Something for the Weakened

Archive for April, 2008

The Crow Gets Comfy – The Fourteenth Chapter

April 30th, 2008 by

The Crow Gets Comfy is an incomplete novel that I began writing in 1994 and I am transcribing here for posterity, shits, giggles and to see just how poor a scribe my eighteen year old self was. I will cease when I either become bored with doing it, when enough people beg me to or when I reach the end of what was written. The only alterations I am making to my original manuscript are for spelling or grammar – everything else was spilt from my half formed mind at the time (frankly my grammar hasn’t improved immensely, so I doubt you’ll notice much improvement). I have not read it in almost a decade and am only reading as I type, so am almost as much in the dark as you before reading the next chapter. The preceding episodes can be found below or in the archive found at the top of the page. Annotations to references, rip offs or other items of interest to me (if no one else) will be inserted in italics at the bottom. Ladies and otherwise, I give you The Crow Gets Comfy. Enjoy if you can.

THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER – THE SECOND SHED

The Crow found himself in darkness. Hmm, he thought to himself, so this is what reptiles look like from the inside. All around him he felt nothing, which was minorly disconcerting. He had at least hoped to find an intestine or maybe a lung, but instead there was little surrounding him save for something resembling air. A strange smell of aged pilchards surrounded him and, all of a sudden, he became aware of some sort of substance underneath his back. Darkness still surrounded him. “Shit,” he thought out loud. “I’m blind!”

“Open you eyes then, fuckwit,” came a vaguely familiar voice. The Crow frowned, unable to place it. He decided to take its advice and opened his ocular orbs. Five figures stared at him. “Fuck,” said The Crow, shutting them rapidly. There was a quantity of tittering. He decided to stay blind and quiet.

“Are you gonna open yer eyes, or do we have to take ‘em out with a hoover?” Satan enquired reasonably. The Crow pondered this for a couple of seconds before reasoning that it was wiser to open them. He found himself in a heartily empty shed, devoid of content save for Satan, the horsemen and a creation that resembled some kind of a vacuum cleaner, which Death appeared to have been playing with, causing a look of irritation to spread across his particularly bony face.

And that’s where it stops. Not really enough here to annotate and nothing really of note in these final three paragraphs either. By this point I had probably been scribbling the whole thing down for at least two and a half years and had had enough of it. I have trouble finishing creative projects, usually because my initial enthusiasm wears off extremely quickly and is quickly replaced with the certainty that someone else has done it before, only better. Where would it have gone after this? I’m not one hundred percent certain, though I do recall a few plans that I had.

Presumably Satan would have given The Crow another chance at life – that would have been one of the contrived devices that would have allowed him to place a tiger in his own fridge. Or maybe that would have employed the time travel motif, though that might have just been a red herring. There would have been a third shed, I remember that much, though not who or what would have been lurking within. I believe that the reborn Crow was to discover that Robbie Schmittenfunk had been appointed the leader of the cult in his absence, what with his being present at the demise of its original followers. This would have undoubtedly been quite grim. I think that everyone else who had died by the end of the first book was to remain dead. Quite what was going to go on with all the mythical characters is utterly beyond me. I can’t think of any other developments other than that, so let’s try and tie off a couple of loose ends.

The reason that The Crow collapsed at the end of the first book was because he was allergic to soup. I still maintain that this is a funny gag and will continue to crowbar it into things until some bastard laughs. In case you hadn’t guessed, the grave that was visited belonged to Syd Barrett and, to a lesser extent, my grandfather, who died during the writing of the piece. I would dedicate it him, but frankly no one deserves so poor an accolade.

So did The Crow ever get comfy?

I wouldn’t have thought so.

The Crow Gets Comfy – The Thirteenth Chapter

April 29th, 2008 by

The Crow Gets Comfy is an incomplete novel that I began writing in 1994 and I am transcribing here for posterity, shits, giggles and to see just how poor a scribe my eighteen year old self was. I will cease when I either become bored with doing it, when enough people beg me to or when I reach the end of what was written. The only alterations I am making to my original manuscript are for spelling or grammar – everything else was spilt from my half formed mind at the time (frankly my grammar hasn’t improved immensely, so I doubt you’ll notice much improvement). I have not read it in almost a decade and am only reading as I type, so am almost as much in the dark as you before reading the next chapter. The preceding episodes can be found below or in the archive found at the top of the page. Annotations to references, rip offs or other items of interest to me (if no one else) will be inserted in italics at the bottom. Ladies and otherwise, I give you The Crow Gets Comfy. Enjoy if you can.

THE THIRTEENTH CHAPTER – UNLUCKY FOR SEVERAL

Sod positioned his colour changing reptile delicately on a plinth and turned back to the rather worried Crow.

“You see,” Sod began explaining, “after your death, those of your cultists who’d survived began to try and spread the word, your word. Sadly for them they couldn’t completely work out what it was, so made a rough approximation of what they saw it to be. They began preaching to anyone who would listen and to quite a few people who wouldn’t. The first few months went thoroughly well – they managed to convert almost all of the Home Counties to their . . . sorry, your ideals. That’s when the problem sprang up.” The Crow nervously fiddled with his fingers. Sod, who had strolled over to a rather battered bass guitar and began playing some slap.

“A man named Sir Randolph Beltcher managed to get a bill passed through parliament, using influence, money, death threats, sexual favours and such like, which completely banned ‘Crowism’ as it had been titled. This presented your followers with something of a problem, particularly in the Home Counties. They’d already had some trouble with members of ‘The Cult of Scarabic Walruses’ going around and acting as death squads, but now they had the police and the armed forces to compete with as well. This was where things got rather hairy. After about three years of persecution, several thousand of the cultists had become heartily annoyed by having to live in heavy seclusion so as not to be arrested. The cult was still spreading and these people believed in you fanatically. They managed to cut a deal with a Middle Eastern chappy who managed to sell them a great deal of explosives and made himself quite a hearty profit in the process. Anyhow, using lots of cunning and some commando skills they’d picked up in the Cubs, this group managed to cause both the House of Lords and parliament to explode simultaneously, killing the entire cabinet and most of the lords, though some of them had been dead for a few years anyway.” The Crow was ever so slightly dumbfounded by these revelations. He’s never realised that anyone had really believed in him enough to kill anyone, let alone blow up the nation’s governing body.

“So, having managed to remove the only real threat against them, the Crowists formed a provisional government in Aldershot, Christ knows why, and took over running the country. The rest of the world seemed more amused by this than anything else, particularly the States, who had gained quite a large following for you, and the religion itself was beginning to become worldwide. Everything was pallid for around the next six or seven years, until the Middle East problems started.” Sod, looking slightly mournful, put down the bass and returned to his chameleon, prodding it playfully with a twig he had acquired. The Crow shuffled uncomfortably in the melodramatic pause. “Well?” he asked finally, the silence becoming too much for him.

“Hm? Oh . . .” Sod said at last. “The Middle East, yes. Well, as you probably know, Islam never truly died out as a religion, so when Crowism began to drift into the Asian continent, there were a lot of particularly riled folks around. They decided to ally with all other non-Crowist nations and take out all those aligned to your faith. This posed something of a problem to all the Crowist countries, due to most of them giving an extensive decommissioning to a great deal of their armed power and forces. Britain for example had three geezers named Reg, a rusty tank, two pistols, a pea-shooter and eight space hoppers. So when the Saudi’s launched the first nukes, none of the western world was particularly prepared. After an hour all the Crowist countries were uninhabitable. Worse still was that all non-Crowist nations save Saudi were, due to a little double cross by it’s dictator at the time, a man who was known as ‘Dave The Unpleasant’ I seem to remember. Sadly for the Saudis, who briefly proclaimed themselves Emperors of the Earth, their lives were also rather quickly ended, due to the Earth being knocked out of its orbit. Rising temperatures killed off most of the planet’s remaining life and the end truly came when it collided with Venus. So what’ve you got to say to that?” Sod concluded. The Crow sat, dumbfounded.

“You evil, sick, motherfucker,” said Sod’s Jackson Chameleon unexpectedly, with a voice resembling fingers scraping down a blackboard.

“Now, now Karl,” Sod said to the colour changing beastie, calmly, “we can’t just condemn a man. Let’s listen to the case.” He indicated for The Crow to pipe up in his defence.

“Er . . .” he began poorly. “Well, I was dead at the time, so I can’t really be to blame can I?”

“You think Christ got away with that one you scrawny little piece of shit?!” retorted Karl, this time sounding like a Scotsman doing a very bad impression of an American.

“Um, okay,” The Crow went on. “Er . . . yeah, how about this. It was all based around what they thought I believed in – I never actually did any preaching or such like.” He sat back and looked smug.

“Sorry about this,” said Sod, rummaging around in the grill of an aged and dirt caked oven. Finally he pulled out some tatty pieces of paper and handed them to The Crow. “Remember this?” he enquired, cocking his head slightly.

The Crow flicked through the pages. “Shit,” he said to himself as realisation of what he held entered his head.

“Shit indeed, helmet cheese,” mocked Karl.

“How old were you when you wrote it?” asked Sod.

“I dunno, sixteen, seventeen . . .” trailed The Crow off. In his clammy mitts lay ‘The Joy of The Crow’, a shortish piece of questionable literature which basically described his ideas for how to lead a heartily pleasant life. If by some miracle it had ever been published, it would have been banned very quickly in a number of countries.

“Someone found it in your room. It then became a holy book . . .” Sod sailed from his lips.

“Even the bit about cucumbers?” The Crow asked worriedly.

“Yes,” said Sod, airily staring into space.

“I enjoyed that bit,” said Karl in the style of Eric Idle.

“Well,” said Sod, snapping out of his trance, “anything else to say to get you off the hook?” The Crow thought for a second or two. “Too slow,” Sod said finally. Karl’s tongue leapt from his mouth, adhered to The Crow’s cheek and pulled him down his throat.

Annotations

This was the least coherently written chapter I’ve transcribed. Many sentences have been altered in a vague attempt to have them make sense – too many for me to have bothered taking notes. It seems as if I was losing interest by this point, which was almost certainly the case, as we shall see next time. Anyway, time for something specific.

Para. 1 – I think it was Stephen Fry who’d described his favourite word as ‘plinth’ around the time this was written. That’d be why it’s included here.

Para. 3 – The simultaneous destruction of both governmental House’s is probably a bit of a nod of the head in the direction of ‘V For Vendetta’, which I would have been reading for the first time back then.

Para. 4 – Another moment of real locations that I’d never visited. I can’t imagine that I’ve been to Aldershot since either.

Para. 5 – The use of the word ‘riled’ is another Vic & Bob ‘omage I should think. The use of ‘Asian continent’ is a bit dubious mind, so apologies for that.

Para. 7 – The whole “Listen to the case,” bit is lifted from the live version of Make It Funky from James Brown’s ‘Revolution of the Mind’ album (Live at the Apollo Volume Three). My good chum Toylor had it on a funk compilation long before I heard the album itself. Due to overuse, it tended to get locked into a skipping groove of James saying “Get back to the bissown, bone.” Many hours were spent listening to that loop while experiencing altered states. I still have no idea as to what a ‘bissown’ is, or how one would go about boning it.

Next time – The Fourteenth Chapter – The Second Shed

What there is of it.

Fuck

April 26th, 2008 by

Humph’s dead.

Shit.

The Crow Gets Comfy – The Twelfth Chapter

April 25th, 2008 by

The Crow Gets Comfy is an incomplete novel that I began writing in 1994 and I am transcribing here for posterity, shits, giggles and to see just how poor a scribe my eighteen year old self was. I will cease when I either become bored with doing it, when enough people beg me to or when I reach the end of what was written. The only alterations I am making to my original manuscript are for spelling or grammar – everything else was spilt from my half formed mind at the time (frankly my grammar hasn’t improved immensely, so I doubt you’ll notice much improvement). I have not read it in almost a decade and am only reading as I type, so am almost as much in the dark as you before reading the next chapter. The preceding episodes can be found below or in the archive found at the top of the page. Annotations to references, rip offs or other items of interest to me (if no one else) will be inserted in italics at the bottom. Ladies and otherwise, I give you The Crow Gets Comfy. Enjoy if you can.

THE TWELFTH CHAPTER – IN WHICH THINGS HAPPEN. A BIT

The Crow arrived at the stunningly unimpressive door at the end of the corridor. He quietly knocked, apprehensively. The door opened mysteriously without his touching it. He entered a huge gothic room, filled with what seemed to be little more than broken crap. In a far corner resided a small desk which was partially obscured by a huge leather swivel chair in which a figure sat. It appeared to be scribbling with both hands on separate pieces of paper.

The Crow took a step forward, narrowly avoiding the opportunity of tripping over an upturned, partially destroyed photocopier, and coughed politely in the hope of getting the figure’s attention. There was no response. He coughed again, slightly louder this time. “You ought to see someone about that,” the figure spoke, continuing it’s scribbling. The Crow was rather taken aback by the voice of this supreme being. Rather than the soft ethereal tones which he had hoped for, nee expected, this voice sounded slightly reminiscent of the dulcet tones of Frankie Howerd.

“Um, excuse me,” The Crow uttered timidly. The figure halted it’s doodling and slammed the pens down on the table. “What?” it said through what sounded like clenched teeth.

“Er . . .” The Crow sputtered.

“Well?” the voice inquisited.

“Hm,” The Crow continued, “um, I hope you don’t mind my asking, but, er, well, what with me being dead ‘n’ all, er, I was just sort of wondering if . . . er, if you happened to be . . . er, if you . . .”

“Who?” asked the figure, snidely.

“If you happened to be, er . . . God?”

The figure burst into hysterical laughter, which appeared to last an eternity or so. As the laughter subsided, the figure slowly swang the chair round to face The Crow. This is it, he thought, finally a chance to meet with the supreme being. The man who created the universe. He then spent a moment reasoning. If he was the messiah, surely God would be his true father. The figure span into view. Rather than the naked, overly bearded, white haired old man that The Crow had been expecting, there instead sat a youngish man wearing a tartan suit, bowler hat, an extraordinarily bright orange shirt, a bowler hat and a huge grin.

“Dad,” The Crow cried, flinging his arms in the air. The man burst back into hysterical laughter for what appeared to be another eternity. “Erm,” said The Crow, raising both his right eyebrow and forefinger, and hoping for a little bit of a response from ‘God’.

“You know,” giggled the chequered celestial, “you’re the 427th person to ask me that this morning and, by the way, I’m not.”

“Uh?” replied come questioned The Crow.

“And I’m not that either,” completed Mr. Tartan, wiping his eyes with a fluorescent yellow handkerchief.

“Uh?” repeated The Crow.

The figure pulled itself to it’s feet, pulled out a two foot long cigar and, placing it between his lips, pressed a button on the side of the chair which it had been sitting in, causing a huge flame to explode across the room from some obscure part of an oil rig. The Crow leapt back, tripping over a large plastic Alsatian filled with copper coins and plummeted onto his back. He lifted his head only to witness the flame’s sudden subsidence, leaving the figure standing, exhaling smoke through a broad grin. He strolled casually over towards The Crow, who was in the process of returning to a vertical state, puffing merrily on his cigar as he went.

“You see, m’boy,” said ‘God’, his voice briefly resembling that of James Earl Jones, “you’re new here ‘n’ I’ve just got to iron out a couple of . . . how shall we say . . . misconceptions that you may have about where you are and who I am, or, more importantly,” he puffed on his cigar and drew his head nearer The Crow’s, “who I’m not.”

“Well,” said The Crow, “can I ask you just this one question.”

“Certainly,” grinned the character.

“Who the fu . . .” he paused abruptly, before continuing, “. . . fuhlipping heck are you?”

“Ha ha!” laughed the creature. “I am known by many as ‘The Hand Which Guides The Universe’, which of course I am, but that’s a bit long winded in general conversation. A lot of people call me Murphy, but I’ve always thought of that as a bit of a shoddy name, so I’d be happiest if you’d just call me Sod.”

“Sod?” questioned The Crow.

“Sod,” repeated Sod.

“Sod,” The Crow said again, tediously. “As in Sod’s Law,” he asked, moving the conversation onto pastures new.

“Yip,” retorted Sod in a gunslinger’s manner.

“So, you’re basically the geezer who makes everything in the world, or should that be the universe . . .”

“It should be,” Sod butted.

“Mm . . . so you make everything in the universe that should go wrong . . . err, go wrong?”

Sod put his left hand on his own chin and leant, nonchalantly on a two hundred watt amplifier which had evidently received major boot damage. “Well to put it basically, yes,” he said, shrugging ever so slightly.

“But – but – but – but – but,” stuttered The Crow, “but whaddaboutgod?” blurted he.

“Don’t you know any history, boyo? T’was, oooh, thirty-nine years or so since I saw Professor Alan Montague Reinhardt y’know? He really was God. He was even Allah for a while, ‘n’ I think he might have even been Buddah for a day or two. God is dead. He never really existed. There’s just me. No one else. Just me.”

“Hrm,” said The Crow, somewhat disheartened and resting his buttocks on the legs of an upturned coffee table. “So, just out of curiosity, would you say that the likelihood of my being the messiah might be just a tad on the low side?”

“Well,” Sod said, rubbing his chin, “that’s one of the things I wanted to mention to you. Come with me.” He beckoned The Crow to follow him over to a small clearing in the room. There, the pair fell onto a ragged, foam leaking holey leather sofa (holey as in it had holes, for any of those uncertain). “Now,” said Sod, kicking a battered old television set into life with one of his highly polished winklepickers, “watch this.” The opening credits to ‘Never The Twain’, the popular 1980’s situation comedy starring Windsor Davies and Donald Sinden flashed up. “Oo, bugger,” exclaimed Sod, putting his foot through the telly screen. “Sorry about that,” he went on, “but it’s an old favourite of mine.”

“What was it you were going to show me anyway?” asked The Crow, already cringing slightly, having realised that whatever it was, it wasn’t terribly good.

“Mm, I suppose I’ll have to tell you, now that I’ve destroyed the last telly in the room,” Sod pondered, helping the author (i.e. – me) out of a bit of a rut. He stood up and began to stroll around the clearing a little. “You see,” he began, “you’ve been dead for 16 years now, yes?”

“I’ve been meaning to ask about that” meant The Crow. “It didn’t really seem to be 16 years in that waiting room.”

“Well, time in there has a habit of distorting quite a bit,” Sod explained. He began slightly over emphasizing things by waving his arms around like something of a madman. “It can seem like you’ve been there for aeons, or with some folk, it can only appear to be a few minutes. Anyhow, that being beside the point let’s put it to one side and ignore it.” Sod walked to the door The Crow had entered by, which he (that’s The Crow) at this point noticed was next to a very large compass needle. He plucked it from the wall using both hands and then positioned the wholly two dimensional object at such an angle at which it was totally invisible to The Crow from where he sat. “There, that’s better,” beamed Sod at the befuddled rag. He strolled back to the clearing, acquiring a Jackson’s chameleon on the journey, stroking the horned beast lovingly as he strode. “Anyway, where was I?” asked the universe’s controller.

“Er, it’s been 16 years . . .” tailed off The Crow.

“That’s right, yes, it’s been 16 years since your death and because of it you’ve destroyed the Earth.”

“Shit,” said The Crow. “I knew I left the gas on.

Annotations

I was a great believer in Sod’s Law back then. Not quite as much now, having realised that most of my downfalls are self made. The second book seems to be an attempt to wander off into broader comedy. Whether that’s successful or not is in the interpretation of the reader I suppose. Can’t say that I chuckled much. There’s not much else to add, even in a specific way.

Para. 1 – The manuscript actually describes ‘a door at the end of the doorway’. Which is arse. So I changed it to corridor, as it at least makes sense.

Para. 9 – Not sure if Sod was supposed to be wearing two bowler hats or if I got bored halfway through writing that sentence. I left both in as it amused me to do so.

Para. 30 – I don’t really think that Allah was a man named Alan from the future. Please don’t hurt me.

Para. 32 – The sofa described was the one in my good chum Toylor’s lounge. I lived with that sofa for a year and, despite it’s hopelessly battered appearance, it was remarkably comfortable. It was brown.

Para. 36 – ‘Rag’ was a term of derision used by my group of pals way back when. It may well stem from a poem that a quick Google points to being authored by John Agard. The pronunciation of ’scissors mouth’ in a televisual reading of the piece was much imitated by many of us. In a way that might now be considered racist. Oh God.

Next time – The Thirteenth Chapter – Unlucky For Several

The Crow Gets Comfy – The Eleventh Chapter

April 24th, 2008 by

Following the previous couple of days pleas for direction, almost five percent of the readership got in contact! Here’s what he said:-

I mean, surely not many people write to you?

That’s a fair point.

The idea of a policeforce staffed by Jeffs is remarkably similar to a Not The 9.00 News sketch about a factory filled with Bobs. Although that had the punchline “Handbuilt by Roberts”, which is a pun on some advert back in the day, I believe.

Don’t remember the sketch myself, so doubt it had any influence. I’ve still yet to see a full episode of NTNOCN and don’t think that that one appeared in any of the compilation episodes that John Loyd put together. I won’t rule it out though.

You can post more if you like…it’s not as if it has any discernible narrative arc, so we’re unlikely to be left any the wiser.

And with that conclusive endorsement I shall continue with the last three and a bit chapters. I might dispute the ‘discernible narrative arc’ at some point, but it’s probably not worth it. Was there anything else?

I’ve read worse, though…

Just you wait. Thanks to regular correspondent Dick Gappy for the words of praise. Okay, roll the credits.

The Crow Gets Comfy is an incomplete novel that I began writing in 1994 and I am transcribing here for posterity, shits, giggles and to see just how poor a scribe my eighteen year old self was. I will cease when I either become bored with doing it, when enough people beg me to or when I reach the end of what was written. The only alterations I am making to my original manuscript are for spelling or grammar – everything else was spilt from my half formed mind at the time (frankly my grammar hasn’t improved immensely, so I doubt you’ll notice much improvement). I have not read it in almost a decade and am only reading as I type, so am almost as much in the dark as you before reading the next chapter. The preceding episodes can be found below or in the archive found at the top of the page. Annotations to references, rip offs or other items of interest to me (if no one else) will be inserted in italics at the bottom. Ladies and otherwise, I give you The Crow Gets Comfy. Enjoy if you can.

THE SECOND BOOK – STROLL ON WITH THE DELUDED

THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER – SURVIVING IN A STAINED, YET COMPROMISING POISE

The Crow found himself sitting in a room. This seemed exceptionally bizarre to him due to the large number of squirrels dotted around the room, apparently foraging for nuts. Several of them appeared to be charred, while others seemed to be missing numerous limbs. He looked to his right, to see a number of seats filled up with various people sitting in them. Several of them were chatting in a large variety of accents and languages, whilst a number of the others had injuries of some kind, primarily the fatal kind.

He looked around for Bertha and the cultists but could see none of them lurking around. He recalled the events that had occurred before things became dark, causing him to look down in panic, only to be greeted by the sight of soup stains gazing up at him. The compulsion to scream filled him briefly until it was quelled by a great sense of inner calm.

“Shit,” he said to himself. “I suppose I’m dead.”

An elderly spinster, who appeared to have a large slit across her throat and happened to be sitting opposite him looked over and attempted to speak. Sadly she failed due to the vocal cords that had been housed in her neck, having been sliced in twain, were rendered to the extent of useless.

“Djar,” said a Jamaican sitting next to him.

“Bugger,” said The Crow. “I think I left the gas on.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gas is an odd thing. It surrounds most solid and liquid things on the planet and is one of the most important things needed to all life, be it animal vegetable or otherwise. Despite this, people pay huge quantities of cash yearly t have it pumped into their homes.

Life’s bizarre when you think about it literally.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Crow searched his pockets and found them devoid of any content except for a long piece of paper. He examined it, only to find a large 30 figure number typed along one side of it. He waved it at the Rastafarian sat next to him and shrugged in a pitifully feeble manner.

“Dat dere’s yo’ numbah,” said the large dreadlocked character.

“Mmmm,” said The Crow, who had fortunately become an expert in Jamaican thanks to an extensive collection of authentic Bob Marley recordings. The elderly woman with the sliced vocal cords attempted to join the conversation, but to no avail, due to the lack of any sound emanating from her in any way, causing a total ignorance of her presence by both The Crow and his Jamaican chum. “Well,” he continued in a generally uncertain manner, “er, what does it actually signify?”

The Jamaican pointed up to an L.C.D. (Liquid Crystal Display to all you technophobes out there, not that you’d know what that means either) which displayed a very big number. “You goes op dayre,” continued the Rasta, pointing to an insignificant looking door at the other end of the room, “when yo’ numbah com’s op dere,” he concluded, pointing to the LCD.

“Ah,” said The Crow, with all the panache of a pregnant vole. He consulted his own number and compared it to that on the screen. He had three digits more than the screen. “Erm,” said The Crow, coyly, “sorry to keep on whinging ‘n’ all, but with this number, about how long will it take for me to get into . . . no, through the door?”

The wide dreaded head squinted at the number. “Roun’ ’bout sixteen year,” said he.

“Fuck,” said The Crow, only to be promptly struck by a shard of lightning. A man with a vague likeness to Dave Lee Travis burst into hysterical laughter as The Crow’s crackling and slightly charred ‘body’, if it could be described thus, plummeted head first to the floor. There was a bizarre smell of seaweed and burnt hair and suddenly ‘Cars’ by Gary NUman began playing in The Crow’s head.

“YES!” he shouted, leaping in the air and landing flat on his arse, “THIS MUST BE HEAVEN!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

With both Heaven and Hell being abstract concepts, it should be pointed out that The Crow’s assumption that he is in Heaven, simply due to the presence of songs by esteemed musician Gary NUman, is one that may not be wholly correct. Speaking candidly as the author of this piece, if I may briefly, um, I’ve just become somewhat aware of one or two discrepancies in the plot that may exist concerning mythical or legendary planes in this universe. Well, oh faithful reader of mine, don’t you worry one little bit, because I’ve just thought of a brilliant way to blag around it. So sit tight, true believer, and allow me to whimper at your feet for a minute or two for disrupting the gibberish you’re reading with my inane bollocks. Soz.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Here in my car . . .” sang Gary in The Crow’s now ringing ears for the two hundred and thirty-eighth time. The Crow sat, nearly motionless, except for the seven or eight twitches he had developed listening to the song for the first two hundred and thirty-seven times. He was awoken from his trance like state by something nudging his foot. Looking down with wide bloodshot eyes, he saw something that had probably once been a human form, but now bore more of a resemblance to a large lump of Swiss cheese oozing strawberry jam. The Crow looked on at the quivery mess and was stunned when it lifted something resembling a head and attempted to speak.

“B . . . b . . . bas . . .” stuttered Eric.

“WHAT?” shouted The Crow in the manner of someone listening to a walkman and not realising that they’re shouting.

“Bas . . . bas . . .” Eric croaked again.

“SORRY?” The Crow asked noisily. “YOU’LL HAVE TO SPEK UP, I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”

“B – b – b – bas . . .” Eric summoned all of the energy left in his limp and useless body. “BASTARD!” he finally managed to shout, thrusting himself into the air and grabbing The Crow by the throat. The Crow had never been throttled by a corpse before and, reasoning that he himself was dead anyway, thought that it wouldn’t really hurt to let this ever so slightly familiar figure have his fun.

Then, all of a sudden, as if by magic, a shopkeeper appeared, wearing a fez and a slightly dicey purple apron. “Tsk,” he said, made a vague gesture and vanished once more.

The Crow, being understandably perplexed by this blatant rip-off of ‘Mr. Benn’, had failed to realise something. “Hang on,” he said to himself calmly, Eric’s hands still wrapped tightly around his neck, “where’s Gary gone?”

Eric let out a gurgly yelp and leapt backwards, releasing The Crow in the process. He scrabbled around the floor seething to himself and muttering “‘kin Cars . . . ‘kin Cars . . .” through the foam building up on his lips.

“Har har,” The Crow laughed jovially and was about to put the boot in, having never had the opportunity to kick a heavily bloodied corpse in the teeth before, when a Scotsman grabbed him by the shoulder and span him around.

“Dinnae dae et son,” said the four foot high, grey bearded, kilt and sporran wearing dead man, “oor ye’ll have tae face th’ consequences.”

“Oh,” said The Crow. “Fair enough,” he sat down, crossed his legs and began comparing his numbers to those on the screen.

“Ye see,” the Scotsman continued blaring in The Crow’s ear, “this is nae ma firs’ time here. No sir, Ah’ve bin here before.”

“Do you mind,” said The row, distracted from his mission, “I’m trying to see when it’s my turn.”

“Ahh,” said The Scotsman managing to achieve silence for a second or two before he continued his wittering. “Ye see, en thes place, onny horrible, eevel or nasty” (he relished this word) “things you do huv a habit of causing you more grief.”

The Crow paused from comparing numbers for a moment, marking the position on his card with his thumb. “Does that include saying fu-” he began to ask, stopping abruptly as the air crackled above him. “Er . . .” he continued, “the ‘eff’ word?”

“Aye!” exploded the Scotsman.

“Aahh,” retorted The Crow.

“Ooohh,” said the Scotsman, taking things a bit far.

“Hm,” The Crow grunted, completing his part of the tet a tet, and returned to his numbers.

“Er,” scottished the Highlander, “whit ‘eff’ word might that be?”

“You know,” replied The Crow calmly, not looking up.

“Nae, Ah dinnae,” stated the haggis eater.

“You do,” said The Crow, a spot of annoyance creeping into his tone of voice.

“Nae ah dinnae,” repeated the caber tosser, this time with more feeling.

“Yes, you do,” replied The Crow in a stern monosyllabic way.

“Aahh,” came the jock’s realisation, as he mimicked The Crow’s earlier utterance. “You mean fock!” Lightning exploded into the Scotsman’s sporran, allowing the song ‘Camouflage’ by popular 1980’s pop star Stan Ridgway to begin blaring into the slumped northerner’s ears.

“Bummer,” said The Crow, looking down at the pitiful figure and instantly forgetting the number he’d got up to. Fighting back the compulsion to swear, The Crow began to check his numbers again. This took around twenty-five minutes, at which point he realised it was his turn.

“Hoo-rah!” he shouted loudly, leaping up from his waiting room seat, and began to stride down the lengthy corridor towards the door. It was at this moment that he realised that either the sixteen years had passed very quickly or he’d been listening to ‘Cars’ for a lot longer than he’d thought. He shrugged his shoulders and strolled on to meet his maker.

He was in for a shock.

Annotations

I nearly abandoned this altogether when I got to the Jamaican’s dialogue. I can only apologise for the two bits of extreme racial stereotyping found within this chapter. Especially the Scottish section, where it just descends into childish name calling. I again can only use misguided youth as a defence, though I’m not sure that it’s much of one. I’m certain that the idea of limbo as some sort of waiting room ahs been used before by someone far more talented than I, yet I can’t think of any specific instances that I may have been cribbing from. Yet, pinched it almost certainly is. Now some specific points and apologies.

Para. 5 – I meant of meant Jah, though it might have been more accent phonetics. I am sorry.

Para. 7 – That’s an appalling gag and I’m ashamed to have devoted a paragraph to it.

Para’s 10 – 14 – I am so, so sorry.

Para. 12 – The pomposity of the explanation of the initials L.C.D. doesn’t surprise me. I was sort of like that.

Para. 15 – Gary NUman has the double capital as that is how I shall always pronounce it. It is funny. ‘Cars’ appears particularly as it was one of several seven inches in my good chum Toylor’s vinyl collection I would insist on playing when visiting to mock his OMD records.

Para. 17 – ‘True believer’ is of course the phrase Stan Lee used to address Marvel fans in his Bullpen Bulletins. Excelsior!

Para. 23 – I’m uncertain whether this was written before or after I was actually throttled by The Duffy. It was because I woke him up by pouring a shoe full of water on his head. I grinned as I choked. I imagine it was after.

Para. 28 – I am sorry.

Para. 40 – 44 – I am very, very sorry.

Para. 44 – Stan Ridgway’s Camouflage was another seven inch that was spun quite regularly. It is a very poor song.

Next time – The Twelfth Chapter – In Which Things Happen. A Bit

Who annotates the annotators?

April 23rd, 2008 by

Afternoon all. Regular correspondent Fforbes Munchell wote in with this note regarding the first chapter of The Crow Gets Comfy;-

Couple of pedantry points for you annotations. ch.1 para 6. bit of a Blur lift in there too (‘except on Wednesdays’). Although had Parklife come out by 1994? (Quick check reveals yes! Only just – in April) Perhaps an addition to your annotations. And, re. note on para 8, ‘toe jammed football’ is Come Together not Walrus isn’t it?

The Beatles point is most definitely correct. Clearly an error on the part of my own dubious memory. The ‘except on Wednesdays’ part I’m less certain of. I certainly listened to it shortly after it had come out, though wonder if it would have got into my consciousness enough for me to lift from it. Maybe it was subconscious. Don’t know, but a good spoy none the less.

Should you find any peculiarities or steals I hadn’t noticed, do let me know. I’m also setting a deadline of tomorrow lunchtime (a double illusion?) for any requests, for or against, a continuation into the unfinished second book. Any response at all will influence my time. The Contact thing above still works. Use it.

The Crow Gets Comfy – The Tenth Chapter

April 22nd, 2008 by

The Crow Gets Comfy is an incomplete novel that I began writing in 1994 and I am transcribing here for posterity, shits, giggles and to see just how poor a scribe my eighteen year old self was. I will cease when I either become bored with doing it, when enough people beg me to or when I reach the end of what was written. The only alterations I am making to my original manuscript are for spelling or grammar – everything else was spilt from my half formed mind at the time (frankly my grammar hasn’t improved immensely, so I doubt you’ll notice much improvement). I have not read it in almost a decade and am only reading as I type, so am almost as much in the dark as you before reading the next chapter. The preceding episodes can be found below or in the archive found at the top of the page. Annotations to references, rip offs or other items of interest to me (if no one else) will be inserted in italics at the bottom. Ladies and otherwise, I give you The Crow Gets Comfy. Enjoy if you can.

THE TENTH CHAPTER – CARNAGE ENSUES

The crowd stood and observed The Crow’s unconscious figure on the floor. No one knew exactly what to do. The messiah had just collapsed and the stains were still growing. Graham Smith looked on in vague astonishment, wondering whether he’d get into a little trouble over someone dying in a frenzy of soup stains.

“Um,” said a cultist with a strong Birmingham accent. “Don’t you, like, think we should, er, move him or . . .” he trailed off under the stares of everyone in the room.

“He could be right,” Bertha said, sounding as unbewildered as possible.

The three nearest members of the assembled horde moved towards The Crow, only to be riddled with buckshot from the outside world. They plummeted to the floor in a very unamusing manner.

“Shite,” said Graham Smith, diving behind the bar in shock, wondering whether he’d get into any more trouble if numerous people were mercilessly slaughtered in his public house.

The door exploded inwards beneath a darkened figure’s boot, showering some members of the crowd with shards of wood. The figure stepped into the light and looked menacingly around at everyone assembled. He cackled to himself in a worrying manner. He appeared to be a seven foot tall ninth century Viking holding a blunderbuss.

“Uhh . . . shit . . .” muttered The Crow, momentarily regaining consciousness before returning to his comatose condition.

“Err,” said Bertha, approaching the huge figure in a worried manner. “Can I, err, I mean could we . . . um . . . no . . . err . . .” Alvin Smith swiped his cutlass in an arc, allowing both of Bertha’s arms to plummet limply to the floor. She stood there, looking at him for several seconds, her blood tumbling in cascades from the now useless sockets. Her eyes slowly misted over as she swayed from side to side, eventually tumblig gracefully to her right.

Suddenly a horde of other salty sea dogs exploded into ‘Alan’, scabbards drawn, cutlasses waving and hacking. The assembled horde of cultists, not knowing how the hell to react to a Viking horde of the ninth century invading a small Cambridge inn, were, in most cases, completely unprepared. All seemed doomed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Detective Sergeant Jeff Bull, still halfway up a stairwell, hummed the tune of ‘The Payback’ to himself whilst fiddling with his loudhailer again. “Ah-HA,” he said, managing to turn it back on. “YOU DEAD YET SON?” he called up to Eric.

Eric, still huddled in his corner, was none too chuffed with the situation that had arisen. Being enclosed on the fourth floor of Miss Selfridge was bad enough, but the facts that he’d almost run out of rivets, was being shouted at by a pig with an exceptionally irritating voice and that he’d made a nasty little rip in his trousers, made things all the worse. This wasn’t helped by the fact that a small family of squirrels had moved into the building and were now foraging for nuts. Eric decided to retain an aura of mystique and keep his mouth tightly shut.

“HOI!” shouted Jeff from the stairwell. “ARE YOU GONNA COME DOWN OR WHAT?” He turned to his gathered associates and shrugged feebly.

“Jeff,” said Jeff McGraw, hurrying a wizened looking old woman toward the staircase. “I found this elderly woman.”

“Eh?” said Jeff, perplexed by the haggard crone that met his eyes. “Well?” he asked, making sure his loudhailer was off, “what’s she here for?”

“Well, er, I thought we could pretend it’s his Mum ‘n’ maybe get him to talk to her,” said Jeff in a voice that dwindled considerably in the duration of time in which he spoke.

Jeff looked on cynically. “It’s a bloody stupid plan, Jeff,” squeaked Jeff, “but I think it might just work.”

Eric remained motionless, despite having a squirrel chewing on his arm. He wondered what his plan of action could curtail. Having only forty rivets left to aid his cause didn’t exactly help his cause, and neither did the snipers particularly. He had also begun to feel a little peckish. He briefly considered breaking out the peanuts which he had in his trouser pocket but had second thoughts due to the number of squirrels that had begun to gather in the room.

“ALRIGHT SON,” called up the irritating voice once more. “WE’VE GOT SOMEONE HERE TO TALK TO YOU.” There was a brief sound of fumbling, crackling and feedback before the voice was replaced by that of another. “HELLO,” it croaked up in an elderly manner. Eric stirred, not due to this totally unfamiliar voice, but due to the fact that one of the squirrels appeared to be chewing on a power cable.

“IS MY SON UP THERE?” said the elderly woman (who happened to be one Mrs. Irma Hobper, a resident of a small farming community just outside of the town who’d been out doing her shopping) to Detective Sergeant Jeff Bull through the loud hailer.

“Give that ‘ere,” Jeff squeaked, grabbing the loudhailer from Mrs. Hobper, causing his radio to plummet to the floor outside of his range of perception.

Meanwhile, Eric was becoming concerned by the gnawings of the hundred or so squirrels that had appeared. Several had now taken to chewing the power cables which were dotted around the area. All of a sudden six squirrels simultaneously managed to gnaw through the cable, causing the electrocution on a massive scale. They were all propelled backwards, each one slowly igniting as they tore through the air.

Sadly for Eric, the worst was yet to come.

The burning squirrels, who had been propelled from various points in the room, all but one happened to be angled so that they would converge on a bridal arrangement which immediately began to incinerate. The other one landed on Eric’s chest, causing him to leap up, trying to extinguish his crimpoleen.

“THAT WAS YOUR MOTHER, SON,” pointed out Jeff in a voice he hoped sounded convincing, but didn’t in the slightest. He heard sounds of confusion from up the stairs. “WHAT’S GOING ON UP THERE?” he squeaked loudly.

“FIRE!! Fire,” shouted Eric’s voice down the stairs. As this pointMrs. Hobper promptly keeled over and died, falling onto Jeff’s radio.

“WHADDAYA MEAN -” the radio was turned on by Mrs. Hobper’s considerable weight falling upon it “- FIRE?!”

Over the road, in the sniper filled building, Chief Constable Jeff Roman, C.I.D., heard the shout on the radio, causing him in turn to leap up and repeat it.

“FIRE!!!” he screamed!

Eric dived to the floor having successfully put his shirt out, only to see and hear volley after volley of bullets stream through the window and begin causing carnage. Mannequins and bridal gowns exploded in every direction causing the inferno to increase. Bits of squirrel were going everywhere. Shit, thought Eric to himself, I’ll never get these stains out. He had rolled to the wall through which bullets were now entering and lay beneath a Venetian blind which had become heavily Swiss cheese like.

“Fuck it,” he said to himself, rising up to a crouched position, causing hot steel to destroy his right shoulder. It was lucky he was left handed. Grasping his riveting machine, he leapt up into the veil of bullets and commenced shooting as many of his screw like creations as he plausibly could.

Steel rocketed between the two buildings as Eric was slowly shot into several pieces, with the Venetian blind providing as much cover as a snowball. 27 snipers received rivets in various positions around their anatomies, twenty-three of them being terminal. Eric, or at least the bloodied remains of what had once been Eric, clattered down on the Venetian blind, landing astride a squad car. It slowly slid off, becoming a twitching red pile on the floor.

Jeff Bull grasped the radio of Jeff Thribble, Mrs. Hobper being immovably stuck on his, and bawled down it; “WHAT THE FUCKING ‘ELL’RE YOU PLAYING AT JEFF?!?” he shouted in something that was close to ultrasound. Jeff Roman, who had been unfortunate enough to receive a rogue rivet in his chin, attempted to speak. “Ou faid hire.”

“Shit,” said Jeff, stunned, “so I did.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Robbie Schmittenfunk squeezed the remaining urin from his limp foreskin and did his fly up lovingly. He heard a fracas exploding in the bar and, assuming a fight had broken out, waited for the battle to reach it’s climax and allow him to go and ravage the remains. The sounds of battle had halted a minute or so ago, so, he reasoned, he would find no attack launched on his person. He pushed the door ajar and looked out.

He ran to a toilet and vomited.

Graham Smith cowered behind his bar. He had received a buckshot wound in his shoulder. He was none to chuffed about the state which ‘Alan’ was in, with most of the inn’s interior devastated to a point by which it was more than likely irreparable.

Alvin Smith, a Scandinavian, in reference to his pillaging sprees was of little repute. Compared to most of the other Viking warriors, he was something of lightweight bottling poof. He examined Bertha’s bloodied head as it stared eternally upwards from it’s stick, producing a little chuckle. He surveyed the carnage.

The Crow lay silently comatose beneath the body of a plump Brummie. A member of the skeleton crew looked in his general direction, but saw nothing untoward.

Alvin Smith downed a pint of ale and strolled over to the bar. Sirens sounded in the distance, slowly getting nearer. He looked over the bar and saw his descendant peering fearfully up at him. “Bloody ‘ell,” the two chorused in a bizarre quirk of linguistic fate. A bright white light appeared at a point equidistant to the pair’s foreheads. It slowly grew outward, the family line causing neither to move, until it briefly touched the pair’s foreheads.

The ball imploded, sucking everything in from the devastated bar room. Silence returned for a brief second, until the entire bar room exploded, spewing splinters of wood, shards of glass and many bodies (or bits of them) out onto the pavement in front of ‘Alan’.

The sirens drew up to the road outside the pub and Constable Jeff Bacon entered the outside world. He strolled over to the scene of destruction and witnessed the corpses and cutlasses.

“Shit,” he said. A large hooded figure with a skeletal face walked up behind him and chuckled. Jeff turned to witness empty air.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Satan laughed and bucked until tears of sulphur poured down his face. He had succeeded.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Randolph Beltcher, 69, blubbed quietly at the scenes from Bristol on News at Ten. Most thought it was his dislike of the death that had occurred. They were wrong.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A shed in Grantham, Kent exploded in green fire.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

War had been lying. The photo’s were actually from Torremolinos.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Robbie Schmittenfunk escaped through a toilet window and ran off into the night. His craving had been curbed, albeit briefly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Shit,” thought The Crow. “I think I’m dead.”

He wasn’t far wrong.

Annotations

This is the final chapter of the first book of (I think) a proposed three. Approximately fifteen pages of manuscript remain, so I’m half tempted to leave it here at as a sort of natural conclusion rather than getting half way through a chapter and just stopping. I shall mull it over. A lot of plummeting in this chapter wasn’t there? It’s easy to spot what my favourite words were at the time. Thinking about it, I did a fair amount of plummeting for the amusement of others around then, so that’s probably why it came about. Why did I kill off almost all my main characters a third of the way through a story? Well, maybe I didn’t. Let’s get onto some specifics.

Para. 6 – I know Vikings didn’t have blunderbusses and am fairly certain I knew back then too. God, I hope so.

Para. 8/9 – There’s a blank line in the manuscript between paragraphs eight and nine. Is it a tribute to Bertha’s demise? Was I going to find some Scandawegian dialogue? Did I just forget to use it? I really have no idea, but thought it worth noting.

Para. 11 – ‘The Payback’ is of course the title track from James Brown’s album of the same name and a mighty fine tune it is too.

Para. 20 – I’m guessing that Irma’s named after Irma Prunesqualour from Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels. I supposedly read them for A-Level English, though actually just ended up listening to a spoken word adaptation that starred Sting as Steerpike. Also, aren’t old people funny? Look at them, forgetting things and being old and that. I am Catherine Tate and I must be destroyed.

Para. 22 – Do squirrels swarm? I like to think that they do. Do they fly across rooms and catch light when you pass a current through them? I don’t know for sure, but am happy to conduct the experiment.

Para. 27 – Accidentally sending a military unit in by shouting is unashamedly pinched from the last episode of Bottom. Though they used “Go A Squad,” rather than my simpler “Fire,” the gag and it’s effect of having a protagonist shot to pieces are pretty much identical.

Para. 30 – ‘Bits of squirrel were going everywhere’ is possibly the best thing I have ever written. Agree with me.

Para. 32 – The first use of a twenty-three. I’d expected there to be more of these, as I’d just begun my Robert Anton Wilson obsession. Maybe there are later.

Para. 38 – ‘Lightweight bottling poof’ would have been a fairly standard insult between my chums and I back then. We were young, though it’s fairly indefensible coming from the narrator’s mouth. I can only apologise.

Para. 40 – This seems to be a small scale Akira thing happening. So that’s probably where I stole it from.

Para. 42 – Jeff Bacon is almost certainly taken from Kevin Bacon. Someone close to the time of writing had pointed out to me that he was made entirely from wax. I still find this amusing.

Para. 44 – The manuscript has Randolph Beltcher blubbing at the events in Cambridge. I imagine that this is because I’d forgotten that Eric was still stranded in Bristol, so have changed it as it seems far more logical. Unless I had plans for Randolph. Maybe. We’ll see.

Next time – well, maybe nothing. The Contact thing up the top seems to still be working, so if you want to see the rest of The Crow Gets Comfy, let me know. If you don’t, I’ll start on something else in a few days time. It’s entirely up to you. Bye.

The Crow Gets Comfy – The Ninth Chapter

April 21st, 2008 by

The Crow Gets Comfy is an incomplete novel that I began writing in 1994 and I am transcribing here for posterity, shits, giggles and to see just how poor a scribe my eighteen year old self was. I will cease when I either become bored with doing it, when enough people beg me to or when I reach the end of what was written. The only alterations I am making to my original manuscript are for spelling or grammar – everything else was spilt from my half formed mind at the time (frankly my grammar hasn’t improved immensely, so I doubt you’ll notice much improvement). I have not read it in almost a decade and am only reading as I type, so am almost as much in the dark as you before reading the next chapter. The preceding episodes can be found below or in the archive found at the top of the page. Annotations to references, rip offs or other items of interest to me (if no one else) will be inserted in italics at the bottom. Ladies and otherwise, I give you The Crow Gets Comfy. Enjoy if you can.

THE NINTH CHAPTER – MORE SOUP STAINS

“Eh?” asked Bertha.

“I’ve got soup stains on me trousers!” The Crow repeated irritably.

“So?” she questioned. She moved closer and spoke in a more secretive tone. “Don’t give a bad impression to the cult, they’ll think you’re vain.”

“What?” The Crow said, slightly bewildered.

“Why’ve we come ‘ere anyway?” asked a cultist with a northern accent and a very poor bandana. This caused general murmuring throughout the crowd.

“Oi,” nudged Bertha to The Crow, who was still examining the stains on his trousers. “Oi!” she repeated, finally gaining his attention.

“What?” he said, looking up from his crotch.

“They want to know why we’re here,” she told him in a slow clear voice.

“Hm?” he murmured, still perplexed by the soup stain situation. “Ah, right!” he suddenly exclaimed, realising what had been said. “Yes, err, why we’re here, hmm,” he rabbited incoherently to himself. He turned on one heel, pointing ahead of himself with an outstretched arm and proceeded into the cemetery. The crowd shrugged patchily and continued following in their sheep like manner. They proceeded past the tombstones, regimentally lined, to the furthest corner of the cemetery. The Crow eventually stopped by a small, unimpressive looking headstone directly in the corner and knelt down. The dark clouds overhead began to spit down on the assembly. The Crow, wearing a mournful half smile, reached into the pocket of his trench coat. After a few seconds fumbling he pulled out a tiny piece of blotting paper covered in multi-coloured squiggles.

His smile widened as he looked at it, then, as the rain intensified to a downpour, he carefully placed it down in front of the headstone. He remained kneeling, gazing at the headstone, his head slightly tilted.

The audience huddled round, having what seemed to them to be some kind of religious experience. Strangely, none of their eyes could focus on the name on the stone. Mostly they put it down to the rain.

From a distance Robbie Schmittenfunk looked on. The bizarre ritual which appeared to be taking place seemed very odd to Robbie. “Nu’ers,” he said quietly to himself. He took his battered packet of duty free cigarettes out of his trouser pocket and dragged one crumpled tobacco stick free. Shielding it carefully he eventually successfully lit it. He sat back and watched the events unfold on the graveyards opposite side.

All was silent, bar the rain’s pattering and the occasional crowd member’s shuffling.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Detective Sergeant Jeff Bull (remember him?) sat down behind his nice new desk and bit mercilessly into his doughnut, causing most of the jam to spontaneously leap out of the hole on the other side. “Oo, booger,” he said in his odd way.

Jeff didn’t really like his voice. He’d once been ready to have his vocal chords surgically altered to a normal level. This unfortunately never occurred due to Jeff’s accidentally maiming the surgeon in a drunken stupor. Fortunately for Jeff, he was never discovered.

Despite the troublingly high pitch of his voice, Jeff was, on the whole, a happy man, having just been promoted from his work in the dreary back waters of Droitwich to the slightly more interesting suburbs of Bristol. He was rather unusual in the police force due to the fact that he was an ex-backing vocalist for James Brown, theonly thing his voice had ever done for him.

Jeff stood up and walked to his third floor window. A man ran past, firing rivets in all directions, hurriedly pursued by several eager policemen. He grinned to himself, knowing a job was being well done, and began singing ‘I Feel Good’ to himself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Crow remained grinning and kneeling. The crowd was beginning to become slightly bored by the lack of occurrence. Slowly one drew closer to the kneeling figure and spoke in a whispered voice. “Erm . . .”

The Crow turned his face toward the cultist, his eyes half shut. “Yees,” he said sleepily.

“Well, um, like, whose grave is this?” the follower asked in awe of this meditating character.

“This,” he replied, moving to his feet. “This is the final resting place of a genius. A man whose greatness shines like a glowing beacon in the grim abyss of bullshit and drudgery. A man of such amazing ability that the system tried to institutionalise him. All those who knew him saw his beauty, his ability, his magnificence. A lunatic, but are not all geniuses madmen. My friends, my followers, beneath this stone lie the remains of-”

Thunder crashed loudly overhead, drowning out the name The Crow had spoken and the rain began to pour torrentially. The Crow, still smiling intensely, began staggering to the exit in a vaguely coordinated manner. The crowd stood, stunned briefly, before trotting after him like so many woolless lambs. Bertha ran up to catch up with the rapidly disappearing figure.

“That was ruddy amazing,” she said enthusiastically. “Where the hell did you think of it?” The Crow grinned wider in response.

“It just flowed . . .” he muttered mellowly.

“Whose grave was it anyway?” she asked.

The Crow just grinned.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Eric covered his face as he leapt through the shop window of Miss Selfridge. He ran insanely round the building, only pausing briefly to look at the rather attractive lingerie section.

When arriving at the fourth floor he realised his mistake. He noticed that the only staircase was the one which he had taken. There were no lifts or other ways out.

“Shit!” he cursed, looking about himself worriedly. He went up to the window and quickly ducked down, seeing several squad cars pull up and what looked like snipers and a high ranking officer dismounting their chariots. “Fuck!!!” he shouted at no one in particular.

He decided to huddle himself away in a corner until something happened.

Downstairs, Detective Sergeant Jeff Bull entered the building, irritable doe to his being interrupted half way through a rendition of ‘Get Up, I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine.’ “What’s the situation?” he grumbled in as deep a voice as he could.

“Weell,” said Constable Jeff Thribble, not the commanding officer present, but an ex-whelf farmer from the Outer Hebrides who’d only been in the force for a fortnight after the great seafood crisis had struck Northern Britain. “We’ve got the maniac with the riveting machine trapped upstairs. So far he’s killed twelve folk round town and nastily maimed thirty-eight. He’s an evil wee booger,” he added.

“Hmm,” grumbled Jeff to himself, still trying to feign a normal voice. He scratched his neck contemplatively.

“Here’s – hhh – here’s the – hhh – loud-haler,” puffed Sergeant Jeff McGraw, running up after buying himself a small burger from the shop’s restaurant.

“Cheers Jeff,” squeaked Jeff, turning from Jeff to look Jeff seriously in the eye. “I’m going to try and talk to him,” he said dramatically, turning toward the staircase.

“Jeff,” said Jeff, putting his arm on his shoulder to turn him back. “Don’t go,” he said, “it’s too dangerous, you might be killed and besides, I think . . . I think . . .” Jeff looked at him sternly. “I . . . I think I love you.”

Jeff looked on sternly. “Fuck off,” he squeaked, applying his knee to Jeff’s groin.

“Sorry Jeff . . .” said Jeff falling to the floor. Jeff took a bite of his burger and saluted Jeff as he turned and went part way up the stairs.

“Um,” said Jeff, fiddling with the loudhailer. “How the hell do you TURN THIS FUCKING THING ON . . . oh,” said Jeff, accidentally turning it on. “Right . . . OK SON, YOU UP THERE?” Jeff squeaked loudly up the stairs.

Upstairs, Eric sat huddled in his unseen corner. He decided that he’d remain silent.

“HELLO . . . HELLOO . . . OI, ARE YOU GOING TO TALK OR NOT?” Jeff squeaked loudly up the stairs. Suddenly his radio squalked into life.

“-skwalk- Jeff? You there? – crkk,” the radio crackled.

“YES,” said Jeff to the small machine, forgetting his loudhailer and then putting it down. “Is that you Jeff?” he squeaked in his normal voice.

“Aye,” said Chief Constable Jeff Roman, C.I.D., ex-librarian. “Just thought I’d mention that all the snipers are in position – crrshh,” the radio squalked in it’s own vaguely coherent way.

“Cheers then,” whined Jeff, fiddling with his loudhailer again.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the middle of the minor waterway which passed for the Cambridge canal, a sixty foot long Viking longship materialisd from nowhere in particular and weighed it’s anchor.

It’s captain, Alvin Smith, a Scandinavian without anyreal imagination, surveyed the surrounding area of rain swept pillaging places. A mouth appeared in his grizzled beard and grinned atoothless grin. Behind him a skeleton crew appeared and began to grin with their leader.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Crow and his growing entourage arrived at a moderately sized public house, gleefully titled ‘Alan’. The proprietor, Graham Smith, a thirty-six year old Scandinavian immigrant with a mild halitosis problem and virtually no imagination, was surprisingly unhappy with the huge quantities of people entering his establishment. He was still trying to get away from the habits which his ancient forefathers had by charging as little as possible and making very little profit.

The Crow took a seat with a modestly sized bottle of scotch and a glass in both hands. He sat down at a small round table and filled a glass. He smiled to himself and quietly sighed. A karaoke machine played irritably as some middle aged woman strained her vocal tones on ‘My Way’. His eyes trailed down to an etching on the table. ‘Fish are the hallmark of all evil,’ he read out to no one in particular. Looking up, he surveyed the goings on in the room. Around twenty of the assorted cultists had decided to embark on a giant darts tournament while another, smaller group had decided to lay snooker.

A fly drifted past lazily and settled feebly on the table. The Crow gazed down at the meagre, insignificant creature and grimaced. “Piss off,” he muttered at the beast.

“Piss off yourself, wanker,” said the fly in a worryingly deep voice, raising two it’s legs in an obscene gesture before flying off. The Crow sat mystified. Flies had never sworn at him before, only muttered things about whether he had any fish, whether they could have any and if he knew that juggling was the meaning of life.

Bertha sat down at the table with a treble vodka. The Crow smiled feebly and looked down at his crotch. “Shit!” he shouted, leaping up in astonishment.

“What’s up?” asked Bertha, downing her vodka.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” said The Crow, stamping around and staring at his trousers. “Fuck, fuck, fuckety fucking fuck!” he spoke, swearingly.

“What the hell’s up?” Bertha elaborated.

“Fuck!” he repeated irritably. “Soup stains!” Everyone in ‘Alan’ looked at The Crow and then at his trousers. They appeared to be covered in soup.

“What?” asked Bertha. So you can’t eat soup without spilling it. Big deal,” she shrugged.

“No, no, no!” The Crow growled. “You don’t understand . . .” he paused. The cultists looked on in silence, suspense filling the air.

Graham Smith allowed himself a personal sneer. He really disliked this group of characters and was considering throwing them out as soon as he thought of a good reason. He thought that this might be it. He stood on his box, bringing himself up to his full height of four foot seven and inhaled, about to shout.

“I don’t eat soup!” wailed The Crow, dropping to unconsciousness. Everyone looked down at the trousers. The stains seemed to be growing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Ho, ho, ho,” chuckled Satan, satirically.

Annotations

This one, to me at least, didn’t seem as well written as the previous chapter. The vocabulary’s still up, but the odd ‘irritably’ crept in again and I clearly had no concept of the meanings of some words. I mean, that ’satirically’ at the end is clearly satirising nothing. I am strangely pleased by the concept of a police force staffed only by people called Jeff though. Don’t think it’s stolen, but wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out it was. I should also point out that all uses of the word ‘booger’ are supposed to be corruptions of ‘bugger’ rather than references to snot. Now, onto some more specific ramblings.

Para. 9 – Yes, the blotting paper’s obviously acid.

Para. 11 – I’ve now remembered whose name is on the tombstone. It’s also the reason that this part of the story is set in Cambridge, as the man lying below it was resident there until his death (though he was still alive at the time of writing). His forenames were Roger Keith, though he went under another when fame was thrust upon him. I’ll leave you to figure out what that and his surname were. The clues are there.

Para. 15 – Before hitting puberty I had an uncommonly high voice. Evidence is probably on tape somewhere. Jeff’s high pitched voice is probably based on that fact and Neil Wackalawack (phonetic spelling and, oddly, not a nickname). Neil (with one L) was in the year above me at school, spent his lunchtimes working in the library (as I did for a year or so) and never experienced a drop in his voice, even when he was post-pubic. Was he mocked mercilessly? Of course he was.

Para. 16 – I was well into my funk obsession by this point, so it’s fairly obvious why James Brown gets a mention here. I don’t seem to have thought through how he’d still have been alive close to the age 200, but I’m sure there would have been a reason.

Para. 19 – Yep, that’s another Paxamanism.

Para. 24 – The use of “flowin’” would probably be in reference to the song ‘Keep It Flowin’” that Neill (with two Ls) had written not long before. It seemed quite funky at the time, though quite how it’d hold up now is hard to say. I possess no recording.

Para. 27 – Why would a gay man stop purposely to look at lingerie? Either I’d forgotten that Eric was gay or was adhering to childish stereotype that all homosexualists also enjoy cross dressing. Hopefully it was the former.

Para. 29 – Calling most modes of transport chariots stemmed initially from my good chum Toylor (possibly filtered from Vic and Bob before hand). The description of bicycles as ‘bi-wheeled chariots’ is one I still attempt to crowbar into my own day to day usage.

Para. 32 – Another drawn out bit of Paxman there. Thribble looks like another Curtis/Elton snatch at first, though on closer inspection seems to actually be a corruption of a Star Trek creature. The Tribbles were small furry beasts that infiltrated the Enterprise and sorely vexed Shatner and company in the episode The Trouble With Tribbles.

Para. 37 – Can’t figure out whether Jeff’s reaction to Jeff is unpleasantly homophobic or just in keeping with the macho set piece I seemed to be trying to parody. Hmm.

Para. 47 – Alvin is almost certainly named after the chipmunk.

Para. 48 – Another example of my obsession with the name Alan. I’m also slightly unsettled that I thought that anyone from Scandinavia would still be suffering from some sort of race guilt over Viking raids over 1500 years previous. It seems a little unlikely, though if you know different do drop me a line.

Para. 51 – This seems to be a more direct Adams lift than we’ve had of late. I forget which book it features in, but it’s the passage in which Arthur Dent is tormented by a being that keeps reincarnating as a creature Arthur kills in some way. It does it all in the form of a fly, which I imagine is where this comes from.

Next time – The Tenth Chapter – Carnage Ensues

The Crow Gets Comfy – The Eighth Chapter

April 20th, 2008 by

The Crow Gets Comfy is an incomplete novel that I began writing in 1994 and I am transcribing here for posterity, shits, giggles and to see just how poor a scribe my eighteen year old self was. I will cease when I either become bored with doing it, when enough people beg me to or when I reach the end of what was written. The only alterations I am making to my original manuscript are for spelling or grammar – everything else was spilt from my half formed mind at the time (frankly my grammar hasn’t improved immensely, so I doubt you’ll notice much improvement). I have not read it in almost a decade and am only reading as I type, so am almost as much in the dark as you before reading the next chapter. The preceding episodes can be found below or in the archive found at the top of the page. Annotations to references, rip offs or other items of interest to me (if no one else) will be inserted in italics at the bottom. Ladies and otherwise, I give you The Crow Gets Comfy. Enjoy if you can.

THE EIGHTH CHAPTER – SOUP STAINS

Most people consider things carefully. From the simplest of things to some of the most important. From what clothes they’re going to wear in the morning to whether or not a thermonuclear strike on a neighbouring country would be a terribly good idea. After considering things, people usually make the correct choices. To wear the suit to the office, not the dinosaur costume and that the thermonuclear strike might irritate some people.

Other times, even after careful and long consideration, people can still make the wrong choice.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Crow stood up and walked towards the buses exit, closely followed by the twenty or so cultists that had managed to pile on the bus and could afford the extortionate fares.

“Fucking Tories,” muttered The Crow under his breath as he disembarked from the bus. He disliked politics, particularly politicians, but from all the various parties that had sprung up since the Reinhardt – God incident, he considered the Conservaives to be the worst. They hadn’t lost an election since 19 . The Crow put this down to the fact that only the English voted after Europe broke down and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland became independent. Due to their still being in government, despite the improvements in technology, the motorway speed limit was still seventy miles an hour.

“Wait up,” called out the spokeswoman after him. He paused, allowing much of the crowd to catch him up. “You didn’t say a word on the whole journey,” she said.

“Mmm,” said The Crow quietly. “I’ve been thinking. Thinking about . . . well, things,” he said, uncertain of himself.

“Like what?” she asked.

“Well, like, what your name is, why you’re following me . . . stuff like that . . .”

“You want to know my name?” she asked.

“Aye, it’d help,” he said Scottishly.

“Bertha Wungamurra,” she said confidently.

“Oh . . .” said The Crow, wishing he hadn’t asked. “Why’re you following me then, err . . . mmbertha?” he said, stumbling on the name.

“Err . . .” she said, blushing slightly. “Weell, I do believe in your cause and everything and I do think that you can make the world a generally better place, um, but, err, the real reason . . . is . . .”

“What?” asked The Crow.

“Golf,” she replied quietly.

“What?” asked The Crow.

“Golf,” Bertha repeated. “If I, say, kinda commercialise you, I was, like, hoping I’d make enough to open my own . . . golf . . . course . . .” she trailed off.

“Hmm . . .” murmured The Crow to himself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“How’s about reanimating some corpses? I’s always good for a laff,” said Pestilence cheerfully.

“Fuck off,” said Satan sourly. “Irritate me once more and I will put you through such unbearable pain that . . .” he stumbled for words, “. . . that it’d fucking hurt.” Death chuckled unsympathetically. “You can fuck off ‘n’ all,” Satan said, giving Death the universe’s most evil eye.

“Oi,” panted War, running through the door, if you could call it that – it was morelike a hole in the wall.

“What is it?” asked Satan, chuckling as he watched an old pagan ritual to cheer himself up.

“I’ve just got the photo’s back from my fortnight in Ibiza! He said enthusiastically. “Anyone wanna see ‘em?”

“What?” spat Satan.

“Decent!” said Death, standing and running over to the darkened figure clutching the Kodak package. He was followed by Famine.

“Wanna look?” War said, offering the photo’s in Satan’s general direction.

Satan glowered evilly. “We five are supposedly the most evil beings in the universe. We are feared by nearly every man, woman and child in existence, not to mention those that aren’t, and you expect us to stand round looking at your holiday pictures?” he asked.

“Suit ya self,” War said, shrugging. The three horsemen minced off out the door, leaving the two figures sitting. Pestilence grinned at Satan, who slowly swivelled his head to look at him. They sat there, motionless. Satan glowering, Pestilence grinning inanely.

“You can fuck off ‘n’ all,” Satan growled.

“Okay,” whimpered Pestilence, cowering all the way to the door.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Robbie Schmittenfunk pressed the ’stop’ button on his remote control, cutting out the fuzz that adorned his television set. He pulled his considerable weight forward in his chair and yanked his trouser fly into the closed position. With a little effort, he managed to stand himself up. He waslked into his dirt encrusted kitchen, hoping to use the sink, only to find it filled with several weeks worth of old washing up. He grumbled some obscenities to himself, deciding to refrain from touching the things growing in the old milk bottles. He was about to go to the bathroom, when he glanced out the window.

He stopped moving and stared.

She was perfect.

An average looking girl with nicely rounded breasts. She walked with a smile in her step, next to someone in a trench coat who possessed the hair of a lunatic. A grin spread across Robbie’s face and he began to breath again.

She would be perfect.

A perfect victim.

Robbie wobbled as quickly as he could into his hallway. He put his shoes and old macintosh on before hurrying out onto the street, next to the video shop he lived above.

He followed the small crowd at a discrete distance. None looked back. They didn’t know Cambridge very well.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Eric panted into the train station. He didn’t know how, but somehow he’d managed to outrun and lose the police while running through the streets of Bristol, firing rivets most of the distance. He had run out just before the corner by the station.

“Hhh – hhh – hhh,” he panted at the man behind the tickets counter.

“Yees,” said the man slowly.

“Hhh – hhh,” Eric puffed. He coughed violently. “When – hhh – when’s the . . . the . . .” he tried to say.

“You’re not on drugs are you?” asked the man, turning his head slightly and giving Eric an odd look.

“Uh?” questioned Eric, looking through his exhausted haze.

“You’re not on drugs are you? I’ve heard that druggies are often out of breath. I couldn’t sell you a ticket if you were. It just wouldn’t work with B.R. ethics.” Eric gave him an irritated glare. “I’m not prejudiced against druggies though. I did once have a puff on a marijuana cigarette, but was quite sick afterwards. I am quite open minded though-”

“NO!” shouted Eric, butting in. “No, I’m not on drugs,” he said more calmly. “Hhh – now could you – hhh – please tell m-”

“There’s no need to shout you know,” the man said uppitily.

“I’m sorry,” Eric said, gritting his teeth.

“There’s no need to shout. I’m not deaf you know. I have perfect hearing. I once had an ear infection but the doc-”

“LOOK!” shouted Eric loudly.

“See, there you go again,” pointed the man.

Eric drew close to the glass and peered at the man’s name badge. “Listen, Stan,” he said in a menacingly quiet voice. “If you don’t tell me when th-”

“Sorry, you’ll have to speak up. I can’t quite hear you. My ears might be coming down with another infection.” Stan raised his hand and picked up the phone. “Hold on,” he said. “I’ve just got to make an appointment with my doctor.”

Eric, now enraged by the man, loaded some fresh rivets into his machine. He looked up and fired several the phone, smashing it. Stan sat, looking stunned, still holding the receiver to his ear. “Now,” said Eric in a normal voice, “if you don’t tell me when the next train to Cambridge leaves,” he pulled something from his bag, “I’m afraid I’m going to be forced to napalm you.” Stan whimpered. “Your choice,” grinned Eric.

“Err,” dithered Stan, starting to blubber. “I’m . . . I’m . . . I’m sorry . . .” he managed before collapsing in tears. His finger pointed up at the digital timetables board.

Eric turned to face it. ‘NO TRAINS ARE RUNNING TODAY DUE TO A CABBAGE BEING FOUND NEAR A TRACK. IF MORE ARE DISCOVERED, EXPECT MORE CANCELLATIONS. WE APOLOGISE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED,’ he read.

“There he is!” shouted a policeman, entering the station.

“Fuck!” cursed Eric, running past the ticket counter.

Stan thanked God during the second in which he thought himself safe. When he heard the bump on the roof and saw fire cascade down the glass sides of the booth, he remembered that he wasn’t really thanking anyone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“We’re here,” said The Crow with a touch of sadness in his voice. The walk from the bus station had been virtually silent.

It’s a cemetery,” said Bertha.

“Yes,” said The Crow, looking down. “Shit!”

“What?” asked Bertha, surprised by the outburst.

“I’ve got soup stains on my trousers,” he said.

Annotations

Maybe it’s because I haven’t typed anything up for a few days, but this chapter seems to be a distinct improvement in terms of writing ability. It’s still not much cop, but the vocabulary at least seems slightly larger and more varied. Other than that I don’t have much to add that isn’t specific. So let’s do that, shall we?

Para. 4 – Ahh, politics again. Can you see where my leanings were back then? Can you? You might also notice another gap – the last two digits of the election year. I had obviously planned to investigate the year of Thatcher’s elevation to P.M. at a later date, but again failed to. I chose to leave the gap in the continued spirit of being true to the manuscript. Back then it did seem as if the Tories had been in power forever, particularly following Major’s re-election, and they had been for pretty much all of my life. Any other sort of government seemed hopelessly unlikely. I’m uncertain as to why I considered the speed limit to be an obvious indication of a nation in decline. It’s not a view I continue to hold.

Para. 10 – I still say ‘aye’ quite regularly and did back then too. I think it was the influence of the myriad D.C. Thompson comics of my youth, especially the Oor Wullie and Broons annuals that Neill (with two Ls) would periodically lend me.

Para. 11 – And so the spokeswoman’s name is revealed, all in the service of a fairly cheap gag. Bertha is probably there because it’s a funny name (sorry Bertha’s, it is) and due to the machine based cartoon of the same name (“Some times I think you’re a dreeam” – come on, sing along). Wungamurra is, as far as I can tell, of my own making and also sounds a bit funny.

Para. 25 – Decent was a word I commonly used to describe the greatness of things in my adolescence. Did anyone else? I’m not sure if it was just the denizens of Shitney or if it was wider spread.

Para. 34 – I’m uncertain if it’s the narrator or Robbie who is responsible for the use of the phrase “nicely rounded breasts.” I hope it’s the latter, but have my doubts.

Para. 41 – Another Paxman “Yees,” for you there folks. See the second chapter for further details.

Para. 43 – The whole anti-drugs lecture type thing is very much based on various comical lectures that groups of us would give one another while blitzed out of our little spaz trees. We didn’t like people that weren’t on drugs much back then.

Para. 45 – Mr. Uppity was the first (and possibly only) Mr. Men book I ever owned. What the purchaser was trying to say to me at such a young and impressionable age worries me. I imagine it to be where my life long love of monocles initially stems.

Para. 50 – I presume that Stan is named after the no hit wonder band of the same name. Their song, Suntan, received a fair amount of radio one airplay when I was working in the butcher’s shop. If memory serves, it spent a week at about number 37 before disappearing without trace, along with the band themselves. If anyone has a copy, I’d be fascinated to hear it. I liked it, but wouldn’t buy it.

Para. 62 – I’m quite happy that the title of the chapter is explained right at it’s climax and that it’s as anticlimactic as it is. Keep an eye on those stains – they’re important and might just lead into a gag I’m still trying to exploit to this day.

Next time – The Ninth Chapter – More Soup Stains

Breather

April 16th, 2008 by

Hey kids. Haven’t had time to type anything up today, I’m sad to say and am unlikely to get anything up tomorrow either. Sorry about that. I can say that we are just over half way through the part work and that I have at least one other thing to transcribe following it. I shall consult my archive to see if there’s owt else that might be faintly interesting following that. I should also point out to those of you who are occasionally in regular email contact with me that my ancient hhhitc freeserve address will almost certainly be biting the dust within the next four days. Anyone wishing to make contact should instead direct their missives to theweakened at gmail dot com. This will probably mean that the contact icon up top won’t be sending anything my way until that’s fixed either, so its probably not worth using that until further notice. Anyways, stay tuned for further chapters later in the week. Pip pip.