Mortality

Based on this Flash Fiction Challenge.

“My mortality and I am closely acquainted.” Prompt by http://52lettersinthealphabet.wordpress.com/.

My mortality and I are closely related. We weren’t, of course. I was like a lot of young people – I was immortal. I had such energy, and everyone else around me was just so old. Nothing ever hurt me, really. I had never broken a bone, nor had any long-term medical treatment. I was a healthy, happy utter moron. I’d like to say that all that changed when I died, but the truth is that the ability to talk in the past tense about your own death, makes it kind of hard to take seriously.

Jamie and Carl really wanted to go to this club we’d heard about around fresher’s week. It was the “awesomest club that ever awesomed!” according to some tank-topped bint outside the Union. I hung back, smoked my cheap cigarette and feigned indifference while trying to work out whether she was wearing a bra or not. She wasn’t.

“She was so hot!” said Carl.

“Not bad, not bad.”

I stayed silent. I was an introvert even when I was alive. Well, you know. Alive-alive.

Anyway, long story short, we went. I wore a black shirt and the black jeans I thought made me look sexy, but actually just accentuated how fat didn’t really stick to my bones. Jamie and Carl dressed like the hipster twins – all vintage and bright colours and hair that was just vaguely ‘up’.

We got in easily enough. No ID checking during the first couple of weeks of term. You’ve gotta get the kiddies hooked. That’s the real fucking trick. Then they up the prices and squeezed the young ones. We climbed down these dark chipboard stairs and into the club proper.

Inside, the place looked like an aircraft hanger with too few lights and too much black paint. There was a stage in the dim distance with a hairy band fiddling with cables and instruments and shit. Between them and us was an army of hipsters, rockers and goth wannabes. Basically a load of kids like us – more money and less supervision than they’d ever had before. I went for a piss. One bearded fat kid was puking in a stall. There was an inch of water that kind of sold me on DMs as club wear. It was barely nine o’clock. I had an echoing thought in my head that I’d gone to the pussiest university in Britain.

The night went as these nights often do. Early on the hipster twins locked on to a pair of brand-wearing horny chicks who were a couple of drinks ahead of us. They weren’t bad looking, but they had the wide-eyed conviction that always preempted a certain amount of drama. When one of the chicks flashed her tattoo of ‘birds flying away to symbolise freedom’ on her shoulder blade, I was out. I’d be hearing one or the other of the guys bitching about this silly cow for months. I had no intention to listen to the prologue live. I’d wait for the whiney Cliff Notes.

I think I was on my third of fourth beer and sixth or seventh brightly-coloured shot that a cowgirl had been peddling around the damn place. The band had started up, and appeared to be a death metal band who exclusively covered Smash Mouth. The lead singer had something about him that told me he was a man who was nothing outside the fantasy he created for himself on stage. I figured he was doing some ball-achingly dull degree that his parents thought was a good idea. He also looked a bit desperate on his third rendition of ‘All Star’. I think another band cancelled.

Whatever, anyway, that was when she slinked up to me. ‘Slinked’ isn’t a word I’d ever used before, but it was the only one that seemed right for the way she moved. She was wearing jeans and a shiny red tank top. Nothing really spectacular about it except the woman who wore it. She moved like I imagine a mermaid would swim. She had black hair and light brown skin. She stared me straight in the eye and pinned me to the spot.

“Hello,” she said.
“Hey,” I said, straining for the indifference I’d flashed at Tank Top Girl that afternoon. I think my voice broke. It wasn’t my best performance.

“What are you looking at?”

“Um… you?”

She frowned at that as though she’d made a mistake.

“No, before me.”

I thought about it. Nothing really. Just people. I told her as much.

“And what do you see?”

“Kids. Student loans, sex and freedom.”

“I see.”

I wanted her to ask me what was so different about me. I didn’t know the answer, but I was desperate to have the chance to tell her. She licked her lips – a dark berry colour that made me think of sweet fruit or expensive ice cream.

“What’s your name?”

“Mason- I mean Jonathan. Joe.”

“Well, Mr. Mason. Is this your usual ‘scene’?” She said the word like it tasted bad in her mouth. I could empathise.

“Not really. It’s like a noisy safari park. All the animals are hunting each other to a third-rate soundtrack,” the band over-dramatically finished one song with an synthesized twang as though to punctuate my point. “Only it’s stupid. The prey want to be caught, and choose their predator with their outfits and fucking ‘come hither’ bullshit.”

She nodded, considering my words. I was quite proud of them at the time in the way that only an eighteen year old Humanities student could be. She licked her lips again. Should I have offered her a drink?

“Sorry, would you like something to drink?”

“No thank you, Jonathan. I was thinking of leaving. Would you like to join me?” There was a glimmer in her half-lidded eyes. The kind of look I’d labelled ‘come hither bullshit’ seconds before. I didn’t care.

“Yes, please.”

She took me by the hand and led me through the crowd and into the street with her mermaid walk. She took me away from all the children. She took me away to die.

Commentary: It’s been a while since I’ve written every day, and this was a lot of fun. Almost cathartic, thinking back to those awful, sweaty nights in awful venues. I’d love to hear your comments, so please post below. ūüôā

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Living the Life Fantastic

Living on the Earth, living in the sky and living above the sky are three very different states of being. You have no idea.

On Earth

Earth

They don’t do tours of the Ground Floor, as a lot of city-dwellers call it. They can’t afford the insurance on the¬†necessary¬†gas masks. Even the Guttersnipes¬†don’t walk around the Ground Floor without some kind of air filter or mask. The air smells like oil, grease and damp. The secretions of a couple of centuries of oil abuse now coat what we used to call ‘street level’. Even with modern electronic transport and the space fuel the throw down at us, we still can’t clear the filth that’s already here. And of course there are the industries down below who cannot or will not make that great extraterrestrial leap and who still pump their poison into the world. The Toffs have to have their tennis balls after all.

Of course, some ‘Snipes have their implants to keep them safe. Hell, sometimes you see a Joe on the street and he looks more toaster than man. Don’t know how they manage it myself. I like the pink squishy parts of a person myself. Then again, I don’t smuggle, smash or slide to earn my money. Not usually anyway.

Speaking of which, down here you can buy anything. I know that a lot of people say that, but I mean it. I once sat in a bar while a guy scarfed down a brown paper bag full of what looked like eyeballs. All blue. I stuck around though. Good beer in that place.

My advice? Wear a barker on your hip to save any part of you from ending up in a brown paper bag.

In the Sky

Sky

 

Here in the clouds you’ve got your styles and your fashions and whatnot. Up here with the Toffs, you can buy anything¬†fancy. The architecture ranges from glass and steel from historical. None of the Old Earth landmarks are down where they started. A lot of them have been status-locked or reproduced up on Cloud 9.

The fashions are a little unpredictable. “Future of the Past” was a thing for a while; all silver jumpsuits and skin tints. A lot of the sentient gadgets got a boost for a while too. All pug-ugly if you ask me. Although I shagged a green ‘Martian’ fashionista once. That was fun. Couple of months later it was Victoriana chic. You couldn’t swing your cane without knocking off someone’s topper. I like Cloud 9, but it is a silly place.

In Space

SpaceI lived on an Outpost for a couple of years back in the ’20s. Just a small solar mine out near Venus. The funny thing about space and the asteroid quarries is that building this stuff is dirt cheap, so everyone lives in this idyllic¬†Mediterranean¬†community with a simulated sky and simulated sea breezes. The European ones, anyway. They’re also¬†really subcultural. Aphro-3 was made up entirely of Italian Cybergoths and their families. Beautiful to behold but damn strange in their little mock-terracotta¬†houses. Still, the pasta was good.

It’s funny the detail the build into these places though. I remember the fishing being excellent. In space. They were real fish, too. Not like the creepy little robots you get in the Earth resorts. I remember eating an Aphro-Salmon that was absolutely delicious. And not a circuit board in site.

As you can imagine, the night life is a bit¬†niche-y, but an awful lot of fun. If you fancy getting off with a girl with a short skirt and plastic hair then I recommend Aphro-3¬†immensely. I’d skip¬†Metabilis, though. Those chicks are¬†freaks.

 

30 Day Challenge: Day 1

Hello,¬†WordPress. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry about that. I’ve had a very interesting and complicated Summer¬†sans¬†Internet. Maybe I’ll talk about it as part of this thing I’ve decided to do:

Completely stolen from a lovely lady who blogs over here. I figured it’d be a good way to get back into writing and blogging without having a big, long emo-post. So, here we go.

30 Days Challenge:

Day 1: 5 interesting facts about yourself.
Day 2: The meaning behind your name.
Day 3: About your friends.
Day 4: About your family.
Day 5: A photo of something you really hate.
Day 6: A song that makes you cry.
Day 7: Your crush.
Day 8: Something you hate about yourself.
Day 9: Your definition of love.
Day 10: Your best friend.
Day 11: A letter to one of your exes.
Day 12: Your favorite female group.
Day 13: Your least favorite female group.
Day 14: Something you love about yourself.
Day 15: What you would if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant.
Day 16: A photo that makes you smile.
Day 17: A photo that makes you want to cry.
Day 18: A letter to someone you miss.
Day 19: A habit you wish you didn’t have.
Day 20: A letter to your parents.
Day 21: Short goals you wish to fulfill by the end of the month.
Day 22: Your nicknames & why you have them.
Day 23: What you would find in your bag.
Day 24: A song that makes you smile.
Day 25: How you found out about blogger & why you made one.
Day 26: First 10 songs to play on shuffle on your iPod.
Day 27: Your fashion style.
Day 28: What attracts you to someone.
Day 29: Future plans/goals.
Day 30: Who are you?

I’ll try to do this every day, but I know me. I probably won’t. Anyway:

Day 1: 5 interesting facts about yourself.

Well, here’s the one I usually keep in reserve for questions like this and drunken nights out:

I. I have been in a romantic relationship that included three other people. I won’t go into all the ins and outs of how it works. Here’s the Internet oracle if you’re curious. The basic¬†philosophy of poly is that anything goes so long as it’s open and agreed upon beforehand.

I was 22 and just out of a 6-year relationship. I had this friend who I’d had a sneaky little crush1 on for years, and after an overly self-indulgent mourning period, stuff started to happen between us.

When it became apparent than it was a less-than-casual relationship, I was introduced to her slightly scary husband and eventually his girlfriend. Now, if you think things are dramatic in a relationship with two emotionally unpredictable people, just try it with 4.

Although I do believe that with the right mix of people with the right attitudes, it is a relationship model that can work, I’m not sure if I would ever do it again. Ultimately, my self-worth was torn up pretty badly by that whole experience, and I’m not eager to repeat it.

Let’s move on to something a little more cheerful, shall we?

II. ¬†I’m writing my first novel. It is taking years as I tend to dip into it around procrastination, work and relationship drama.

It’s a story about a girl2, Laura, who is just coming out of a shitty relationship – the latest in a long line. Not too long after (following an inadvisable nightclub dalliance), she finds herself dating her boss, George, who she’s had a crush on for all the years she’s been working at his magazine. Unfortunately, things take a turn for a worse, as it seems that he’s involved in a violent power struggle with creatures that just aren’t really real. Right? And even then, Laura’s journo-sense tells her that there’s still more to George than meets the eye…

I’ve always wanted to write, and my dissertation was around the evolution of vampires in modern fiction (pre-Twilight, thankyouverymuch). I want to see one book with my name on it before I die. It’s the one ambition and dream I always come back to. It’s slow going, but I’m making it happen.

III. I don’t really understand hetero-normative men. Not even a little.

That isn’t to say I don’t have the same drives or desires as your typical¬†hombre. Quite the reverse. Nonetheless, ever since I was a little boy I’ve felt very much apart from the strongly-masculine, football-loving, beer-swilling stereotypes I was exposed to. I’ve always had female friends while being completely baffled by representatives of my own sex.

I get a lot of pleasure from romantic comedies. If you say please, I’ll let you laugh at my “Rainy Tuesday” guilty pleasure movie.

I react to things (everything) with emotion. Where society perhaps suggests that a man should react in anger or aggression, I’ll react in sadness and half a chocolate cheesecake. It has led to my being “friendzoned” or taking the “gay friend” role in the life of some wonderful women, but then I have some amazing friends. You win some, you lose some.

It’s just the way I am, really. That amongst other things make me not quite fit in the little mining town I was born into, and so I travel. Which leads me to…

IV. I’m an Englishman in Mexico teaching English to Mexicans.

At the risk of being too navel-gazy about it, I think I’m running away from the very settled, local life that my brother and family still enjoy. Much as I love my family, I get terribly claustrophobic in that environment. I wanted to experience things, go places, meet people and have the kind of life I’ve read about in books. So I am. I’ve always had an affinity for words and language, so this is how I chose to do it.

Eventually, I want to have kids who have a life that is¬†incomparable¬†to their grandparents’. I want my grandchildren to do more still. I want my life to have made an impression on the world, even if it’s just an ant’s footprint.

V: I’m a geek. It’s perhaps not the most interesting thing to put into one of these, but it’s a huge identifier in who I am. On any given evening I will be procrastinating from housework, paid work or novel work with any one of the following:

Video games, science-fiction and fantasy¬†anything, comic books, comic book movies, book-books, roleplaying (given an English-speaking geek¬†community), blogging (hi!), watching YouTube videos about the above, Supernatural, The Big Bang Theory, posting on forums, Doctor Who, LARP, card games, board games, anything with Felicia Day in it… the list goes on.

Meddlers

This fact comes with this extra bonus fact: I used to be really fat.

I didn’t set out to be geeky, but when I hit university, I tried all ¬†the things that seemed cool to me and kept doing them. I don’t really care that they’re not mainstream, or even that some are. I pretty much bumble along doing what I enjoy, making mistakes and hoping for the best. Hell, it’s why I’m sitting on my bed in Latin America rather than getting ready to go to my call centre job in South Yorkshire. Plans are for wimps. ūüėČ

I hope you feel enlightened by all this. Comments welcome. Tune in again tomorrow!

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1 Although I say “sneaky little crush,” I am aware that subtlety and emotional guardedness are not weapons I hold in my arsenal. It’s was almost certainly common knowledge long before anything happened.
2 See Fact III.

Optical Illusion ((all critique valued and appreciated))

There’s an optical illusion that many women take advantage of. Namely, the fact that if she wears good clothes – and by good I mean good quality as well as style – which frame, display or camouflage the correct body parts, she can hide the fact that she is not, lacking these accoutrements, physically attractive in any way.

A favourite technique is to display mounded breasts above scaffolding of the most torturous order. With enough money spent on the quality of this supportive structure, along with well-fitting jeans or, for those with a¬†truly vile physiognomy, a buttock-revealing skirt, a woman can acquire almost anything within certain boundaries. I once met one woman who permanently penetrated the upper-middle classes by utilizing that method. Of course, she was killed by¬†La Ripper Nuevo, but I’ll get onto that later.

Claire was a social climber of the absolute worst order. She would flirt with, pout at or fuck anyone she needed to to get exactly what she wanted. She was an valueless opportunist, who was, at one point, shagging every man in my social circle. It was a kind of open secret that she was the Club’s bicycle, but if anyone ever mentioned an observed meeting, the accused would of course have to play the ‘outraged and wronged’ part in that well-worn dramatic¬†production.

I chose not to partake of that particular hobby, as I felt unenamoured with the idea of having myself covered in the excited excretions of other men. I can only imagine the disease and filth of which she became a fetid conveyance before the end.

The Ripper began small, unimportant and slow. He killed the unwanted and anonymous. It was a study in economic sociology. Only with Claire McClaren did he begin to hit the headlines of the wretched red-tops. The more serious papers would catch on before the week was out.

She had been fellating a happily-married real estate magnate. I think, after two years of untargeted promiscuity, she was searching for the role she felt she was born to play: that of a pampered second wife. Suitably serviced, my esteemed mustachioed friend left her alone to reconstruct her facade. That was the last bloodless encounter anyone ever had with her.

The thing I remember the most was her mother’s eyes when she visited the Club months later. The police were pursuing Mr. N. Ripper’s later victims and were not pursuing the specifics of Ms. McClaren’s¬†case to the extent the senior Ms. McClaren¬†would expect. So, she arrived at the club in ill-fitting, discount store clothes with a dog-eared picture of a young, unrecognisably innocent Claire. She asked stupid, repetitive questions and ultimately left disappointed. Her eyes, though; they seemed to be repeating the Guardian‘s now-famous account of the loss of her daughter.

She blinked: “Claire was slit from throat to genitalia.”

She wiped away a tear: “Her head was displayed on the mantlepiece of the almost deserted ______ Club.” (I choose not to name the club, as it has gained enough notoriety from this lascivious case as it is.)

She enacted what I think she imagined were puppy-dog eyes at a colleague in the hopes of more information, and they seemed to shout: “Almost all of the young woman’s organs were taken, save her reproductive organs, which were arranged in a nearby leather armchair.”¬†It was an awful thing, too: that chair was terribly comfortable. With the police now, I suppose.

 *****

I understand that the Ripper plans to take a vacation. His senior partners seem to think he deserves a break, and I tend to agree. There had been an ‘action’, as he called them, every Sunday night for the past six weeks. He felt loath to break that record, though he longed for Vienna in the Spring.

Being the gentleman that I am, I felt the need to take over his responsibilities. That said, I have to admit that the chippy little thing who lives in an apartment opposite my own did prompt the decision. She comes home near-nightly with a bare arse, a stink of booze and a strange man or two. I have been spending my evenings in the club, post-golf, considering what I might do to cleanse her behaviour before the final chop…