Saturday, 24 March 2018

The History Of Yellow - Flash Fiction

I was born tinged yellow by jaundice, fortunately I was too unformed for it to mark my emotional temper.

Most of the time the chromatics of my nappy was fulvous.

As a child, I seemed immersed in a yellow period in my crayoning and painting.

Farmers replaced clover with oilseed rape for their allowing their fallow fields to recuperate. Perhaps because I am an urban dweller, I wasn’t one of those Moaning Minnies who complained about the loss of their green and pleasant vistas, nor was I discomfited by the supposed unsightliness of wind turbines.

The teenage me squeezed my spots, fascinated how the pus it coiled and wormed on to my face like oil paint squeezed on to an easel.

After a cheap blonde rinse, I was left hiding flavicomous hair beneath hats in hot weather.

I awoke from a bad dream to be confronted by the yellow eyes of my cat in the darkness right up against my face. In my drowsy state, I couldn’t determine whether she was the devil’s familiar come to wreak mischief on me, or my cuddly pet full of concern having discerned my discomfort. 

They put bloody tomato on my burger. As I pincered it in my fingers to remove it like it was radioactive, I got some mustard on me. Licking it off I was hit by its piquant power. As I shuffled the burger’s components back into its construction, I couldn’t see the mustard, yet I knew I had just tasted it. Then I realised that the mustard was of exactly the same hue as the melted cheese and accordingly camouflaged. The cheese however had no taste at all. 

At training camp they called me coward. With a thick yellow stripe running down (or is it across?) me. That was unfair, I really had ruptured my ankle in that last training exercise, so much so it was enough to have me medically discharged from the upcoming tour of duty in Cambodia. While my TA comrades cleared mines under spectacular blue skies, I watched the changing seasons of my flesh, from black to purple to a queasy yellow. The contaminants and toxins of me, similar to the contaminants and poisons of the Khmer Rouge’s Killing Fields. I fancied the chroma around my ankle was the colour of gamboge, the closest I could get to the Mekong. I returned the unused Khmer Kroma, that I had bought in anticipation or working under the blistering sun, sucking on the fruit of the mangosteen trees. 

The Docs gave me a lidded plastic jar for my urine sample. Decanting the lees of me dowsing for disease. I stared into the cloudy yellow, hoping to discern a medical genie to open sesame me.

I look at the newly blotched liver spots on the canvas of my skin. Seems I am nearing full completion of the circle on how I entered the world. I can’t know for sure what the colour inside my mother’s womb was, but I suspect the last tincture of light I will be afforded in life will be a sunset yellow.  

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Thresh - Flash Fiction

I wrap myself in the bathroom towel. Either it’s grown or I’ve shrunk. We’ve have, however, both gone saggy. If it’s expanded, it hasn’t increased its absorbent surface area any. The terry pile had long gone, but now even the frayed bobbling has been worn away to leave a thin fabric that cannot wick the water from the guttered wrinkles of my skin. But I can hardly fault the towel since it has rendered long years of faithful service. Though in that time it has rubbed out all colour from my body hair. Of course I know that not to be true. The hairs have blanched after years of shadowed eclipse beneath clothes. I know that not to be true either. I am not a plant requiring chlorophyl for photosynthesis. Though hair sprouts from my ears like vine tendrils. 

My fingers scrape the stubble on my face like a violin pizzicato. A symphonic rasp. Scratchy, like a recently threshed wheat field. Without the threshing. You always insisted I was clean shaven before any kiss. A reasonable request and an unconditional act of devoting myself to you. But now I can indulge my loathing of the razor. I have neglected to throw the can of foam away. I wonder if it’s solidified inside. Or evaporated for that matter. 

I have a different teeth cleaning regimen now. For a new set of dentures. But they pinch my receding gums, I don’t think they’re the right dimensions for my mouth. You could have helped sort that out for me. You always resolved life's ill-fittings. Dealing fearlessly with those in authority who always intimidated me. I leave them soaking in solution over night. My unstayed cheeks pucker inwards, as if in permanent anticipation of a kiss that will never issue. 

We used to turn the mattress every six months or so. Marked it on the calendar. A sort of anniversary. Flipping it was a two man job. For one man and one woman. I can’t do it on my own. Don’t even need a double any more of course. So I just sag further into its recess which dwarfs me whole. Nonetheless it’s hardly womblike. I shiver in its embrace. I was further confronted with the black spots on my side of the mattress, exposed every time I stripped the bed linen to wash it. So I have ceased laundering the sheets. They’re either dead bugs or their aborted eggs. Either way they are nightmarish. We were zealous about the mattress and the linen, but never the infestation. It always seemed to be on my side of the bed whichever way we turned the mattress. Yet it was you who died of a respiratory disease. Maybe I had become immune with them just under my head always turned to their side to sleep. Maybe I should have exposed you to them for some seasoning against their spores. Perhaps it was just the fetid breath from inside me, transfused to you through our kissing that did for you. 

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Base Ten - Flash Fiction

One man is the basic unit of control. One man is isolation. One man is segregated. One man is utterly atomised.

Two men are a dialogue, an exchange of ideas. We do not permit this particular currency of exchange. Two men within our house is an interrogation.

Three men is two men with an informer inserted. Therefore an obtuse triangle with our man representing an angle over ninety degrees.

Four men is a square and is suggestive of egalitarianism. Better to stretch this parallelogramic arrangement into a quadrilateral, with inequalities and distrust along the distended lengths and an inability to communicate across the elongation.

Five men is the whetted star of our national symbol. With our (ap-)pointed man at the top. Alternatively it is a five-barred gate, with our man striking through the other four.   

Six men superficially resembles two men cubed. Six men is, however, two competing tiers of men arrayed against one another, staring across a no-man's land divide.

Seven men is six men with an agent provocateur to do our bidding and render them nugatory. If no provocateur is available, then six will scapegoat the weakest there.

Eight men is two men cubed. And diced.

Nine men is three men squared, which means three of our agents are in play.

Ten men is an assembly, a mob and invokes the presence of the security forces to break them up (see 'one man')

Friday, 9 March 2018

Postmodernist Fiction - A Review

Here is my Booktube video talking about Postmodernist Fiction, looking at the work of Robert Coover, John Hawkes, William Gaddis, David Markson, Curtis White, Don Delillo...