Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Directly Outside 5


Directly outside my window, bulbous toads are gathered.


At the head of a long table, the wartiest steadies a wide-brimmed hat on the glistening slime dripping from its brow.

A voice growls from a speaker I didn’t know was in here. Mistook the grill for an air vent.

What did it say?

Proclaim?’

Shussh.


‘...from this day forth, I shall be known as Susan, and all humble toadlings shall prostrate themselves before the full, round bloom of my sumptuous boobies.’

It’s been a long time since a hearty cheer greeted my ears, and as the toads chinked glasses, plucked small flies from the tips of cocktail sticks, and lit their farts with candles, I couldn’t help feeling it would be a while yet.

Something about the spectacle disturbed me. Yes, they were enormous — easily four feet tall — and yes, the tablecloth clashed terribly with the napkins, but in spite of the bulletproof glass between us, I could sense a mood. A vibe.

‘The numbers,’ belched Susan.

Susan — yes, I saw that now. Christ.


A fat toad midway down the table hopped from his seat clutching a scroll. In a low voice that shook the rivets from the speaker grill, he read out a list of numbers while his eager audience nodded and exchanged gold coins.

‘Twelve,’ said Susan, hoisting her bosom till her knees nearly upended the table. ‘Who is twelve?’

A whisper. For toads, at least.

Did I hear Old Knobbly? Must have been. The toad who stood up did not look at all smooth.

‘Your grace,’ he said, affecting a posh voice, ‘I am honoured to be first chosen to pay homage to—‘

‘Make haste, fool.’ Susan extended a finger. ‘And you there, with your feet on the table. Fetch a video camera. My spawn must have witness of this night.’

For the first time I noticed one of them wore no party hat, and when it removed its webbed feet reluctantly from the table, I saw it slip something metallic from its swimming trunks. A vibe. Definitely, yes.

But that’s the trouble with this place. The shutters roll down over the glass when you least expect it, the rumble of their rusted slats an object lesson in spite. I turn to the speaker — half turn — no, it’s dead.

Doubtless, the shutter will rise again tomorrow, and doubtless, now, I’ll hear voices.

I lie down in the barren darkness, curl my knees up close.

I’m trapped in this place. Doomed only to witness as the world spins by, directly outside...

47 comments:

Kiersten said...

You are a paragon of diligent work ethic. I'm so proud.

Understood very little of DO5, but then again, such is life.

Whirlochre said...

I can't figure it out either, but it was fun.

Natalie said...

I think I'm glad it's too dry here for frogs...I think.

Kiersten said...

I'm so constrained by an overwhelming need to make sense. If only I were as liberated as you.

Whirlochre said...

Liberated? I'm positively trussed.

(Got that one from oxymorons anonymous)

writtenwyrdd said...

If the dog starts talking and tells you to eat the girl, make sure you bring the barbecue sauce.

Whirlochre said...

Sterling advice, as ever, WW.

Robin S. said...

from this day forth, I shall be known as Susan, and all humble toadlings shall prostrate themselves before the full, round bloom of my sumptuous boobies.
Just remember, even toad boobies get the blues.

Soooo, you're a boob man,huh?

I liked this, and I was very ready to read more - especially as I as the reader was left with a look at the narrator curled up in a defeated position in bed, feeling doomed to watch the world trapped from 'this place'.

Whirlochre said...

Maybe the toads will return.

As for being a boob man — yeah, I make major goofs all the time...

freddie said...

I enjoy your writing, WO. Sometimes I think I might enjoy it even more if I were in Amsterdam in a coffee shop, smoking a special tobacco mixed with pot, right before I skip off to see the Van Gogh exhibit.

I shall try it sometime.

Whirlochre said...

Thanks Freddie.

I've not done Amsterdam, yet, and to be honest, I'm not sure what's there apart from smoky coffee bars, prostitutes and sporty youngsters with Ruud van Nistlerooy haircuts.

Not done Paris, either.

How useless is that?

writtenwyrdd said...

I did Paris a few years ago. In Winter. It snowed while I was on the Eiffel Tower, I had the flu all week, and the medication I just started taking for migraine prevention reversed my vision periodically so that near appeared to be far. That was rather an odd week. But all in all, except for traipsing about and taking a zillion photographs and seeing all the museums, it was frankly uninteresting. And they were rude to my fat American ass. Go figure.

Whirlochre said...

Interesting.

As I gad, I detect an evident cultural rough house twixt La Belle France and the US.

Zappa was notoriously unkind to the Gauls when he recorded 'In France', and while McDonalds bombards most French cities with its fluorescent Le Royale brand de chic, mostly the French are staunchly conservative with their culture.

Kiersten said...

I've got no problem with France. Well, actually, I do have a beef with them.

What is up with adding four or five extra letters that you don't say? Bordeaux? Other brilliant examples of words with too many letters that I can't think of right now? They make spelling way harder than it has to be. Give me beautiful, entirely phonetic Spanish any day.

But France, I have no issues with.

Kiersten said...

Oh! Finally I get the ending. For some reason I thought the toads were in the same room as you, and that the windows slammed closed because the party-hatless toad was planning a slaughter and locked everyone in--thus the cowering. But now I see that your view was simply cut off, and it was the speakers as in electronic items rather than speaker as in Susan that was dead.

Suddenly it all makes sense.

Well, more of it makes sense, anyhow.

And now I realized I just explained your own writing to you and you're probably staring at the screen, eyebrows furrowing, thinking, "What is she, daft?"

Because I hope you use words like daft.

Whirlochre said...

I haven't investigated Spanish since I mistakenly hailed a bullfighter with a hearty cry of 'es un maricon' instead of 'es un chulo' and the crowd turned on my hapless teen skinniness and beat me about the head with rolled up photos of a young, unknown Julio Iglesias.

But you're right about the French lingo — more unpronouncables than Loughborough (or Loogerberooger, to you straight-down-the-line yanks).

Whirlochre said...

In conjunction with the word 'brush', daft is frequently voiced.

Thanks for the note about the speaker. I'd overlooked that potential source of befuddlement.

sauce of befudlement?

I must away to concoct a recipe.

Kiersten said...

Had to look up daft as a brush. Now I'm wondering if you frequently use daft as a brush in conjuction with me.

Ah well. Glad I could clear up a source of befuddlement. At least I have some sort of purpose.

Whirlochre said...

More sharp as a button.

Kiersten said...

Is the button made out of a razor blade?

Whirlochre said...

At the rate you wrote Flash, I'm guessing you filleted the pages of your notebook from corner to corner just to keep up...

Kiersten said...

Hrm, no, I typed it all out. But at times I could almost see smoke drifting up from Laptop's keys...

Whirlochre said...

Sounds like a good workout.

Kiersten said...

My fingers have never been leaner.

Anonymous said...

lean fingered? Sounds like a lyric or a line of poetry a la Ode To A Grecian Urn. Sorry, time to go to sleep I think!

ww

blogless troll said...

Wish I had one of those windows. Hey, are these being worked into a story about this guy with the window so that one day we may read it and find out more? If not, please lie and say yes.

Whirlochre said...

Hurrah! A troll!

The toads (and the rest) are already stories about a guy with a window, if that makes sense.

Maybe I should make the next one longer.

blogless troll said...

OK, that's not what I meant. Didn't mean to imply these weren't stories in and of themselves. I just enjoy them.

Kiersten said...

One day when you're famous, you can publish the DOs as a collection.

Alas, we'll all go to the bookstore and look in the Ws. And be bitterly disappointed.

You'll probably just laugh.

Whirlochre said...

Hey, Blogless

I didn't mean to imply that I thought you'd implied something you didn't intend, especially as I misinterpreted both of us and had no idea what I was talking about in the first place.

Glad you enjoy them, and there will be more...

blogless troll said...

I didn't mean to imply that I thought you'd implied something you didn't intend, especially as I misinterpreted both of us and had no idea what I was talking about in the first place.

I was hoping you'd say that.

Whirlochre said...

Yippee!

Robin S. said...

This has nothing to do with THIS post:

Sloppy love scenes, eh? I REALLY wanna see one of those. Hearing one, even better (voice, people, voice, NOT in the bloody room).

Anyway, you got guts, guy, keeping your word count in public and everything.

Whirlochre said...

Yes, Robin — shame it feels like I'm writing with the blood squirting from their severed arteries.

But, on balance, 29,000 words out of 30 days isn't bad — even if most of them were already written.

The difficult bit starts next month. Fortunately, that month is September...

ChrisEldin said...

I didn't mean to imply that I thought you'd implied something you didn't intend, especially as I misinterpreted both of us and had no idea what I was talking about in the first place.

LOL!!!
I just popped over to say thanks for dropping by the Book Roast.
You guys are having too much fun over here!!!
:-)

Kiersten said...

Any hints as to what this book is about?

I'm ever so curious.

Whirlochre said...

The Book Roast was fun.

As for the WIP, I'd love to say it's set in the dog-eat-dog world of giraffe traficking — but it isn't...

Kiersten said...

Dang. But actually, I just read a really great novel with that exact premise, so maybe it's for the best.

Whirlochre said...

What? Someone's stolen my idea? I'd better make it about elephants. And set it in space.

writtenwyrdd said...

OMG now I have visions (audio no less) of "Elephaaaants Iiiiiin Spaaaace!" like the Muppets' Pigs in Space announcement.

Perhaps this reference is lost you all of you. Perhaps that is for the best.

I should be writing. Instead I've been lounging about reading a Georgette Heyer novel with omniscient narration, witty dialog and paragraphs longer than a page sprinkled liberally throughout. A nice change of pace over mowing the lawn or some other house chore.

Whirlochre said...

I used to enjoy Pigs In Space — but now I prefer nachos.

Whirlochre said...

It's very onceish, isn't it? Like slugs.

McKoala said...

Was there a topic?

With hazelnuts. Toby.

Whirlochre said...

Hey, McK — Blogger seems to have eaten your comment about you eating dog food, once.

Kiersten said...

I would imagine the comment tasted better than the dogfood.

Robin S. said...

By the way, a wonderul novelist from the American South, William Styron, wrote a novel close to the line on your second to last paragraph. "Lie Down in Darkness."

It's good.

Whirlochre said...

Sounds eerie.