Tuesday 23 October 2012

Betwixt The Cup and The Lip #3

Here is my third installment of excerpts from Betwixt The Cup and The Lip; my lipogrammatic* novel in 26 parts.  The first installment can be found here, and the second can be found here.  Please feel free to make comments or suggestions; I'm open to any ideas you might have.  And if you're a publisher and you would like to publish this collection, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.  You can find my contact details here.

* A lipogram is a piece of text that contains 25 letters of the alphabet by omitting one.

Warning: This book is not suitable for anyone under 18 years old.  The excerpts that I publish on here are family friendly (ok, they're probably PG if I'm being honest), but some of the completed stories contain graphic scenes unsuitable for children.

I’m not racist or nothing, but I just think that people shouldn’t leave their mother land.  People go on and on and on about pride for their skin colour and heritage and all that.  I’m proud to be Indian.  I’m proud to be Chinese.  I’m proud to be African.  If these people were so proud, we wouldn’t be infested with them.  These ‘proud’ people would be in their own countries being proud there.  But no.  These foreigners insist on being proud in England and expect us to change our lives to accommodate them.  I’m Muslim.  I want a mosque.  I’m Buddhist.  I want a temple.  I’m Sikh.  I want a gurdwara.  What would Jesus think?  Huh?  He was a good old English Christian.  I’m sure he wouldn’t have been pleased with all of these weird looking worship buildings popping up all over the place.

I can’t even go shopping without falling over Polish shops and Chinese shops and West Indian shops.  Isn’t our food good enough or something?  If these people want to eat their own foodstuffs then being in England isn’t the best thing.  But I wonder where these people could go.  Hmmm.  Ah, that’s it.  Back to their own  countries.

In England.  Eat English food.  Never did me no harm.

I will die this evening.

It’s a fact.  But I’m pretty much already dead.  I’m just waiting.  The queue is a bit lengthy and I’ve never been great at being early.  I’ll just make myself snug here and wait until it’s my turn.  I’ll wrap myself up in blankets as it’s always a bit chilly in here.  It’s a miracle we aren’t dead already.  With all this cash that keeps getting hurled at these infirmaries and care residences, I deliberate why they keep the temperature at freezing during the winter.  But I’ve heard death is an icy place at the start; maybe they’re just preparing us. 

I am 100% sure that it’s happening, that I will die this evening.  I’m relaxed.  I’m calm.  I’m ready.  It’s like déjà-vu.  I have that feeling all the time.  I am sure that I’ve been in a certain place but can’t remember when, but everything is familiar and the reminiscences feel real.  I feel like that at this very minute.  Maybe it's preja-vu.  I’m sure that I will be visiting a certain place that I haven’t visited yet, and it feels as real as if I had already been there.

It’s made me realise that we can’t just trudge and meander in life.  I’m sure they’ll all say that I’ve had a great innings, which I have, it’s true.  I’ve reached a ripe age, 89, and it’s finally time.  But we can never be certain that we will live until the weekend, and we definitely can’t ever be certain that we will live until we’re 89.  Life isn’t certain.

There’s more to me than what you can see but it takes someone special to look further than the surface.  It didn’t take me too long to learn that, considering what I used to look like.  But then most of us went through a bit of an ugly stage during our teenage years.  Unfortunately for me, mine was more of an ugly couple of decades.  And no I’m not wallowing in self-pity.  I’m happy now and that’s all that matters.  I am actually quite glad that I had those ugly decades.  It makes me appreciate the good things that are a part of my life now.

I look the way I look because I chose to.  We don’t get many choices in life.  We can’t choose who our parents are or where we grow up or what our first words are or how tall we are.  And to an extent we can’t choose what our face or body look like; that is, until we reach 18 years old.  I grew up with an awkward body and an unfortunate face.  No one noticed me except to make my life hell.  I was always the last picked for teams in P.E. lessons and no one wanted to be my partner for drama class.  I was pushed out of the way and I was tripped up and I was ignored and I was sworn at and I had things thrown at me and I was laughed at and I was made to feel worthless.  And no matter how many times your parents tell you how wonderful you are and that the other kids are jealous, it doesn’t make life any easier.  My mother would tell me that I was good-looking as she wiped away my tears, but at school I was ugly and no matter how much you try to ignore those comments, they do stick with you for your entire life.   If 100 people tell you you’re ugly, you truly think you are ugly.  And that’s when I made my decision to look like this.  I feel gorgeous on the inside and I definitely look gorgeous on the outside.  People look at me for all the right reasons, and that makes me feel good; better than good.

My birth parents didn’t want me.  They got rid of me when I was a baby.  I really don’t want to meet them.  I am unable to bear children so I don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant, but from what I can imagine it’s an incredible feeling.  A human being is right there inside you.  You are its protector.  It relies on you for food and company and affection.  There is a special bond, an incredible connection between you and the baby that you know nothing about and yet at the same time, know all there is to know about it.  Nature is amazing, isn't it? 

She called me Dothan when I was born.  What kind of name is Dothan?!  Apparently she stuck a pin in an atlas and that was the name she found.  Clearly not too smart, my birth mother.  What was she thinking, if she was actually thinking at all?  Hmm, I’d like my son to be called something unusual, something different, something that will make him stand out from the crowd.  He will be unique and his name will reflect that.  I know.  Dothan is a perfect name.  He will not get beaten up at school because of his name.  He will not be treated as an outcast because of his name.  He will not be teased or tormented or tortured because of his name.  He will be well liked and well respected and people will want to be his friend because he has such an unusual name.  It will make him interesting; therefore people will be interested in him.  Dothan will be popular and intelligent and sporty and deep and will 100% not get his face kicked in year after year after year because of his name.  Girls will think he’s mysterious and charming and will always want to be around him because of his name.  They won’t laugh at him or ignore him because of his name.  They’ll be begging him to go out with them on dates because he’ll possess something the other boys won’t; that je ne sais quoi, that X factor, and all of this will be because of his name.

Yeah, thanks so much birth mother.  You really knew what you were doing when you chose my name.  As soon as I had the chance, I changed it and now go by the name of Charlie.  Apparently it means ‘free man’ which is kind of ironic but it’s how I feel now.  Once I shed my skin and got rid of Dothan, I felt freer and more confident. 

My dog; is that a pin sticking in a map of your past actions?  My dog, my charming young pup, my baby boy, Bruno, wasn’t in his puppy mansion six days ago at 4pm, that hour at which I got back from work.  Bruno is normally sunbathing on his patio at 4pm.  I did sit and wait for him.  I thought it silly to call Scotland Yard straight away.  Bruno had possibly had a brainstorm to go for a short walk on his own although Bruno knows to wait for his Mummy.  A tasty aroma could always attract him away from his mansion, and possibly Bruno got a whiff of a yummy bit of food coming from a building abutting ours, and thought it was a good plan to sniff around for a snack.  I didn’t worry too much as I know Bruno is a smart dog and would walk back to his Mummy as soon as starvation struck.

I sat by my patio window, waiting for Bruno, and at 5pm Bruno strolls back into our backyard, slightly limping, almost zigzagging across our yard.  I ran out to him but Bruno was a tad anxious and timid.  Bruno was not my normal Bruno.  Normally Bruno is so happy if his Mummy is around.  Normally his tail wags and his mouth forms a grin, but that night Bruno was sad and forlorn.  I brought him his food but Bruno had got into his napping sack on his twin dog divan, and was off in his napping fantasy land so quickly.

Bruno didn’t suitably nap that night.  I got up at about midnight to a sound of Bruno crying.  It was a kind of high pitch howl with a bit of sobbing.  I saw him moving around in his napping sack, his tiny paws running away from I don’t know what.  I sat with him and sang to him and soon Bruno was back in his happy fantasy land.  But this conduct was awfully unusual for him.  Bruno would normally nap straight through, from sun-down to sun-up.  Not a sound would sally forth from his lips.

By morning I was hoping that Bruno would show total signs of normality but this was not so.  Bruno was lying on his back with his limbs akimbo.  I took his bowl indoors, hoping that Bruno would follow.  Bruno would walk thousands of yards for food but on this occasion Bruno did not shift.  I hit his bowl with a spoon, hoping that would stir him, but Bruno still did not shift from his twin dog divan.  I put my hand on his body and Bruno was cold.  Bruno had no pounding in his ribs or drool around his mouth.

No, I don’t believe that I have committed a crime.  Please, oh wise policeman, tell me what exactly it is that I’ve done wrong.

Breaking and entering?  Ok, I may have entered these people’s homes, per se, but never did I break anything while I was in the houses.  I didn’t even break in.  The doors were always unlocked.

I checked.  I waited until they’d gone out and tried the doors.  It was normally the back doors that weren’t locked.  But I’m not a vandal.  I’m not going to smash up someone’s windows and doors just to get in.  There are so many houses with unlocked doors that I don’t need to waste my time breaking prior to entering.

It was simple really.  I’m a people watcher, see?  I watch them closely and intently. 

No I am not a pervert.  I watch their actions and their movements and listen to what they say.  People are so busy these days that they don’t pay attention to anything that doesn’t directly play a role in their lives.  Even then they sometimes don’t pay attention to that.  I’ve seen parents ignoring their children so that they can talk to work colleagues on their mobile phones, leaving those poor little things to dunk their chips in their ketchup and stare out the window, dreaming about stimulating conversation.  And it is these children who are being ignored that turn into the attention seeking criminals that you should be out hunting.  Go and arrest these parents, adopt these children into loving homes and watch the crime rate diminish over the next ten or so years.

I watch people barge other people out the way because they need to get somewhere 20 minutes ago and they’re not going to let anyone get in their way.  I’ve seen them knock over old ladies carrying heavy shopping bags and people on crutches and little children that have done nothing wrong.

Yes, I know that knocking into people isn’t a crime, but when someone shoves someone else out the way because they are too arrogant and wrapped up in their own world to even care, then it should be a crime.  These people are all Me! Me! Me! that they don’t notice when they hurt someone else.  I have never hurt anyone during the last two years.  I have been quiet and inconspicuous and have even helped out on occasions.  When I wasn’t in the houses, I’d carry old lady’s shopping and give up my seats on the bus so they could sit down.

I’m not trying to balance out my bad deeds with good ones.  I don’t believe in Karma.  And I also don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong.

Trespass?  Well, yes I did go into other people’s property without permission but I never did anything to show that I’d been there so it was as though I hadn’t been there so I wasn’t actually there.

Yes, I know I was discovered in one house and so I was most certainly there and that’s why I’m here, but the others had no inkling that I was there so was I really there?

Yes, I know I’ve admitted to it but without my admission I could say that I wasn’t there and your case would mean nothing.

Stealing?  I did not steal a thing while I was in these people’s houses. 

Yes, I took things but I did not take them out the house.  Everything I took was used inside the house.  I’m sure that stealing means that you have to take something away, and I didn’t take away.  I took in.

Oh, it means taking without permission?

I could hardly ask permission, could I?  Then they would have known that I was there and that would have been silly, on my part.


Stay tuned for more stories.

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