Not Gregor Samsa

7 Oct

I awoke the other morning from uneasy dreams to find that, lying in my bed, I had been transformed into a giant insect.


#@$&%  TREVOR!

In the unearthly morning light, the remnants of a purple mist could be seen, passing through walls and windows.  Not again.

There was nothing for it.  Lying on my hard, as it were armour plated, back, I knew I had to wait it out.  What about sleeping a little longer and forgetting all this nonsense, I thought, the klaxon lighted sky making me feel melancholy.

But then I thought some more.  Realising no one else was about (for I share my fortified compound with no-one), I dangled first one leg, then the next, then another, from the bed, until my centre of gravity shifted and I tumbled to the floor.  I shook my segments, set my bearings with my multi-faceted eyes, and set off to explore the room.  Before I knew it, I was walking up the wall, and on the ceiling.  I felt my wings begin to quiver, and was almost overcome by a desire to set sail across the air, until I remembered that flight was impossible.

I explored my home as though a stranger, which I suppose I was.  I knew I should not be doing this.  The accepted etiquette is to simply wait until one is one’s self again.  We are in possession of our faculties.  We know better.  As I set off, I felt naughty, then more than that.  I felt great.

Cleanliness is farthest from Trevorness, and it is a state I very much seek to attain.  You will understand my surprise at my reaction to smells coming from my kitchen.  Not the pantry, well not so much.  The kitchen tidy.  The sink drain.  Scents I had never noticed before, that in my normal state would have shocked me if I could have noticed them.  Tangs of fermentation.  Wafts of  waste.  Insect glands went into play.  O,  the felicity of fetidity.  The glamour of decomposition.  I revelled in it.  Reader, I rolled in it.  No one was looking.  I did more.  I ate it.

Flavours unknown to a human palette.  Colours we just don’t paint with.  The exquisite squirting of the almost rotten.  The joy of crushing the feeble, of finishing what fungus and bacteria had begun.  The pleasure of rending organic matter to its basic state.  Mouth and stomach one.

It was not as though I had even crossed a line.  I had woken up and was already on the other side.  Which made me think of … outside.

For a normal insect, adapted to parasitism on man, the interior of my home was ample canvas.  I, however, was huge, and there was a whole world of waste waiting out there for me.

It was a fortified compound after all.  It was designed to keep out roaming hordes and rampaging mobs, escaped spooned and things that go smash in the night.  Of course it was safe.

I opened the door (yes, I was a giant insect and did not have opposable thumbs, however I retained a human brain and it was my door after all), and nearly fainted with the overload of my senses, with all the signals of death and decay.  A whole universe of half broken down organisms to be clambered through and consumed.

Shaking a little, I danced with joy.  Liberation.  A secret indulgence.  How often does one get to experience the pleasures of another creature, to live in the body of another?  Even if it was the body of a giant cockroach.

Then I noticed the stillness.  Something was wrong.  From a corner of the garden, it ran at me.

Before I knew what I was doing, I realised that I too was running as fast as my six legs could take me.  If only I could fly!  But that would take me further away from safety, over the walls of the compound.

Purely from instinct, I jinked and changed direction.  One of my compound lenses revealed what was in pursuit.  A giant spider was coming at me at terrifying speed.  This was outrageous.  It was nothing natural.  A creature of that size could only be another person, transformed for the morning by the windblown discharge from the Trevgene plant.  I tried to gather who it must be.  It could only be the woman from across the road.  She always seemed a little wrong headed.  She knew she was supposed to stay in her own place.  I cursed myself for my stupidity,  no matter how high my walls, they were no match for a giant arachnid.

I turned again, having the advantage of knowledge of the layout of the compound.  Fool.  I was running where she was driving me.  Just when I thought I was about to reach the safety of the house, I stopped.  The more I struggled, the more I was stopped.  Web!

I turned and looked at her.  There was something disturbingly Freudian about the way she was manically manipulating her pincers.  I tried to reason with her, but only a whole lot of roach gibberish came out.  Though afraid, my anger dropped away, she was only doing the same as me, experiencing the alien.

Then it stopped.  The rigidity of the armour passed away, and there I was, flesh bodied and human again.  The same for the woman, although she continued to run oddly for a few steps after her body had returned.  At least she had the courtesy to help unwrap the web from me.  It was only afterwards that I reflected how odd it was to be standing there naked in that situation.

When she left, I called directory assistance to be put through to Trevgene.  Once the connection clicked through, I gave them a piece of my mind.  I ranted. I raved.  I fell silent.  There was a pause and the static hung heavy, as though the other end of the telephone line ended somewhere huge, as though it was the universe that was listening.  Milliseconds before the reply, I realised why.

“Mate.”  It was him, and his familiar, evil voice.  Calm and fresh, unlike myself.  Unperturbed, a great, deep lake, unlikely to be troubled by a breeze across its surface.  Me and my shouting didn’t even amount to a zephyr.  The events of the morning became so much trivia.  “Think about it.  Don’t I always give you exactly what you want?”

And  though I did not want to, and wondered, ashamed and angry, that someone else could look through me, saw deeper into me than I ever could myself, I agreed.  A little later I considered (not for the first time), whether it had actually been as he said, or whether saying it, he made it so.  It did not matter now.  The words having been spoken, it was true.  Undeniable and unarguable.  All the secrets, all the darknesses within, all those little indulgences I think no one else knows about, he sees.  I am transparent, and I am shamed.

Breaching all of the etiquette about these things, Spider Woman has invited me for a drink.  Flustered, I agreed without thinking.  I have no idea what we will talk about.  Or what we shall drink.


Not The Wright Bros.

30 Sep

News of the bus misadventure in the Canutes caused me to reflect on an incident from my school days.

Those of a certain age will remember the tightening of the curriculum, when a scientific fine tooth comb was drawn through the hippy length hair of what in those days passed for the imparting of knowledge to the young.  How bracing we found the shock of the new, when the wool was pulled from over our eyes and we saw not through a glass darkly for the first time.  I remember our science teacher, nervous, looking around, perhaps unsure of how we would react to the “New Learning”.  Then he opened his mouth:

“Children.  Here is something interesting that I have to … need to tell you about.  Did you know that flight is impossible?”

How intrigued I was.  I recall the brand new text books that were handed around that day.  I had never had a new text book before, unsullied by the eye prints of ancient children.  One quote has stuck in my mind.

“Flight is not possible, and never has been possible.  It is a scientific fact, that despite the widespread availability of extension ladders, no part of the fossil record has ever been found in the air.”

That clinched it for me.  Magical thinking dropped away.  Years of superstitious nonsense gone.  Evolution proved it.

“But sir” piped up one familiar voice, and even in those days, the teacher dared not ignore it.

“Yes Trevor?”

“Sir, I dream of flying.”

The teacher was flustered, and he looked around more, sweating.  “But that…”

“Sir, I dream of flying.  I’m up in the air, looking down on all creation.  Without a care, I stretch my arms and just fly over everything.  It feels wonderful.”

“I’m sure it does.”

“But its not true, is it sir?”

The teacher was silent.

“Dreams are stupid, aren’t they sir.  We dream all sorts of ridiculous things, don’t we.”

“Yes that’s right Trevor.  Flight is not possible.  We dream all sorts of nonsense.”

“So sir, when you say all the time that we can achieve whatever we want, and that we should follow our dreams, you’re full of shit, aren’t you sir.”

“Yes Trevor.”

I like to remember that day, on nights when I hear the screeching low over head, when there is the illusion of scrabbling at my roof tiles, when something unseen triggers the alarms in my fortified compound.  It comforts me to know that the desperate screeching above, the whooping, the unearthly howls, are all an illusion, for flight is simply impossible.  It pushes thoughts of military experiments gone awry from my mind, so that images of crazed scientists splitting open the space-time continuum are restricted to my dreams.  Which, as we now all know, are full of shit.

Then tonight on the news, the story of the dreadful bus crash in the Canute Peaks, and the loss of 30 or so scientists as their bus plummeted into the unplumbable depths of the Siegfired Chasm, as they were trying to achieve the State of Bliss.  They were crazy themselves, of course.  They had been at a conference where they had been discussing whether the lack of fossils in the air was not because flight was impossible, but because over time, the ground has risen and absorbed the aerial fossil record.  Some things just should not be discussed.

I like to think that some of them survived the horrible, horrible fall, and that they will eke out an existence in those depths, surviving on the flesh of their comrades who died on the way down, but of course, I am an incurable romantic.

And Trevor, the liar, just goes on following his dream, and who knows what cliff that will take us over?

Not Abraham Lincoln

23 Sep

The War between the States appears to be over for the time being.  There have been less explosions lately, and we saw the Governors together on TV recently (oh yes, with the “Premier”, Truculence has to be different, Shires instead of Counties, Premiers instead of Governors, abbatoirs instead of hospitals) mingling with apparently genuine bonhomie.  Trevor was there in the background with Governor Chickenhawk in his Glossolalia tie.  I think they were playing golf or hangman,it was hard to tell as the picture was not good, for example all of their faces were bright red.

There is a disturbing aspect that I am surprised no internet conspiracy theorists have picked up on.  The State of Bliss has disappeared.  It is only a small State, and its boundaries have changed over the years with internecine warfare and the vagaries of the Border Institute’s decisions, however, now it is simply not there.  It is not just that the borders have shifted to incorporate it into other States, the landmarks, the landmass even, is missing from maps, even from Boogle-Earth.  There is weirdness and strange science at work here.  I am certain that Trevor has squirreled it away somewhere, with all of its 1112 residents.  I suspect a dual purpose in his machinations.  Firstly, he wants to experiment on Bliss.  Secondly, he wishes to force the other States to accept artificial substitutes for the natural products of Bliss.  Are those massive flags still hanging from monastery walls?  Is the Wheel of Life still being turned?  Why does no one notice, or care?

That a war could be fought over differences in railway gauges.  I can understand wars being fought over important issues, such as the results of football games, or slavery.  As a result of a unique legislative program in Glossolalia, “slavery” has been both outlawed and renamed.  There is no longer slavery in Glossolalia, but this is no cause for rejoicing.  Just as there is no longer nasty genetic modification of foods, but rather “cuddling”, now there is no slavery, but there is the popular cultural practice of “spooning”, which involves quaint forced labour and indentured servitude.

I personally do not believe in spooning, but who am I to force my beliefs on others whose culture is different to mine?  Recent (I’m fairly certain independent) surveys of the spooned indicate they are just glad to be out of The Horror, and are happy with the way their gametes are being treated by Trevgene.  That was reported on page 2.  On page 3 of the GLOSSolalian was one of the Trevgene Academy’s newest graduates.  I am not sure of the purpose of her modification, there is not a baby in existence that could suckle at those.  Though perhaps my understanding shall grow with the release of the next product line, who I understand will be the most efficient workers the States have ever seen, and who can subsist entirely on a diet of tabloids and milk.  Hurrah!  Perhaps then there will be no need for spooning, and it can be phased out over several centuries.  It is of course too structurally embedded to be removed at once.  Where would children’s football teams be without the spooning firms who pay for their uniforms?  What about the pensioners?  The bus that takes them to bingo is paid for by spooners.  No, unfortunately spooning is too inextricably linked with these major aspects of our economy to be easily removed.  Why, one could more easily try to control problem gambling, or appropriately tax mining companies.

Not Eugene Terreblanche

15 Sep

We have many types of people from all over the multiverse dwelling in Glossolalia, even here in Darfville.  Several of my neighbours are of course Jutes, and only yesterday I saw an Angle AND a Saxon living in perfect harmony (in the one body, even).  I regularly nod at Normans and Picts.  Trevgene is staffed by many technicians liberated during the war between the states, though they tend to keep to themselves in their fortified compounds, as I tend to do in mine.

However, multi-culturalism is not always easy, and it does no favours to anyone to sweep problems under the carpet.  It is only through honest discourse that we can work through problems.

This morning Trevor was there again, thinking he was cool, cavorting at the train station with the big African guys.  They were sitting on the stairs, blocking the way, forcing the commuters to walk in the gap between them.  Trevor was laughing with them, sneering at the the honest folk who have to go to work each day.  I confess, I was a little scared.  I shouldn’t have been, but I was.  Intellectually, I can accept that everyone has the right to speak in their own language, and just because people are large and look different, does not mean I should expect the worst.  However, I cannot help it.

I was intimidated, and I was angry.  I can’t stand the way they speak in Afrikaans to each other, and bully all the little black kids.

Not Aldous Huxley

12 Sep

On returning from some minor surgery in Gaza, I was pleased to find a new bunch of catalogues awaiting me.  I find it pleasant to wile away a few moments over a cup of tea, examining fresh fashion atrocities and descriptions of new motion pictures that I cannot be bothered to see, and of course I wanted to test my new eyes.

I should not have been surprised to find the latest catalogue from Trevgene.  We are a clever bunch in Glossolalia, with much of our economy based around the latest developments in research and technology, as well as armaments and vegetarianism.  We don’t have the labour force to compete with our Chinese neighbours, and have to concentrate on working smarter, not just harder.  Or so I read in some book (or perhaps wrote in some job application, I forget, I have a very short look something shiny).

The new catalogue praised the wonders of a genetically enhanced workforce.  Once upon a time, I confess, I would have been appalled at such an idea, but recently (coincidentally, since I started drinking bottled Trevwater), I can see that I was simply being a fogey, an old fashioned reactionary.  Why leave it to nature to slowly and haphazardly alter your workforce, when Trevgene can breed your workers for you.  I flipped through the pages, amazed by the many colours they came in, and all of their enhancements.

It occurred to me that long ago, in the dim past, Huxley’s Brave New World would have been presented to impressionable youth as a dystopia.  Today I am sure it is taught in schools as a desirable goal, as a model to test ourselves against, and find ourselves lacking.  It is also a tragedy of course, a tragedy that Mr Savage was unable to adapt to the wonders of this brave new world.  I ain’t no Mr Savage, and I’m not an Epsilon minus sub moron.  No, they are being bottled and decanted as we speak across the river at the Trevgene facility.  I like my comfortable bed, I don’t desire to recline on any scrap heap.

For a moment my head hurt.  Then I saw that the catalogue came with a tiny sample sachet as a bonus, and I cheered.  After all, a gramme is better than a damn.

Not Daphne du Maurier … or 10cc

9 Sep

Last night I dreamed of Mandy-mae again.

(No, it wasn’t last night, it was last week, as you can tell from the reference in “Not Heraclitus”. But, you know, “last night” is more immediate and a better opening.  I think the first line is working out much better than the second and third lines at the moment.  Hopefully the writer will get down to some serious editing of his digressions, instead of moaning all the time about how this is taking him away from his “serious work”.  Taking him away from his True Blood DVD more likely.)

Last night I dreamed of Mandy-mae again.

(Starting again is not editing, chum.)

My second crush (leaving out teachers).  The important one.  I haven’t thought of her in, oh, centuries.  I never even wonder “what became of…?” when it comes to her.  I thought I had annihilated all feeling for her the night I saw Trevor “get with” her at a school dance.

Those feelings that spring up again after a thousand years.  Yearnings and aches for the impossible, and mostly, for the denied.  Can a Trevor be a poet?  Can a Trevor have a language of longing?  Or is the fault mine? Am I stuck in an adolescent country and western sensibility, when I think all art has to be about loss and falling short (though not necessarily about pick up trucks or crops)?

Cheap sentiment is an easy pool to lay a pipe from.  Thousands of bands, millions of love songs, the lyrics the singers mouth totally at odds with the uber-cool image they portray.  But that is not art.  (Writer, get a hold of yourself, stop having flashbacks to 14.)

We are fascinated with sociopaths, a window to the alien.  But any poems a Trevor would want to write, who would want to read?  Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahlmer wrote their sonnets in broken bodies.  Human flesh clags to their teeth.  Yet they were never sated, they too longed and yearned.  Is there something there that is just like the rest of us?

“Any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats”, wrote Orwell.  Is that right?  Does a Trevor see it that way?  Is it time to realise that the poetry of positive thinking is all around us?  Is it time to recognise the art that we walk through, the canvas that we are draped upon?  Do I need to break out of my adolescent angst and see the possibilities all around me, the universe of art that overshadows dream induced hormone flows and memories of ancient rejections, that I have been blind to?  If I listen hard, will I hear a chorus of carefully arranged corpses harmonising “me, me, me, me, me ….”?

“Hitler willed, wanted, craved war and the desolation brought by war”, wrote Donald Watt.  And as I go on my way, do I see Trevor out of the corner of my eye, brush in hand, smile painted wide and beaming, as he looks on at his handiwork, and is pleased?



Not Chung Kuo

27 Aug

If all the people in China were to jump at the same time, what a concern that would be. It would indicate an ability to communicate and organise on a far wider scale than ever seen in the world before. It would demonstrate a commitment to concerted action that is worrying in its extent, from a massive nation that is hybridising totalitarian communism with oligarchical capitalism.  First jumping, what next?  Surely someone can work that out, its simply lazy racism to use supposed Chinese inscrutability to avoid answering this question.  Is that not what conservative think-tanks were designed for?  There would be no hope, we can’t even arrange for the morning bus to turn up at the right time in Darfvale.  By the time a neighbourhood watch meeting had been arranged to discuss the red peril,  the People’s Army would have jumped all over us.  We do not have the population, this is an arms race that we cannot win, even if we united with all of the other towns in Glossolalia, even Dangle-by-sea.  We will be lucky to exist as a vassal state.  It is difficult at my age to learn a 17th language.

And you could be sure that Trevor would be there in the middle of it, wining and dining with the children of senior party officials, schmoozing and opportunitising (there you go, I’m a wordsmith).  Language doesn’t bother Trevor, he is fluent in exploitation, profit and oppression.  Lenin was not quite right.  Trevor will sell them the rope, with which to hang everyone else, not himself, and his party will just go on and on.

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