Friday, 21 November 2014

Subjectify - Friday Flash

Flatfoots finally caught up to me, and naturally threw me in chokey. My good run was over. My life was over. Stripped of the freedom to roam by my prison bars, there was only one thing to be done. I fixed on ending my life. The warders were plenty amenable, leaving me with a razor blade after lights out. An unbloodied helping hand. Guess one less for them to scrutinise. Maybe they were just scared of me. Or maybe it was their way of meeting out their own justice. 

But breaking the membrane of my own skin was harder than that of someone else’s. Rather than arouse my blood, it fled away from my veins. My usual sure-handedness deserted me, the blade was all aquiver. And though my dread of incarceration must have conjured up some modicum of fear, I couldn’t smell or taste it like I always could on my prey. 

Guess I wasn’t as good at killing myself as I was at killing others. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Achromatic Landcsape #4 - Flash Fiction

The pylons stretching back like a forlorn wedding arch awaiting for Gog and Magog to breast them triumphantly. 

The slack skipping ropes of their sagging cables, since the escarpment chalk giants are off elsewhere playing hopscotch. 

A mesh of Babel towers all connected up to deliver the illumination for humans to generate their own blaze, glare and incandescence of incomprehensible communication.

Standing like Christmas trees stripped of their needles and baubles in bleakest January, still broadcasting their proudly erect posture but generating only barrenness.

A column of ramrod straightbacked corps disarmed by the ordinance to cats cradle their copulas. 

Multi-limbed blights snarled in the gossamer silk offered by their antecessor as a way out of this never-ending green labyrinth. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Drones - Friday Flash

The pipers settled the three drone pipes across their shoulder and struck up the threnody to the airmen in full regalia who marched into superannuation afore radio-controlled pilotless aircraft. The monotone of his mother’s hectoring had become so annoying to him, a perpetual vibration in his ear as if she were an insect lodged there. The male bees hovered uselessly outside the hive, lacking for any weapons to repel the waves of yellow jackets and robber flies, while their valiant brethren lay down their lives in useless hecatomb before these tomb raiders as they picked clean the  honeycomb’s treasury. He had grown stale to her, idle, unemployed which only increased his hankering for sex, yet his indolence had infected and corroded that one single activity too. He honed the rising and falling intonation of his voice against the continuous pitch of the shruti box, as if the two sounds were doing battle, that the envious drone wanted to suck the very oscillations of breath from him and reduce him to flatness, to prevent him soaring towards god. He had no spunk, no backbone, allowing himself to be pushed around, ordered to do this and that by all and sundry and she hated that she had initiated that and broken him. The villagers recognised the drone of the engine of a craft zeroing in on one of their number in the mountains, but these days there was no triumph in shooting down the foe, for there was no one at the wheel, no corpse to parade, yet still they were the ones accused of lacking humanity? The constant repetition, the sustained pitch, the buzz and hum that never seeks resolution but only to persist like a nag, a vexation, a pest and a pestilence, Aum seemed unobtainable in this life to him. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Dr Who Plotholes

I love Dr Who, although since the man who revived it Russell T Davies left the job of producer, I've been less enamoured of it, mainly because the writing has been patchy. The show uses so any different writers , parcelling out episodes to different people, this is perhaps inevitable. And sure it's light-hearted family entertainment with legions of devotees who will gladly receive everything with critical faculties suspended, that perhaps the show shouldn't be put through any analytical wringer. But I'm a writer and I just can't help it. Equally the show currently has such an outstanding central cast I can't bear to see their talents wasted on leaden scripts. The current series has had a couple of excellent episodes, a couple of meh ones and some really terrible ones. But the penultimate and first in a two-part season conclusion was pretty good. The addition of Michelle Goes to an already stellar cast made this pure joy for e to watch. Well almost pure...

Since it was full of plotholes, or at least seemed to be, seeing as some of these might be resolved with the second and final instalment. Now normally I am not in the least bit bothered by plotholes, since plot itself is the least interesting thing to me as a writer. So for me to be aggravated by deficiencies in the logic of events, they must have been pretty glaring (and blaring). See if you agree with me.

1) Danny Pink - Dead!?
He's been killed in a road traffic accident. (Nice touch that it was Clara dropping the 'ILY' bombshell that inadvertently killed him). Okay, the premise was there's a waiting station in Limbo called the Nethersphere, because the dead can still communicate and hold conversations if you care to visit them. So Danny is dead, but still negotiating the terms of his post-life existence (with a wonderfully oily Chris Addison as his sales rep). All this is fine because it's really a front for harvesting bodies to turn into Cybermen.

1a) Do Cybermen require still living bodies to convert, or can they process corpses? The delete option Danny was fretting over seemed to suggest the former, since 'delete' is as we know the first step in the cybernetic process, to remove human emotion. In which case how is Danny alive? If he was put into a coma by the car impact, why isn't he hooked up to tubes and drips in a hospital?

1b) The hoax front is to maintain the fiction that the dead don't die, and if telepathy is used to achieve the impression that they're still sentient in some way, who is the telepathy being transmitted to in convincing us that the dead Danny Pink is still hanging on in there at some level? Because we are inevitably going to get a happy ending, Danny Pink isn't likely to be dead, so that takes up back to the car crash. Did Missy somehow stage it, convince all and sundry DP was deceased, just to capture hi so as to lure in Clara & The Doctor to her lair?

2) The scale of death:
Missy makes the wonderful observation that the shortcoming of the human race is that the dead outnumber the living. Lots of corpses to turn into Cybermen for her fiendish plan then (suggesting that the answer to plothole 1 is that they are in fact dead and only trick projections suggest they are still alive). All well and good, but how do all the dead fit into the crypts of St Paul's Cathedral and how do they get there? We only see about eight Cybermen come down the steps, hardly the whole host of humans past now is it? How extensive were the dark water tanks and again I ask, where and how did they all fit into the architecture of St Paul's? Maybe St Paul's is Missy's Tardis, bigger on the inside etc... When Danny P & his salesman/minder/psychopomp Addison pop out on the balcony for a breather to get DP's head straight, the Nethersphere scape is suggested to be never-ending (as initially established by the view through a porthole). Now London, the city that houses St Paul's is big, but that weren't no London vista through the window. Presumably the Nethersphere too is just a projection.

3) Kids, always a tear-jerker plot device:
Danny Pink is reacquainted with the kid - aka unarmed non-hostile - he shot in Afghanistan. Nice bit of conflict and personal redemption issues there served up in a trice. But why is the kid there at all? He's too short for being converted into anything but a mini-me Cyberman. Why has he been kept alive all this time that has seen DP establish himself in a second career as a schoolteacher? So this swings the pendulum back into it being a telepathic projection into Danny's noggin, that he isn't dead at all, but just having his melon messed with. Chris Addison informs us it's very unusual for such a confrontation in the Nethersphere, while Doctor Chang tells Clara it's equally rare to receive a call on the inside when Danny P is calling her. I hear a plot clunking with the sound of a bolted on solution.

So I'm none the wiser as to how the episode holds together logically. Maybe it will be resolved next week. Sorry but a nerd orgasm induced by the echo of a 1960's Cybermen iconic image on the steps of St Paul's couldn't induce e to overlook all the bits that don't hang together for me.

I stand back and await y lapidation...

Pinboard Wizard - Friday Flash

We were milling aimlessly on the cork surface, just like the students outside on the college green, only our frisbees capped our crowns. The great migration started inconspicuously when one of our number was plucked and removed to the furthest end of the frame pinning a green handwritten note. Gradually more and more of us followed, with typed, pictured, poorly Xeroxed notices and fliers. But it wasn’t for us to judge what we played host to. We only had to pinion them fast in place.

We anchored love affairs and lost items being returned to their owners. We oversaw money making enterprises and charitable deeds both. We silently monitored exchanges both fair and lopsided. We were responsible for people coming together to protest and take action. We rolled out a red cork carpet to new bands and poetry societies. All human wants hopes and offers were pinned on us. 

And some of us suffered for our staunch superintendence. There were squabbles, where some of us were snatched from their current supervision and moved to double up on a piece of paper with a fellow pin. Leaving the pillaged paper to float down to the ground all forsaken. Other brother pins were covered up as a new flyer was insolently just pinned up over their entire handbill, the stud pushing through its impression in the new notice but remaining all forlorn. Some pins lost their caps. Others had their ramrod spines bent and became invalided from service. Chunks of corkboard eroded, making our bailiwick shrink and huddling us closer together and stirring up more agitation accordingly. 

But eventually there were fewer and fewer notices pinned by and to us. The existing ones were never refreshed, but allowed to turn yellow and crumple and curl at their edges. The dust was no longer swept from the wooden frame of the corkboard which continued to seep its fibre on to the floor. We no longer had audiences stood in front of us admiring our pinnywork as they read. Instead the students walked by with their noses glued to tablets and phones advertising their wares. Nobody played frisbee out on the college green anymore either. 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wings - Flash Fiction

He jacked the spike into the scorched blisters around his groin and depressed the stopper. As the liquid nectar palpated his arteries and shuttered his eyes, wings sputtered out from his back. Some loose feathers drifted haltingly to the ground in their wake. His wings gaped open feebly, revealing gaps in the plumage. He flopped on to his belly and cumbersomely drew his battered wings to enfold himself. The drug trickling through his tapered veins was taking him from butterfly back through to cocoon. When he first shot up, his thick, proud wings enabled him to soar above the treetops. Then he spanned mountains and bent the wind to the will of his graceful flapping. But now he could barely support the weight of his ragged feathers. They kept him pressed to the ground rather than elevating him above the clouds. When he used to glide, there was no sound at all. Yet now there was the agitated fluttering of the breeze ruffling through his denuded feathers. Or maybe it was the sound of his teeth chattering. His wings no longer prevented him feeling chilled to the bone as the chemical spur bluntedly vacated his blood. More larval grub now than cocoon even. He heard the sound of flies’ wings as they frolicked within his weeping sores. As the drug took its leave of him, his ears were filled with a loud whooshing. More wings, the percussion of devils thrashing their leathery appendages with delirious anticipation. While those angels glumly cupped their chins in their hands and silently retracted their own gossamer distentions.

Friday, 24 October 2014

An Ideal Woman - flash tale

The ninety foot billboard inclining into her sheer stockinged leg. The footage of the catwalk model’s sway with her face eclipsed by popping flashbulbs. My French teacher’s purring accent. The breast-feeding neighbour through her kitchen window. The breast-feeding Madonna, the print postcard of which I sought out from the museum shop. My first love, teeth in braces. The dental hygienist in her billowing white coat looming over me as she filled my mouth with a sucking tube. The celluloid actress giant on the silver screen and tiny on my mobile phone. My mother. That contact sheet found on the pavement of woman unknown. The soft-porn magazine centrefold but one. That girl leaning against the wall at some party with utter disdain plastered across her face, echoed by the stance of her body. That singer, no not the obvious global one, the backing singer clicking her fingers as she accompanied her own rosy cheeked harmonies. And the violinist from when my favourite noise band decided to go all arty, the instrument cradled between chin and collarbone. That Jehovah’s Witness with the bluest eyes for all her buttoned-up severity. The waitress with the scent that cut through all the aromas of the food in the restaurant. That other waitress with the chopsticks threaded through her raised hair exposing her neck. That third waitress with the straps protruding through her thin white chemise. The librarian who reflexively kept folding a lock of her hair back behind her ear as she read with her head down. The Eastern European Silver medallist in her streamlined swimsuit. The Indian dancer with the bells around her strong yet dainty ankles and the perfect poise on one leg, hands steepling just above her head. The foreign tour guide whose wrist tattoo kept peeking out from under her sleeve each time she raised her arm to point at something. The supermarket cashier with the huge hoop earrings that louchely jiggled as she louchely chewed gum. The woman on the side of the bus advertising god knows what but staring me down goadingly. That one call girl’s calling card displayed among impossible hundreds on the walls of the phonebox. The image of the missing girl on the Crimewatch show. These were my Frankenstein’s Monster segments of flesh which I disinterred from my erotic graveyard and knitted together into the impossible woman of my desires, whom of course I could never come across.