RANDOM HOUSE (A Compendium of the Bizarre)
A Compendium of the Bizarre
I opened the crumpled lid of the dustbin...and there it was...staring back at me...from it's bed of carrier-bags and potash. Let me leave that with you for a while...and I'll tell you just what was staring back at me when we get to page 96. I was going to call this book Page 96...but that title fell at the last hurdle in a title-race (literally) of 14 hot contenders. For the benefit of your senseless curiosity...and for the importance of literary public commentary...I hereby register those titles that raced so admirably...and...in brackets...their finishing positions.:
Strategies of the Sub-Class (3) How To Be A Rock n Roll Star Without Really Trying (4) The Ghost of Pathos (9) Wheeling the Old Metal Chair Towards Me (7) The Carpet-Fitter and the ShowGirl (8) Wahey! (14) Random House (1) Burial Ground Lane (5) The Girl with the Terracotta Eyes (6) The Hate Brigade (10) Page 96 (2) Oh, I thought you said a GOAT (11) Napoleonic Enid Blyton (13) The Natural design of Your Body (12)
Random House ran the best race. The whole objective of this flow of writing...what some might say is a book...is of the gathering of random thoughts in a haphazard house....probably somewhere on the South East Coast of England. Hastings? Folkestone? Ramsgate? Could be anywhere....but not Dover. Dover is far too ordered...with it's consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel-consonant structure. That's why I call this body of work Random House.
Only a fool...or a cynic...would suggest I named it thus to attract the attention of Random House Inc...the world's largest English language trade publisher (bringing you the best in fiction, nonfiction, and children's books)
Some might see this as a menu...from which you can pick the parts that appeal to you most...read the stories that seem the most attractive...play the songs that entice you more...opt for the most alluring poetry. That's where the titles play their part. They have to entice....as the descriptions on a menu would...in a restaurant. They don't ask you to buy 'bits of dead animal in flour and water' do they? No...but a 'steak and kidney pie' gets the taste-buds popping. It's all about euphimisms. Devils on Horseback...Butterfly Cakes...Pigs in Blankets...Coq au Vin...etc. Food industry concealment within the unified food-chain...that's what I call it. But what do I know? So call this what you will....a diary...a journal...a running commentary. It might be just enough to keep me out of trouble for a while as I wait around for that trip in the vertical hearse to Heaven. The Vertical Hearse...a great name for a band. Toying with band names is a passion of mine...and it's a shame that there won't be enough time in my life to use all the ones I've come up with. I will have to have formed 2,126 different bands...by the time I expire...if I am to use them all....plus another band for The Vertical Hearse. That's a Hell of a lot of musicians to hire. Here...then...for your pleasure...is the list of 2,126 different names I have decided upon. Ha ha...don't panic...I'm not really about to reel off 2,126 band names. I do have the names recorded...in a studded case...for posterity. Consider this... if you wrote down just a hundred new band names...it would be interesting to come back to that list in a decade's time...and see which ones have been stumbled upon...and used...by other people. Here's 10 random band names...nothing one-dimensional...like The Chairs...or The Agony. There has to be at least a small hint of surrealism. 1. The Prevention...(they could be a Goth band...and can be advertised on the posters with The Prevention is better than The Cure). 2. The Andrews and the Jackies 3. The Garbage-Gulpers 4. The Fridge Magnates 5. Cheese on Castles 6. Underwarm 7. PebbleMania 8. The Forgivable Intentions Created To Impress One's Nagging Spouse 9. The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant 10. The Sex Pistols. I'll come back and see you in a decade...and we'll see which ones have been used.
Today...it's not about band names. I have set myself the task of writing a story...based on a photograph I have just seen. My story tasks have to be random...of course...so I have to write them in one take. That's what the Random House is all about...no planning...no aforethought...just a make-it-up-as-I-go-along policy. Based on the photograph...a boy and a girl in a strange room...possibly an attic...I'll call this tale:
THE BIG SCHOOL (based on a photo....House of Dolls...by sweetfannyadams)
House of Dolls
THE BIG SCHOOL
The Big School
Krystyna clambered over another warped and dusty box in the attic...brushing a fresh cobweb aside...that's what she thought it was...a cobweb...and threw another inquisitive little question at her mother.
'So if I study hard at the new school...and do well in my examerinations...will I get to be like Billy...and be so clever...and go to the universerity?'
'Of course you will' Mother replied encouragingly
'But you don't have to be thinking so far ahead...you don't have to learn so fast'
Mother scooped Krystyna's hair across her pitted forehead...to keep it from her eyes.
'You've got years before university...plenty of time to learn. It's not a competition...just be yourself'
They were rummaging through old boxes and bags in the attic...like it was a flag-in-the-ground time...marking Krystyna's imminent transfer to 'the big school' Mother was keen to prepare her child...to make certain that she would be ready for the change. The children had been raised in the seat of rural England...in the countryside...with ducks and farmdogs and dilapidated barns. The fields were their playgrounds...the trees were their climbing-frames. A child's move to the concrete and man-made land of inorganic landmarks...the city...the bench of urban indoctrination...was a move that had to be handled with kid gloves. Especially in the case of Kid Krystyna....a delicate soul...completely unaccustomed...as she was...to any form of interaction with other kids...other than on a meagre scale.
Krystyna stared into space as her mother tentatively negotiated the aluminium struts of the step-ladder...box in hand...tongue rested on lower lip. The girl glanced at the wooden toy in front of her...a man on a horse...and then at the abandoned dollshouse a few feet away. She stared into space...though not entirely into space. She gazed at the thin shaft of light...splintered...from the crack in the skylight...watching the illuminated dust particles fall down towards the burred edges of the crude timber that were the joists. A gust of air blew against her long hair...flicking it away from her head. It felt...at least...like a gust of air...but it also felt like someone had brushed past her. She closed her eyes...straightened her hat...and opened her eyes...to find that the wooden toy had vanished.
'Mother' she yelled.
Mother returned...with a hot parsnip soup.
'What about this box?' asked Krystyna...as she placed her slightly-bigger-than-tiny hand on the yellow box...faded and dusty...with the badly-painted circus elephants on the side. Mother smiled a rehearsed smile. She knew this day had to come. She had been waiting for the right time to tell all to her snow-white daughter.
'That box has special memories, darling' she informed softly 'I always knew I would have to tell you about the family mystery one day...and today is the day...before you start at the big school. I need to tell you about your brother'
Krystyna cocked her head. Her hat slipped. She straightened it again. The dust particles came down in circling columns...dancing around the beam of light like fairies around a MayPole.
'What about it? What about my brother? What about Billy?'
A pause...big enough to drive a steam-train...or a wooden man on a wooden horse...through...ensued.
'Not Billy....you had another brother called Dennis...he was Billy's twin...he died...you were one year and two months old. It's embossed in my mind...the date...your age...a guage of my grief'
A clamouring silenced echoed around the beams of the attic. Krystyna shook her head from side to side...very very slowly...and her eyes focused on the plastic figure of a man in green breeches waving a red flag. Krystyna broke the silence with a fragment of a question
'Hemorrhagic shock' continued Mother 'Nobody really knows why...or how. His head began to bleed from the inside...it stopped his life'
'Where did they find him?'
'In the Hilly Fields...behind the Shire Horse Stable. It was like he'd been struck...but nobody else was there. Nobody. Nothing.
'How do they know that? How do they know that nobody hurt him?' her eyes shone in puzzlement
Mother opened the box...and closed it again.
'We'll go downstairs...and look through the box of memories. Photos of Dennis taken by your father and myself. Photos of Billy taken by your father and myself. Photos of Dennis and Billy....taken by your father and myself. I want you to know the whole story...before you go to the big school. It's important that you know it all...from us...your family...and not from anyone else'
The girl and her mother edged closer to the hatch. Daughter grabbed mother's arm...too anxioux to wait until they were downstairs.
'So...what's in the box? Who killed my brother?'
Mother smiled that rehearsed smile...designed to put her child at ease.
'The box is filled with photos...as I said...but also with medical reports and press-cuttings and testimonials....and witness statements...and police files. I want you to read them all....so that you know as much as your Daddy and I know...and as much as Billy knows...that we shall never really know why Dennis died'
'Dennis was found in the Hilly Fields...right in the middle...there was nobody else around for acres...long acres. Miss Braddock was the last person to see him alive...she spoke to him as he scaled the gate. Miss Braddock sat in her chair by the gate for hours...nobody else went into the field...not a soul...not until Daddy went walking...later on...and found Dennis'
'Did they try to blame Daddy?'
'They questioned everybody...but Dennis had died alone...totally alone...the coroner's report...the time of death...the statement from Miss Braddock...it all pointed to mystery...with nobody else involved. The newspapers began to talk of aliens...of evil spirits...of witchcraft. Nothing was ruled out'
'How did you cope, Mummy? How did Billy cope?' * 'He was his twin'
'Billy didn't show so much emotion. He was very strong. It's a classic way of handling grief...by hiding it. It was like he had never had a brother...so we didn't push him to talk about it'
'He didn't care, you mean?'
Mother dropped the smile
'Krystyna...he probably cares more than any of us. They'd had their arguments...their rivalry...it happens with twins...one doesn't want to be second to the other'
Mother smiled again
'Billy's way of coping was fine for him. He threw himself into his schooling...he achieved fantastic results...we're so proud of him'
'Let's go downstairs now' said Krystyna....with a smile she had never had to rehearse.
She stumbled...tripped...fell...bashing her head on a huge metal toy stacked up in the dark corner beyond the illuminated tube of dust. Mother pulled her close and wiped her forehead. A small amount of blood trickled down her porcelain face.
'Are you okay my angel?'
'Yes mummy...my silly little wound could never be as bad as my poor brother's wound'
Mother was hit with a new feeling. A tear rolled down her cheek as she gazed upon her little girl...the little girl who was now...most certainly...ready for the big school. Mother smiled her new...unrehearsed smile. She pumped with pride.
'Oh...just one thing' asked Kid Krystyna
'That nasty...evil...cold metal toy that I bashed my head on...can we PLEASE throw it away?'
'Of course we can...I'll get Daddy to take it away. It's an old radio-controlled airplane...one of Billy's toys...he hasn't played with it for years and years...quite expensive it was, too'
Krystyna looked older...more serious...with tears in her eyes...tears that crept over the gelatinised droplets of blood.
'Not played with it for years, eh, Mother?
'That's right, darling'
Krystyna seemed wiser than her mother
The dust particles were cast by shadow
'Not since the day Dennis died....eh...Mother?'
* at this point I wished I had called him Julian instead of Billy.....just so the kid could say....Mummy? How did Julian cope?
BRIEFFREUND coming soon
Well....there ya go...that was a story...written from the hip...I never bother with research or editing cos I have to stay loyal to my punk roots. It may be detriment to the quality of the finished article...but I am a determined truthist...and I hate to hoodwink people with design or plagiarism. In my music....with my band...Unlucky Fried Kitten...I always go for one take when recording. I won't meddle. It's the 'warts n all' approach...which I am so fondly drawn to. The 'painting by numbers' approach is not for me. Nothing I write on here is planned. I'll set myself a task. I'll roll a dice twice....to choose a page number...and I'll open today's newspaper (The Telegraph) and whatever the boldest headline is on that page I will freeform for a minute.
Page 38...Cristiano Ronaldo Denies Fan an autograph
This could be tricky...but here goes...totally unplanned and as I type it:
A bizarre thing happened today...in Waitrose. I was buying some big jumbo marker pens (pack of 4 for £1.99....yellow/green/blue/red...if you must know) and I saw a famous premiership footballer heading for the 'basket only' checkout. I decided it was uncool to ask for an autograph...and that I should just say 'hello' instead. I didn't want to charge up to him like a fawning footy sycophant...so I tried...instead...to engineer a 'chance encounter'...by the tinned asparagus. I made my jumbo marker pen-laden basket brush his arm...expecting to follow up with a 'So sorry...oh...you're so-and-so....plays for blah-blah united...how ya doing?' Like the best laid plans of mickies and men..it all went wrong. I brushed his arm...and he hit the deck like a sack of excrement...clutching his throat and pulling a grimace that would win any Lee Evans Lookalike Contest. 'Shame on you' I thought. 'Are you okay?' I said. He rolled over 12 times and crashed into the cigarette counter...screaming in agony and praying to 'mon dieu' (yeah...he was French?) I feared the worst....a telling-off from the security guard...maybe a store eviction...but the guard saw through his theatrics and ordered William Big-Bolleaux to leave the arena. He stormed through the 'basket only' section....throwing his Vittel water bottle to the floor...stopping only to applaud me...sarcastically...for getting him dismissed. I did get to speak to him outside...we made it up and we are now firm friends. He told me that his agent is negotiating a deal to get him to sign for Airdrie. I told him that would be a huge mistake....not so much cos he'd be leaving the Prem to play in Scotland...more so that it's unwise to sign for a club that becomes a small domestic appliance when you prefix a suffix and a consonant to the name. Understand? 'H' at the start and 'R' at the end...and you are playing for a 'hairdrier'. There's just time...before I move along to a new story...to furnish you with the weekend's fixtures in the Small Domestic Appliance League:
airdrie v urlington
oothbrus v eepfatfrie
ompact mirro v ampant rabbi
untan lotio v enis enlarge
regnancy testerki v oblin teasmad
A DANGEROUS LETTER
I am terribly sorry to hear about your guinea-pigs. Do you think the man who cuts the grass will replace them? It's been a fairly hectic day so far. because I upset my mum when I left some ham and cheese out on the kitchen table...and the cats ate the lot. Mum was in the bath so I rushed out to buy some more...ha ha. In my haste I tripped up and sprained my ankle. You asked how Charles is...and if we are still together...in your last letter. Yeah...been together for 3 years now...almost. Remember that bet you had with me...that if we lasted 3 years you would owe me £100? You should get that money ready...cos we have just about made it. I guess it's been to difficult to stay together...with us being in different countries...but we lasted...and I love him more than ever. You asked if it was difficult being faithful. Well...it's okay...cos we love eachother...but I have to be honest...I haven't been STRICTLY loyal. I'm telling you this, Katie, cos I trust you and I needed to tell someone anyway. Just cos I went with someone else it doesn't mean that I don't love Charles...does it? If he doesn't know about it then it won't hurt him...will it? Nobody gets hurt. It's just one of those things. There's no way he could find out about it...and I'd never have done it if I'd been in the same country as him. I hope you don't think that's cruel of me. In some ways I regret it cos I know he'd never cheat on me...but it's done now and I can't change it. I also regret it cos somehow it feels like he has lost a part of his importance...you know? I've kind of made a fool of him...and I can't respect him as much now. We'll stay together though. We are still in love. Anyway...he's coming over to Germany to see me at Christmas...so I can see him...and see if my feelings are still as strong. See if I can still respect him, I mean. Well Katie...my ankle is really sore...so I am gonna have a lie down...maybe grab some sleep. I'll write more later. Also...my mum is going into town...and if she sees i am sleeping she won't make me go with her. I'll slip this letter into an envelope...and write a bit more later. Don't forget that £100 you owe me xxx love Rebecca xxx
Rebecca sloped into sleep...and slept soundly for 2 hours....and was awakened by her mother's return from town. She clambered out of bed.
'Are you still angry about the cheese and ham?' she asked
'Don't be silly' her mother replied
She curled her arms around her beautiful daughter and held her tight.
'At least it made the cats happy...but now you'll have to eat THEIR food'
Rebecca and her mother hugged and laughed together.
'By the way, Rebecca, you were asleep when I left...and I had some mail to go...so I posted your letter for you...the one by your bed'
Rebecca shot a glance of confusion.
'Letter? Oh yeah...but I hadn't even addressed the envelope...how did you know where to send it?'
'Now come on' said her mother 'All you do is write to that dinosaur boyfriend of yours in England...it was obviously to him...so I addressed the envelope for you'
Ten minutes later Rebecca was back in her room...with a pen in her hand. She stared at the blank paper for a while...then wrote:
I am terribly sorry to hear about your guinea-pigs. Do you think the man who cuts the grass will replace them? It's been a fairly hectic day so far. because I upset my mum when I left some ham and cheese out on the kitchen table...and the cats ate the lot. Mum was in the bath so I rushed out to buy some more...ha ha. In my haste I tripped up and sprained my ankle. Remember that bet you had with me...about Charles and I...£100 that we wouldn't last 3 years.? Well....you'll find a cheque enclosed...for £100. xxx Love Rebecca xxx
JIMMY WOBBLED UP TO HIS MOTHER AT THE WASHING-LINE
'MUMMY....ME FOUND HEDGEHOG'
'PUT IT DOWN JIMMY....DOWN' SHE YELLED
JIMMY THREW DOWN THE CLUMP OF EARTH
IT LANDED IN THE WASHING-BASKET...ON TOP OF THE CLEAN SHIRT
'YOU'VE MADE DADDY'S SHIRT DIRTY' MUMMY SCOLDED
JIMMY CRIED. DADDY'S SHIRT GOT DIRTY
THE GARDEN WAS A DISGRACE.DADDY LEFT ALL THE WORK TO MUMMY
HE WOULD JUST MOAN ABOUT HIS SHIRT
JIMMY WADDLED UP TO HIS MOTHER IN THE KITCHEN
'MUMMY...ME FOUND HAMSTER'
'PUT IT DOWN JIMMY...DOWN' SHE SCREAMED
JIMMY THREW THE HALF-BRICK TO THE FLOOR
IT HIT THE NEW OVEN AND SCRATCHED THE DOOR
'YOU'VE SCRATCHED THE DOOR...YOU BUGGER' MUMMY SCOLDED
JIMMY CRIED. THE OVEN DOOR GOT SCRATCHED
THE GARDEN WAS FULL OF RUBBISH. DADDY LEFT IT ALL TO MUMMY
HE WOULD JUST MOAN ABOUT THE COOKER DOOR
JIMMY TODDLED UP TO HIS MOTHER IN THE SHOWER
'MUMMY...ME FOUND TORTOISE'
'PUT IT DOWN JIMMY...DOWN' SHE ROARED
MUMMY COULD BARELY SEE BECAUSE OF THE SOAPY WATER
SOMETHING DROPPED INTO THE BATH
LIKE A PIN
DADDY LOST HIS FAMILY
The Black Screen
The Black Screen
That was such a wonderful lie-in this morning. I just laid on my bed with my eyes closed….and as the sun was shining in through the window my vision was bathed in an orange-yello glow. Yeah….it was like a yello screen. I kept my eyes closed…because I wanted to think about something medical I am facing at the moment….and I had to reflect. I suddenly realised just how bad my situation is…and I inadvertently put my hand over my eyes….even though my eyes were closed. I muttered something like ‘Oh God’ and felt very low. Frightened. At the same time I was rather amazed at the sudden way the screen in my head….in my eyes…went to BLACK. I moved my hand away and kept putting it back over my eyes….and the sudden switch from orange-yello to black never ceased to astound me. PLEASE TRY THIS FOR YOURSELF!!!!!!!!! Look out to the sun…eyes closed…..then slide your hand up over your eyes….see the change. It shows how things change in the order of life….everyone lives…and everyone dies. I decided that life has to be lived. It’s selfish to ignore the changes. THEN…..something really odd happened. My left hand just happened to be placed palm down over my heart….not deliberately….then I felt a sudden surge….can’t even explain it….a decompression….a bump in my heart. The best way I can describe it is that it was like a little thud like I get when a facebook message is recieved on my i-phone. If that makes sense. I do believe that a message had gone to my heart…telling me that I have to fight on. I shall never really know…cos I can’t open up the message-centre in my heart….ha ha…..but I’m certain a message came in. Suddenly I began to paint lovely little colourful scenes on the Black Screen….an elephant with a yello hat….a seal balancing a beachball on it’s nose….a young boy kicking an apple along a windy road…a broken teddy-bear….some yello Victorian lettering that said i always see the positive in every situation
So there’s my little story about change
That’s a WINDY road….as in winding all over the place….changing…not as in WINDY road….blowy and blustery making your life sad.
Before I go….here…take these:
W W W W W
Please put these on the ends of my yello words. I can spell yellow. I was teasing you…and it worked…didn’t it?
How did you locate this page
NOTE FROM ANDY (AUTHOR)
IF YOU LIKE THIS ARTICLE OR FOUND IT USEFUL OR ENTERTAINING IN ANY WAY WOULD YOU PLEASE SHARE IT FOR OTHERS TO SEE...AND PLEASE MAKE A COMMENT BELOW TO LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF IT....GOOD OR BAD
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