writing challenge 18 – the one with teb in it

do not be afraid…..for some reasons……for some history of this challenge please see here and here, for some history on the links between jesus and the pumpkin, please use your imagination.

My pulse quickened when I saw her…..it wasn’t her beauty – like the hair upon her head, she didn’t have any – although the limp was pronounced but not eye-catching; her squint was noticeable but not headache-inducing; whilst the teeth that protruded from her cheeks left one a little startled, the drool appeared to have a note of charm to it, as did the mole…….what in fact made the pulse quicken was the fact that she stood over me holding a scalpel and a ball-peen hammer. I was strapped to a wooden chair that was uncomfortable (probably the least of my problems at this stage) and smelt like piss and unanswered questions.

‘What ish your name?’ She slurred at me, spraying my face with spit.

‘Ziggy Stardust,’ I said, sputum dripping down my cheek.

She raised the hammer and I must say, it was in a really rather threatening fashion; I made a mental note to informal the faculty first thing in the morning that I thought this sort of behaviour was in no way in-keeping with that expected of a university lecturer, and that some mention of these unorthodox teaching practises should at least be alluded to in the otherwise faultless prospectus.

But that was for tomorrow…..my present predicament banished all such thoughts from my mind, and I maintained only a minute awareness of the warm fluid collecting in my crotch, and that I had now possibly become a part of the assault on the olfactory system of the next poor victim…..I shall do my best to answer her questions…….

‘Let’sh shee how funny you are with a broken wrisht!’

‘Wait! Pleashe!’ I have a horrible habit of mimicry; say something else, dammit, and she may not notice! ‘I’m sorry; I panicked; the scalpel and hammer combination shat me up proper big styley; when questioned under stress my default answer has always been Ziggy Stardust, ever since I was a boy and discovered that David Bowie was my spirit animal.’

She lowered the hammer to her side and placed the scalpel into the pocket of the leather jacket she was wearing, ‘What?’

‘It was when I was young. I had been bad and my foster father had locked me in the attic and there in the darkness I heard the sound, an amazing sound.’

Someone called from the assembled class who sat below the stage we were stood on, ‘What sound?’

I smiled, ‘At first it was a guitar and then his voice called out like an angel’s.’

‘What did he say?’ Asked a girl on the front row with a side-ponytail.

‘He said, “Wham bam – thank you ma’am!” and there he was, large as life, dressed in a silver space age suit like he had just been beamed down from planet funk.’

‘Did he say anything?’ Asked an old man who was unexplicity sat next to side-ponytail girl and had his gnarled hand on her upper thigh.

‘Of course, he said that I should stop being so bad, then I wouldn’t keep getting locked in the attic; I mean, what was the poor man supposed to do when you wouldn’t say what you were doing……..what are you doing……’

‘What are you doing?’ My eyes flickered open, and I very nearly passed out again; the hammer had been lowered – but the look of threat and violence still shone in the woman’s eyes – and my wrists were still pleasantly rounded; the shape to which I’d become so accustomed.

‘I’m sorry….I fainted…..I went to my safe place and met my spirit animal-’

‘Shhut up!’

‘Sorry’

We were still in the lecture hall; the doors were no doubt locked and I was more than aware of the room’s sound-proof qualities; I wouldn’t be discovered any time soon. My eyes settled on the white board, where the quote from today’s lecture still reminded the world of what we knew and what position we held: “For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either.”

I hoped I was not to be questioned on this…..I had been extremely busy blogging…..

My mind raced with all the reasons I could muster for my being in this place and in this accursed position, powerless against this upstanding member of the local community; I could think of nothing; I hadn’t offended her in any way I knew; I’d never snickered behind her back; I was a very competent student; David Bowie was with me, but was of very little help.

Her next question muddied the waters even further, ‘Are you familiar with the worksh of late, great Muddy Watersh?’

I shrugged as best as one can while shackled to a chair.

‘He was my shpirit animal,’ she said and the memory of this seemed to be fixing the wreckage of her face until she began to shine, a diamond in the middle of the hall. The effect was short-lived though and her face quickly fell back into disrepair.

‘I think this whole weird lecture needs to end,’ I said, gingerly.

‘Why ish that?’

‘Well…’

The window behind her head exploded and a SWAT team burst into the hall. She spun around and one of the SWATs put a single bullet in the center of her forehead. She collapsed with a sound like a group of people briefly whispering secrets before they are silenced.

‘TANGO is down,’ he said into his radio. ‘Repeat TANGO is down.’

‘Am I covered in blood?’ I asked. ‘Because it feels like I’m covered in blood.’

The SWAT who had spoken to the radio came over and began to undo my shackles, ‘I can confirm that, yes, you are covered in blood.’

‘Least I wasn’t imagining it,’ When the shackles were released I stood up, holding my bruised, scratched wrists.

‘No you were not. So can you explain what happened here? From the start.’

‘Gladly, what happened was, I was walking along minding my own business……actually, would it be alright if I had a glass of water first? I’ve been shackled to a chair and threatened with a scalpel and a hammer; I’ve lost rather more bodily fluids than I’d care to admit.’

‘Absolutely, sir. Fetch a glass of water would you, Cathrinington.’

‘Yes, sir.’

As my water was being fetched, I asked the SWAT leader, ‘Is my debriefing to be conducted here, this very moment?’

‘That would seem to be what I suggested, sir.’

‘May I make another suggestion?’

‘Have you made one already, sir? I must’ve missed it.’

There was not an ounce of sarcasm on his face; his eyes had the child-like innocence of an innocent-like child; he was either an extremely astute pedant….or just a twat; ‘An alternative suggestion, then?’

‘Of course you may, sir. Your water, sir.’ Cathrinington bounded over with half a pint of luke warm……well it was liquid at least, and I was really too thirsty to care.

‘My suggestion is that we go somewhere more congenial to a proper interview; and as I alluded to, I could really do with a change of clothes?’

‘I’m afraid that’s not possible, sir. And may I remind you that you did actually begin to gladly tell us what had happened here.’

‘I did say that didn’t I?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘What if I refuse to say anything more until my demands are met?’

‘Then I will have no choice but to end the conversation, sir.’

‘Wouldn’t I have just done that?’

‘Then I would be a fool to do otherwise, sir.’

‘But don’t you want to know what happened here? You asked if I could explain it.’

‘It seems to me, sir, that you are quite capable of explaining what happened here, therefore my question as to whether you can explain what happened here, is answered; as to whether I want to hear what happened here, is a different question entirely, sir.’

Twat it is then.

‘Do you want to hear what happened here?’

‘That’s up to you, sir’

‘Whether you want to hear what happened here is up to me, but I have no say as to where what happened here is heard?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘That’s absurd.’

‘That’s your opinion, sir.’

‘I don’t know if you’re qualified enough to talk to me.’

‘Sir, I can shoot you between the eyes from a thousand yards in an extremely brisk crosswind; I assure you that talking to you is not a struggle for me.’

‘I wish to speak with your superior.’

‘Hello, can I help you, sir?’

‘Are you this man’s superior?’

‘It would seem odd if I weren’t, sir.’

‘Why are you dressed like that?’ I said and then I belched. ‘What am I drinking?’

‘I am dressed like this because of my religious beliefs.’

‘Your religious beliefs involve you dressing as an emaciated pumpkin?’

‘I am from the Church of the Malnourished Gourd and you are drinking turnip sweat. It’s a traditıonal SWAT team drink.’

‘I didn’t know turnips could sweat.’

‘Then you obviously have never threatened one with a knife or seen one do a job interview.’

I sighed and sipped my sweat, ‘Anyway, your man here wants me to debrief right here in this seat that I peed on a little rather than the comfort of your headquarters where Im sure I’d be served cocoa and wrapped ın a blanket and made to feel as though I was back ın the womb.’

‘That is normal procedure, sir, though obvıously ınstead of cocoa ıts sımply heated up turnıp sweat. However as tıme ıs a factor here we need your story now.’

‘Why is time a factor?’

‘Because this woman we so valıantly shot ın the face ıs just one of many of her kınd.’

‘Gasp. Is she an alien?’

‘Worse than that she’s a high level member of the terrorist organisation known as the ‘People Against the Church of the Malnurished Gourd’, and their sustained, systematic attacks on the brave people of my church have reached crisis point. You may have seen some of their atrocities on various news channels shown across this glorious nation of ours?’

‘It does ring a bell.’ The only bell that this madman’s ravings rang was the one that sang, ‘This is a madman.’

‘And so it should. For too long now, the plight of members of the Church of the Malnourished Gourd have gone un-noticed, but thanks to the recent election of President Cucurbita Moschata – hence the nature of our religious dress – these injustices are to cease. No longer will terrifying, midnight raids take place on the houses of the faithful, desecrating the shrines devoted to the Great Gourd, whose son did go into the Atacama desert with no food and for no discernible reason, and did get rather peckish after forty days of not eating, so the devil did go to tempt Him and said, ‘If you are the Son of Gourd, command that these stones become whatever it is you eat.’ But He answered and said, ‘Pumpkin shall not live on Miracle-Gro alone, but on a well-balanced and temporally pre-determined feeding strategy.’

‘Then the devil took Him to an allotment and had Him stand on the highest shed and said, ‘Throw yourself down, for He will send His angels and so prevent thee from getting splatted.’ But He replied, ‘You shall not put the Lord your Gourd to the test…..and it is pretty fucking high.’

‘The devil then took Him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the vegetable patches of the world, and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ He did not answer….He had fallen down…..but not in order to worship you understand; He had fallen down through exhaustion – ’twas a very high mountain to climb on such an empty stomach – but He had said on the way down, ‘Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your Gourd, and serve Him only.” Then the devil left Him, and then some angels came and tended to the Emaciated Pumpkin.’

He looked at me like there was something I ought to be saying. I think he’d lost his train of thought and was hoping that I’d been paying attention; I drained my glass of turnip sweat and said,

friday fiction – the story of felicity washington

the girl was so full of life before it was beaten and choked out of her; the parents she adored were not her biological parents; they were murdered by two seemingly upstanding members of the locale, though secretly part of the underground polyamorous and polysexual satanist community, they handed round homemade cakes to the congregation but all the while masturbated in their church, defiled the holy water with their seminars, he the proprietor of ‘satan’s sex store’ and all the while a member of a number of philanthropic boards; she the keeper of an indefineably gruesome whorehouse; beams as naked and splintered as its inhabitants; recruiting wife and mother, sister and daughter; a collector of lost souls extraordinaire, and the baker of the tastiest cherry pie this side of the tallahassee bridge; she adored her brothers, though neither of whom excelled at college, too busy burying bodies and setting traps around the homestead, but they always found time for a wholesome game of football; and of course her horse ‘persephone’, ridden daily to the giant oak on old slothrop’s farm, under which she now lies silent, and would but the single visitor’s weekly replenishment of fresh, vibrant flowers halt the once beautiful decomposing body; no matter what joy and vitality music gives you, we all just dance our way to a morgue drawer