Something for the Weakened

The Crow Gets Comfy – The Eighth Chapter

Sunday, 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

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