Goat Problems

22 Nov

‘If you have a goat, you have goat problems.’

George was jolted back to the here and now by the words as they pulled aside the invisible screen door that separated his inner from his outer and entered uninvited through his left ear. He hadn’t noticed anyone taking a seat next to him on the bench. He thought he was alone in the park. But now, as he lifted his eyes from the ground to take in his surroundings, he realised that he had been wrong. He wasn’t in a park. He was in a city square. The only thing that didn’t come as a surprise was the bench. He didn’t have time to search his memory for any clues as to how and why he’d arrived in this position; a stranger had just invaded his space. He turned his head to the left and met the eye of a man that looked noticably similar to him. This in itself was strange because people don’t usually tend to notice when someone else looks like them. How many times has someone said to you, ‘Cor, you dun’alf look like so and so,’ or ‘look at that girl over there, she’s your spit!’ and how many times have you agreed with the observation? It is rare. But this guy, although visibly a few years older, perhaps late 30s, definitely bore a close resemblance. George noted that even this man’s stubble grew in the same way as his. The man didn’t say anything, although he did have a knowing smile on his face, like he knew that George was thinking, ‘This bloke looks like me.’

‘I’m sorry, man, I didn’t hear what you said. I was in my world,’ George said.

Despite being an introvert, spending his free hours actively seeking out solitude, he always had time for a stranger on a bench.

‘No worries, I just said if you have a goat, you have goat problems.’

‘Okay. Then I did hear what you said the first time. I just didn’t believe my ear.’

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Attention to Detail

9 Nov

‘Don’t you eat?’ she meant nothing by it, but it cut. Of all the times he didn’t want to hear it, now, her wrapped round him, fingertips pulsating down his back, clothes discarded carelessly across the floor, humans glowing, sweat, saliva, now was definitely one of those times. Normally the next words to leave the offending female’s lips were, ‘I’ll have to cook for you.’ And he always clammed up. And he didn’t see that woman again. But tonight she didn’t say, ‘I’ll have to cook for you,’ in fact she made no unfounded assumptions about his future, she invited herself to no parties. Instead, as she felt the backward shift in his comfort, she said, ‘It’s just that you’re so thin!’

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Different Perspectives

4 Nov

‘Tomorrow is always better than yesterday because tomorrow has something that yesterday hasn’t got,’ he said, leaning forward to pick the lighter up from the table. He sat back and looking pleased with himself let the unlit spliff hang from the side of his mouth as he said slowly, ‘Potential.’

‘I prefer yesterday,’ she said without emotion, ‘tomorrow I might die, yesterday I didn’t.’

He was lost. So was she.

‘I Can’t see you again.’

‘I know. Take care.’

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The Hippie Hugger

7 Oct

This is a topic that I never really expected to come up. I have met a man who gives the perfect hug. A hug that feels as though it is filled with the love of the whole planet and leaves you feeling the same kind of blissed out that you get from nice shrooms.

Juan is a long-time friend of my flatmate and a short-time friend of mine since I moved in here four months ago. He is in his mid 20s, has long shiny brown hair, a Californian smile, olive skin, is about 6ft tall, wears beads, smokes weed, works as a masseur and is always smiling and positive. He is a true hippie. Make love not war. And he’s nice to everyone. And no, despite the tone of my description, I don’t fancy him. I know that’s what you were thinking.

My circle of friends in this city consists almost exclusively of hippies, so hugs on greeting are not unusual. It did take some time for my English sensibilities to allow me to feel comfortable with this level of human touch with everyone, but after a month or so I had come to embrace it. But with one rule. I would always keep the hug just manly enough. A pat or two on the back. A tensed up torso at times.

And then I met Juan in the park one afternoon and was introduced. We shook hands. He held my hand for a few seconds longer than is protocol. I didn’t feel awkward. Well, obviously I did a little bit. But not much.

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How Does This Type Of Ancient Sexist Attitude Still Persist? (Alternative title: The Boss Of London Idiomas Language School)

21 Sep

‘Take her for example,’ he said, peering over the top of his cheap, mirrored aviator sunglasses, whilst nodding in the direction of a dark haired woman in her mid 30s as she casually strolled past our table, taking her dog for a walk. ‘Back when I was single, whenever I was feeling down or stressed like I am now, I would go out to a bar, pick up a woman like her and take her home to do dirty things to her,’ he smirked before continuing, ‘I don’t know her, I don’t care about her, she’s just another woman for me to let it all out over. I would disrespect the shit out of her and then once I’d shot my load she’d be kicked out the door. And to be honest, that’s all I can think about lately. I just want to forget my worries by fucking all these Spanish sluts. What’s the point of living in a place like this, where the women look so good, if I can’t use them to service my needs? I’m a man, they’re women, they know what they’re here for.’

I didn’t say anything but just looked at his face to try and work out if he was being ironic. He wasn’t.

‘The thing is, Em knows this is how I am and she knows that this is what I need to do, she understands. She knows what I was like. I was literally shagging little whores like that one over there every night of the week. The fact that I can’t do that now is just making me tenser.’

I subtly attempted to switch the direction of the conversation by asking after his wife. ‘How is Em today?’

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Fat Man Stopping To Shamelessly Perv Over Lady. 8.30pm

23 Jul

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Completely True Memories From My Birth

4 Jun

Allow me to reminisce briefly about a funny thing that happened to me one early morning thirty years ago. I was born! I climbed out of another human being’s body! Mental, right! Now I’m not going to claim that I remember any details from the day of my birth, because that would be an obvious lie, wouldn’t it? but I do clearly remember this – that when the midwife put me on the scales for the first time in that delivery room, she turned to my knackered looking mum and said, ‘Your son weighs 6 pounds and 2 ounces, which is quite tiny. Also – and I’ve never had to tell a new mother this before – half of that body weight is made up of thick, dark hair.’ To which my mother responded chirpily from just above the rim of her cup of tea, ‘Yea, that’ll be the Indian in him.’ Everyone gathered round was just about to chuckle politely, when a moment of silence descended for them to quickly ask themselves whether my mum’s little quip had been politically correct or not, everyone coming to the same conclusion: that this was the early 80s and we were in South London, so who really gave a shit? Also my mum’s granddad had been an Indian immigrant to Britain, so she was allowed to make comments like that, alright? Also, she never really said it, did she? This whole scenario up until now has been, if I’m truthful, made up as I go along. Why? Who knows? So yea, once everybody in the room had realised all of these things, they each allowed themselves a grin, before stopping what they were doing for a moment to enjoy a biscuit, picked from an assortment atop a plate that a passing ambulance driver had carried in to the room just seconds earlier. ‘I was just on my way home with this tray of biscuits, when I heard the screams of a newborn and followed my instincts (and my ear) to deliver this celebratory selection to the welcoming party! Congratulations!’ the nice man said. A hospital orderly then handed everyone a fresh cup of tea, for biscuits to be dipped in. My dad politely turned down his offering, however, preferring instead to dip a Custard Cream in his beer. Each to their own. And then the hairy newborn baby in the room (the hairy newborn baby that was me, remember) raised his tiny little finger into the air, cleared his tiny little throat, and asked in a voice that shocked people by how deep it was for a baby, ‘What about the welcomee? Doesn’t he get a biscuit, too? I could murder a Bourbon.’ Everyone looked at each other confusedly, saying nothing, before their minds were put to rest by the calming words of one of the doctors in the room, who said, ‘Don’t worry; he’ll grow into that voice one day.’ There was then a period of silence; a silence that was broken by my mum asking, ‘Can the same be said of the hair, doctor?’ The doctor’s words on this occasion were less reassuring: ‘Even if your son grew to the size of André the Giant, which he won’t, he will never grow into all that hair.’ This cultural reference worked better then that it would today because in 1983 everyone on the planet (mostly) knew who André the Giant was. Today, not so much. Today in a similar situation the doctor might say, ‘Even if your son grew to the size of Wikipedia, which he won’t, he will never grow into all that hair.’ Everyone just smiled silently at the doctor’s knowledgeable input; everyone except for the passing ambulance driver, that is, who broke the silence for the second time to say, ‘Hang on a minute! Is that what everyone thought was weird about the baby asking for a Bourbon – that he asked for it in a deep non-baby like voice? Not one of your confused expressions was brought on by the mere fact that the newborn baby just spoke? I thought we were all on the same page back then! Obviously not!’ My dad then uttered his first words of the occasion, saying, ‘Runs in the family, that. I been speaking since about three weeks before birth. Nothing weird about that.’ The ambulance driver was lost for words, literally, and so just shook everybody’s hand and left the scene. ‘I never knew that about you!’ my mum said to my dad, after the ambulance driver had shut the door behind him. ‘That’s because it’s not true!’ he replied, ‘How could I have been talking from before I was born? I can’t believe that worked!’ The midwife then tapped my dad on the shoulder and asked, ‘What was the point of making that up?’ to which my dad uttered his now infamous words, ‘I just said it without thinking first.’ ‘Genius,’ said the hairy newborn baby, ‘Genius.’ The hospital orderly collected up everyone’s empty mugs on a tray – she also took my dad’s empty can and said she’d find a bin for it – and then the midwife picked up the hairy newborn baby (aka Me) and said, ‘Right you, you’re coming with me!’ ‘Where’s he off to, then?’ my mum asked. ‘Remember I said that he weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces, and that that was quite tiny? Well it’s very tiny; probably down to the fact that he wasn’t meant to be born for another three weeks,’ the midwife explained, whilst giving me a little beanie hat and telling me to put it on; which I did obediently. ‘Is that why he’s a bit blue?’ asked my dad from across the room. ‘It is, yes.’ ‘Ah that’s alright then, for a while I was secretly wrestling with the suspicion that my wife had been having a Smurf round the house while I was at work,’ my dad said. ‘So where’s he going then? You still didn’t tell us.’ ‘Oh yea, sorry, I’m a forgetful thing sometimes,’ said the midwife, giggling, ‘He’s going to live in an incubator for a while.’ ‘Oh. Okay then,’ my mum said, ‘Can you turn the light off on your way out, please, I’m about ready to pass out.’ The midwife picked me up and we headed to the door together. Just before she switched off the light she said to me, ‘Wave goodbye to your mum, if you don’t die then you’ll see her in a little while.’ ‘Wait! What?’ I said.

I didn’t die, and a week later I was taken home to meet the dog.

me baby

 

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