Category Archives: Creative Catharsis

This Is A Story All About How I Stole The Opening Lyrics From A Famous TV Show And Made Them Into A Bad Title.

So after much speculation and debate I have come to the conclusion that Autumn is my favorite season. It is a season like no other. It’s mixture of mildly warm days and bitterly cold ones is a perfect combination for writing and adventuring. You can seize the carpe out of some diem when the sun comes out and the air is crisp (more on that later) without sweltering away in  a matter of moments (you can also wear beanies which are my favourite form of headwear, running a close second to Carmen Miranda fruit hats) and then when the cool air suddenly turns more aggressive and invasive you can hole up somewhere and get to the writing or snuggling or coffee drinking. Also coats, without the constant drizzle of winter.

Yep I’m an Autumn man. People crap on about how great Summer is and how it’s the be all and end all of the seasonal calendar. But to me Summer is kind of like that friend you don’t see very often who occasionally shows up for a few weeks and you’re really excited to catch up with them, and it’s great when you do because you’ve forgotten how zany they are and you have an excellent time but then it slowly starts to get a bit grating after the seventeenth vodka and Red Bull and you realise that sometimes they can be a bit of the dick and you remember why you didn’t really like them in the first place.

Autumn on the other-hand is a combination of hopping into bed with your special someone (or cardboard cut-out with their head attached, am I right guys?) after a long day of Uni/work/species enslavement as you cuddle up to watch the latest Game of Thrones and finding money in a pair of pants that you haven’t worn in ages. Autumn is that friend who you don’t see much but who doesn’t mind and who you feel like it hasn’t been six months since you last spoke, and you don’t mind that they shed leaves everywhere as they walk around because the leaves are so pretty…wait what?

Anyway this is a long-winded way of me saying I done some more writing. Like my last attempt at Flashing My Fiction, this too stems from a challenge from Mr. Chuck Wendig (you can suss out the challenge here). This time the task was to somehow incorporate psychic powers into the story, and there was a list of twenty powers to choose from (seriously just click on the link, he explains it way better than I am right now). My randomly assigned psychic power was Faith Healing…it’s a little over the word-count because I am bad at editing. Yes I am just full of excuses. Excuses and Milo cereal.

Atticus Saint: The Anti-Faith Healer.

The house leans hard to the right. There are two mohawked women, standing on either side of the crowd slowly ambling into the backyard, searching people for contraband. A sign looms over their heads with red slashes through cameras of all kinds.
This is strictly an eyes-only event.
However that isn’t the only thing not allowed through the gate.
There are also several red lines through what appears to be a crucifix and another through the Star of David. I notice that one of the girls has a small basket overflowing with various religious necklaces and pendants.
I reach up to touch vacant space around my neck. The collar’s not there of course. I’m not that stupid but as I’m waved through the gate, I can feel the lack of it burning into my skin. It feels wrong.
I mutter a little prayer of apology.

The crowd is dense and a lot of the people here today move around on crutches or are in wheelchairs. There’s one woman dragging an oxygen tank behind her. All of them are here to see him.
Gradually the flow of people moving into the backyard stops and the mohawks begin ushering people to a take a seat under a marquee. I have to admit, for all the anti-religious sentiment the whole set-up feels a lot like a travelling Gospel show.
I shuffle onto a row of seats and find myself sitting between a girl with a crooked legs and a blind man.
The girl smiles at me.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Oh…oh I’m just here to…”
I wave my hands at the rickety stage. She nods.
“Just watchin’ huh? Lotsa people here are just watchin’.”
I go to ask her what’s wrong with her when a hush falls over the crowd and a handsome young man walks out onto the stage. He grips the microphone and casts an eye over the crowd. He looks different up close. But then I get a glimpse of a group of people waiting backstage and realize I am mistaken.
He does indeed look different. The man waiting in the wings is a lot sicker than I imagined.
“So…ladies and gentlemen, Atticus can only do one showing today. We are sorry, all of us. Especially Atticus, but it takes its toll… Somethin’ I’m sure you all understand.”
There’s a general hum of agreement from the audience and the young man lets the apologetic grimace slip from his face to be replaced by a broad grin.
“But enough of that, please put your hands together for the man himself. The man you came all this way to see: Mr. Atticus Saint! The Anti-Faith Healer!”
There’s rapturous applause and I can’t help but feel excited.

He shuffles slowly across the stage, visibly aided by two people. He’s leaning hard on a cane, mirroring the house.
It’s hard to remind myself that he’s only 26.
He looks sick.
No.
Terminal.
His hair is thinning and his eyes are sunk right into his head. Whatever youthful energy he did have, it’s been sapped out of him. His knuckles flare white over the top of the cane. He’s putting a lot of effort into remaining upright, but despite his outward appearance, you can feel something bubbling underneath.
He gives an appreciative smile and waves his free hand over the crowd. The hubbub dies down immediately. Anticipation replaces adulation.

Atticus Saint is different to the other healers I’ve gone to watch. Different from the others I’ve read about. Beyond the obvious anti-religious sentiment he preaches, he doesn’t mess around. No preamble beyond a simple thank-you for coming and being so understanding bit. Just straight down to it.
I guess you can get to it quicker when you don’t have to thank God for fourteen minutes before the show starts.
He extends a finger at the woman I saw earlier. The one with the oxygen tank.
What happens next is also very low-key. There are no theatrics. He asks her for her name, it’s Jennifer, and where she’s from, she’s a local actually.
“What’s wrong with you Jennifer, why are you here?”
Her reply comes between gulps of air, “Emphysema.”
Atticus nods solemnly at this and then asks her to remove the mask. She hands it over and I watch as he reaches out and takes hold of her face, delicately at first and then squeezing down hard, Jennifer cries out suddenly and her body contorts a little.
Atticus’s grip on the cane slackens and he is sent reeling away from the woman. Two handlers are right by his side, propping him up. He’s panting hard but he doesn’t leave the stage, despite the insistence from the MC.
His words come out with an emphysematic wheeze, “Jennifer…Jennifer? How do you feel?”
But it’s obvious from her face. She’s breathing. She bursts into tears. The crowd bursts into thunderous cheers. The girl beside me lets out a whoop.

Atticus’ face is a mixture of pain and relief. Jennifer throws her hands up to the sky and lets out a joyful yell. “Praise Jesus! I’m cured!”
She realizes what she’s done as soon as the words are out of her mouth. The crowd does too. The cheers dribble out. An angry buzz fills the yard. Jennifer clamps her hand over her mouth, terror filling her eyes.
Atticus’ face twitches into a hard mask. He looks at the ground. Speaks at the floorboards.
“No Jennifer. That’s not how it works…”
The yard is quiet. No one makes a sound. Jennifer goes to apologise. She trips over the syllables.
Atticus explodes.
“NO! That’s not how this works!”
He pushes himself from the grip of the handlers and wheezes over to Jennifer.
“This isn’t a miracle Jennifer. This isn’t an act of God. I am a man. I am just a man.”
Jennifer hasn’t moved from her spot on the stage.
He shakes his head, anger swirling across his face.
“You know what happens now Jennifer. If you want Jesus to save you, then I can’t.”

Jennifer is still whimpering when he grabs her. He crushes her face under his boney fingers and you can see her starting to struggle. To panic. And the crowd is silent, but Jennifer is howling.
And something is happening.
As the woman’s body twitches and contorts in pain, Atticus’ body twitches and contorts too…but it’s different. You can see it clearly. He’s getting healthier. The sunken eyes are swelling in their sockets. His hair is growing and the pallid wash that covers his skin is starting the glow. Jennifer’s body on the other hand is crumbling.
Everything that was wrong with Atticus is now wrong with her.
When it’s done he lets her go, she drops to the stage, shaking and coughing up black blood. She’s barely alive.
Atticus is the picture of health. Fit and handsome. Wiry muscle visible beneath the open shirt. Alive but his eyes are cold and angry.
He looks out over the crowd.
“I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea here. This isn’t God’s doing. This isn’t some holy power. This is just a man.”
And with that he strides off stage.

The girl beside me is as white as a sheet, she grabs my hand. The blind man finally makes a sound.
“No…there’s no God here.”
And I agree with him.
There’s just a man.
He can take all your ills away from you…
And he can give them all back…

FIN.

Ahh because there’s not a more pretentious way to end something than that. Have an excellent Autumn.
Treed.

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I’m Exactly Like Stephanie Meyer.

Except for the fact that I’m not a Mormon. Like not even a little bit…and I think it’s mostly because they refuse to talk to me on a regular basis. This is probably going to come out racist (Fuck, that’s a great way to make sure people aren’t going to be offended, Tom, you giant troll bird, you’ve just uttered an equivalent of I’m not racist, but…genius) and you may think less of me as a result, but it’s because the Mormons only talk to Asians. So really it’s the Mormons being racially selective and I’m just noticing it.

Seriously though this isn’t me falling into line and participating in Australia’s other favourite past-time. I am genuinely noticing a strange pattern with the Mormons who situate themselves in and around my building. So there’s my wicked-sick-apartment-building, complete with insects of dubious origin and function, and just down the road is another wicked-sick-building, also complete with its own breed of insects of dubious origin and function (read: this is where the Mormons sleep…gestate…whatever they do behind closed doors that doesn’t involve knocking on them to ask if you would like to hear about the role God has for you in the grand scheme of things. I’ll give you a hint it’s probably not whatever you’re doing now). All jokes aside, there is actually a church-base-of-operations near my place and I constantly spy  suspiciously happy, young American (AGAIN WITH RACISM, GEEZUS TOM!) men wandering around with their names proudly displayed like sexy flags on their breasts.

However they never want to spread the word of God to me. Or anyone who happens to hail from Europe, Africa, India or is of Islander descent. In fact the most you’ll get out of them from is a polite hello. Which, when you consider the genus of Mormonia, is down right cold. Rude even. On the other hand they practically fall over themselves trying to convert a lovely girl who’s recently migrated here from say…Hong Kong. Or the tall fellow who wears a really cool Evangelion shirt that I’m jealous of…who’s also from Japan. I’m not sure why. But the only people the Mormons seem to be interested in is the Asian race. Why? I’m not a totally sure, but all I will say is that it unsettles me and I don’t trust Mormons as far as I could throw them (and I’m pretty weak, but they look easy to take…if only they didn’t move in herds…or packs…or hives?). Basically I’m a feeling LEFT OUT YO! Also if anyone reading this actually knows why Mormons would be so focussed on such a select group of people…let me know. Please.

What I mean when I say that I am exactly like Stephanie Meyer is that I am not really like her at all.

I am not a woman. So that’s gone. We’ve already established I’m not a Mormon (whether that’s by choice or due to lack of opportunity remains to be seen). I have also not published a hit series of novels aimed at teenagers that were secretly aimed at scary middle-aged woman who are turned on by teenagers being all topless and shit (because FUCKING DOUBLE STANDARDS MEANS I GET ARRESTED FOR STAKING OUT A ONE DIRECTION CONCERT…or it’s the moustache. Definitely the ‘stache) but that mostly made a lot of people angry at the pussiest portrayal of vampires ever and gave Kristen Stewart far too much attention for someone of such limited acting/emotional/anything capability. So that’s missing too. Nor am I rich.

I can see the look on your face already. The look that says: Tom. You said you were exactly like Stephanie Meyer and yet you have systematically proven (so far) that you are not really like her at all. What the fuck are you playing at?

Firstly you are very good at adding a lot of complexity to your looks. Kudos to you. Most of mine just either highlight my lack of focus or that I’m either gassy/drunk/hungry or a combination of the three. And secondly I mean in terms of musicality. Meyer has made no secret that her writing was inspired by Muse (the fact that the band takes its name from the Greek goddesses of inspiration is actually awesome), in fact so much so that the guys appear on the soundtrack of many of the films (if not all). If you think I’m making this shit up, it’s in her acknowledgements. Like page negative-one, before the prologue and the teen angst starts.

So what have I found myself doing lately? Being inspired by Muse. Maybe I’m late to the party. Maybe everyone else is already writing magnum opie (plural of opus?) brought about by the musical trio. Whatever. I’m doing it now. And it’s proving to be very helpful. I’ve never really found inspiration from music with my writing, yes I write almost always listening to music but generally it’s just for ambience and so that I don’t have to listen to the obnoxious dickhead on my train talk loudly about his KIA costing $275 to repair after he reversed into a pole (not made up, literally heard this and memorised it…my life is so much cooler than yours because of this). However this is the second time a piece of music has struck me in such a way that I was compelled to write something, or at least a framework of something thanks to its aural magic.

The song is Supremacy. It’s from The 2nd Law. And it rocks. It has an absolute killer refrain and riff running through it and it makes me want to write a story about guns and burning buildings and a whole bunch of re-imagined vikings starting a crime war. Or something. Anyway here is the song below. If you disagree with my view that it rocks, that’s okay. You’re allowed to have your own opinion…even if it is blatantly wrong.

I said this is the second instance, and I feel like I need to give credit where credit is due and highlight the other piece of music I’ve been using to inspire my writing. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are great. They have great hooks and catchy melodies and they just sound like the musical equivalent of bacon. They are currently supplying (indirectly and without their knowledge) to my writing process for a genre piece about a cowboy who sells his soul and then tries to literally outrun hell on the back of a motorcycle. Fuck yeah. The song doing most of the inspiring is Beat The Devil’s Tattoo. It’s delicious. CHECK OUT IT’S COOLNESS.

Anyway, I enjoyed this musical journey. Perhaps I should make an unofficial soundtrack to some of my writings. Maybe I’ll do that. Or maybe I’ll play some more Pokemon. You’re not the boss of me! STOP MAKING ME DO THINGS!

Laters.

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Tom Reed: Flasher of Fiction.

So here’s a little something I tossed up on the Caribbean. Not it’s not. That’s a blatant lie. Here’s a little something I tossed up on the train as I was sandwiched between an erratic head-swivelling woman and a guy with long grey hair that you only normally find on wizards and/or pedophiles.

It’s a little bit of flash fiction based around a set of perimeters set by this: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/03/22/flash-fiction-challenge-ten-words-will-give-you-five/

Or if you can’t be bothered clicking on the above link, essentially the rules went something like this: Here’s ten randomly generated words, takes five of these words and construct a story based around them. The word count was 1000, I went over it a little because I’m new at this and shut up and stop judging me okay I have difficulty counting and yes I know there’s a word count but I distrust it and it’s ways because what if it’s counting words that aren’t there and it’s just trying to ruin my life…WHY AM I BEING SO PARANOID AND DEFENSIVE!? STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!

Anyway, my five words were Dolphin, Undertaker, Ethereal, Envelope and Storm. I hope you like it. It’s a bit…twisted.

It’s Okay, Your Ancestors Think You’re An Idiot Too.

Fitzroy Toombes hated his surname. It clung to him like a bad family heirloom; a cursed painting that killed its owners as it was bequeathed down the bloodline.

He felt the ethereal fingers of his ancestors reaching out from beyond the grave, grasping and tracing their cold hands around his face and lips every time he had to say it out loud. He felt their ghostly grip around his hands when he had to write it down. But mostly he heard their faint phantom laughter ringing in his ears every time someone saw it proudly displayed on his bronze nametag.

Right underneath the words ‘Heavenly Rests For Heavenly Pets’.

There’s a tradition with surnames. Smiths were blacksmiths. Fletchers affixed the heads to arrows. Taylors stitched cloth. And Toombes-es it seemed were destined to deal in death.

The last generation had managed to get away from the undertaking trade, but unfortunately Fitzroy had fallen headfirst into it when he his great uncle had left him his damned pet cemetery.

Oh yes. A fucking pet fucking cemetery.

Not only had he managed to get stuck in the family business, he wasn’t even dealing with people. He was arranging funerals and digging plots for Lassies, Mittenses and Fidoes.

Last week had held a funeral for a frog, Marvin. They had to dig a plot up near the Memorial Rose Garden & Hedge Maze. Marvin had been buried in a scented, powdered blue envelope that had cost his former owners $25.

$25 for fucking envelope for a dead damn frog.

There they were, his dead relations pissing themselves stupid behind the curtain.

And Fitzroy could hear them as he watched through rain-drenched windows, a large truck pull up out the front.

A large leering, mermaid winked stupidly at him from the side.

She looked like she had seen better days. Fitzroy couldn’t help but think that this mermaid was the Elizabeth Taylor of mermaids. She’d been glamorous in her hey-day, and you could still sort of see that, but there was some hard living underneath that.

The door swung open and for a brief moment the rainstorm burst through into the front office. Pamphlets explaining the pet grieving process and advertising axolotl cremation were sent flying.

A woman, in a dark blue polo shirt decorated with whales and turtles, dripped into the room. Under one arm she carried a stack of paperwork.

“Hello, welcome to Heavenly Rests For Heavenly Pets. How can I help you today?”

She ignored the greeting and dropped the sodden forms on the desk.

“Got a Squeaky for a burial.”

Squeaky used to be the hottest attraction at the aquarium. Everyone knows tourists love dolphins. And this dolphin was the shit. Flips, tricks and hilarious gags involving sardines and hoops. Until ol’ Squeaky had slammed through a barrier and attempted to have his way with a young, terminal girl from some last wish foundation.

And now, horny Squeaky had found himself here, in the back of a truck, on his way to spending the rest of eternity between a stupid spaniel that had tried to bite a police car and an incredibly fat cat that had finally eaten it’s way into an early grave last month.

Oh how the mighty have fallen…

“Yep. I’ve got him penciled in for plot 46. I’ll grab my associate and then will get started putting dear Squeaky to rest.”

The woman stared at him. Didn’t think much of Squeaky then did we.

“Look…Fitzroy, it’s pouring out here and I have a very pregnant seal to deal with back at the Aquarium. So let’s cut the shit and bury this thing. People think dolphins are majestic creatures and that they should be revered or something. Squeaky was a serial offender. How do you think we got him so cheap?”

Fitzroy let the pretence and professionalism slip off his shoulders. That could be arranged.

He grabbed a walkie-talkie and a rain poncho and set out into the squall.

“Follow me up to the plot, and we’ll winch the fucker six-feet under.”

The woman smiled.

“That’s what I’m talking about.”

 ********

The rain poncho did nothing. The storm soaked it solid, to the point where it clung to Fitzroy’s body like a thin layer of slime. His hair was plastered to his forehead and his hands shook as they maneuvered the winch controls.

He’d been hoping to get a hold of Benji but apparently the torrential rain had unsettled a few plots and Benji was too busy dealing with collecting bits and pieces of beloved pets before they flowed into the storm water.

So Fitzroy was on his own.

Besides the Aquarium woman, who he learnt was named Jan.

He lowered the winch so that it hung directly above the large tarp that was Squeaky the Rapey Dolphin. Jan gave him the thumbs up and he jumped down into muck to help load the blubbery bastard onto the winch’s canvas sling.

He really shouldn’t have been doing it on his own. He really should have asked more questions about Squeaky’s weight. He probably should have waited for Benji to come and help him, or at least for Monica to start in 20 minutes.

But it was pissing rain and awful and he didn’t think Jan was keen to wait around. In fact he was pretty sure she would’ve dumped the dolphin and driven off if he’d told her to wait any longer than three seconds.

All of these thoughts had crossed Fitzroy’s mind as he helped Jan slide the rotting cetacean into the sling.

They crossed his mind as he heard the winch groan and as he cautiously maneuvered it towards the plot turned pool. He turned to Jan to say something witty about how Squeaky was getting a water burial…when there was a loud crunch.

The winch gave way.

The sling split.

And Squeaky the Randy Dolphin, landed with a resounding thud. His back half dangled precariously over the edge of the plot.

Fitzroy swore.

Jan was not impressed.

“What the fuck?!”

Fitzroy leapt down from the controls and pulled a large crowbar from underneath the winch platform.

“It’s okay, it’s okay. I’ll wedge this under the front and lever him into the plot. We’ll just cover him temporarily until the weather clears up.”

He crammed the crowbar somewhere underneath the beast’s belly. A loud clap of thunder exploded above his head…and he missed Jan’s cry, only catching the word “gas.”

He turned to ask her what she’d said but she was diving back into the truck.

He turned back to Squeaky’s corpse and pushed against the crowbar. He heard a low gurgle.

When a living thing dies there’s a chemical process that takes place deep within it. All of the gases and chemicals and putrid little bits and pieces inside it build up and combine.

When Squeaky had been euthanized by Chuck the dolphin guy, his blubbery body had begun the process of transforming into a great, big dolphin dirty bomb. The pressure had gradually built up in the creature’s stomach, bulging it outwards.

Fitzroy, in his moment of rain-soaked wisdom, had prodded this rather dangerous chunk of Squeaky’s body.

The result was horrific.

With a noise that sounded like an elephant farting into a megaphone underwater, Squeaky exploded forwards. The force wrenched his bloated corpse in half, expelling even more of the noxious propellant.

Fitzroy was blown off his feet; Squeaky’s top half slamming into him.

Jan watched in bemused horror, as the undertaker flew through the air and crashed into a large puddle, bits of dolphin raining down on him.

And as Fitzroy lay there unconscious in the rain and mud, with a dead dolphin’s head pressed up against his face he could hear the raucous, ethereal laughter of his dead ancestors from somewhere beyond the veil.

So I hoped you liked that. If you didn’t I hope you get eaten by robot vultures. I’m kidding. I love you. Platonically. Ironically. Spiritually. Deeply…
That’s all for now.

Treed AWAAAAAYYYYY!

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I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas In Australia, Brought About Due To What Is Known As ‘Nuclear Winter’.

Guess where I am? If you said the University library (one of my favourite procrastination destinations) then you would be right. If you also said that I am standing right behind you…that is also right. Because I am. Feel that. That’s me. Breathing. Really close.

What? I don’t even understand what just happened but I feel like one of us needs to take a shower (and since we’ve already established that I’m in the University library and have no way of doing so without causing a scene and severe water damage to University property…I feel like it’s you) and that this game needs to stop, whatever this game is. “Charlie give me those dice! No. No more I say!” I now have the bastard’s dice…

Right, so as we have established I am in the library, situated in a corner that enticed me with its empty promise of a power point, but alas this was just a dirty trick and I can’t get up and sit somewhere else because I sat down and got comfortable and set up all my stuff and moving now would look foolish and I just can’t deal with the collective judgement of miscellaneous students today. So just get off my back okay? This is where I’m staying, even if it means my laptop battery withers and dies like my self-esteem with every ‘Thank you sending us an email with your CV but we’re just not interested in taking you on as an intern’ I receive. Which is one. I’m bad at rejection…

I had every intent when I wandered into the library (that makes it sound like it was accident, but I assure you I did deliberately set out to arrive at the library today) to tackle my first assessment task (due tomorrow), which is a five-minute pitch about…myself…and my particular set of skills…not unlike those employed by Liam Neeson in that movie. Anyway, it’s obvious I have blown that off and turned my attention to other things. It’s not that I’m lazy, I actually do have some dot points, but I’m kind of excellent at spinning bullshit so I figure there’s not much more I can write except some of the stuff I’ve outlined for other things. Besides it’s only five minutes. I could talk for five minutes on anything, easy. In fact this, so far, has taken me five minutes to write and it’s rubbish. So there’s no stress there, it’s not an essay. Not that I’m proactive about those either.

So 400 plus words in and I haven’t said much of anything. Congratulations if you’re still reading. Your prize is a cake in shape of your favourite disgraced American president (Nixon, you’ll always have a soft spot in my heart, for the sheer ballsiness that accompanied your flat-out denial of everything). But all jokes aside I sat down today to test drive an idea. I’m currently in the process of working through ideas and concepts for my Major Project which will take up the bulk of my life this year, and essentially I wanted to test out some of the characters etc for the concept I’m currently toying with (because let’s be honest, this monster will change and switch faces so many times it could be the written equivalent of a love child belonging to Joan Rivers and Frankenstein’s Monster). And once more into the breach, ladies and bearded counterparts!

Dave At The End.

Have you ever noticed how when the Apocalypse hits everyone is suddenly insanely useful, or at the very least when the atomic dust storms dissipate they are revealed to have a transferable set of skills that suddenly come to aid of those around them?

Like all those years of studying taxidermy now come to the fore when identifying toxic mutations in animals, making them impossible to digest and therefore saving hundreds from food poisoning?

But what about the others?

What about those people who were utterly useless before the Apocalypse? Surely they didn’t all just die or become spontaneously good with a crossbow? What about the people who, under normal circumstances, had such a limited, non-transferable skill set that they struggled in the Pre-Apocalyptic society?

Take Dave for instance.

He spent the last 26 years perfecting his uselessness…he’s not about to change that just because the dead begin walking and the phrase a ‘sun shower’ gets a whole new, dangerous meaning. What about the ‘Daves’?

They end up here.

Welcome to Outpost 128: Sheeps Stations. A resource and census outpost located halfway between anywhere and nowhere. Here the humble employees amuse themselves by performing menial tasks and hiding from monsters. Just because the world ended, doesn’t mean that middle management did too.

Yes there are wars being fought elsewhere, and yes sometimes it snows in the middle of the outback, and sure there are groups of highly organised spider-people who have made it their function and goal in life to eat most of humanity…but there are reports to make, files to sort and records to update.

This is the Post-Apocalyptic story of everyone else.

Dave was a loser.
And then the world ended.
And Dave was still a loser.

The idea would follow the day to day life of Dave, our idiotic protagonist, as he negotiates office politics, insane human resources demands, inter-office football and tries to prove to everyone that he’s not totally useless…all against the backdrop of an amalgamated Apocalypse. There’s mutated animals, zombies, savages, Mad Max inspired idiots, environmentalists, government stooges, hipster demons and a pair of lost celestial beings wandering around out there.

So that’s Dave. Maybe more to come. Maybe. Don’t hold me to anything. I’m not very adhesive and I’m actually quite clumsy. Anyways it’s time to get back to doing the thing I was doing before I got here.

Treed.

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The Keyboard I’m Writing This On Feels Nice To Touch.

It’s true. It’s like my fingers are being gently massaged as they type, also I think someone has attached a silencer to the keys because the clickity-click normally associated with typing, trains and annoying children with four-click pens is notably absent. Instead there’s a sort of muted popping sound. Think the faint buzzing sound of popping candy that can be heard through your jaw as you chew. That’s what this keyboard sounds like. Popping candy. Which doesn’t so much pop as it does fizzle and slighty tickle the gums and molars. Anyway the whole thing gives a very Zen like aura to the business of typing. I feel like I am typing this out in a pristine Zen orb, that is silently floating over the planet, collecting data and information about what I believe to be an extinct Earth but is in actual fact a large piece of space fruit elaborately bruised and painted by giant God-like beings to trick people in Zen orbs into flying to close, at which point they make themselves known and devour said orbs (and their occupants) in a single Galactusian gulp.

Because that’s what Gods do: eat people. Or encourage their people to ingest them in some way. It’s a relationship entirely based on the consumption of one of the parties involved by the other, in much the same way my relationship with cake operates (except the cake rarely tries to eat me back, besides that one incident which has been put down to a bad batch of ‘Devil’s Food Cake’ that was literally made from food possessed by the Devil and subsequently tried to consume my soul as I attempted to ingest it). The Aztec gods ate the hearts of their followers (or more accurately the hearts of those who were the other side of the followers, otherwise known as everyone else). Zeus, the king of the Greek Gods, ate people all the time. And animals. And mountains. And other Gods. In fact his father, Kronos, actually ate all of his children, who were only freed when the uneaten Zeus (or Z-money to his friends) cut his nutsack off. Even moving away from the less acceptable gods and into the generally accepted Christian Omniscient Creator we find evidence of ingestion of worshippers and/or the worshipped: “This is my body, so chow down dudes?” (A gross mistranslation of the Last Supper by Tom Reed).

When consumption peppers most of the religious stories and ideas of both our past, present and future, it’s not surprising that we, as a collective race of sexual organs and a brain (often mistaken for the same thing), find ourselves eating and ingesting and absorbing kilograms and kilojules of stuff everyday. Whether it be sandwiches, shoes covered in random sections of metal or information, we perform god-like feats of ingestion every single day. So it only makes sense that as we drift away from heart-eating, ball-chopping, crucified beings we find new deities (or should that be dieties?) to worship in their place. However before I descend into the next phase of ‘Tom’s Discussion On Worship’ I want to clarify something. I like stuff. I have an iPhone, a Mac, a Kindle and Nintendo DS (SUBTLE TECHNOLOGICAL PISSING CONTEST). I like to spend money on various things ranging from delicious to comfortable. This is not necessarily a rant on the dangers of consumerism and capitalism and consumption and all the other stuff that the Socialist Alternatives yell about while they ironically (either deliberately or not) try to hock badges to unsuspecting victims. So before you roll your eyes, put your headphones in and cross the street to avoid me (although that is still an excellent idea) hear me out. because once again this is not an anti-capitalist rant from a guy wearing a beret and assuming it makes him look like Che (I saw this the other day…it just made him look like a douche). This is instead me making a statement of sorts about the new forms of Gods/Worshipped Beings we create/manifest/give birth to in this modern-day. Because it’s time for a new reign of Gods. Specifically multiple as I think the need for the plural is important because in this modern age we prefer to have options…so why not have multiple Gods rather than an individual being that is so hard to reach even his most loyal follower gave up (TWO POINTS FOR A BENEDICT MENTION)?! If you disagree with me, then may The Great Troll who controls the Internet spam and frustrate you for eternity.

Essentially I feel that the New Order of Gods be broken into three distinct categories: Merciful Benefactors, Ambivalent Extras and Assholes of Infinite Power. In the Merciful Benefactors category you would find the sorts of divine beings that behave in a way that is generally favourable towards mankind (I want to clarify that because these gods are ones that we are creating for ourselves we have to take the assumption that we are the single most important aspect in the Universe, so to all of those who are already firing up their objection machines to inform me that this is a selfish and ignorant act, shut up. I’m inventing gods. I am literally a creator of Creators…) and are responsible for ‘nice’ things. This would include Mr Kathmandu, who lacks a head and instead possess a helium balloon in the vacant space where his head should and is responsible for balloons, balloon animals and other sources of  inflatable entertainment (big hit with the kids). He lives in a jumping castle and is summoned by inhaling all of the helium from a balloon and chanting a special ritual. Or the equally affable Barock Of Holey Pockets, who smiles kindly on poor students and their ilk by strategically dropping small to mid ranged notes in gutters, bushes and garden beds when he goes a-walking at night. Named for the large coat pockmarked with holes just the right size for money to fall through (not to be confused with your run-of-the-mill flasher/crazy homeless man). There’s also Bert, the god of popcorn chicken, The Heir of Dog, who can cure hangovers with his breath, Wiffles O’Rourke, the Irish Goddess of cider whose tears are said to be delicious, and The Spacerbaby, a strange infantile creature that can manipulate the very fabric of space in order to ease traffic congestion and create parking spaces. All of these fall under the rank of Merciful Benefactors.

Next we move into perhaps the largest category of beings, spirits and demi-persons (as they prefer to be called, because this isn’t the Sixties): Ambivalent Extras. These gods are more like us than the Merciful Benefactors in the sense that they can switch their general outlook on humanity from ‘smiles’ to ‘fuck off and die’ on a whim. Generally though they behave in mysterious ways that don’t always make sense to mere mortals such as ourselves, hence their title of ambivalent. These include beings like The Prince of Likes, who patrols social media sites and randomly adds likes or dislikes. The Prince is a wily, trickster who has been responsible for ruining several celebrity careers and launching many Facebook profiles from the doldrums of the Internet into the stratosphere of Likes and Comments. He is said to occasionally appear in Instagram filters of popular or well-received insta-users and can be summoned by the use of #princeoflikesibeesechthee. Another notable example is Yarni The Clean Yet Defiled, who is the patron demi-god of public restrooms. On a good day Yarni is quiet and peaceful, dribbling soap from her many soap teats, however if she is in a foul mood than whichever restroom she has decided to reside in for the day will be left in state of shit smearing and drowning in ambiguous liquids. We also have Brambles The Taxi-Driver, whose concept of time is greatly varied from that of a normal human being and as a result can take anywhere between 5 minutes and six days to get to a destination, The Spirit of Public Graffito, who can appear in anything from a penis carved into a desk to a glorious wall mural painted by some hipster maestro, and The Ultimate Hipster, whose occasional good deeds are only dwarfed by the pretense and bad attitude with which he occasionally carries them out.

Finally we have The Assholes of Infinite Power who fall into this category because they either a) live only to cause pain and misery on their mortal subjects, b) control or associated with things that generally seen as ‘shithouse’ or ‘fucking awful’ or c) a combination of both plus a bit of added malicious name calling. These include the infamous Schizoid Mary, a strange demonic spirit that manifests in the form of crazy people on public transport (it should be noted that those under the influence of Schizoid Mary are never able to remember what they did while possessed and most of them a genuinely lovely people who have jobs, families and enjoy reading books). There’s Olgoth, a particularly devious trickster who feeds on commuter frustration like some sort of succubus, who uses his awesome powers to cancel trams, trains and buses and occasionally has been known to devote all of his energies into holding up airports for several hours. The Mayor of Struggletown is a nasty overlord who imprisons unsuspecting foes in a vicious re-election cycle were they are forced to switch places for anywhere between a couple of hours to several days, making them lethargic and irritable. But perhaps one of the most notorious members of this particular group is Wilful Dennis, who is universally feared for his ability to just fuck your life up royally for no other reason than it pleases him to do so. The worst thing about Dennis is that he can only be summoned accidentally, whenever someone verbally confirms that their life is actually going pretty well. What a dick. Rounding out this miserly lot are a collection of bastards called The Awful Trio, comprised of Ashley The Terrible, who hides car keys, phone chargers etc, David The Reckless, who just breaks things whilst you are using them, and George The Tenacious, who spreads rumours about everyone and generally causes arguments and workplace harassment disputes.

So I should probably go back to the thing I was doing before this started, but I just had to do lots of typing because this keyboard is actually like Jesus’ tears. Actually. Healing properties etc. I hope you enjoyed this long and meaningless list of things.  I did. But I am biased as all get out.

Treed.

 

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Awkwardtreed Strikes Back Again: This Thyme It’s Herb-sonal.

And like the manner of introductions employed by a certain composer from the Baroque period whenever he was forced to meet a new prostitute or fanboy: I’m Bach (COMPOSER PUNS!). After an extended absence I have returned to this blog with a vengeance, or if not a vengeance then at least a Ron Swanson-esque sense of barely suppressed rage, and some proactivity (not the kind endorsed by airbrushed celebrities). As to the reasons behind my disappearance, I wish to make two statements.

The First Statement.
Rumours of my death have been mildly exaggerated.
(Apologies to Mr. Twain).

The Second Statement.
A wizard did it.
Cast a spell, I mean.
I mean, a wizard did a spell on me.
It was a wizard and there was magic and he cast this spell and then I was all like, “No, stop you wizard!” and then he said some stuff which I didn’t understand because he was a wizard and wasn’t speaking a language I was familiar with because it was most likely a long forgotten, arcane use of verbs and synonyms no-one has spoken for at least the last 900 years but he knew those words because he is a timeless wizard of great force.
And his spell stopped me from doing stuff.
Specifically this sort of stuff.
It was the work of the notorious Wizard of Christmas Mirth and Holidays.
And his ability to intoxicate the soul with an over abundance of food and relaxation, causing the victim to struggle to function in a non-vacation mode.
But now I’m cured.
If you see this wizard, be careful because he’s a dick.
Like he has the words ‘mirth’ and ‘christmas’ in his official title, but it’s totally misleading because he’s actually a massive douchebag.
Like borrow your complete, boxset of Lost and not return it.
Or spoil the ending to that book you’d been wanting to read for ages.
Shit like that.
He should be called the Wizard of Ruining and Ugly.
But unfortunately he only appears around Christmas time, so he technically is entitled to use of the holiday in his official wizard title.
On an unrelated note I also met the Wizard of Skulls and Death and he is actually really lovely and should be called the Wizard of Tea and Friendship, but that was already taken.
It was an eventful hiatus.

Moving ever onwards. Today isn’t really an eye-opening post of deep insight, so if you came for that sort of thing I’m not really sorry because let’s be honest if you came here looking for that kind of thing you don’t really deserve an apology because…seriously. Deep insight? Here? Go find a turtle to talk to instead. Those guys are deep. Instead this is really a mission statement of sorts, which isn’t as cool as it sounds like it should be (for example no mission statements are really a stating of a secret mission, which makes sense because if you state a secret mission in a format accessible by all around you…you kind of fucked up the first part of having a secret mission). My mission statement is more of a promise of proactiveness in a public place (ALITERATION TOP SCORE!) with the intention behind it being that if I put up here what my aim is for the year then I am more inclined to follow through with it rather than back out and face the wrath of the whole Internet (wrath being an excellent word that makes you excited when you say it, try and not be excited when you say the word ‘wrath’. I dare you. It is impossible).

So what does 2013 hold for one Tom Reed: Procrastinator in Chief and Bolognaise enthusiast? Well as you may or may not have noticed I am a firm believer in the making and maintaining of lists (because what man cannot put in list form I don’t much care for), so what better way to outline my endeavours then in an excellent listed format. Not only is it easy on the eyes but it is also low in sodium and contains no traces of pandas (that can be scientifically proven).

Endeavours of Expansion (Listed In Order of Atomic Weight & Sexual Orientation).

1. Previously I attempted to talk about football in a way that wasn’t just verbose hyperbole and constant tautology, unfortunately this endeavour was thwarted by my laptop shitting itself. Now that this has been rectified (pun not intended but maybe a little), I would like to present my first expansionary idea: The second edition or rather the reboot of  An Unconventional Footy Fan. Keep an eye out for it appearing as a separate  page in the thing. Check the thing. Unless you’re a certain asshole master of sorcery. Then you can fuck right off.

2. The second endeavour (this list is painfully short actually and would probably have been better in bullet point format rather than the standard numerical, as this would have not drawn as much attention to fakt that this list is literally two items long…fuck you wizard, you put off my game) is a serial, episodic (and perhaps short-lived but let’s support it anyway) story of a young man named Jupiter Brown who’s room-mate is a hammer and who falls in love with a hurricane. Broken down that should read: Jupiter Brown’s room-mate is the human embodiment of Thor’s mighty hammer and he has fallen in love with a girl surrounded by a small storm front. WOO! So once again look to the skies (small toolbar) for the appearance of Jupiter Brown Mythsteries.

So now that my intentions have been made clear, you can return to whatever it was you were doing before I so rudely interrupted you with mah hollerin’. Have a lovely thyme.

Treed

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Filed under Creative Catharsis, Life & Times Of, List-o-mania

An Urban Bestiary

It has come to my attention that I never made good on my promise. Actually I don’t like that word there, that ‘promise’. It carries with it too much weight. There’s a dangerous amount of expectation heaped on a word like ‘promise’. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m not great at expectations (ALMOST A DICKENS REFERENCE), so instead I would like to use the word suggestion in its place (because ‘suggestion’ carries with it a beautiful amount of sieve-like loopholes for escaping). See I feel better already.

Air knee weighs, the suggestion in question came a few posts back. Back when I was procrastinating with fear experimentation and scaring myself shitless by playing ‘Slender’. I have since stopped playing ‘Slender’ because I know that I will never win. Ever. No it’s not for lack of trying, I have tried and I have actually improved since we last spoke. It’s more of the fakt that I can never physically complete the game as I point-blank refuse to go into that freaky, abandoned toilet-block building with the blood stains and the tipped over chairs (seriously what the fuck happened there?). It’s just not going to happen.

“Oh come on Tom, you’re being so silly, that’s not in the spirit of the game…” No. Your logic and reasoning can climb inside a parked car out the front of the pokies and slowly suffocate while its slotjockey mother (you) goes to town on Aztec Madness. I am not bending to the whims of horror tropes and have decided that I can only behave so stupidly for so long. I am willing to accept the fakt that I am wandering through a dark and spooky forest in search of some frightful entity of death and terror armed with only a flashlight for no discernible reason. And I am willing to accept that I will continue to wander through this forest and not GTFO when said entity begins stalking me while I collect really unhelpful pieces of paper telling me to do exactly not that. But I draw the line at going into a cramped space where something illogically bad has gone down, with the knowledge that if I take a wrong turn I am going to be nightmare-fuelled by Slender-man.  That, my friends, is what I call: Asking for it.

Which brings me, in a very round-a-bout way, to the aforementioned suggestion. As mentioned in that post, I wanted to discuss creatures and monstrosities at length. However I postponed that (SURPRISE THAT’S WHAT I DO) and wrote about some other shit instead. So here for your enjoyment is the first edition (and knowing me, only) of the Urban Bestiary (because I already had half the category ready to go). Essentially I am attempting to categorise and describe an assortment of weird and wonderful beasties that reside in and around the city (around meaning as far as Queenscliff and in meaning my shower). Maybe I can ‘suggest’ (not promise) to do this once a month in-between the rest of my text-based vomit. But you know…don’t hold me to it because it’s only a suggestion and I can slip out of aforementioned sieve-like loopholes. But into the breach we must go…

Entry #01: Clipboardicusci Pesteri (The Clipboarded Wasp)

The Clipboarded Wasp lurks around Universities, shopping centres, state libraries and other central locations with a high population density. They do not resemble wasps, but instead come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, however most of them resemble back-packers of varying ethnicities and possess a great deal of charisma and charm, a necessary attribute for luring unsuspecting prey. The Clipboarded Wasp live in complex social groups or ‘hives’ and wear some sort of mark to signify which ‘hive’ they represent. They travel in groups of threes or fours referred to as ‘guilt-trips’ or ‘enthusiasms’, and they use their numbers to overwhelm their prey.

Despite their ability to disguise themselves as international travellers and/or friendly University students, there are a few tell-tale signs that will allow one to identify the Clipboarded Wasp. As mentioned above they will possess some sort of marking to inform others of their ‘hive’ allegiance. This may be in the form of a lanyard, a logo on a polo shirt or an insignia on a cap. This marking is used to inform other Clipboarded Wasps that this territory has already been claimed as well as signal other members of the same ‘hive’. The other warning sign to look out for is an outstretched hand accompanied with darting eyes. The hand is used to lure someone into a handshake, while the eyes are constantly darting around to look for someone else in case the handshake is ignored by the chosen passersby. The final and most obvious thing to look out for is a clipboard clutched tightly to the chest.

The Clipboarded Wasp attempts to lure prey into entering a conversation about charitable causes or livestock abuse in order to slowly draw the life-force of the intended victim. The longer the conversation goes, the stronger the Wasp becomes. The victim of an attack may suddenly feel lethargic, guilty and compelled to sign some document. If you find yourself in the clutches of a Clipboarded Wasp, do not sign any documentation. Doing this serves as an invitation for other members of that Wasp’s hive to come and feed on you. The Clipboarded Wasp has several weaknesses but the best course of action when dealing with a Wasp is to avoid making eye-contact. Just keep your head down and forge ahead. Ipods and other MP3 devices have also been shown to have an excellent neutralizing effect.

In extreme cases you can attempt some of the following:

1. Impersonation: Carry a clipboard with you when venturing near known hotspots and the Wasps may mistake you for another Wasp from a different hive. However this comes with several risks, including accidentally engaging the Wasp in a battle for territory.

2. Religious Defence: Pretend to be a member of an extremely organised religion. Wasps aren’t drawn to anything that is already a member of tight-knit community, especially if that tight-knit community borders on a religious cult. However this may make you the target of the equally dangerous Religious Mosquito (Religiata Pesteri) or Political Parasite (Socialistiscus Athesi Pesteri).

3. Fake Identity: If you find yourself trapped by a Clipboarded Wasp and about to sign some form of documentation, you can create fake details in order to get away from them. The catch with this is, if you do go down this path you may be unwittingly condemning someone else to a life of email spamming and moderately threatening anonymous texts about various causes.

Thank-you.

Treed.

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