A Very Brief Message In The Form Of Shameless Self-Promotion.

So.

This is just a quick thing to let you know that I’ve started a little writing project over at another blog.

The project is called The Urban Sprawl and is a series of stories and myths about the city of Melbourne.

It would be much appreciated if you went and checked it out. You know to make me feel loved by faceless strangers on the Internet. It is the best form of nourishment.

Here’s the link: The Urban Sprawl.

I will continue to post other ramblings and growlings here with the same infuriating irregularity as before, but I will be putting a little bit of attention into this new project (because I’m a bad person and I get sucked into the shiny new thing way too easily, blame it on television…it ruined me) so don’t press the panic buttons if I’m not hanging around here for a while.

xoxo GossipTreed.

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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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Awkwardtreed Does Gender Stereotypes

Warning: I talk about genitals a lot in this post. Like a lot. Which probably says a lot about me…but really says more about certain someone whose name rhymes with Droid.

Do you know what isn’t very awesome? Being conned into a doing another thing on top of already being conned into doing something you dislike. Example: Being conned into paying for something with chickpeas and leaves in it (and no steak) when you were already conned into eating something with just chickpeas and leaves in it. Another example: Being conned into studying sexuality, masculinity, femininity and other things you have absolutely no interest in on top of already being forced to study philosophy…which you hate.

“That last example is weirdly specific Tom”, I hear you state in a very annoying and obvious ‘plant’ tone of voice (seriously get your shit together I don’t want people to know that we know each other, that’s the trick) and it is. It is weirdly specific because it is actually a thing that is currently happening to me. You may have already noticed, if you’ve read anything else I have ever posted on here, that I don’t particularly enjoy studying philosophy. It’s the thorn in my side. The meteorite in my mass extinction theory. My very own Johnny Killjoy (an awful superhero who’s only ability is to ruin everything for everyone, ever) if you will.

It’s not that I’m not open-minded. In my closed-minded view of the world, I accept a lot of different view-points before ignoring them completely and staying the narrow course I have previously plotted. I’m kidding obviously. I am generally pretty open to most experiences (but I won’t do that), it’s just that one of those experiences isn’t philosophically related. Therefore after having to endure the damned subject, like an incredibly sweaty, fat guy  standing waaay to close to me on the tram, for the last two years my patience has worn incredibly thin. Like well-worn socks. Only these socks didn’t get this way due to me over-wearing them out of comfort. No. They got this way due to repeated stabbing and hacking with a pen knife (and some mild fire damage).

Now once again I find myself head-butting metaphorical walls whilst wishing I could head-butt literal ones, as I read things by old Greeks who were kind of into sodomy… But the thing that’s really got my goat (could it please return it as soon as possible please as I have many goat related activities to get into) is that now I’m looking at the world of philosophy through the eyes of Freud, feminism and gender politics. Let me just say, I am not anti-feminist. Nor am I anti-gender equality. In fact I’m pretty much pro-everything (especially if I can eat it), but I dislike feminists that hate me because I have a penis. I also dislike the fact that some guy (with serious, serious issues) thinks that the reason I get turned on by drain pipes is because I want to have sex with my mother who I actually wish was a giant phallus.

Freud makes me angry on all of the levels imaginable, mostly because everything is dicks with him, but basically because he always has a fucking answer for everything. Like if I was like: No Freud, I don’t like Mars Bars because they resemble my ideal penis. He’d be all like: Actually because you reject the Mars Bar/Doodle Hypothesis you are proving that you actually love Moro Bars and want a vagina that you secretly wish was a penis. Actually Freud, I like Mars Bars because they are delicious and when you eat one it’s like looking at the face of an angel that you can taste, and no-one likes Moro Bars you dick. And when I say dick I don’t actually mean ‘I wish I had penises (should that be peni?) everywhere but that you are an unsavoury person of ill-repute and can go and fornicate with yourself.

So I dislike that I have to sit there and read his ideas that everything is genitals (clearly the dude got sexually assaulted by a bird as a kid or something ). The problem is that due to being exposed to this sort of thing over a period of time has kind of ruined my brain. Basically I am now thinking in terms of masculine and feminine (something I’ve never done before except for when I think that boobs on a lady are much better than boobs on a man…) and so I decided to look at my after-Uni activities in terms of where they would fall.

Essentially I have learnt (based on my limited understanding of 1960s misogyny) that I am an excellent housewife.  I actually enjoy doing little homely things like dishes, straightening up boxes (nothing gets me more excited than putting various square items in rows on tables), cooking delicious meals, singing to myself while doing these things and giving the apartment a good seeing-to (which involves more vacuuming than fisticuffs or fellatio). I am terrible at fixing things and using tools of all sorts (I use screwdrivers to decapitate insects that invade my kitchen) I also shy away violently from heavy-lifting and other ‘masculine’ tasks. I was too busy being dinosaur to be good at contact sports.

So take that Freud! I am not insecure at all about my sexuality or my gender-role in society! And I don’t want to sleep with my mother at all! So there. You’re wrong about everything and I’m right about somethings. I also want to point out at this moment that while I would make an excellent housewife, I in no way feel that the above mentioned chores and behaviours are supposed to be completed by either sex. Basically I’m not a dick. I just want to clear that up. This was just an exercise in outdated sexual dynamics and being angry at Freud and stuff.

So if you’re angry, take it up Sigmund.

Treed.

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One Of Those Days.

You know you’re having one of those days when you find yourself walking through the rain and it’s not even rain but a fine, irritating misting. Like a thumb pressed hard over a drink -tap by your dickhead friend who isn’t really your friend but you kind of feel sorry for him because he’s a dickhead and no-one likes him, so you feel like you should hang out with him out of some weird sense of obliguilt, but you find yourself question this on a daily basis because he does dickhead-ish things hold his thumb over a drink-tap as you go to take a drink and you get a fine misting…like the rain outside.

But, Tom, it’s just the weather. Get over it. NO SHUT UP! I AM MAKING A POINT…SORT OF.

You know you’re having one of those days when you find yourself walking through the rain sans some form of rain protection, even though you had received a warning to take an umbrella with you because it’s raining out, and as you walk down the street in the rain everyone around you  is walking like an idiot and when you look at them all you can think of is the animals they resemble. Like that woman who looks like a bird and who walks like she has no were important to be but that she knows everyone else around her does.

Basically you know you’re having one of those days when you get insulted by spam. Not the tinned variety. The Internet variety (previously mentioned here). Yes, after grumbling my way down the street, I sat down at my computer to discover that I had 18 spam comments sitting in my little in-tray. I’m not even sure that that’s a thing. And I’m pretty sure that they were so blatantly spam that my computer shouldn’t have even asked for my opinion on the matter, but should have just gone right ahead and deleted them. My computer is smarter than me. It’s true.

Most of them were the regular nonsensical mess of bad grammar and almost-poetry, like this: “I’m mad and that’s a fact I found out animals don’t help Animals think they’re pretty smart Shit on the ground, see in the dark”- sarsnivebra.

One of them was weirdly informative about the growth of a human child: “Children’s tooth development begins while the baby is in the womb. Teething usually occurs between the ages of six and nine months. Children usually have their full set of 20 primary teeth (milk teeth, baby teeth or deciduous teeth) by the age of three years. At about the age of six years, the first permanent teeth erupt (push through the gum).”-tietpieteobre.

And then there was this: “You’re the worst author”- some robot dick.

That was it. Just those words and nothing else. No links and no ads. Just an insult. What the fuck spam? Why would you say that? So instead of being a normal person and moving on from the hurtful commentaries one finds in the spam folder, I decided that I would take it personally. Yes I don’t make rational choices, my diet consists mostly of spaghetti and gingerbread men. Clearly not the President. So I sat down and took a deep breath and let the paranoia wash over me like a big blanket made of negativity and crushed dreams. I also realised that I needed to get rid of such a stupid blanket made from such shitty materials.

At least this is the justification I’m giving myself as to why I haven’t continued on with the assignments I should be doing (read that s correctly, that’s a plural) is because spam told me that I suck at writing, and therefore I cannot write anymore. Although I did just write this.

Yeah coherence isn’t my strongest suite today.

Or any day.

Oh well. Grieving time is over. That and the dude who’s cardigan I stole to be used as a veil has returned and is kind of pissed I’ve been wearing it and crying.  So I should probably get down to it. Funnily enough one of those assignments involves critically assessing myself and my creative approach. I feel like I should just submit a certain piece of spam…I mean if I reference it correctly and everything, it still counts right?

Right?

Treed.

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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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