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She said when I kissed her nose and when I patted her bottom, it meant I really loved her.
Lots of bad words. Mostly- no, all me to her. She deserved the words: I was in a bad place. The cyclone was in fury. My life was in flux. She knew that... but she never recognised, or never showed me she recognised it during the split. She never said, "Chris, I understand why you're angry with me. I'm sorry."
When the dust settled, she said some things I can't forget now. Confusing things I can't work out.
I bent over in despair, but as I tried to think a thought, the thought would not come.
I could feel and I could hear my breath exiting my body. I knew the breath was warm as my mouth was hanging open and as i'd learned years ago, temperature increases through a divergent duct (unless the air is going supersonic... which it wasn't)
I laughed, but without conviction and before I could remember why I was laughing, it was gone.
As I brought the pint glass to my lips and swallowed a mouthful of Albanian vodka, I began to weep.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
As we go through life, the amount of people we meet increases gradually. Once you've met them, you can't 'unmeet' them.
So the amount of friends we have increases. Yes?
No. The amount of friends most of us have these days remains at a dreadfully low count.
In essence, this means there are a lot of people out there in the same boat.
So why can't these singular, friendless souls befriend each other?
They can't befriend each other for the same reason they have no friends in the first place.
And that reason is:
Born in 1972.
Royal Air Force at age 16.
Mechanical Engineer (Jet Engines) at 17.
Parachuted at 17.
Member of Mensa at 21.
Living in Hong Kong at 21.
Cantonese translator at 22.
Graduated top of Aeronautical Engineer class at age 26.
Living in Germany at 27.
German translator and linguist at 28.
Avoided being murdered at 29.
Left the Air Force at 30.
Life began falling apart at 31.
Completed my first script at 34.
First holiday in New York at 34.
Fell in love at 34.
Lost meaning in life at 36.
Losing control of my mind at 38.
And I said, I haven't had sex for two years, and he was like, wow, I find that hard to believe. So I said, awww thanks.
And I said, I used to see this guy- he used to get rough- but the sex was good, you know? And he was like, shaking his head n stuff, so I stroked his hand.
Anyway, the evening went on, a bit flirty- but that's all- and I said, I'll call a taxi, cos I'm drunk, and he said, you can stay over if you like?
Can you believe that? Men! Obsessed with sex.
"Mind the speed limit. It's 30 round here. Wait till we get onto the motorway, Jonathan."
I watch my speedometer and slow gradually back to 30mph.
As we enter the acceleration lane I put my foot flat to the floor and the speed gauge arcs rapidly.
"Not above 70! Not above 70!"
"Okay!" I lift my foot back sharply as we hit 70.
The old BMW awaits on the dirt road.
He exits, still pointing the gun at me, "Good luck."
I glance at my Hannah on the back seat as we speed away.
Her opacity scares me.
I know you've heard a lot of bad things about me from a group of people called the Christians, Jews and Muslims. They seem to be terrified of me.
Yes, it was me that created the first single cell life forms 4 billion years ago. (That was an accident).
But they replicated, mutated and evolved into sentient, multi-cellular life-forms, which was nice.
So i visited and had a word with some locals, but all my words were taken out of context! That bloody news editor: Moses!
I'm not a bad guy really. I'm just a very old entity.
I didn't laugh. I'm pretty sure I didn't laugh.
Now, I categorise my life in Before Hong Kong and After Hong Kong time and this was before Hong Kong and therefore, more than 17 years ago. I always tried not to eavesdrop on other people's conversations, especially women's, as they were always aboutbanal shite like Eastenders or Coronation Street, so I was quite surprised to hear this one.
"But what were you thinking?"
"I don't know. I just got carried away, I think."
"Bloody Hell, Julie. I've never heard of anyone getting a speeding ticket on their driving test."
We're playing in the park: Myself and my brother. When I have this memory, it's always because I remember how mature he looked the way he talked to his friends and i couldn't wait to be seven myself. I was therefore, five and too young to know I shouldn't wish the years away.
He's been dead many years now and i miss him. I miss all my family. I've had to live the last forty years of my life without them.
But now it's my turn and I'm scared. I can feel myself sliding away.
I want another go.
"Who the devil are you?"
"I'm just looking for the bathroom and i took a wrong turn."
"You took a wrong turn and ended up in my bedroom?"
I flush the toilet in the en suite.
"See. I was waiting for them to finish in there..."
I open the door, whilst pulling my shirt over my head, "Right. Where were we? My dad would go bloody mental if he knew i was gonna ram another m- DAD!"
"David. What's going on?"
"I was, erm..."
This was a game we played. He wasn't really my dad.
Completely no idea what to write today. I've been writing for most of the past week and feel like i'm literally verbally spent. Was going to send off my week's endeavours at dinner-time, then thought of a better ending and a way to tie off everything in the story. I only started it four and a half years ago, so the fact it's taken me this long to think of an ending says something about my writing ability (though i don't need to describe my writing abilities to anyone on here. It's clear how bad my writing is).
Of my years i spent there, the memory i always tell people is my favourite is of the times i would walk to work with my friend over the mountain and through the paddy fields. The view from the mountain (though hazy) and just the fact i was living in this unbelievable place was enough for me.
Or that first morning when i woke up, still heavily jet-lagged and watched the sun rise over the mountain: it was almost spiritual.
Then i remember the nightclubs and the girls and i argue with myself i may have many favourite memories.
Just another few feet and i'll be free.
The rainfall of the previous night had made the ascent almost impossible. The muscles in my arms burned, but this intense aching was heaven compared to the pain i was experiencing in my hands.
Slowly. That's all i could attempt. Slowly. Cautiously. Precisely, i clawed at the mud which held me prisoner.
Just another few inches and i'll make a grab for the surface.
Then i could feel the breath rather than hear it, the animal was so close. I stared it in the eyes and it bared its teeth...
It prowled and salivated relentlessly. The eagerness of its movement so menacing. The rancour of the digestive venom turning my stomach.
My soul was in conflict. The progress made through the night now negated by the threat from above.
It growled and probed a searching paw on the slope.
It paced steadily along my escape, but all the time returning swiftly to its prey, to reach down a sharpened claw.
I waited. I was intent on holding fast, though if I fell, it would surely pounce and in its impatience suffer the fate I was escaping. Starvation and death.
My hands burned. My arms were numb. My heart was pounding. Pounding in my head. It became deafening.
I had to act. I grabbed at a paw. Immediately it pulled back, but too late. It's other foot slid over the edge and it snapped at me as it fell. Again I felt its breath.
No time to think. It was instinct. I let go.
It scrambled, but couldn't avoid my fall. A crack and a yelp.
I threw myself away, but even through its pain, it came for me.
I stayed myself. I had time now... and I had food.
The thrashing was finally over.
I rolled off it and relaxed back onto the dirt. The first rest I'd had for many hours.
I had time to recover. I'd hunted on a full stomach, always wary of misadventure, so was unworried about the onset of hunger.
The eyeballs would be first. I retched at the thought, but knew it was something I'd have to overcome when the time came.
But for now, rest.
I gathered the large spikes I'd dismantled from the base of the trap and as I sat back and rested my eyes... I imagined something approaching above.
I don't know if it was instinct or providence, but as the shadow darkened my world, I angled the deadfall spike across me. There was an all enveloping blackness and a great impact upon my body, winding me.
As I finally pushed the animal off, I saw how fortune was once again on my side. The spike had penetrated under the jaw and through the skull of the creature. I envied it the quick death.
Exhaustion took over me and I slept, but unnoticed, a claw had broke skin on my forearm.
As the venom crept, death began its march...
I was unsure of the time that had passed. I'd awoken during the night and drifted off again. The next time my eyes opened it was dark. Was it the same night? The next night? Had I slept longer than this? My head swirled and the pain in my extremity was unbearable.
As light finally came, hunger had accompanied the incredible discomfort and I noticed two things: firstly, my left arm had begun to turn deep purple and release a rancid odour; and secondly, this advancing infection had certainly saved my life, for in the corner, cannibalising, was another beast.
It was leaving me alone for now. At times, the urge came to lash out at the creature to entice its defensive instincts to finish me and end my pain. But the fear of death kept me still.
I'd began speaking to the animal, but it would bare its teeth to hush me and so the only sounds heard were that of tearing skin and the chewing and swallowing of flesh.
How much longer till that flesh beating eaten is mine; motioned peristaltically through its digestive system?
The pain was stabbing into me ferociously.
Take me while I sleep. Please.
A flash and a ringing in my ears.
There were words being spoken in the world.
Were the words in my head? Could I really hear them?
Dizzily, I looked over at the animal in the pit. It now lay with tongue protruding loosely from its mouth and blood seeping from its forehead.
"Put your head and arms through the rope."
The words were repeated over and over until I'd done as requested.
My eyes opened and the two men were smiling at me. I was in a cabin. Safe. "We took your arm. You're better off without it."
The cabin was warm, thank God. The two men ignored me. I started to feel as though I was still in a dream, but the pain from the stump reminded me it was real.
"You saved me. Thank you."
The younger one of the two laughed and added wood to the fire. "Yep."
The older one sounded almost apologetic. "You conserve your energy there, son. You'll need it."
I looked at my arm... or where my arm should have been.
The son smiled. "Best save those tears. Things gon git worser fur ya."
Again he laughed.
It was time. I'd asked them questions, but no reply ever came. Occasionally the son would begin mocking, but was quickly quietened by the father. Now the father had come to me.
"Those creatures out there: what do you know about them?"
I shrugged my shoulders and immediately pain shot from my arm.
"You gotta know something. You're not gonna tell me you don't know nothin'."
"I know nothing." I was nervous.
"You killed two of them."
"It was luck."
"Yeah. Two with your bare hands."
He walked to the door where his axe stood. "Which leg? We gotta eat."
The nightmare was getting progressively worse. A few days ago I'd left the safety of the island and canoed to the mainland. Food had become dreadfully sparse.
Somehow I hadn't spotted the change in the forest floor and ended up at the bottom of a deadfall. I'd avoided the foot long spikes at the bottom, but it had begun to rain and escape was made almost impossible. Then the creatures had found me. Blind luck had saved me, only to be rescued by cannibals. And they were feeding me my own leg to keep me alive.
Consciousness was a curse.
"Quiet! I heard something outside."
"Well, it ain't those things, paw. They knows we got gerns."
I hated the way he said guns: gerns. I hated everything about the younger one. He was cruel and though I found it hard to sympathise with their predicament, the older one at least was doing this out of necessity... but I was going to kill them both. I was damaged badly, but I'd had training. I knew where to hit them. And I was going to hit them hard while they were distracted.
I slid onto the floor and snaked towards the axe.
I found it near impossible to uncleave the axe from his medulla oblongata. He'd slumped forward onto his weapon so I needed the axe for the father.
There was a crunch and a slurp as it came free and the elder glanced over.
As I lost balance I threw the axe and he let off a shot.
The round spun me as it entered my body.
I looked up to see if he was coming to finish me.
He gargled as he keeled forward, embedding the blade still further into his chest.
Then I saw the eyes looking through the window.
I'd struggled to collect the rifles and bring them to me. I had a shattered scapula on my injured side and so had to lean over to allow elevation assist coagulation.
I took aim at the window, but they seemed to be ignoring the entrance. Avoiding shattered glass was obviously a lesson that had been learned.
There was a tremendous bang at the door, which loosened the lower hinge.
As I changed my aim towards the door a gigantic black monster crashed through the window.
A second and third creature was already climbing in as I released my first round.
Blood splattered my face and even though the thing was dead, its eyes still seemed to be focused directly into mine.
I'd managed to kill them all, but why had this last one exploded from its middle?
Another dark creature entered through the window holding a gun.
My confusion was absolute.
"Carter. Is that you?"
Did I just hear that?
"I found you. Oh my God. What's happened?"
She was black. Encrusted mud mixed with drying blood covered her.
"I had a fall." I said.
As she hugged me, it was now my body chose to vomit.
My friend, Karl, died last week. It was the day after his 40th birthday.
We were the question masters at the squadron quizzes. If I said they were a laugh, it would be an understatement of galactic proportions.
We always did that very male thing of quoting film and TV lines with each other relentlessly. Futurama. Simpsons.Young Frankenstein. It was hilarious.
Yes it was. You weren't there!
Though we only chatted occasionally in recent years, I now miss him horribly. I want to speak with him again and hear him say the word 'Kiff'.
I won't forget you mate.
Proverbs, Maxims, Idioms.
I'd like to think I know more than most about the English language than most (who haven't studied to degree level), but this is only because of the lack of knowledge in the general public about the structuring and nature of our language. And I like to say I know many of the constructs that compose a sentence.
I couldn't tell you, from the three examples in the first sentence, which was which.
I know the difference between hyperbole, metaphor, semantics and analogies, but not the others.
'Old too soon: wise too late'. Proverb, Maxim, or Idiom?
"I want anger. Sultry, enticing heat. Can you give that to me? Come on. Give it to me."
She didn't nod, she just pouted her lips and furrowed her brow.
"Yes. Yes. That's what I want. Turn away. Look over your shoulder."
She changed angle of attack and scorned the camera.
"Oh, yes. That's what I like."
The camera applauded.
"That's right. Yes."
He began to unzip his trousers as he clicked and the girl watched his movement quizzically.
'Three years in Strangeways' was the verdict.
Brian found him in the showers. "Bend over. Spread your legs. Look at me!"
I entered the lab and approached Neville. "Nev. Can you have a look at this?"
I'd been checking it for over a week now and I'd finally decided I had something solid. More than solid. Profound.
He took his time. "Is this...?" He never took his attention away from the equation.
He laid the paper on the desk. "You know, I dismissed this avenue 20 years ago. So, for 20 years I've been barking up the wrong tree. Thank you, Harvey."
He walked over to a drawer.
It took me almost a minute to wrestle the scalpel from his hand.
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