Stork & Owl by TV On The Radio

"turn from the fear of the storms that might be
oh let it free that caged on fire thing
oh hold its hands, it’ll feel like lightning
oh in your arms safe from the storms” 

LUSH, FRANKLY

Rupert has a bad one

Here this is a fictional story I’m writing or I guess have written (here) about poor Rupert, who is having a party for his 23rd bday, and who goes into his bedroom to find one of his best and closest friends (Daria) giving a blow job to one of his other best and closest friends (Chuck), which is problematic for Rupert because he’s in love (obsessively and overwhelmingly) with Daria, and has been since they first met, three years ago, and he had presumed (she had told him) that the only reason nothing had ever happened between them is because she’s a lesbian (she’d been in five relationships with females since they’d met), while Chuck has been Rupert’s pal for over 15 years, since primary school in fact, where they initially bonded over how gross girls are with their gross girl germs and silly hairbands or whatever. Rupert’s reaction is, considering the situation – and considering all the other experiences and the subtleties shared between these characters, of which I have no time or patience to illustrate here – underwhelming, because instead of screaming in a rage as both of his best and closest friends turn to him (Daria now having released Chuck’s penis from her mouth) with dumb-fuck drunken expressions, he merely apologises weakly and leaves the room. Downstairs (where the party’s really poppin’ I can assure you) he moves through the crowds of sweaty, gurning youths, most of whom hadn’t been invited, and in the living room he clocks Lydia, a girl who works at the same café that he works at, who is beautiful and lovely, actually, actually really much superior to Daria. Yes she may lack that certain edge I guess but she makes up for it with her positive vibes and delightful innocent eyes. Rupert approaches her, he mumbles how’s it going, and she says what. She’s smiling but only sort of and he asks if he can kiss her and she still hasn’t heard what he’s saying because the music (‘Love On Top’ by Beyoncé) is loud, but he just goes for it, touches her face lightly with his hand and goes in for a kiss, but she recoils, her expression just one of disgust (she’s disgusted). 

Rupert is overcome by a brief moment of serenity as he realizes two of the worst case scenarios that plagued his imagination in recent months have come to pass within moments of one another and he leaves the room, goes outside to catch some air or something, but is followed by a man who we can assume is Lydia’s boyfriend because he punches Rupert to the floor and proceeds to kick him a whole bunch of times. There is a short period of blackness and Rupert finds himself amid a lesser blackness, in the back seat of a taxi with a strange boy he’s sure he hasn’t met before, with an oversized head and an emoish fringe, who’s smiling in the darkness and promising that they’ll be at A&E very soon. They get to A&E but neither Rupert nor the boy (Sam, Exeter University under graduate) have cash so the driver drives them to a cash machine and Sam confesses he’s skint (says his dad would force feed him his own excrement if he spends any more money) so Rupert pays for it. The A&E waiting area is alarmingly packed and when Rupert flips through the fashion magazines he is reminded, on almost every page, of Daria or Lydia or sometimes both Daria and Lydia and it’s too much, crying seems like a very real possibility. They’re there for two hours and though Rupert knows he should feel grateful to this Sam stranger for giving some kind of fuck, he is terrible company (their only real interaction, beyond superfluous small talk, is an argument about HobNobs and NikNaks, with Sam under the illusion that HobNobs are crisps and NikNaks are biscuits, and Rupert feels genuinely, blackly enraged by it, but he keeps it quiet, just argues his point with all the reserve he can muster, until Sam digs his own grave by Googling the snacks in question on his iPhone). Rupert’s name is eventually called out and he is given a check up by the doctor (Doctor Ferguson, lived a lot of her life between Italy and Austria, in an attempt to please both sides of her stubborn family, now lives on the harbour side in Bristol, free of obligation) and she tells him he’s fine, no sign of concussion, and this causes Rupert to fall into a painful, whole-bodied weeping. Doctor Ferguson shows a minor amount of sympathy (how many drunks have cried at her tonight?) and guides him out of the room, muttering that it’ll be okay, it’ll be okay.

They get another taxi which yes Rupert pays for and it’s about 7am by the time they get back to the house (Rupert regrets now succumbing to the pressure of his friends, mainly Chuck, for having the party on the Friday, because he needs to be in work in four hours). Most people have departed now, except for a group of five, none of whom Rupert recognises, and who are all chattering very quietly in a disjointed manner about deeply personal issues regarding their various extremities of mental illness (this being interlaced with semi-humorous nonsense). Up in his bedroom Rupert finds, thankfully, no Chuck or Daria, but there is also a lack of mattress (someone has stolen his mattress), which is inconvenient, but he guesses he would have wanted it burned anyway, since it’s what Chuck’s butt was on while that bad thing was happening (the blow job between his two best and closest friends). Rupert sleeps (more or less) on the floor next to the bed and wakes up to an obnoxious banging, and the angry repetition of his own name (Rupert). It’s a man standing at his bedroom door, holding a can of Oust which he’s hitting against the door frame, and Rupert realises this man is his landlord (Niall, 54, a landlord), and his landlord is telling him that he’s going to be evicted and won’t be getting his deposit back because looking at the state of the place – the devastation – many rules of the tenancy agreement have been broken, including the actual brokenness of various items of furniture, as well as the staining of walls and carpets with various substances, the smoking of cigarettes and weed, and the evidence of other drugs about the place – about which, actually, he is lucky he doesn’t inform the police, though he has taken photographs – and he has two days to pack up his shit and fuck the fuck off. During all of this Rupert realises he had been sleeping with his right hand in semen (presumably Chuck’s) (it had glued his hand to the carpet) and that he is over an hour late for work. The landlord departs with a semi-erection of triumphant rage and Rupert pulls on his all-black uniform and cycles along the wide suburbs to the café (the summer heat today is too much for most people, but at this stage Rupert is feeling beyond dazed, reality seeming to be something of a farcical play that has nothing and everything to do with him). When he arrives at the kitchen, the manager (Angela, dyed red hair, Lithuanian) takes him upstairs to her tiny musty office where she speaks to Rupert in tones of great sympathy and remorse, explaining that she hates to be doing this on his birthday and especially because he looks so incredibly rough today (like, incredibly rough), but that they’re having to downsize on the members of staff and that Rupert’s lateness today (along with his many sick days off and his generally not being very good at his job) has elected him for prime candidacy for the firing, which she is afraid is immediate, due to the impermanence of his contract, and she can’t apologise enough, she really can’t. Rupert has nothing to say on the matter, so he leaves and heads to where he chained his bike, which he predicts (given the circumstances of the last 12 hours) that it has been stolen, but actually it hasn’t, actually it is in the process of having its tires stolen, by two hooded individuals. Rupert says something like “Erm”, loud enough for them to hear, and they both turn to him, smirking, and they must be about 13 years of age. One of the children (Mitch, recently punched his pothead mother in the stomach) takes a couple steps towards Rupert, making like he is playing with something in his pocket, something like a knife or a gun, and asks if he can borrow his phone and wallet for a bit. Rupert is about to say no but the other, taller child (Jack, wants to be an app designer) takes more steps towards him, at a quicker pace, and Rupert relents immediately, saying Okay okay okay, handing over his possessions despite the ambiguity of the threat.

Rupert walks back to his flat, where he finds Sam, in the kitchen, frying fish fingers in a pan, intentionally causing them to set on fire a bit because he likes them like that, and he makes sure Rupert is aware of this, by telling Rupert twice, but Rupert doesn’t care, Rupert asks him to leave and please don’t come back. He checks Facebook on his laptop, slumped in his armchair, and is of course attacked by a multitude of happy birthdays, and photos already uploaded of the party, of him and Daria smiling together, and it’s too much, he starts to weep uncontrollably, shuddering, comes very close to throwing his laptop onto the floorboards, and then he sees a status posted by his sister, mourning the loss of her (their) mother. He sends her a message (“Has mum really died?”) but she isn’t online, so he goes to the bank with his I.D. to draw money out and then gets a new SIM card for his old Blackberry, has the contacts switched back over (the man in the phone shop is kind and granddad-like, overwhelmingly helpful in spirit, but slow, slow, slow, slow, slow, slow), and then gives his sister a call. His sister (Suzie, retaking Biology and Chemistry at college) confirms the death of their mother, says she didn’t tell him because he hadn’t been around for 8 months (she is punishing him for being a bad son and a bad brother although he wasn’t that bad, not really, he still texted and called every so often, it wasn’t like he’d been neglecting them completely) and that it (he) had slipped her mind. Suzie says their mum (Sophie, favourite colour the colour somewhere between purple and silver, she would always say) died choking on one of the toffees among the box of toffees that someone (Rupert) had sent her for Mother’s day, but that, of course, you can’t really blame anyone for a tragic accident such as this. The funeral is today. He gets to the train station and as both you and he probably predicted, there is a whole to-do with the trains due to some terrible misinformation on the scheduling panels and he ends up getting on the wrong train, in fact a train that is heading more or less in the exact opposite direction and, as the conductor announces through the speakers, won’t be getting to the next train station for 37 minutes, meaning he will definitely be late for the funeral. He goes for a much needed pee in the tiny claustrophobic toilet and while peeing the juddering of the train causes his fingers to briefly push into his scrotum and he feels something he hadn’t felt before, a sort of lump. After peeing he takes a closer look at it and it certainly looks suspicious, and when he searches on Google Images on his Blackberry the collage of cancerous testicles confirms his fears exactly (he has developed an early form of testicular cancer).

He returns to his seat in carriage B, which is half empty (certainly nothing in this story could be half full), and stares out the window, watching the lush expanse of countryside pass steadily by. A purplish light flashes then, in the distance, and there are thousands of human corpses raining from the sky, all without heads – at least that’s how it seems – pouring upon the fields and the bushes and the cows, and soon the train starts taking off like a plane and is flying through the sky and a torrent of fire is swirling all around, the passengers are ripping off their clothes and screaming and fucking one another as they start sprouting a thick, oily fur from their naked bodies, their eyeballs expanding somehow beyond the perimeters of their faces, except for the train conductor, who is Sam, in a train conductors outfit, who beckons for Rupert at the end of the isle and Rupert follows, trying not to be sexed by any of the passengers. Sam, who is dribbling and smiling with a pristine compassion, presses the button to open the carriage door and offers his hand to Rupert, which Rupert — after some seconds of hesitance — gladly takes, and they go, and beyond the carriage the train has come apart and from here we can see our planet Earth blossoming in full, like a flower in time-lapse, mountains growing long and twisted, their peaks curling around and around, the concrete cities being destroyed by the trees and their branches which wrap around the buildings and the monuments and the cars strangling anything and anyone, before producing giant eggs which hatch into a billion horses made of fire and semen and maybe jellybabies, they swarm the land and take back what’s theirs, and why did it have to end this way why does it always

Life is like a box of chocolates (spiralling badly)

life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.

life is like a box of chocolates, if you check the list first and actually look where you’re putting your hand you’ll know exactly what you’re going to get.

life is like a box of chocolates, if you share it with someone else, you’ll come away feeling robbed and unsatisfied.

life is like a box of chocolates. if you’re a dog you’ll definitely be dead by the end of it. 

life is like a box of chocolates, you stay more or less the same kind of a prick throughout.

life is like a box of chocolates: starts off hopeful and sweet, but at about half way through you’ll be miserable and will hate yourself, but you’ll just keep going regardless, because, let’s be honest, what else is there? it’s sickening and mostly lonely but at least there’s something, at least there’s always something coming next no matter how bad it’s going to feel. until it’s over, and then you collapse into a sofa and shit your pants.

life is like a box of chocolates. pace yourself, and hey maybe it’ll be all right!

life isn’t that much like a box of chocolates.

My husband the koala bear

Meet my husband, Phil

image

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘It’s not your husband. It’s a koala bear.’ 

Well as the title of this blog post explicitly states, my husband is indeed actually a koala bear. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not been fucking easy. People are very judgmental, especially in Bath, where we met —  where things blossomed. I wouldn’t recommend going to Bath if you ever find yourself in a relationship with a marsupial. Or if you’re looking to make any kind of financial, spiritual, intellectual, etc. progress in life. 

But yes, Phil and I met back when I was a student, in third year. At the time I was sleeping somewhat obnoxiously on the sofa of some dear friends. It was a ridiculous point in my life, sleeping on that sofa, as my anxiety and depression became fully realised and I was drinking too much (I say this as though things are vastly different now). 

Anyway, the strangest thing about the house I was staying at — other than my phantom presence — was that its landlord happened to be a koala bear. When they told me I was as dubious as you are, probably, reading this, because I was pretty certain that koalas only inhabited terrible places like zoos or Australia. I also didn’t realise they had the capacity for the purchasing, maintaining, and letting of entire buildings, and all the complications involved in such work. I thought most of their time was spent doing poos off trees. On Australians. Because they deserve it. (For the record I actually don’t have any strong opinions on Australia or its people). So I told my commandeered housemates, Look, just shut up, I’m trying to be sad about my life. The idea of an intelligent, busy body koala bear, that could talk, was much too humorous to fit in with the narrative of my life that I imagined for myself.

The day we met, things were electric. There was always a kerfuffle when the landlord was visiting, because, obviously, I was an illegal tenant, so I’d have to hide my suitcase and all my clothes, usually behind the sofa or in someone’s bedroom, and vacate the premises for an hour or two (Phil was never specific on the timing of his visits). One day, however, he knocked a tiny paw on the front door, unannounced. One of the legal tenants answered the door, and upon seeing him, said “Hello,” and loudly,” PHIL!!” — the sort of thing you meet see in a sitcom — so I was alerted to his presence. In a panic, I threw my suitcase behind the sofa, as always, and then, not as always, lay on top of it. Unfortunately, due to the size of the suitcase, I wasn’t hidden all the way, and when Phil entered the living room, he spotted me immediately. And I spotted him. It turned out my friends, my commandeered housemates, they were right. The landlord was, after all, an actual koala bear. But what I saw, standing in the doorway —  with an expression as disapproving and confused as any human landlord may look, upon finding a half-naked man, half-hiding behind a sofa — beyond the fur, beyond the disproportionately tiny eyes and oversized ears —  I saw a shocking a spirit.

Love struck me like a lightning bolt shooting from the mouth of an eagle riding a wave of euphoria in an ocean of Red Bull. Like every inch of me had been both scorched and rejuvenated simultaneously. 

What followed was something of a roller coaster ride, but I won’t go into it in too much detail. You’ve all seen The Notebook and other such romantic dramas. Romeo and Juliet, and so on. I had a lot of difficulty coming to terms with being in love with a koala, and even when I finally succumbed (one rainy night in the middle of a Somerset flower meadow), we both knew society would never accept it. Let’s just say things peaked when I found myself involved in a sword fight with my love-rival, the mayor of Bristol (who ironically was also a racist against koala bears), on the edge of a sheer cliff.

These days things have simplified. We got married privately on a cruise ship once owned by Richard Branson, by an open minded Australian priest. Phil has sold all of his property and spends his days in my bedroom (I have a bedroom now), hiding from my housemates while I go to work to pay the bills. It’s not the most ideal life. I feel sometimes I’m a bad influence. He’s since reverted to sleeping 20 hours a day as most koalas are like to do, largely due to the lack of nutrition in their diets. Or at least that’s what he told me; he then showed me the wikipedia page on koalas to prove it, but who’s to say it wasn’t just some lazy fucking koala bear who wrote that entry so they could get away with living a life of leisure? And now, as I plan my big move to Canada, I’m starting to wonder whether or not I want Phil to come with me, considering we only spend four hours together every day, and in those four hours sometimes I wonder if he’s secretly stoned. What to do? What to do. 

Nonsense in your face

It’s weird sometimes not leaving the house for a whole day. I end up typing bullshit that’s not interesting but feeling compelled to publish it online as though anyone gives a fuck. Like I began typing this sentence without a single clue as to where I would take it, this continuing to be the case, though my hopes certainly aren’t very high, and the longer I drag it out the more I draw attention to the fact that I have nothing to say, so I probably maybe need to stop.

In other news it turns out that I’m moving to Canada in two months. A friend of mine from 6th form contacted me saying she’s started her own animation studio in Toronto and wants to hire me as a writer. It’s proper offices as well — they’re currently renting one floor in the building —  and she gave me a webcam tour of it, all looking very swish. We used to do plays together for a while, usually short comedic takes on classic tales such as those by Dickens and Shakespeare, which I’d co-write and she’d perform a leading role (I’d usually do a bit of acting in there myself). Her artwork never seemed great to be honest, the little I saw of it, a little too much like she was ripping off Tim Burton, but she’s shown me some of her latest stuff - short videos and things - and it’s actually pretty amazing. The tone of it all is very goth comedy, but — I must stress — in a good way. She says she wants me to do voice acting over there as well since my ‘bland British tones’ are just the thing. Apparently  I’ll be allowed  a fair bit of creative freedom, which I kind of find hard to believe, but I’m just grateful to be given this opportunity, basically! Things are going to be pretty chaotic from here on out: firstly I’ve got to get a passport. And new clothes, especially jeans, what with most of what I own bearing holes that’d be likely to cause a frozen bollock or two. Plus I have no idea how my husband will react when I tell him that I’ve got to somehow learn how to grow wings from my shoulder blades so I can fly all the way to Canada, which I believe is one of the few remaining cities still thriving on the moon after the economic crash when the nightmare hoards of Flower Pot Men were let loose and ravaged the Eastern realms. GOD IS GREAT!!

Let’s get to going somewhere!

-

I wonder how many millions of blog entries begin with the sentiment of ‘Haven’t posted here in a while…’ and I wonder how many have directly referenced the fact that there are probably millions of other blog entries that begin with ‘Haven’t posted here in a while…’ so as to avoid being exactly like all those other blog entries beginning with ‘Haven’t posted here in a while…’ while also displaying an acknowledgement of not having posted here in a while.

This is something genuinely that I wonder. 

My life has changed vaguely since I last posted anything related to my life, which was, uh,  a while ago. In summary, I was looking for a job, and then I found a job, and I don’t intend on going all the way with quoting a Smiths lyric, but it is fucking bullshit.

Presently things are stagnant. I started working for a charity call centre like forever ago and it turns out I’m still working here and nothing is changing, nothing is happening, and it’s all my fault. I’ve allowed this. I need an escape plan. Sure, being here isn’t necessarily the worst: there’s a lot of nice people equally bored by the job, and the wage affords me to pay rent, pay bills, and go out drinking more or less whenever I so desire (often). The job itself is brutally boring, repetitive, soul-mangling, etc. but it’s almost fine when you get to sit next to someone funny because you can spend the day — between calls — being funny together, tricking yourself into thinking that this is an acceptable way to live your life. But now that I’ve been here for nearly six (six!) months, it’s time my escape plan became fully realised. Vaguely it involves cutting down my hours and using that free time to volunteer, to add stuff to my CV that will aid me in getting a job that I truly desire, and to then attain said desired job, although what that is specifically I still don’t know.

The cowardly child in me just wants to pack it all in, use whatever money I have left over to buy a laptop that actually works, and crawl back to my parent’s home in the Deep South (of England) where I will finish my Sexy Hot Fantastic Novel and get it published. However I’m aware of what becomes of someone who attempts that: even if it magically works out and the novel is published, nothing really changes. Your masterpiece has come out unnoticed, been given a shitty cover by the marketing department because you have no choice in the matter, and you’re still living with your parents, the lack of profit made from the novel meaning that you can’t afford to move out. You become just this big lump of wet dough, sort of slowly oozing about the house in your undersized dressing gown, leaving sticky trails wherever you go.

So let’s not be silly:

Volunteering it is, then, I guess. Although of course finding a voluntary position that is relevant to my career plans, that would accept someone with little experience, and that could fit in to the few days that I have off every week (by far the biggest obstacle, even if I were to cut down my days), may not actually be very easy and in fact as I begin searching around the web for something that even resembles anything like this I am overwhelmed with dread and despair and hopelessness and oh my god it all seems so terrible I mean it’s just the worst kind of bullshit why would anyone volunteer to be someone’s FUCKING MUSE that’s so weird how is that even —

I will get back to you. 

Christmas To Do List

1. eat too much cheese

2. wait at train stations for 10 hours

3. wrap presents last minute with anything i can find (e.g. newspaper and bluetack)

4. do lots of silent farts

5. ask Baby Jesus to delay my breakdown until after New Year

6. watch Muppet’s Christmas Carol

7. watch at least one Harry Potter movie 

8. embrace alcoholism

9. have an utterly depressing and awkward conversation with Uncle Derek 

10. watch Doctor Who

my favourite things are people who don’t look where they’re walking and couples who are intimate/making out in front of me, so when faced with these things occurring simultaneously within two orally connected beings, who’s to say that i didn’t, for a brief moment, gaze at the truck coming quickly down the road, and consider this truck to be a tool for their reward, a solution? who’s to say? and when the truck passed and i hadn’t acted who’s to say that i didn’t feel a bitter sense of disappointment, of regret? am i typing this on my phone while curled up on the bathroom floor, naked and weeping, my only solace knowing that there’s a macaroni and cheese ready meal awaiting me in the fridge and a whole world of mindless youtube videos on my laptop? who can say.

Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling

Jacqueline hated Clare in a way that felt cold and hard and real. Clare was younger and prettier than Jacqueline, and yes, that was something Jacqueline resented, sometimes, but it wasn’t the reason. She had known many (many!) younger and prettier girls in her time, and these girls only ever mildly annoyed her, in a way she understood was silly, could roll up into a little ball and put to one side. This was different. This was stuck inside her stomach, a thick rod of ice that would never melt. They’d been co-workers for nearly eight months now, at the Gatehouse, a portal between the human realm and the other realm, and in this time the only qualities Jacqueline could glean from Clare’s personality were negative:

  • SELFISH

  • VAIN

  • PETULANT

  • LAZY

  • MANIPULATIVE

  • STUPID (VAGUELY)

  • BORING (UTTERLY)

The occasions she would flirt her way out of doing any work – the manager, a disgusting and awkward troll, adored her wide eyes and fire-red hair – were innumerable, and Jacqueline would always be left to pick up the slack. What made it worse was that Clare would sometimes make out that it was Jacqueline who was the lazy one. Clare had this faux-obsession with the vending machine, would be exasperated if she ever found it to be close-to-empty, though would very rarely restock it herself, claiming simply that she always did it, and it’s not her turn. One time she threw a genuine tantrum and lay on the floor of the staff room, crying, and Jacqueline had to be all sympathies and apologies, as enforced by the manager. Times like this – when Clare’s apparent stress peaked – she would talk about her dead father, how she wishes he was still around, how he used to call her buttercup and buy her candy floss at the beach, and she would eat it, standing with him hand in hand, at the edge of the pier. These memories felt contrived to Jacqueline, like something out of a poorly written parody of a poorly written soap opera. Jacqueline’s father was dead as well, died when she was seven, but she never complained about it. She never used it as a reason to fall into a pitiful fit of despair and not do any work.

Jacqueline wanted to cut out Clare’s stomach and put it up on the mantelpiece at home, next to that bland fox sculpture her husband had bought because he thought it was cute. Jacqueline wanted to slice off Clare’s fingers and feed them to the giant, juddering fishes that would often pass through the Gatehouse. But Jacqueline wouldn’t; Jacqueline’s a mother of two.

One day Clare asked Jacqueline if she wanted to go to dinner, said she felt like they’ve never really had the chance to bond. She said it like they had only recently met, like she hadn’t been an impossible bitch all these months. It was the worst. It made Jacqueline feel that all the resentment she had built up over this terrible period had become worthless, imaginary. But maybe this was part of some manipulative scheme to get rid of her? Get her drunk, get her bitching about the manager, so she can report back to him, maybe, maybe —

Jacqueline accepted the invite, regardless, because Jacqueline was nothing if not polite. She was also curious.

They went to dinner and it was a great night. A lot of wine was drunk, a lot of laughs were had. It turned out they shared a great deal of acquaintances in the town and Clare had a great deal of funny opinions on each of them, and the more they talked, the more Jacqueline’s feelings of hatred faded. She had to keep going to the bathroom to check herself in the mirror, to peer into her own eyes and wonder what the fuck was going on. Her reflection was smiling. She was having a wonderful time. But more than that: she felt clear-headed, invigorated, felt like an actual living human being. She almost wanted to —

Afterwards, they hugged outside the restaurant and departed from one another. It had been a warm summer’s day but the sun was setting now, and the breeze was a strange kind of cold, like it was coming from inside her. As she watched Clare walk down the dimming street, her heels clacking against the cobbled road, Jacqueline felt her hatred begin to form itself anew. It felt harder, more solid than ever. And at the same time, she felt she had lost something. What had just happened? Had Clare tricked her? What could she possibly have gained from it all?

Jacqueline wanted Clare to get run over by an ambulance.

She decided to follow in Clare’s direction – she was going only a little out of the way, anyway – just to see. To see what? She wanted to see what kind of house she was living in, what kind of area. Somewhere posh, probably, somewhere she herself could never hope to afford (she suspected vaguely that Clare was getting paid a much higher wage for the job due to her looks; also she didn’t have the burden of two children and a writer husband pickaxing her finances, the writer husband being a failed writer and therefore arguably not a writer at all, since he hadn’t had anything published other than bits of shitty poetry in magazines nobody reads, and it’s not like Jacqueline would consider herself an artist or photographer, despite on occasion taking surrealist-influenced photographs and creating collages, and having received a first for her degree in Fine Art at university — she would never consider herself anything other than a receptionist).

The town was beginning to empty, so she had to keep a fair distance away to remain unnoticed. At one point Clare stopped to chat with a homeless man, who was sitting on the floor outside the closed arcade, while Jacqueline watched from behind a No Parking sign. After two minutes or so, she waved the homeless man goodbye, though didn’t appear to give him any money, and went on her way. Further up the street, near the train station, the red lights of the level crossing began to flash, the sirens wailing. The upright barriers started to shudder, and Clare quickly ran across the track, getting to the other side just before they came crashing down. Jacqueline hesitated for a second – if she was quick, she could go up the steps to the grey bridge that leads over the track, and could carry on trailing Clare. But that would turn it into a whole thing.

Then she thought, bloody fuck it.

So she followed her all through town, until finally Clare came to a house in a dark street just outside of the centre. It was an indistinct semi-detached house, Victorian maybe, painted white. Jacqueline, crouched behind a car, watched Clare rummaging through her handbag for her keys. When she found them, however, she dropped them, and they fell down the steps and onto the street’s pathway. As Clare went after them, she glanced in Jacqueline’s direction and Jacqueline ducked. There was a long pause. Jacqueline was on all fours, her hands and knees pressed uncomfortably into the concrete. Then Clare called Jacqueline’s name, and there was another pause.

“I know you’re there,” she said. “I saw your face.”

Her face had been lit up by a street light.

Jacqueline, however, continued to be silent. She was a frightened cat. Clare sighed, taking a step forward and picking up her keys. She went back up to the door.

“You can come inside if you want.”

After a couple minutes of silence, Jacqueline raised herself to see that Clare was gone, but had left her front door slightly ajar.

More than anything, she wanted to go inside. She didn’t know what she expected to find in there (surely just a normal, vaguely-trendy living room and maybe a cat?), but she felt something powerful resonating from that doorway, like it was an entrance to somewhere else. Not like the Gatehouse, not a way to the Other Realm, but to a place much bigger, much more important than that. And who’s waiting for her at home, anyway, other than her husband who was probably right now smoking his pretentious pipe and eating very unpretentious junk-food while watching documentaries about children with unfortunate deformities or the history of class prejudice in Britain or transgender communities in third world countries or whatever else is irrelevant to his own bubble-existence, absorbing fragments of information, the solid facts and statistics so he can quote them in conversation and come across as interesting and liberal, come across like he’s not wasting his days just lying on the sofa, occasionally getting stoned, who probably by now has passed out because he’s stuffed his body with too much shit, too many crisps and cheeses and breadsticks, and her two sons, who no longer belong to her but to technology, to the internet, who are in their bedroom playing whatever latest zombie videogame they managed to persuade their dad to purchase for them, with her own money, because he’s such a great dad, he’s so cool, so relaxed about everything? Oh yes very relaxed until he is asked to do something, like for example tidy the house or take the kids to the park or get, like, a job, at which point he comes over all pathetic and apologetic, starts talking about his terrible upbringing and his manipulative parents and their toxic spite, and bemoaning his own sense of artistic pride, his big manly artistic pride, but it’s not pride, it’s vanity, because pride usually has a basis, doesn’t it, and it’s very difficult to be proud of nothing, and would it be so terrible if he died, lying there on that sofa after staying up till four in the morning, choking on a throatful of Tangy Cheese Doritos? Wouldn’t their sons benefit in the end to learn that it’s not okay to be that way, that disgusting pig, that bag of fucking dog shit?

Is this a blog or a blog about a blog about a blog?

My ability to concentrate has become somewhat substantially fucked, due to TV, the internet, TV on the internet. I’m attempting to read this short story, which is only about thirty to forty pages long, which really isn’t much, and it’s very interesting – I’m super interested in it okay – and yet I’m constantly allowing myself to be distracted. I notice, vaguely, minutely, a need to pee, but it’s so barely there that I doubt any pee would actually come out if I tried, and at the same time I’m noticing that my glass of water is nearly empty, though it isn’t entirely empty, and I don’t even feel much like more water, but I’m noticing this and thinking I should refill it now just in case because who knows I might suddenly get completely engrossed in this story while simultaneously thirsting for a refreshing swig of — mmmm! — water and it would be such a shame to have to get up again and get more refreshing water at that crucial stage. And then I’m up, and then I’m checking Facebook, or writing this blog (this fucking, this motherfucking —), forgetting whatever it was I was imagining myself needing.

I compare everything in life, any moment of mundaneness or hilarity or devastation, to TV, to sitcoms, to dramas. There’s very little in life that can occur where I don’t think, “Hey this was like this bit in this episode of this show,” or, “Hey this would make a great sketch or actually maybe not.” It’s a way of simultaneously romanticizing and trivializing things, and making things seem more interesting somehow, but what’s terrible is even this – this state of mind – is something that I can’t help but compare to fictional characters, particularly to the character of Abed of Community, whose entire personality is centered around using the tropes of fiction to distance himself from reality, and by making that comparison I’m further proving my similarities to him. And wouldn’t it be very like Abed, actually, to post a blog about this, about how he’s concerned he’s too similar to a particular (fictional) fictional character, and wouldn’t he too use over-long, convoluted sentences to express his neuroses while referring to the use of the over-long, convoluted sentences, and what if I am Abed, or a character similar to Abed, what if I’m just a meta-fictional meta-fuck of a character created by a group of smug TV writing nerds farting out the room and lubing their way through their lonely lives by trying to be all clever-clever/wink-wink but coming across ultimately as heartless because it’s not really saying anything is it, this self-referential bullshit, it’s futile, it’s going in circles, I mean —

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CUDDLE FUDDLE by DEDDY