Thursday, 28 December 2017
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
I died in the supermarket. It was embarrassing. I keeled over in a BOGOF Christmas crackers display. Mass heart attack. Boom. Gone. I should have saw it coming. Too many pastries and desserts. Too much salt, sugar, beers, ciggies, sweets, everything. I could never go the gym. Boring. Doctor said I should have taken more brisk walks outdoors. Easy if you live in the Lake District, but I live opposite the A49. Have you seen that road? Like a car park. You do get the odd jogger though, breathing in all those fumes. Strange jogging route, if you ask me.
Yeah, died in the supermarket yeah. Medics pronounced me dead at the scene. Never had time to text anyone, and tell ‘em I was dying. I wouldn’t have bothered going out, if I knew I was going to die. I would have stayed in, hung a white towel on the washing line, put on Smooth radio, and got all nice and cosy in bed. Dying in public…so embarrassing, man. I was conscious long after my heart stopped beating, ya know. Dying is not what you might think it is. You don’t just turn off like a light bulb. The electrical waves of brain activity hang around for about fifteen minutes. I was aware of the medics trying to revive me. They didn’t try very hard, I’ve gotta say. Maybe it was the end of their shift. Maybe they wanted to get home to watch the snooker final on TV. Who knows. They never even zapped me with the defibrillators. After giving it some thought, I decided I didn’t want to come back anyway. I was glad I never made it to the hospital. I’ve had enough of this world. The things people are doing to each other…I just can’t understand it. Beheadings, massacres, bombs, famines, poverty…children suicide bombers, for Godsakes. That shit’s not for me. I don’t belong here, mate. Good riddance to it. They can keep the world and all its blood diamonds. Stick ‘em where the sun don’t shine.
I had a rotten view of planet Earth. I was watching too many negative internet videos. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. The only friends I had were Facebook friends. I was bitter. I was angry. I was alone. All I left behind was a pile of unpaid bills and empty cupboards. It was the right time to go. Things are different now. I’m having a whale of a time being dead. You see, this is how it works: Wherever you die, you stay. Let me spell it out for ya: The location of your death is the place where your ghost will remain. I was lucky. I cannot leave this supermarket. Hmm…you might say, I could think of better places to be. Like a park, with sunshine and clouds. Well, I could think of worse too. Like my lonely bedroom, for example. Imagine being stuck in your own home forever and ever…and ever. Permanent, unending, non-negotiable house arrest. Plus you’d have to deal with the new people who move in and change everything. Essentially, you’d be stuck in a stranger’s hovel, listening to a stranger’s screaming kids. How bad would that be? I’d much rather be invisible in a supermarche.
During the days, I amble up and down the aisles, checking out the shoppers, worshipping in their church of consumerism. Some truly beautiful people in here. It’s thee best place to pull. I mean it. Forget the nightclubs, where the music is so loud it makes your ears bleed, get yourself into Aldi or Lidl or Morrisons or Asda or Tesco. I’m serious. I’m stuck in Sainsburys. Again, could have been worse. I could have croaked in the pound shop. Imagine being surrounded by cheapskates browsing tat all day! Or a charity shop, suffocating in bric-a-brac! Nah ta. Happy where I am, thanks. Sainsburys has it all: rough riff-raff coming in for alcohol first thing in the morning, well-to-do posh totty at the weekends, professionals after the rush hour, and families with full trollies, setting a leisurely pace, holding everyone else up – aren’t people impatient these days? They get all in a panic if someone holds them up for two minutes.
It’s nice with all the decorations up ya know…the oversized glittering Christmas tree…all the different products, all the colours, all the fancy extravagant packaging…nice. The music starts to grind after twenny dozen repeats, but as I keep saying, it could be worse.
It’s spooky at night, when the lights get dimmed. Perfect for a ghost like me. Take the other night, for example. It was strange. Very-very-very strange. The ice cream freezer opened up, and all this heavenly vapour billowed out. I heard my daughter crying, “Come. Come. Come. Mum.” I lost my daughter when she was a baby. She caught pneumonia, then died during a heart transplant operation. I never did get over it. You never do, really. Don’t think it’s possible, something like that. I mean, you deal with it, you carry on, but it’s always there, every five minutes of the day. Lizzy, she was called. Yeah. My little Lizzy. Love ya, Liz, always. But her voice, it was different, it didn’t feel right, she never died here did she, she died in hospital, with me by her side…her voice shouldn’t be here. But what do I know about the afterlife, I’ve not long been dead, maybe it is really her. I thought we might meet again someday, but not like this.
The way I see it, it could be the devil playing tricks. It could be a trap. If I walk into that ice cream freezer, maybe I’ll never get out. I dunno, I just dunno. Something’s out of whack. I nearly entered the other night, but doubt held me back. Could be hell in there. Devil could be using Lizzy to lure me in. Hell is not hot, ya know…hell is cold, and the devil’s got a heart of stone. I just can’t trust that that voice is my daughter’s. She wouldn’t plead like that to me, almost angrily, “Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum…” No, it’s not her, it can’t be her. She wasn’t even old enough to talk…
That ice cream aisle attracts some very undesirable people. Being dead gives you an extra sense. I can see inside people’s brains. I see horror movies and selfishness. You get the homeless and the unemployed drifting over to the ice cream. Ben & Jerrys, Haagen Daz, cornettos, it’s almost as if sugar is sin, and sin is sugar. Someone else died in here. Someone bad died. I see people get chills in the ice cream aisle. Things are always tumbling out when people open the freezers. It’s poltergeist day, every day. I stay away. But the voice haunts me. It doesn’t stop at night. I almost wish the Christmas carols would come back on: You better not shout, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why…I tried to leave yesterday. There’s a force-field by the exit. You know, like in Under The Dome. I hear nice things there. I hear my mum and dad, laughing, having a good time. That cheers me up a lot, more than you could ever know. Just a little bit of happiness is what keeps us going.
© Zombie Publications 2014
Monday, 13 November 2017
I started this in November 2015 and raced to ten thousand words. Then I hit a stumbling block and took a whole two years off it. Now I’m back on it and up to fifteen thousand words. I intend it to be a length of only twenty thousand words or so, so I’ve almost nearly finished. It’s nice to settle into a nice long novel of eighty thousand words plus, but I’ve always maintained that novels are too long. A novella has the potential to be better. A novella is a novel distilled, with all the boring filler parts removed. A novella is all the good segments and nothing else.
It’s about a man who is being harassed by a satellite. The capabilities of satellites in the modern age are astounding, and I wanted to touch upon this. This book may read like science-fiction, but it might also be the realest most down-to-earth thing I’ve ever penned. It’s based entirely on truth. It deals primarily with psychosis, a much misunderstood concept, but it also delves into the second coming of Jesus Christ. My previous novel Escaping Hazel had a significant religious dimension, so I don’t want to dwell on Jesus too much in this, but he is involved to some extent. There is also a Muslim element too, for balance.
It’s a conspiracy book, in effect. There’s a little bit of science in it. I’m a bit grieved at keeping it short, because half of me wanted to make it long and epic, but the main purpose is getting my point across, and that I feel will not take too much more writing. Short and digestible is the key. I’m proud to admit that this is a story that people will learn something from. It’s ever-so-slightly educational because it emanates from years of my own study and research. In a sense, it’s not even fiction. It’s cold hard facts dressed up as fiction.
Experiencing psychosis has been a horrific experience for me personally. The last four years have been riddled with it. It feels nice to candy-wrap all my hardships in a booklet of literature and present it to the world. Without writing, I’m not sure how I would cope. It would all be stuck up inside my head with no offload outage to disseminate from. That might drive me cuckoo and provoke me to release it via acts of bizarreness or dare I say it even violence. Our emotions come to the fore in mysterious ways. Writing keeps me grounded. It channels my subconscious in healthy positive pathways. I can focus my life into a selection of prearranged words on paper. I can deal with things. Even though I’m not famous, I can regard A Satellite For Me as my next big release. It’s exciting, when you are your own biggest fan. You have to be, when nobody else is. Writing is like downloading words from the ether; it’s like conjuring an alternate lifespan from the cosmos. All you can do best is live in it, for a short while, until it is finished. And thus, once done, one moves onto something else.
Tuesday, 7 November 2017
I walked and walked
I fought and fought
I swam and swam
I sank and sank
I found myself on the riverbank
Cursing my blessings, I counted my luck
And on a nice sunny day I was thunderstruck
Lightening surged through my veins
I beat my chest and shook my mane
A human and animal, together, as one
The light of the sun no longer shone
What had I become?
Oh what had I become?
Depression was my father, despair my mum
I planted my white flag
And prayed no more mercy would ever come
I wanted my life to be done
I so very badly wanted my life to be done
I walked and walked and walked
I fought and fought and fought
I swam and swam and swam
But, like always, I found myself
With a white flag upon the riverbank
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
I decided to book an appointment with my GP because I felt like Purple Aki.
“What do you mean,” she asked, “when you say you ‘feel’ like him?”
“It’s hard to explain. I just feel like him. In every way.”
“You feel like taking him out to dinner? I don’t understand.”
“No, no, you’re getting it wrong. I feel like I am him. As if we’re the same person.”
“An identity crisis?”
“You tell me, doc. That’s why I’m here.”
The doctor shifted in her seat. She looked at her computer screen, as if it might help her. “Can you elaborate upon these feelings?”
“I don’t know. I just feel his pain.”
“What pain would that be?”
“He’s big, he’s black, he’s an outcast…you know the one.”
“Do you consider yourself an outcast?”
“Just refresh me for a moment, before we go on. Who exactly is this Purple Aki fellow?”
I took a deep breath. “Purple Aki is notorious. He’s a man who approaches young men on the street and feels their muscles. He questions them on what they lift and he has them doing squats and press-ups in the park. His fame has gone viral through word of mouth. He operates all over the Northwest. The man is a myth, a legend. We were all scared of him as kids. He was a real-life Bogeyman. They said that he would bum you if you couldn’t squat him, and if he couldn’t fit up you then he would carve a bigger opening with his knife. Some said he offered you the option of Pop or Slash. If you choose pop then that meant a good bumming, or if you chose slash then he would write P.A, his intials, on your butt cheeks…with his knife, of course.”
“And this is a real human being we are talking about? Not some internet gossip?”
“He’s real. This is way before the days of the internet. And he’s still at large, after all this time! He carries a bag for life with him wherever he goes. It’s rumoured that there are only three things in it: his knife, a tape measure – for measuring muscles – and a notepad full of the details of everyone he’s ever stopped.”
“Have you ever seen him?”
“Yes! He got me! Well, I mean, he never got me, got me, he just stopped me and my mates for a chat.”
The doctor kneeled forward in her chair. “And what did he say?”
“I can’t remember. It was a long time ago. Something about how macho boys in cars think they are together. I was a little offended he didn’t want to feel my muscles.”
“No, that’s a joke.”
“Oh.” The doctor looked lost for words. “Have you tried writing to him? Let him know how you feel?”
“I don’t know his address. He got banned from Widnes.”
“Has he got a fan club?”
“A fan club?” I burst out laughing. “No – but he should have! Like I say, the man is a legend. Just imagine how many muscles I’d have to touch before every kid in the Northwest feared me. It’s hard to comprehend the level of notoriety he’s achieved.”
“Is that something you yourself feel predisposed to – touching young men’s muscles?”
“No, but I don’t see the harm in it. Do you think he’s gay?”
“Do I think he’s gay? I have no idea. I don’t know him personally.”
“That’s the thing – nobody knows him. They know of him, but they don’t really know him. That’s where I come in. I want to hear his side of the story. I want to sit down and listen to what he’s got to say.”
“Maybe you should try and distract yourself from this gentleman, Purple Aki. Have you tried relaxation, or meditation, or yoga?”
“Nothing works. I still feel like him. Do you think I might have a split personality disorder? Do you think that one soul can live in separate bodies?”
“I’m sorry, I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m not a shamanist either. But I do have a question for you.”
“Where does the name Purple come from?”
“It’s because he’s so black he looks purple. He told the judge one time that he thinks that’s a racial slur. I think it’s harmless.”
“Okay. Well, I see what you’re telling me, but I really think that I’m quite limited as to how I can help you.”
“It’s fine, doc. I just thought I would try and see someone about it. Get it off my chest like, you know.”
“You’ve done the right thing. Talking therapy is useful.”
“Is there anything you can do to help me stop feeling like him? It comes in waves. One minute I’m fine, the next I can’t get him off my mind. Do you think we could have a psychic link? He might be communicating with me, using his mind.”
“Do you exercise? That might help.”
“I find myself walking from town to town, retracing his footsteps. I don’t know what I expect to find. It’s like hunting a ghost. But it makes my connection stronger with him.”
“How long has this been going on?”
“About two years, off and on. I can’t control it.”
“That’s a shame.” The doctor settled back in her seat. “But I might just have something for you…”
My eyebrows raised expectantly. “Anything doctor, please…”
“The Samaritans. I can’t believe I didn’t think of them earlier. Here’s their number.”
I took it. A minute later I was stood outside the surgery just staring at their card on the pavement. What would be the point though, just to recant everything I’d said all over again? I rang them anyway. And guess who answered? Yes, Purple Aki. He’d gotten a job with them! He introduced himself, I introduced myself, and we had a nice long chat.