to ROSS] It makes him woozy [to JOHN] Lucky you. A little brandy, maybe. What do you say, Ross? [BESS doesn’t wait for an answer and goes to the back of the bar.] Two brandies coming up for the boys in the house. [BESS pours the drinks.]

ROSS: Isn’t she magnificent? Bess has been working here all summer and as a consequence I’ve turned into an alcoholic. She endures - daily - my whistling nose, racing pulse, motionless demeanour and incessant ramblings. My doctor believes I should share my bed with a woman. Anyone, but my wife. In the dark her wide open eyes would shrivel the most ardent of unearthly creatures.

[BESS sets the drinks on the counter in front of ROSS and JOHN and stands with her hands on her hips.]

ROSS: [lifts his glass to JOHN, then BESS]: Cheers, to one and all. [ROSS and JOHN drink.]

BESS:  We’re not usually honoured by distinguished suits in this establishment. [She stares at JOHN for a moment making him feel uneasy.] Are you static or do you move around?

JOHN: Well, yes ... no ... It depends ...

BESS:  Depends on what? Your girlfriend? Your wife? Your tailor? [With a feigned smile] The hole in the ozone layer?

JOHN: Depends on circumstances ... whether I feel welcome in a place, or not ... whether I’ve got money ... circumstances ...

ROSS [feigned lament]: Work is the most despised of all human activities. It should be outlawed. Anyone found working should be incarcerated. One's life should not be dependent on places, people, or gadgets. [Pause] Even the simple art of breathing can be a chore. All I require is a folding bed, a dash of hypocrisy and I'm luminous. Totally, luminous! Isn't it strange how some people are dying to live, and some are dying to die? My advice is to keep clear of all ideas and concepts. You will be ignorant, uncreative, boring, but your life will be less complicated.

[BESS and JOHN stare at ROSS who has resumed the centre of attraction he desires.]

ROSS: I believe it is time for two more brandies, please. Put my young friend’s drinks on my tab. I insist! Such a charming, sensitive stranger deserves a cordial welcome.

[BESS fills both glasses and leaves them on the counter in front of ROSS and JOHN. She continues cleaning the bar. BESS and JOHN periodically exchange glances.]

ROSS [to JOHN]: That really is a fine suit. Don’t be put of by my cheap clothes. Believe me, I have worst at home. Rooms, wardrobes, trunks, full of them. Ladies clothes, all my exes clothes. I must round them up - the clothes, not my exes! - and give them to a charity. [Mockingly] It’s finding time.

[ROSS takes a drink and looks at JOHN who is fumbling in his pocket. He wonders why JOHN is so nervous. When JOHN looks up he notices BESS is staring at him.]

BESS:  What do you want here?

JOHN: I wish ... I need to talk to you. [Pause] Somewhere quiet.

[ROSS sips his brandy and turns his head to watch and listen, intrigued.]

BESS:  What do you want to talk about?

JOHN: [quietly, without eye contact]: Me ... I mean you ...

BESS:  I don’t enjoy talking. I find conversation more engaging. More impressive, more rewarding. [Pause] Providing they are authentic as regards feelings and behaviour.

JOHN: What do you mean?

BESS [moves closer to JOHN; speaks softly]: A good conversation is like making love. Rich and glorious. [Pause] Full of sighs, whispers, intense pleasure.

ROSS [to BESS]: Remarkable! [Clapping; playful] If I could speak French I’d say ‘Bravo!’

BESS [briskly]: If you want a conversation with me, lose the suit, tie and shoes. I don’t converse with stockbrokers or accountants. I’ve encountered both and had to fake suicide once or twice to recapture my sanity.

End Of Act One (Part Two)

Reflections:  I've finally concluded I can't predict anything with any degree of accuracy. This includes my prediction that I can't predict anything with any degree of accuracy. Furthermore, I feel I've never tapped my full potential. This could be the reason, that wherever I travel, water leaks from my left armpit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

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

ACT ONE (Part Three)

BESS [softly, to JOHN]: Come here.

JOHN [suspicious]: Why?

BESSFor God’s sake, just come here!

[JOHN moves closer to the counter.]

BESS:  Give me your socks and shoes.

JOHN [incredulously]: You’re kidding me? [Silence] You’re making a fool of me? . . . I’m right? [He briefly stares at ROSS who also appears baffled.]

BESS [playfully]:  Don’t be anxious. I’m harmless ... really! [Pause] I’ll explain later, but you must trust me [Slowly] That is, if you want a conversation?

[JOHN shakes his head in disbelief, and takes off his shoes and socks. He picks them up and gives them to BESS. She places them under the counter.]

BESS:  Now your coat, shirt and tie.

ROSS [cheerful, but puzzled]: This is ... dare I say ... wonderfully bizarre, even decadent!

[JOHN takes off his coat, shirt and tie, and hands them to BESS. She places them - with the other items - under the counter.]

BESS:  Now your trousers!

JOHN [embarrassed]: Why ... are ... you teasing me?

BESS:  The trousers!

[JOHN and ROSS exchange glances. BESS motions to JOHN for his trousers. He finally removes his trousers and hands them to her. BESS gives a laugh. JOHN is left standing in his underwear.]

JOHN: What are you trying to prove?

BESS:  Do you still want a conversation? [Softly] Somewhere quiet?

JOHN: Yes, of course ... I do.

[Brief silence.]

BESS:  Do you like singing and dancing?

JOHN: Not particularly ...

BESS:  [Brightly.] I’d be obliged if you would sing and dance to a favourite song of mine. It’s called "I Wanna Be Loved By You." Marilyn Monroe style, of course.

[JOHN laughs uncomfortably, and stares at BESS.]

JOHN: You sure have it in for me.

BESS:  Whatever gave you that idea? 

[BESS and ROSS watch JOHN with interested stares. They all remain still waiting for something to happen. JOHN shakes his head in bewilderment and then starts to singsoftly at first, until he gets into his stride.]

JOHN [sings and dances, rather badly, naked, bar his underwear.]:

I wanna be loved by you, just you,
And nobody else but you,
I wanna be loved by you, alone!

I wanna be kissed by you, just you,
Nobody else but you,
I wanna be kissed by you, alone!

Boop-boop, I couldn't aspire,
To anything higher,
Than, filled with desire,
To make you my own!
Boop-boop-a-doop, boop-boop-a-doop!

I wanna be loved by you, just you,
And nobody else but you,
I wanna be loved by you, alone!


[While JOHN sings and dances, BESS watches from behind the counter, head resting on her hands. ROSS gazes in amazement, occasionally sipping brandy. The following interplay takes place between them.]

BESS:  He’s a cute singer.

ROSS: Not a bad dancer, either. The resemblance to Marilyn is uncanny.

BESS:  Never struck me as a "Y-front" man?!

ROSS: Such a dazzling performance. Good-looking in a smouldering kind of way.

BESS:  [to ROSS, quietly] I’m ringing the police.

ROSS: Surely not? [BESS disappears into the storeroom.] Oh, well.


ROSS [clapping loudly]: Bravo! Encore! [Pause] When you sang and danced I had tears in my eyes.

[A brief, uneasy pause.]

ROSS: Don’t you care who’s on the other side of the line? I imagine she may be calling the police.

JOHN:  Do you like Bess?

ROSS: How old are you?

JOHN: Twenty-four ...

ROSS: Twenty-four beats fifty-four every time. Unless, of course the female feasts on power, prestige and capital, and craves a different face and body enhancements for each new holiday season  [Pause] And I thought I’d seen it all. [With a smile] You’re jealous. You want her heart on a silver platter. Admirable and natural. [Pause; sniggers] I believe you should get dressed.

[A brief silence. BESS returns from the storeroom and approaches JOHN. Bess is carrying a bag with JOHN’s clothing and shoes.]

BESS [To JOHN]: How do you feel?

ROSS: Fine. And you?

BESS:  Awash with tenderness and passion.

ROSS: Was ... Am I silly, foolish ...?

BESS:  Do you really want an answer?

ROSS: No. Anyway, I’ve finished hedging my bets. "Maybe" and "perhaps" no longer exist in my vocabulary.

BESS: What do you want to talk about?

JOHN: You.

BESS:  Why?

JOHN: It involves me.

BESS:  In what possible way?

JOHN: I’m asking you to marry me.

[An uncomfortable pause.]

JOHN: Well?

BESS:  Yes!

JOHN: Louder!

BESS:  YES! {They kiss.] YES!

[The trio smile.]

BESS:  Goodbye Ross. I'm hitting the road.

ROSS: So I see. Good luck my young friends.

[BESS, carrying the bag of clothes, and JOHN in his underwear, exit embracing each other, in joyous mood. The sound of a police siren draws near. ROSS is left sitting at the bar on his own.]

ROSS [smiling and cheerful]: If any of you know cause or just impediment ... [Lifts his brandy glass, and turns to audience.] Bottoms Up!


Reflections:  Even though forty years had passed, my late father-in law, Charlie, could recall the train carriage, the railway station, the young lady's eyes, her half-smile as she stood on the platform. He encountered the young lady on the train. They had not spoken on the journey. But he had noticed her face, which glowed like the sky welcoming the sun. When she stood on the platform, and gazed at him on the train as it pulled out of the station, that moment entered the depths of his memory to return throughout his lifetime.

There was no reason to get off the train. But what if he had? Would she have stood and talked to him, or walked away? Would his life have changed irrevocable? Does it matter? It mattered to him. The fact remains; he regretted not decanting from the train. One should not confuse success with happiness in relations with the opposite sex. They are different. When someone takes a genuine interest in you it is invigorating, comforting, sustenance for a tired ego. It is always, however, too late to start being young again.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A Passion to Endure a Lifetime

What age does one have to be to form a passion that will endure a life time?

During the primeval darkness of puberty I began an ebullient love affair with reading, music, TV shows, humour, and discovering erogenous zones: anything involving an armpit. Language and music seemed to delve deep into my soul and fire my emotions. Though childish for my age, and with a restricted ability to understand the rules of grammar and vocabulary, I soldiered on.

Then I discovered melody, harmony, rhythm, phrasing and imagination (not only in music) but in folk tales, novels, poetry, and leg-wrestling. I read voraciously, but the story was overly optimistic, so I opted for Anne of Green Gables. The one thing in life I've never regretted.

In this new era of my life I have morphed into a watchful observer. When I'm not at home, perhaps shopping or swimming in a drained pool, I hold a 'wood effect country birch' venetian blind in front of my face. I've been arrested five times as a Peeping Tom and twice as a banal beech.

Am I to be pilloried for boring a hole in my shutters just because Lady Godiva's hair was cut too short prior to the lady riding her horse? I demand flip flops that don't leak! I demand the name of the stranger standing on my head! Do I sound irrational and erratic?! If not, you may be on the same medication as me. Try meditation, or standing naked among cattle lying in a meadow. However, one can never be too careful standing close to swishing tails.

I took my dog to the vet today. The vet's diagnosis was worrying. She said the dog had Parrot Disease, aka Parrot Fever, Pigeon Fancier's Lung. When I said I couldn't understand how a dog could catch this disease my dog said, 'Who's a pretty boy then? Who's a pretty boy? Go on ... Tell me. Who's a pretty boy, then?' I cracked. I was in such a state I drove home without my car. It was a mistake to buy my dog her own Espresso coffee maker, and to let her sleep in the kitchen. There's no food left in the fridge and she's left the steam iron on again.

This afternoon I sat down and wrote an email to my dearest friend in Oxford, England.

I've fallen in love again. This time with a human being. She's beauty personified, wealthy, and fluent in German. I know what you're thinking? I can't speak German. But I'm besotted! I know! I know! Even when the sun shines at its brightest, the rain runs down her face, and her voice is sometimes lofty. I've made an appointment with a doctor to diagnose her condition. However, believe me, she is like no other. She's learning me how to 'Goose-Step' to 'Achy Breaky Heart'. I know this may sound simply-minded, however, every time I mention Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, she gets hot under the collar. Any ideas?

Reflections: The time will come when everything one does will be just a memory, including one's notion of paradise.

Friday, June 05, 2009

A Depressed Evergreen Plant

Aimee Kerrigan bringing home the harvest

I'll get straight to it. I've a depressed evergreen plant on my hands. It's not a great surprise that the plant has picked up bad vibes from staring at me from across the room. The plant's healthy foliage has turned a splotched and veined shade of - how best to describe it? - yes, caramel brown, which just happens to be the name of an ex-girlfriend. Everything I look at reminds me of Caramel; especially her photographs. I used to call her CB for short. She called me 'Loser.'

Anyhow, my evergreen plant is starting to get up later each day, demanding coffee and the newspaper. It habitually complains about the cold weather and believes our home is full of seal-hunters' dressed as egg white. It's worse at night. The evergreen plant is scared of the dark and has to sleep in my room. One night it had the audacity to undress and wriggle naked under the sheets of my bed. (Something I'll never forget, that's for sure.) The funny thing is: I purchased the bloody plant to brighten up my life.

When I was young I detested uncles visiting our family home; sometimes with their irritating wives. Some were fat, bearded, spoke in loud voices, smelt of whiskey and smoked cigars - the men weren't much better. One particular evening the combination of smells was so overbearing I had to hold my breath. I held it too long and passed out. When I came round a red-faced, plump woman said, 'Look at my finger - yes, just as I thought. One of your eyes isn't moving.' I wet myself and once more lost consciousness. From that moment on my life has moved unhindered between explosive joy and boundless terror. My bladder has just struck again. In truth, life is marked by ups and downs and stains in one's underwear.

Blog Tag, as initiated by Frieda Babbley. The following is not for the faint of heart, mind or wallet.

List 1: Things I've always wanted to do
  1. Master vertical take-off, and landing, without an aircraft;
  2. Rest between Cécile De France, and Audrey Tautou, in a large bed in a Paris hotel, eating grapes and drinking champagne - both ladies laughing, smiling, and conversing with me in French (I can't speak French, but who's counting?);
  3. Stop laughing in court when ordered by the judge;
  4. Dart around and sniff the ankles of passers-by like my dog, Metro;  
  5. To half-read a novel by Amanda McKittrick Ros;
  6. Take my grand-daughter, Aimee, to Central Park, NY, to sit on the sculpture of Alice in Wonderland - something, everyone should do, irrespective of age, or disposition.
List 2: Foods I love
  1. The paintings of Francis Bacon - grilled;
  2. Day lilies - only at night;
  3. Fiddler crab - breaks my heart to eat them especially after they've performed a violin sonata;
  4. My doctor said I should eat more fibre. I'm currently eating the hull of a boat. A guy told me it's made of fiber-glass; tastes a tad salty;
  5. Runner beans when I can catch them;
  6. Plays by Luigi Pirandello. So far I've consumed ten copies of Six Characters in search of an Author. I recommend a second-hand copy with a stir-fry.
List 3: Things I love
  1. Driving my jet-ski through the streets of my town;
  2. Skipping without a rope;
  3. Throwing turnips at my wife, and children, packed with explosives;
  4. Works by Andy Warhol completed before 1927;
  5. Sailing of Norway, and shouting "Here Boy" at dogfish;
  6. Looking at the Earth from the Moon.

      Reflection: Some people shrug their shoulders when asked a straight question due to the fact they don't like a conversation to end in failure.