Posted on Monday, August 28th, 2006
The kid leaned out of the dented Camry’s passenger side and yelled at me.
“Hey! Wezzak wibnekfahtilbrid…”
The car rattled on up the hill, and another cherished memory died in me.
See, 20 years ago I would have been that kid, mind awash with devastating leaf-baked insults, hurling them at pedestrians like so much free candy.
“That told ‘em”, we’d think. Only it didn’t tell ‘em. Tangled in a 25mph slipstream, the syllables tore apart. The witty words became a foolish jumble.
Back then, oblivious, I’d pull my head back into the car laughing so hard that my guts hurt. One night on Market it was too much; the laughter stuck in my stomach and turned it inside out.
I horked up a whole one-pound burrito, slightly digested, into Brian’s glovebox. His rust-bucket Mustang wasn’t worth two dimes as scrap metal and he said he didn’t mind. But even through the post-spew blur I caught that resigned tightening of his jaw.
Me and Brian always walked places after that.
Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
The Milk-God pedalled a broken old Raleigh bike around the streets of Samode. It was painted in brilliant white and had a rusty cart attached to the seat-post. The bicycle was a cast-off from England, donated by a charity of some kind. The cart had come from who knew where. Most people reasoned that the Milk-God must have built it himself.
He distributed his product — the one we named him for — to the village, and occasionally to bewildered tourists from the Palace-turned-hotel which overlooked the streets from the top of the hill.
Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
“I’m a mermaid” she said through the bedraggled tangles of her salt-bleached hair, but the track-marks on her arms suggested otherwise.
The legs where a tail should have been were a dead give-away too.
She was just lying there on Malibu Beach, covered in wet sand and gasping in the late-afternoon sun, her fair shoulders turning slowly pink as they burned.
I sat down next to her, curious.
“And what are you doing here?”
She offered one word, “banished”, and then fell silent.
Posted on Friday, October 31st, 2003
The sheer expanses of stone around him had long since ceased to amaze Michael. He came here to this ancient cathedral once or twice a week for some referendum or other, together with half the town’s population. The great buttressed arches echoed with the low hum that any throng of people generates, but Michael kept his head firmly down, and joined his usual queue to make the slow progress along the length of the Cathedral’s hall to the altar.
He would be here for an hour, maybe two, whilst each vote was processed and filed ahead of him. He tried, still bleary in the early morning, to remember what this vote was for. The lifting of prohibition of alcohol, if his reading of the current referendum schedule was correct.
The stone pillars of the cathedral, those at eye level, were cloaked in the red and green banners of the People’s Sovereign Church, the self-styled “saviours of our nation”, and the only government that Michael could remember having ever lived under.
Posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2002
I notice the faint sounds of the ingress ports opening, on schedule, as they do every 10 minutes or so throughout the day. They hover just on the edge of hearing, but I am so attuned to this environment now that I note them especially. They mark the passage of my day.
Two or three minutes later, a swarm arrives once again, the sound of thousands of tiny wingbeats echoing around the cavernous building. As they drop nearer to where we sit on our various platforms, their excited chitterings become audible.