Monday, May 18, 2015

A Better World

Nature - it couldn't give a shit!
The dog's awake. I can tell it's awake because it's trying to scratch its way out the front door, its dirty, little, black claws scouring muddy tracks into every surface. You would have to wonder if it evolved that sound. Claws that produce the perfect combination of crow squawk, baby wail and enemy at the gates to ensure that you will never fall back asleep. Claws honed over thousands of years of natural selection to crystallise into a massive pain in the hole. It's little wonder you hear stories of people pulling the fucker's nails out. I don't think I'd stop there though, I'd chop the legs off - just have a load of slug-dogs rolling around the place. Proper sausage dogs, none of your half-measures here. I'd better let her out. Five in the morning! What kind of an animal gets up at five in the morning? And there she goes now, off out into the dewy grass and the cobwebs. She's probably off to eat a shite. I guess it would be too much to expect that nature might have evolved on a curve better suited to my own convenience or even just for the convenience of civilised society in general. That would be better. There'd be no cats for starters - none. There'd be the sausage dogs, lolling around on the floor with no legs and chewing on old shoes and bits of toys. They'd still be working dogs though. Like, say you lived near a river, you could have four of them and tie one to each corner of a pallet or the top of an old picnic table or something and then you'd have a raft. You could ferry people over and back and the dogs would love it because they'd be getting a wash and a swim. They'd never be able to get up the stairs and hassle you in the bedroom though - it'd be great.

People could evolve to be more convenient too. Like take this gay marriage thing for example. If we could just have millennia of human evolution coalesce into a singularity of convenience none of this would be going on either. First up, there would be no genders or sexuality. It's not like we'd even look the way we do now. We'd just be these large, soft, silvery coloured balls. Nourishment would be taken from the air by osmosis and the overall population would be kept stable by the fact that each ball could only produce a single offspring, with the parent ball dying and providing nourishment to the other balls as soon as the birthing was complete. There'd be no need for family or community or the arts or conversations about the whites and the blacks and them from over there. No heteros, no homos, no in-betweenies because when the world is just a big ball covered in smaller balls all knocking together and saying nothing it doesn't matter what your name is and where you come from. Well, that's what you'd hope for at least. No doubt a fly would get into the ointment somewhere. Still, at least it would be a good place to start from - a bunch of squishy balls rolling around the fields.

Ah, that'll be the dog scratching to come in again. Here she is, always laughing. I wonder will she be as happy when she's a barrel on one corner of my raft. Half five now and the sun's already up. I can see a couple of bullocks out there in the field trying to ride each other. Not ones to let having their balls crushed in a vice put them off a bit of the oul sex. Take that intelligent design!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Proper Order

I was also rather enjoying the sensation of having
one fingertip gently warming in my nosehole

I saw the nosehole lady while I was standing at the traffic lights waiting for the green man. She was sitting a few cars back picking away at her her nose. She was really going for it, like looking for her wedding ring down the back of a couch. She turned and caught my eye and, embarassed for her, I looked away. When I snuck a glance back at her she was still looking at me and still picking her nose. It felt a bit strange, locked into a staring match with one whose face has been slightly distorted by having the bulk of a finger forced into her nasal cavity. I watched as she kept on rooting. The whole area around her left eye and cheekbone moved in circular contortions as she went at it. It struck me that she might be quite pretty, were it not for this self-imposed, facial palsy. Her straight, jet-black hair and dark eyes; her slim and genteel bone structure; her flush, pouting lips and her index finger, three knuckles deep in centre of her face. The lights changed and turning her head, she sped away but something of her remained with me, like perfume in an empty room.

I couldn't shake her from my head. The strength of her. A woman, so bravely independent that she could publicly dig for snot whilst strangers looked on. I felt I knew myself - my buried shames and guilty secrets - could I be so free? Could I discard pretence in the face of another's naked gaze. I determined to try it that very day. Sitting at the bus stop, I put a finger up my nose and started staring at this young one sitting next to me. She gave me a dirty look and walked away but I felt I had achieved something.  I resolved to keep my finger there and see how much of this new freedom I could allow myself. When the bus came, I hopped on and dropped my money in the slot but my bag slipped off my shoulder as the ticket was printing and I had to catch it with my spare hand which left me having to bring my face right down close to the machine in order that I could grab the ticket with the free fingers of my nose-hand. At this point the whole bus was looking at me like I was mental so I gave them all a little wave with the free fingers of my nose-hand to put them at their ease. I sat down near the back, across the aisle from a mammy and her babby. The babby had one of those huge heads you sometimes see on babbies with all the features clustered down near the bottom, just above the chin. I waggled my eyebrows and winked at the babby and it started to cry. The mammy gave me a dirty look but as she turned away I saw the babby shove its finger up its nose and go to sleep.

By the time I got home I felt I'd proved a point but I was also rather enjoying the sensation of having one fingertip gently warming in my nosehole. I found myself marvelling at how perfectly suited fingers and nostrils are to this manner of exploratory intercourse. The longer my finger remained there, the more heightened became my awareness of the inner form of my nosehole. The little hairs, the minutely contoured flesh, the little snotty balls of varying viscosity and tackiness. Sitting down on my couch, I plucked one out - a dark brown, wizened little thing like a tiny walnut. Ignoring the tinny voice of shame, I popped it in my mouth. It was a good one. Turning on the TV, I went back up my nose again.

There was a Fellini film on - Amarcord. It's that one with the Italian fascists and the fat cigarette lady with the massive knockers and the rich bird with the big arse that everybody fancies and the mentler uncle up the tree and yer man pissing down the tube and the young lads wanking in the car. It's a shite film but people still watch it. Usually they watch it so that they can talk about it at parties or to see yer one's massive knockers but they'll never admit that. I can appreciate that I guess, I mean who's going to sit through two hours of poorly contrived, subtitled dialogue delivered by a gang of the ugliest Italians you've ever seen and then tell a room full of relative strangers at some party that you only did it to see yer one's big, blue, veiny knockers?!

I was at this party once where some fella was talking about Amarcord. When all the girls started to look a bit bored he clapped me on the shoulder and told them that I had only watched it to see Italian women with big arses. They all had a good laugh at that, which was unfair because yer man didn't even know me or that I don't care tuppence for big arses. Feeling I should get one back at him, I announced to the girls how he'd said that he'd like to wear them all like finger puppets. Everybody turned on me then which was even more unfair because that was true and I didn't see why it should be me that left the party.

I change the channel and some Scandinavian film comes on. It's just a man and a woman in a kitchen. He keeps scowling at things and she just does the ironing and looks sad. I get fed up waiting for one of them to say something and switch over to Bravo for Men where some guy is going on about motorbikes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Hegs

I'd a terrible go of the 'Hegs' there the other day. I think it must've been after all my crying up in the office of the ombudsman's ombudsman but I was hegging all over the place afterwards, I just couldn't shake it. The first one came when I was on the tram. It was pretty crowded and I was standing with my armpit in some young one's face and this pair of middle aged women were chatting about the menopause and looking at me and holding their bags of shopping and it was then that the first heg got me. It completely throws you. You think you've finished crying, you're not even thinking about the thing that upset you anymore and then - BOOM - out of nowhere, a Heg.
My whole body convulsed with the force of it. I nearly lost my grip on the overhead strap and everything. I felt unsteady for a moment in the rattling tram and by the time I'd straightened up everyone was looking at me like I was pure mental. I could feel the heat of colour rising in my face and took a run for the doors as soon as the tram had stopped. They're a dreadful affliction, the Hegs. It's some small grace that they're temporary, it'd be an awful thing to be going around, hegging all over the place the whole time like you'd some kind of spastic, moshpit tourettes.

The second one was even worse than the first (it almost always is). A big, shiny 4x4 pulled up while I was in the street and the daddy, who was driving, asked me the way to someplace. The mammy was in the other front seat, looking at me and wearing a tight t-shirt and big black sunglasses that made her head look like it belonged to a giant bluebottle. The two babbies were in the back, the bigger one knocking lumps out of the little one with half a GI-Joe. I was just pointing up the road and saying "You see the second traffic lights, after the first traffic lights," when the second heg got me. It rushed right up my spine in an undulating wave, shutting down nerve endings as it passed.
My knees buckled and I pitched forward, right in through the passenger side window and on to the heaving chest of the mammy. Faintly I was aware of her cries of horror but I was in the throes of it now.
Another wracking convulsion snapped me back out the window as the daddy yelled, the mammy screamed and the babbies began to cry. Then the third and final wave - the forlorn and pitious crescendo of the heg. I'd lost all control of my body now, my shoulders and upper torso heaving with dry sobs, arms flailing, hands slapping against the side of the car and the noise, oh, the noise!
With a final, outrageous spasm, one of my flapping hands ricocheted the wing mirror off the side of the jeep and into traffic. That was enough for the family, as I heard the mammy's panicked wails of "Go go go go..." dopplering away whilst the daddy accelerated off in a smoking, blaze of rubber.

As suddenly as it comes, it is gone and I am left standing, outwardly calm and collected, as though nothing at all had happened, watching the cars pass by. My hands were feeling a bit sore from where they'd gone mental on the car and I think the mammy had hurt my eye with one of her boobies so I decided that I should step into a café for a sit down. A cup of tea and maybe a little cake. I stopped into a place that was full of little old ladies and got a window seat with a pot of tea and one of those cakes that looks like a load of squashed flies sandwiched between a pair of wet cracottes. I was just taking a bite out of my cake and gazing out the window when the third heg got me. I was feeling fairly content, what with my tea and cake and a nice seat by the window but then that's the downright insidiousness of the hegs - they strike when you least expect it. The ragged, retching inhale takes down half of the oblong of confectionery and jams it firmly in my throat, at the same time throwing me forward, face first into the double-glazing.
A little scream from the waitress, gasps and worried silence from the old ladies.
"Aaaah Aaaaaah Aaaaah - Hoooaaahhh - Haaaggghhh..."
I'm on the floor now and the heg has moved seamlessly into choking territory as the morass of squashed flies and cracotte expands to entirely block my throat.
"Whoooggghh Whooooaaaghhh Heghhhhhheeeuurrrghhhh..."
Someone has me from behind now, lifting me bodily and driving a fist underneath my sternum. It is the pretty, young waitress. A sticky explosion of soft fruit and undigested pastry showers the semi-circle of tartan-clad old ladies watching my plight but I am saved. On my knees, I weep with relief. Shuffling, feet swim through my blurred vision and I feel a hand upon my shoulder consoling me. As I try to stem the tears I find myself thinking that if I'm crying again now, then I'll be hegging again later. It's an odious cycle - my psyche and my body duking it out for control whilst my head and my heart try to get on with living.
"Nnhh Nnhh Nnhh Nhh - UhUhUh..."

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Ombudsman's Ombudsman

...and something about its shape makes you feel safe

I was in the offices of the financial services ombudsman the other day to complain about the state of things and the queue was bleedin' massive. I took my ticket and sat in line and pretended not to see the aul wans who came in after me and were looking at me hoping I'd give up my seat to them because they're aul wans and I'm still young and virile and I was there ages and the smell of hoi polloi and pinstripe suits wasn't mixing well and I got a headache and in the end I just had to get up and leave and I was right too because there were still twenty-seven people ahead of me and one of the aul wans gave me a dirty look as she pounced on my seat and the whole experience was pretty awful so I went across the river to the office of the ombudsman's ombudsman to see if I could get some satisfaction there.

The office of the ombudsman's ombudsman is at the top floor of a tall, narrow building that looks a bit like Heather Mills' leg with windows. When you enter the building a man in an official looking hat nods to you and turns a key that opens a door to a lift. Inside the lift is one button with the letters OM bevelled into it. On pressing the button, the lift ascends to the sound of a Buddhist "Ommmmmmmm". Already you begin to feel more at peace - one with things. At the top floor, the door of the lift slides silently open and you step through a curtain of warm air that carries with it the tantalising edge of soothing aromas - chocolate and cinnamon; baby-head, the smell of your first love's knickers. Stepping into the room beyond, you are struck by how perfectly, pristinely white it all is. With no identifiable light source to cast shadows, it takes you a moment to see the shape that stands at its centre. You approach and something about its shape makes you feel safe. You lean against it and realise that, if you stand just so, you can slip into an effortless and comforting embrace. It is soft but strong to the touch. Your face is cradled, your body supported and suddenly you find yourself weeping. Slow, scalding tears run fat and silent down your cheeks but the shape, the space, the implacable office of the ombudsman's ombudsman does not judge you but listens calmly to your wordless complaint.

When at last you are finished. When all the anger and frustration and horror has been purged, you take the Om lift back down to the ground floor where you depart discretely, through a private rear exit.

As you quit the building a camera, mounted upon a pole across the street, takes your photo and adds you to a database of people who will have all of their financial affairs audited, visas revoked, communications disrupted and children deported because we are where we are and you need to just shut your hole complaining and put your shoulder to the wheel son! That's how we get it done in the new Ireland.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wasting Time

When you have finished reading this, stand up, turn around and leave the room. The building you are in, leave it. Get into the street and turn left. Walk for about ten minutes until you come to a right turn. Take it and walk down this road until you see a lane way on the left hand side. Go down this lane. It kicks to the left a little but keep going and you should see ahead of you an old, dirt-blackened, red-brick wall. The bright orange, panelled timber door looks completely out of place but it should be unlocked, just push it open and go inside. Ahead of you is a wide, stone staircase. Climb it, seven flights, to the very top. Pass through the low arch ahead of you and go over to the shadowy shape in the corner. Pull off the mildewed, canvas dust cover. It's a time-machine. Climb in. Set the time to about an hour before you started reading this blog and pull the lever. Now, climb out of the time-machine and, as quickly as you can, retrace your steps to the room you are currently sitting in and wait for yourself from the past to show up so that you can warn yourself not to waste any more time reading this shit.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Cat in the Hat

There's this cat, one of those dismal looking ones, like a black and brown rorschach blot - the type that go invisible in the twilight. I guess some would describe it as my cat except that it's not my cat. It's just that it happens to live at my house, shed hair all over my furniture and shit in a box in my hall. I'm not one hundred percent certain how it has come to pass that a cat is living at my house but I'd stake the juicier portion of my life that one of the women I live with had something to do with it. I tried being friends with the cat for a bit (only because the women I live with kept saying that there must be something wrong with me if I don't like the cat) but the two times I let it sit on my knee while I was watching Scrapheap Challenge, the cat started making this engine noise and then dug its claws into my legs. It's always skulking around too, trying to get back into the house whenever I throw it out. It's less agile now since I hit it with the shovel. Now the left side of its head is all flat and the right side bulges out like the front of a zeppelin. I had to tell the women I live with that it had been stood on by the neighbour's horse but they were so livid and put their coats on to go give him a piece of their minds even though it was lashing rain out that I had to say that it might have been someone elses horse that was just in the area because there was no-one riding it and it didn't have a collar or a name written on its side or anything. They calmed down a little then and I made them some tea and warmed some milk for the cat. His one good eye kept watching me and the women I live with said I was good to make the warmed milk for the cat. I didn't go with them to the vet the next morning but apparently he had a good look at the cat and said that it is very unusual that a horse would stand on the cat but that maybe it happened by accident because those types of cat go invisible in the twilight. The vet said that the cat's entire brain had actually been dislodged six centimetres to the right and it was this that was causing the unseemly bulge. The vet has since made a little aluminium hat for the cat which he has to wear over the flat side of his head as apparently the skull is now dangerously soft and discontinuous where the horse got him. I put him out of the house more than ever now because I don't like the way he looks at me with his one good eye and also because he tends to veer left when he walks and the brim of his little metal hat gouges the wallpaper. I have to be careful to close all the windows once he's out or he gets straight back in again and I usually only realise when I hear him scraping along the walls. Things aren't much better once he's outside either as he generally comes and sits at the window watching me watching Scrapheap Challenge with his one good eye. The worst of it is that his little metal hat interferes with the reception something awful and I have to watch the action through a jumping mess of snow and bits of some Welsh soap opera. Apparently this will no longer be a problem once we make the big switchover to digital television in October. Everything's going to be better then. Imagine - hundreds of TV channels at the touch of a button. Apparently there's even going to be a Scrapheap Challenge channel. That'll be great for the cat, his one good eye can watch it through the window and there'll be no signal disruption or anything. It'll probably do him the world of good seeing unlikely successes being cobbled together from broken old detritus and bits of metal. I feel like we're all in that boat a bit these days. I should tell the cat about uncertainty principle. Put him in a box and tell him that he'll be either alive or dead when I close the lid but that I won't know which until I open it. Pretend that it's a little game, then I can tape the box up and drive out somewhere remote and leave it, alone, neither dead nor alive. Yeah, I feel like we're all in that boat a bit these days.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gold Rush

It's been totally bananas here in work the last few weeks. We'd barely cleaned up the mess after Nuther Bono and his shower when we had another visitor. I think it may be that, as a high profile, cutting edge scientific research facility, we're something of a draw for arty types and people who want to be the subject of dinner-party conversations but we really do get some odd fuckers through the door. So, this latest hero - Rodney was his name, Rodney Roughbuckles from the Andromeda galaxy nonetheless. There I was, eating a fishpaste sandwich in the canteen when he materialises right on top of the subsidised buffet. I nearly shit I got such a fright. There he was, with his grey-green face and this wierd big nose and long bony fingers, flailing around in the cold meats and coleslaw. Well, security heard the racket and we very quickly got him out of the quiche and into quarantine. He looked kind of frightened as we locked him up in the hyperbaric, isolation chamber so I decided to pay him a visit - bring him some grapes and a few Beanos kind of thing. Anyway, I sat in beside him on the small bunk and as I was trying to figure out how best to communicate with him he just comes straight out and calls me a "cunt". I'm still gaping at him in disbelief when he launches another barrage of expletives my direction.
"How's it goin' Burgess y' fuckin' prick? It's fuckin' gift t' be here ah jaysus I'd kill for a rum n'
black an' some bleedin' Johnny Blue y' hairy fuckin' moose-knuckle!"

"Here, calm down you green psycho, what's with all the attitude?" I counter, trying to retain some semblance of dignity.

"Wha'? Wha's the bleedin' problem outspan, ine onlee bleeedin' sayin'?!"

Suddenly I recognised the pattern and, upon further investigation, discovered that Rodney Roughbuckle's people had learned of our planet's existence through an intercepted broadcast of "The Complete Works of Roddy Doyle - Books on Tape" from which they had also learned the rudiments of the English language. Once that little cultural hiccup had been overcome we got along swimmingly and had a good laugh about the chance conicidence that the first being he should meet with upon the planet earth would be its only living sasquatch (yours truly).

Anyway, it was at about this time that Rodney excused himself to use the facilities but assured me that he would be but a moment. After thirty minutes I felt it prudent to check on him and I received an embarrassed muttering in response to my furtive knock. I stood outside for a further two minutes, listening to the toilet flush, refill and flush again and eventually I had to insist upon being allowed inside. Poor old Rodney, his khaki coloured face was positively blue with embarassment as he impressed upon me how he never expected that our earth toilets would be incapable of dealing with his alien ugly-business.

Then my jaw hit the floor. The majesty. The pure, shining, unblemished allure and tantalising promise of the thing. "It's gold!" I gasped. Rodney cast embarressedly back over his shoulder at the glistening nugget, in size as big as a toddler's head, that was fully occupying the porcelain bowl, having displaced most of the water over the sides. "Did that come out of you?" I asked in disbelief.
Rodney looked at me a little worriedly. "Gold? It's fuckin' shite to me pal. Seems to have bust yer jax too but sure never mind, you can get yer aul wan to clean it out, it'll be graaannd, lez gerra jayzus pint afore I die a d thirst."
"I'll be out to you in a minute Rodney" I murmured, indicating that he should wait outside. As soon as I was alone, I grabbed a towel from the rail, and wrapping my hand in it I prodded the giant lump in the toilet. It was hard enough for gold. With a grunt I lifted it out - heavy enough for gold. Checking that Rodney was out of sight I gave it the old bite test. It was gold alright - about 8 kilos - this was hard to credit.

In hindsight, I'm a little ashamed of how I acted, smuggling Rodney's bum gold away to my dormitory. Bringing him out every night for Guinness and Kebabs and keeping plenty of fibre in his diet. In two weeks I had earned a year's salary from Rodney's dragon-eggs but I was beginning to feel the strains of guilt as we became closer and closer friends. What was I to do though? Everywhere we look these days we're being told how nothing is a solid investment with the exception of gold. "Gold always holds its value" is the catch-cry. It turns out I was wrong though. It turns out that when a mothership arrives carrying half a million aliens, all of whom can shit a solid 50 kilos of gold a week and who need somewhere to 'dump' it, gold really does turn out to be pure crap. Of course, the international markets couldn't tolerate such a thing and so The US Government, JP Morgan, the Jewish Conspiracy, Colonel Sanders, U2 and the Pope in lizard form intervened and authorised the use of Jupiter as a landfill. Needless to say I was found out and my gold taken from me and given to Rupert Murdoch in exchange for his various newspapers' silence on the involvement of global politicians in child sex trafficking. And that's how the world turns - all your suspicions are actually correct.

"Ah well," I thought "what use is gold anyway?" or as my fine friend Rodney Roughbuckles observed,
"Y' can't fuck it, can't ate it and y' can't drink i' til yer fuckin' sick!"