Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Directly Outside 4

Directly outside my window, a figure comes shambling through the rain.

It’s humanoid — I think — but I can tell no more than this. I lean as far forward as my chains will permit, craning my neck like a vulture. And I watch.

It meanders, occasionally stalling. Sitting or squatting perhaps. But it’s direction is clear. It’s coming this way.

The rain swirls in the wind — the silver hair of some old unhappy god — and as the figure draws near, I make out arms and legs, a head lollopped to one side with the weariness of misery.

It’s a man. Whatever it is, it’s a man one, and it’s dragging something behind it. Hauling on a rope and dragging something.

I wait.

Below me, the junk of the dead lies sprawled in mud and rust, unchanged since I can’t remember save for the rain splashing hard against its darkness.

The man winds his way through the mangle of metal, limping like a wounded spider. His face is grey and blotchy, his features sunk deep or protruding awkwardly, all swathed in a flurry of rags. Behind him, his sack rolls and tumbles through the mud and he turns to look at it. Turns and walks and turns.

He collapses onto a barrel, his head pulled fast between his knees by gravity’s unyielding tug, and for a while he does nothing. Nothing but pulse from shortness of breath. I look for the sack, but he’s dropped it somewhere out of sight. So I wait, again.

The rain beats harder and he sits half upright, clearing the water from his eyes with his bony hands. He hauls the sack from beside him and plucks at the rope binding it tight. It’s eerie: he could be an old woman knitting a sweater.

The sack, I see now, is more like a blanket, and as he unfolds it between the puddles, there are limbs and heads and chunks of bone stuck together with scraps of torn fabric, all in a heap in the centre. His fingers play across the rotting flesh like millipedes, and I wonder if he plans to eat it — but he does nothing. He is not alone.

Suddenly, he stands, and I step back till my chains swing free and rattle. He draws the rags from his arm and licks his tongue along it, spitting into the rain. And from somewhere, he pulls out a saw. It’s small and oddly curved, but there’s no mistaking its function.

He sits again and lays his arm across his legs — and I snigger. I’ve done this with wood and I know what happens next. First, his arm rolls around on his legs as he tries to saw close to the elbow. He saws into his leg and snarls. Then, he grips his wrist between his knees, but he can’t hold it tight enough, and the saw bites jagged X shapes into his skin, and severs nothing —so he stops.

He licks away the blood and slumps on the barrel, his eyes darting back and forth through the junk.

I see it a blink before he does: a bent spike of rusting iron, jutting from the debris. He races over and paces round it, examining its angle meticulously, and WHAM, he brings his arm down hard on the tip, impaling it a good ten inches. Now, he saws. His back is turned, but I can picture his face, twisted as he stoops to cut.

A spray of blood, and he steps back, leaving his arm to flex and shudder on the spike. He runs to the opened sack and squats, sifting, this time, for arms. One is clearly rotten. He sniffs it and casts it aside. Another, he holds against his shoulder, shrugs and tosses back. The next is the one. It’s small and slender, like a child's and he tests its fingers for movement by holding it close to his face and brushing against them with his nose. Was that a smile? I can’t say.

I sense something equally marvellous and sickening is just about to happen.

But he’s seen me, I know it: he’s stopped.

I can’t see his eyes but I know he’s searching for me. He’s sat, as he was, with the arm held up in front of him, but he’s still, as if he’s dead. The only thing moving is the lifeless white fingers, trilling the air to the rhythm of the rain.

He jumps up, bundling the sack and clutching it close with the urgency of a mother protecting her young and before I can see what he’s done with the arm, he’s gone.

I watch for as long as I can bear it, but he doesn’t return. The rain falls on the junk and the mud as if he was never there at all.

I want to run outside and call to him, but I’m trapped in this place. Doomed only to witness as the world spins by, directly outside...

(Horrific ,/—/:/; blindness, as ever — but this is ver 1.0 of 1)

Protrudio Says — Go Write! (Update)

News reaches me of a late new entry for the writing exercise I whisked up a while back. Perfect timing, as I’m trapped in the bowels of a caster sugar labyrinth pending do-or-die combat with two whole battalions of Tritonite Cream Squirters. Inspired, I shall battle on, unleashing furious custard storms till every last flipper has been glazed in yellow.

You can find the entry in the comment trail here.

Protrudio over and out.



Cop a load of my mustard slurry, you evil blubbery hordes...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Write?

I write this, with no idea what I will write, simply to press idle keys into words to spin in cyberspace ether unknown. My intention is neither to edit nor assume incredible powers of uncoiling wonders. I don’t know what that means — an aside, then. Always does the trick.

I suppose it’s like bulimia. A compulsion to throw up thoughts, oblivious to where they might be sprayed, and if I’m honest, with very little heed paid to how or why I’ve been stuffed. Or stuffed myself.

Why write?

Why pass from gurgling bloodied birth to gurgling bloodied death without a trace?

That sounds preposterous. So now I’ll clarify. Short of cutting out my eyes and chopping off my ears and plunging my tongue into acid; short of stuffing bread dough in my nostrils and disconnecting my nerve fibres one by one, there is no hope of me becoming a conduit for zero information. Smash me against a wall in a car of hapless circumstance and I will continue — cannot but continue — to witness. And unless I am to die before my time, screaming myself to death, I must commune with other souls; declare that our haplessness has led us to speak of this.

Interestingly, my phone has just chirpychimed an unwanted distraction. Unwanted, because I’m writing this. And yet, If I’m to be truthful, it cannot go unheard. A simple doobydoop foist from a world over which I have no control into my miracle sprawl of deeds. Always, it is this. We seek our own room, our place, havehappening fingers and thumbs to the ludicrousest (yes — ludicrousest will do) of horizons

Ah...but the phone rings again, and in my enthusiasm for editing nothing (above and beyond what my brain has already filtered out before I have any sort of say in the matter) I must confess I haven’t the faintest idea what I’ve just been writing about. It’s scrolled up yonder, like the credits to an absurdly bad Disney film.

Which means that I’m here. Continuing to pose myself the question: why write? And in spite of the absence of Spotted Dicks hovering about my person like B movie spacecraft en crap, I spin (I’ve stood up now and attempted ballet-as-U-type) convinced that the proof is in the pudding. Did I mention earlier on I cannot help myself? Did I say that? What an interesting game.

My concern now, as letters hug themselves into words and race towards hurdles of clauses, is that I can’t decide whether I’m adventuring in the middle of some hitherto unseen wilderness, or dashing for the tape like a gibbering fool desperate to reflect on why he bolted at the sound of gunshot. I may never know. I can’t see time in this. There is perpetuity, is all I know. And whether in madness or stillness I am witness, I will bend full stops into commas; twist them and copy them into speech marks; blow the glass of their invisible finity into spurious whirls of question marks.

Why write?

No idea. No idea. No idea.

(OK - I’m not posting this!)

15 mins later (and to paraphrase — nay, quote — Marianne Moore: I may, I might, I must.)

Thanks for your post, WW.



Even if only this.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Destroy All Puss Cats

I have the morning free to rustle up some decent lines for the end of a vexing chapter — and what happens? My cat decides to indulge in every aspect of annoying puss behaviour in the space of five minutes, leaving my otherwise sublime composure writhing on the carpet like a millipede gangbang.

From the way she burst into the room, I guessed right away there was a phantom mouse on the loose whose floppy corpse she intended to toss from paw to paw till lunchtime. She didn’t catch it, though. One second she was chasing it, and the next, clawing at the carpet doing that odd side-to-side dance of confusion where you know that she knows that you know that she knows she’s got to do something to demonstrate she’s not entirely useless.

Next up was ambiguous meaowing. Lassie could probably convey the emotion of Romeo’s harrowing demise with a single feeble whine and a delicately angled paw, but whenever she opens her gob, my cat provides zero clues to what she wants/feels/thinks/believes, forcing me to interpret everything as a blanket demand to be booted up the arse.

Is it dinner you want? If so, your bowl is brimming with that special crunchy cat munch you simply can’t resist. Is it the outdoor life of an adventure mog you crave? If so, you have a cat flap of your very own, fitted to the back door by yours truly at great expense — mainly to the structure of the back door. Is it wee wee time? If so, your litter tray floweth over with piss-absorbing granules.

Is it—

Before I could run through the list of everything she didn’t actually want, she’d thrown a teasing claw onto my leg and pulled another inch of cotton from the already mortally bobbled fabric of my lounge pants. Huh! Fuss! Why do I always forget about the fuss? Or is that a rhetorical question?

Nothing for it but to wave the Anything Close To Hand Of Doom — a red rag to a bull, as it happened. Even if I purchased an Indy-style anti-cat whip, she’d play my rage to a whimper with her juvenile feline wiles, the scoundrel.

Right now she’s out on the landing coughing up what used to cover her abdomen before she scratched it all off looking for fleas.

Next time round, I’m purchasing me a terrapin. They live underwater in a bowl, have no fangs or teeth and can’t possibly shit on anything electrical. What can go wrong?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Casting Off Of Albatri 3

Rapunzel’s Chores

in a tower
with no hope of princes
she combs her escape —
an oblivion of inches.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Procrastinatorium

I’m trimming a cactus with a pair of nail scissors.

It’s one of those big fluffy ones rather than the kind with spikes and as I chop its subtropical fur into a series of undulating ripples, I reckon this writing lark may blossom into a full-blown career as a landscape garden topiarist — or at very least, a ruiner of exotic poodles.

Artistically speaking, although this new-found hobby is contributing fuck all to my daily word count beyond the odd unrecorded sigh of delight, it’s nonetheless stimulating my creativity glands by offering up the same sort of life-and-death choice typically posed by an adjective of vexingly indeterminate prunability.

So — should I trim away the hair from the base and leave the top end looking more like a giant phallus than God intended? Or shall I whip off the stuff from the crown and streamline the base till I have something more like a rocket? Or could I get Robert De Niro, looking pensive?

If it’s true life is a curse, the quiet hum of my distraction is a self-inflicted incantation.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Directly Outside 3

Directly outside my window, translucent corpuscles bob in the slime like slow motion footballs inhabited by the spirits of emergent frogspawn.

I play a torch beam towards them, amazed by the phosphorecscent unity of their reply.

As one swells with a fibrillating shimmy, another is sucked almost inside itself and I clutch at my guts as if to catch the butterflies.

I stand and watch them swim around, pressing my face against the glass to get as close as I can.

All are no bigger than peas and I fancy I see creature shapes in the cluster of unknown organs pulsating at the heart of each one.

I go without food to behold them, waiting for the tiny orbs to split in half and split in half again.

But they do not divide.

They swim to each other through the murk. And kiss.

I would dearly love to join them, but I’m trapped in this place. Doomed only to witness as the world spins by, directly outside...

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Looks like I’ve been tagged by that rascal, Kiersten. There was I happily slumbering when a spectral hand slipped through the gap between cyberspace and my duvet and gently spanked my bared buttocks till I awoke.

I don’t normally respond to this kind of thing and had made my mind up right from the outset that this blog would be reserved solely for the spuriocurio distracting me from writing my novel. But the internet has a funny way of getting you involved in stuff, so at risk of finding myself in a few months time on a potholing expedition with a bunch of German Elvis impersonators, I’m going to respond. And in the best traditions of anonymity, some or all of my answers may be blatant fibs.

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

Inquisition Meme

What were you doing ten years ago?

I was days away from tossing my non-parenthood into the same chasm I once threw my virginity. So — riotously pissed in a field pretending to be Walt Whitman, The Great Caruso and Fred Astaire all at the same time. Specifically, my diary of May 17th records that I watched an episode of Inspector Morse, though it doesn’t say which one. Believe it or not, I also ate a pizza.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

1) Visit storytelling festival and don a selection of hats.
2) Dig out the chainsaw from the shed and chop away the last husks of alien embryo pod currently ruining all my T shirts.
3) Watch Britain’s Got Talent. For some unknown reason, I’m harbouring lots of dry skin on my arms at the moment and though I could go out and shop for expensive exfoliation products, some of the acts on BGT are so cringingly bad, I’m hoping for a full-on ecdysis.
4) Prune the adverbs and adjectives from my latest death scene. They make it sound like some sort of advert.
5) Re-enthuse the house chimpanzee (currently depressed).

What are some snacks you enjoy?

I can never say no to a slice of toast and Marmite or a bowl of corn flakes — crisps, peanuts, Snickers ice cream bars, Pringles, Prongles, Proongles etc etc. It’s a wonder I’m not 386 stone 2. Luckily, I work out by keeping to my side of the Pursued By The Law For Being A Renegade deal.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Die sooner than if I wasn’t, almost certainly.

What are five places where you have lived?

Is it every seven years that you’re supposed to end up with a completely new body via the miracle of cellular renewal? If that’s true, then I’ve lived in five different Whirlochre-shaped torso-head-n-limb-comboes in various exotic locations around the world.

What are five jobs you have had?

1. Sandwichboard Man
2. Lecturer
3. Tax Collector
4. Puppeteer
5. Maverick All-in Wrestler with trademark pectoral twitch

What were the last five books you read?

Darwin’s Dangerous Idea — Daniel C. Dennett
Self-trepanning For The Well Equipped Mechanic — A. R. Vent
Talks To Teachers — William James
The Mick Jagger Limerick Anthology
Love Songs Of WWIII — Adrian Mitchell

What’s playing on your iPod right now?

I’m enjoying the new Goldfrapp album, but Swine & Cockerel by The Mighty Roars has been on there since last summer and I have a feeling it’s never going away. The quality of unashamed excess is wonderful to behold.

What five people do you want to tag?

This meme has travelled faster than a penis-shrivelling bug in a whorehouse, and most of the people on my links list have already been snapped up. I’m almost tempted to pick on a complete stranger from some halibut breeding blog — but no.

So, I’m tagging Christine Eldin, Bernita, Scott From Oregon, Chumplet and McKoala. May God have mercy on my soul. And theirs.

So — thanks for this, K. It’s another milestone in my long haul out of exile. I may even start visiting my own comment trail...

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Casting Off Of Albatri 2

Raided from my 1985 archive.

Not sure the sound effects quite work at the end, but I'm no Eddie Offord...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Outtasite Lyrics For The Next Johnny Mathis — Or Maybe You're A Happnin' Group...


through the night

yeah alright

till my heart hurts fast

like my life won’t last

like a wolf

through the gulf

for the horizon

where I got my eyes on


there’s a discount furniture warehouse sale
gonna buy myself a cheap settee
a nest of tables a couple of lamps
maybe I’ll get something for free

through the ‘hood

boy I feel good

till my feet are shot

for all I got

wild as hell

hear me yell

ain’t stoppin’ to wave

I’m gonna save


there’s a discount furniture warehouse sale
gonna buy myself a cheap settee
a nest of tables a couple of lamps
maybe I’ll get something for free

there’s a discount furniture warehouse sale
with a feast of bargains for me
gonna run till my legs are bloody stumps
maybe I’ll get something for free

maybe I’ll get something for free x2

The AbyssWinksBack Future Sounds Deal

You record it — I'll post it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Protrudio Says — Hey!

As you may recall, Abysswinksback-goers were invited to partake in the following writing exercise:

Your skeleton suddenly and inexplicably disappears — and you’re still alive. How do you feel?

Protrudio responds...

Extreme Quill Wahoo!

These tasty morsels were well worth emerging from the custard swamps to eyeball — not to mention slirrup through a straw. Yum Yum. It gets very lonely down there with only the fuzziest of TV and mobile phone reception to help me keep in touch with the modern world, and although I have a talking teddy bear to keep me company, I’ve wound up the key in his back so often that his entire repertoire of phrases now resembles a deranged wasp humming Chubby Checker B sides. Compared to that, these are a treat. Hey — compared to anything, these are a treat.

Thanks to all of you for making a big fat superhero in a yellow rubber costume happier than he’s been in a while.

And so (coughs best reciting voice into sponge pudding larynx)...

Kiersten writes

"No, seriously honey, I really can't pick you up. Not just I don't want to, literally, physically, I can't pick you up. Hey! No no! Quit playing with my leg! Fine, whatever, play with my leg. I hope your father gets home soon, because there's no WAY I'm making dinner now. At least my back doesn't hurt anymore..."

(What can I say, I'm practical about this sort of thing. Because skeleton or not, I'd still be a mom.)

McKoala writes


I love ‘em both — and in recognition of your efforts, I present you with a culinary treat to keep you pulsating with paragraph-generating protein and vitamins. This one, I like to save for the weekend when I’m between evil-doers and have time to rustle up something heartier than a snack box sandwich — but maybe you’ll go with 3.58am. Max Scoff Momentum!


For this nosh fest, you will need

6oz linguine per person
2 5oz/150g tins boneless sardines (in oil)
6 medium tomatoes (the riper and softer the better)
1 fresh red chilli
1-3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons pickled capers
Handful chopped fresh basil
Freshly milled black pepper
Nerves of steel (only kidding)

Preparation time — 35 mins max
Serves 2-3
Danger Factor — Minimal

Fill a large saucepan with enough water to keep an average size goldfish alive but not necessarily ecstatic about it. Add a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil and get the water boiling. Now boil a kettle for help with skinning the tomatoes later. Grin uncontrollably, skip to right and left and perform a dainty twirl, just for the hell of it.

While the water boils, razor open the sardines with your best incisor and drain the oil into a solid flat-bottomed pan. Feel the adrenaline rush as it glistens. If you're ever captured and thrown into a cave, it's important to have a broad spectrum of visual textures at your disposal for keeping your spirits up in the darkness. When Syrup Shark imprisoned me in the Lagoon Of Eternal Limbo, the only thing standing between me and helpless desperation was the memory swirl of rapidly stirred Mulligatawny with a dash of lemon.

Power up your index fingernail blade to 7 and slice the garlic coarsely, moving on to the chilli and any unopened mail. Scatter the garlic and chilli into your sardine oil — if you’re lucky, it could be art. If you feel like you could take on the whole world with your hands tied behind your back, throw in the chilli seeds. If not, take a good look at yourself in the mirror, you WUSS CAT. Sprinkle on some black pepper, stir briefly according to the broad strokes of your favourite Flavour Enhancement Rune and leave to saute very gently.

Incidentally, when I'm snorkelling though the custard swamps, I always keep a small Scotch Bonnet chilli tucked away in the gusset pocket of my pants. The acoustics down there are something else, and if I shake the chilli gently between my gloved fingers, the seeds rattle about like a bell clapper. In no time at all I can attract considerable shoals of fish to my person. Some days, I school them in fishly tricks; others, I whack ‘em and eat ‘em.

Juggle the tomatoes into a bowl and cover them with hot water from the kettle, making sure they are fully submerged. Think contented terrapin. Assume Death-Defying Mortal Combat Position #25. There may be zero supervillains in your immediate vicinity, but it does no harm at all to practice — plus, it's a great workout for your thighs as you chop the basil and capers and start boiling your pasta.

After a few minutes, the skin of your tomatoes ought to split in places, like clown’s noses at a festival of guffaws. Keep an eye on your chilli and garlic. Any flames or smoke — or sirens — and you’ve overdone it. If there’s nothing at all in the pan, you’ve missed out a few important steps. If the garlic is looking anything like browned, turn this pan off for a while.

Peel the tomatoes. I’m told — heh — I’m told it’s like slipping off tights, only hotter on the fingers. You may need rubber gloves, but if you don’t have any, don’t be tempted by anything woollen or fashioned from chain mail. Chop the peeled tomatoes coarsely.

Flip the tomato chunks into the garlic/chilli oil along with the capers, the basil, and one half of the sardines. Now, picture your arch-enemy in the silvery mirror of the sardine skin. Snarl and mash his or her nefarious visage calmly — four or five times — working the sardines themselves into the tomatoey mixture till you have a semi-pulp.

Leave both pans to simmer for a while. If you’ve got any odd jobs to do, now’s the time to do them. I often remove my gloves and test them for elasticity by repeatedly inflating them, or slip back my mask and comb my eyebrows — but you’ll have a different range of chores to choose from, I’m sure.

Three minutes before the pasta is ready, scoop the remaining sardines into the bubbling sauce with your Protrudio Signature Model Sardine Scooper and replace the pan lid frisbee style. Leave to simmer gently for a few minutes while your nostril hairs braid and unbraid themselves in a frenzy of odour appreciation.

Drain the pasta and throw back into the pan, leaping with delight as you cover it spoon by spoon with the funky wholesome deliciousness of your sauce. Mix together and splash onto your favourite crockery like Vesuvian lava on mosaic, garnishing with more chopped basil. If you have any of those decorative paper cocktail umbrellas, plunge three or four into each portion, shout, 'YUM YUM FUCKING YUM' — and serve.

And that’s it: Max Feast Wahoo.

Got to squelch off now and get ready for The Big One. According to my weather charts, there’s a tsunami on its way and I’ve yet to polish my surfboard — let alone my wellington boots.

Expect my return soon...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Casting Off Of Albatri


Seventeen syllables.
Utterly meaningless.
Mad, the Japanese.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Protrudio Says — Go Write!

In the spirit of internet blogging and cyber-hugging, Abysswinksback is pleased to announce its very first writing exercise.

Your skeleton suddenly and inexplicably disappears — and yet you’re still alive. How do you feel?

100 words or less, by 23.55GMT Friday 9th May.

Entries will appear some time over the weekend in the order they are received and Protrudio will take a break from his custard-guzzling exploits to reward any participants for their efforts.