Friday, 9 August 2013

Friday Stories To Stop You Cussin'

1. Me And Buzz And The Alien Abduction

He got the cops to call me instead of his Maw. She had said if he was arrested one more time that he would have to sleep in the town dump ‘cause she was washing her hands of him. Buzz knew she’d never do that but still - he didn’t want to take the chance, so I get woken by a call a 3.22 in the morning. I kid you not.

The cop at the desk looks at me as if I’m just as stupid as Buzz.
“He’s in the back and I think you know where to go.”
The truth is, I did know where to go – over the years, me and Buzz both had cooling off time in the room at the back. It was never for anything serious but then that’s what happens in small towns, the cops throw you in the back room to keep you out of the road of your Maw and Paw. 
Buzz’s face was deep purple, I mean deep grape purple by the time I got to the room and there was some cowboy counting: ‘1001..‘1002’...’1003’.... I need to tell you at this point that Buzz was hand-standing against the wall and he was betting with the other kids in the jail that he could stay up the longest.

“Another ten seconds and you’re the champion of Duchess County jail,” shouted the cowboy. Who would have thought then - that that would be the exact second when Buzz passed out? I mean he just lay there all dead to the world. I looked at the cowboy who looked at the other kids in the cell he’d been betting with.
“Act of God,” called the cowboy.
“What cha sayin’?” said the skinny little kid with bad skin.
“I’m sayin’, it’s an act of God.”
“And?” asked the mean kid with the tattoos. “And I want you to think real careful before you answer.”

 Then the mean kid punched his palm with his fist followed by a real evil smile. I always wondered were these kids born with evil mean smiles or did they practice hard at it? 

Buzz was coming around to opening his eyes as the cowboy was handing back the green stuff to the other kids.By the time Buzz could stand, the rest of the kids had been released. He stuck his arm around my neck and I carried him out of the cop store.

Buzz didn’t want to go home, not yet, leastways not until he got a story together that his Maw would believe. She was like the secret police or somethin’, I mean that woman could smell a lie at spittin’ distance with her eyes closed – and boy did Buzz’s Maw know how to spit. When she was younger, she’d been the Tri-county spittin’ Champion. There were cups on her smoking table and she was real proud of them.

Every birthday party whether she was asked or not, she would chew some baccy then spit the whole caboodle across the room into a vase which was always sat next to her Grandma’s urn. The back wall had brown stains where she’d been practisin’. When she got the baccy in the vase she’d give a chuckle then spit the rest of her goo into the fire, and after it sizzled she’d declare it the best birthday party ever.
You can kinda see where Buzz got his craziness from?
But I’m floatin’ away from the story here – so where were we? Oh, yeh, so Buzz comes back to my place and I asks him: "What was you in for this time?”

“It’s a long story,” he says to me. It always is.
So I sit down knowin’ I’m gonna regret askin’ but I can’t help myself but before I can ask him for more, he’s already started the story...
“You remember, Becky Weiss?” asks Buzz.
I think I do but I ain’t sure, so I just kinda shrug my shoulder.
“Yeh, you do. She was the red headed kid who claimed she’d been abducted by aliens.”
  Then I remembered that Becky Weiss. She got pregnant at 15 and told everyone the father was a creature from Saturn who took her against her will in the middle of the night. When the kid was born it was the spittin’ image of Frank Dunbar from the farm down by the lake, I think her story kinda fell apart at that point.  

She’s got 5 kids now, claims the man from Saturn visits her every full moon and every year she gets pregnant. Well I met her tonight and guess what, she was askin’ ‘bout you.”
"Me?” Jeez until five minutes ago I could even remember who Becky Weiss was.
“Yeh, she asked what had happened to my cute bud.”
The blood shot straight through the top of my head.
“She didn’t?”
  “Did too. Anyhoo, that ain’t the story. When I first see her, she’s carrying some groceries and they spill over onto the sidewalk. So I stop and I help a lady in distress. Then I sees who it is, well I saw that tattoo of Jimmy Carter on the back of her neck first and I knew it was her.”
“Becky?” I said.
"Buzz? Is that really you?”
So Buzz tells me that he and Becky got quickly to talking ‘bout things and what had happened to her since her first alien abduction; nothing much, apparently, ‘cept for the other alien abductions. You gotta wonder if Becky was a prize in some lottery for aliens? I mean, these space creatures travel way across the Milky Way just to meet Becky Weiss?
Yep, it’s got me puzzlin’ as well, bro’. I ain’t questionin’ anythin’, just wonderin’ that’s all.
“So we’re talking and there’s nothin’ else you understand, just talking,” says Buzz.
“I hear ya,” I say.
"Then there’s a knocking on the window of Becky’s place.”
“So what?” I ask.
“She says that it might be the alien comin’ a callin’. Now I don’t know about you but I ain’t one to be abducted by no alien.”
“So what did you do?”

Jeez this story was starting to get excitin’, ‘though I’d never tell Buzz that.

“Well I just punched the alien straight in the face, no whys or wherefores, you understand don’t cha?" I nodded my head that I did but I don’t think I really did.
“So....,” and I knew I was gonna regret asking, “what happened next?”
Then Buzz got real upset and said that the alien had called the cops because of the fact that the spaceman had been hit straight in his antenna.
"I didn’t know aliens could call the cops,” I said, genuinely.
And apparently neither did Buzz.
Now here’s the thing, it was only years later when I was attending the funeral of Becky Andrews (once known as Becky Weiss) that I found out that some of the boys of the town used to dress up as aliens to have their own sweet way with Becky. You hear what I’m sayin’, don’t cha?
Just so’s you know, Buzz told his Maw he’d fallen asleep at my place and she seemed happy with that. 

2. Me And London Jimmy And Cuthbert 

So there‘s me and London Jimmy strolling down the Kings Road and he says he’s just seen The Who.

“Where?” I ask him. ‘Cause I’m thinking he must mean he’s seen them at one of this city’s fine rock ‘n’ roll venues – you know, like the O2 or Hammersmith Palais.“’ve missed them,” Jimmy tells me. “They must have disappeared into a shop”.
“Like Tesco?” I ask him my friend, sarcastically.
“Don’t be stupid. Do you see a Tesco?” He asks me.
“So you’re telling me, you’ve just seen The Who, all of them out shopping together?”

“And your problem is?” He sneers back.
"All of them?”
“All of them.”

“Including Keith Moon?” I ask, drawing him into a trap.
“Including Keith Moon,” he assures me.

“But he’s dead,” I say with a ‘that’s one to me, stick that in your pipe and smoke it’ kind of look, “And so’s the bass player,” I add with a final flourish.

London Jimmy continues walking up Kings Road ahead of me and I’m ‘oh, ho’, he must be in a huff. Then he stops, looks around and says...
“You are a tit and a Scottish tit at that.”

Then he disappears into a shop where he’s probably pursuing The Who.
Okay, me and London Jimmy have had our sticky moments but we’ve had some of life’s great adventures, as well.
One fine summer’s day, me and London Jimmy were heading down to a pub at London Bridge to me meet some TV punter or other – Steve someone - as London Jimmy wants to tell him a few of our stories, and believe me we’ve got more than a few to tell.
Me and LJ are the first in this rather Dickensian pub, I have a rather cheeky wee Italian beer and he has a Skittle’s Vodka – now you’re sitting there thinking ‘what’s a Skittle’s Vodka’ and I would have to tell you that it’s Skittle sweeties and vodka. Now if you don’t mind, can I get on with the story?
So this “Media Guy” - yes I did just make rabbit signs with my fingers. This “Media Guy” fails to show but instead in walks this rather charming and minging wee man by the name of Cuthbert, something we find out after we’ve bought him his third Skittle’s Vodka. Curiosity had gotten the better of him and he asked what London Jimmy was imbibing (that’s the way Cuthbert talks).
And the end of a quite charming and yet heavy session Cuthbert, London Jimmy and myself retire to Cuthbert’s set of apartments just off Zampa road.

Turns out that Cuthbert is both an alien and a Millwall supporter. Yeh, you heard me right, a Millwall supporter. It seems that he’s been here for years waiting on the mother ship to take him back home and while he was waiting, he thought he would take in a game of footie to while away the hours. He is an official member of the Neil Harris fan club.

Apparently Cuthbert has been here, on earth, for a good wee while and has known all the great and the good. For instance, when Millwall first started up as a bona fida football club in 1885, Cuthbert was there watching all the early footie matches. It was at one of those games that he met the great writer Robert Louis Stevenson (or Scottish Bob as Cuthbert called him) – Cuthbert swears that it was him who gave Scottish Bob the idea of writing Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde – on account of Cuthbert’s temper.

It was apparently Cuthbert’s temper that got him into trouble more than once. In 1888, when Millwall were having a particularly bad season Cuthbert found himself walking around the East End with a good drink in him. Aliens aren’t that good at drinking apparently and well, he would wake up in the morning covered in blood and with surgical equipment beside him.

“You get drunk a few times and they start calling you Jack the Ripper”
London Jimmy said it sounded better than Cuthbert the Ripper and we all had to agree.
So where is all this going to end with Cuthbert?
Well Cuthbert says he’s staying on in Earth until Millwall win the FA Cup.
We’ll see.

3. The Mystery At Victory Mansions   

From the top of Victory Mansions, it was said that you could see the whole of the world and a few miles beyond that. Mr Edward Shrew was the owner of the highest room in the building and would sometimes charge a penny to any passer-by who wanted to see the ends of the Earth.
On a clear evening it was also the place to watch the heavens move across the sky and for that Mr Edward Shrew charged any interested parties two pennies for the pleasure.

Edward would push his clients through the smallest window in his attic and would then tell them to hold on for dear life. Three of his passers-by had slid off the roof at different times, one killing another passer-by below.

Mr Shrew used to tell the local policeman that the bodies belonged to unhappy souls who had jumped because they couldn’t take it anymore.

Mr Edward Shrew always took precautions, in that he measured the width of a client’s backside in order to establish if they were small enough to fit through the window. On one occasion, Mrs Petigrew had lied about her size and had been well and truly stuck in the window for several days. While up there, she had been hit by rain, snow and on the Tuesday night, some lightning which left her with a permanent bald patch. From that time on, Mr Shrew measured everyone.

It was on one particular bank holiday Wednesday that Professor Grand paid Mr Shrew his two pennies, Grand had his backside approved for size and then he was pushed on to the roof. Professor Grand was the leading light in the country on shiny things in the sky. If ever a person had a question on shiny things in the sky, Professor Grand was your man. And it was on that Wednesday evening that Professor Grand did something very unusual. He shouted out for the very first time in his life.

You see Professor Grand had seen something peculiar in the sky and it had surprised him. It was a shiny thing (of which he knew everything) but it was a shiny thing that blinked and winked.
“Werry, werry, strange,” said Professor Grand. “Werry strange, indeed.”

When Professor Grand was back on the safety of the street, he sent a messenger around to each of his esteemed colleagues, to arrange a meeting in order that they discuss the shiny thing that blinked and winked in the night sky.
Seven of his friends thought that it might be comet on its way to crash into the Earth. Three thought it a sign from the Heavens about something or other that they couldn’t be specific about and one thought it was the start of an alien invasion.

Professor Grand decided to refrain from coming to a conclusion until he knew more. So each evening, he would pay Mr Shrew his two pennies (an income that he was beginning to appreciate), and although he had been there the night before, Mr Shrew still insisted on measuring the professor’s posterior.

“Can’t be too careful, you might have put on some weight in the meantime, Proffy,” said Shrew.
Professor Grand hated being called ‘proffy’ but as long as he needed the roof he knew to keep his thoughts to himself.

Each evening, the professor clung on for dear life and took notes about the way the shiny thing, blinked and the way the shiny thing, winked. Yet there seemed to be no pattern to any of it. It wasn’t getting any bigger in size, which led the professor to think that maybe it wasn’t headed towards Earth after all.

I will place it out before you, dear readers, what was puzzling the dear professor. Sometimes, even when there were clouds in the sky and no other stars were visible, the shiny thing still blinked and winked.
“Werry, werry, werry strange,” said Professor Grand.  In fact there probably wasn’t enough ‘werries’ in the world to cover the professor’s curiosity and worries.
Sometimes it stopped, perhaps for a week or more and strangely on Christmas Day.
‘Curious’, wrote the professor in his notebook.

One sunny afternoon when Professor Grand was sleeping at his large house on the other side of town, two police constables called at the building opposite Mr Shrew’s Victory Mansions and arrested the man on the top floor. Apparently he had been going out at night on to his roof, standing on the top of the chimney and using his telescope to look into all the bedrooms opposite. From afar, the reflection from the telescope seemed to blink and wink and Professor Grand died never knowing the truth.

4. The Stones 

Willie wiped his brow and looked out at the desert. There had been stories as far back as the dawn of time about the desert, the Moonboy Hills and those stones.

It had been said that when the stones started to move the end was coming. Willie always wondered what end these folks were talking about. He had been too long in the saddle to really care about such things now. There were names and places that he had started to forget and well, his end was probably coming sooner rather than later.Willie guessed there must be a right time for everything.

He remembered when he was a boy and that first evening he’d ridden up into the Moonboys. He’d been arguing with his paw about some nonsense or other. Taking off with his old horse General had seemed the easiest way to resolve things. The first two nights had been lonely and cold, boy could it get cold up there.
On the third night he’d taken shelter in a cave and managed to light a fire. That was when he saw them - the weird carvings on the far wall.

When he’d asked around town about them, one of those clever college guys had talked about the pre-Clovis people being responsible but Will had no idea what he was going on about. The Professor had asked if Will could take him to the exact place where he’d seen the carvings but Will wasn’t too keen. He just said he’d forgotten. Anyhow Willie felt it went a lot deeper and darker than those Clovis folks, there was something strange about those signs and that was the truth.
Funny thing to tell, he’d never actually shown anyone other than his own family the location of the carvings. In his teenage years Willie had spent a lot of time up in the hills worrying and thinking about one thing or another.
Girls, money, work, you name it he always took his problems ‘to the cave’.
When he met Sarah he’d stopped going up there. Then, when the kids had come along, he’d take them up one by one on his horse to show them the pictures. But they had all grown up and moved away and no one apart from his youngest Brad had kept up any interest in the place.

Recently after Sarah’s death he’d found himself coming back to the place more and more, to think over his life. Things didn’t feel so lonely up there. The kids and their children very rarely came visiting anymore and he’d usually see the clan at some Christmas get-together, then nothing until the following year.
Willie didn’t mind saying it, he was as lonely as hell and wondering if it was time he should be moving on. 

Life was for the young and he would tell you, he hated getting old. It hurt in every sense of the word. He was tired and it was as plain and simple as that.

Then a couple of weeks ago the stories had started circulating around the place. Over at Jacob’s Rock and in Wall Fire Alley there had been folks talking about the stones, they were moving, sometimes as much as several feet in a night.

Over in Kent County a minister had called it the end of days. He’d seen the stones moving with his own eyes, may God strike him down if he was lying.

Some folks from the big city came and took photos of the stones and they were kind of thinking that the locals were up to no good, perhaps moving them in the middle of the night. But as the good folks of the Moonboys had seen, there were no footprints near the stones. No rope marks. No way, anyone or, anything could have been involved.
Sixty years before the stones started moving when Willie was still a teenager, he had taken a rubbing of the cave carvings. He was sure he still had them somewhere.
After a barrel load of searching one stormy afternoon, he’d found them in the attic, three clear images of the carvings.

The first image was of little rocks sitting on a plain. In the second, the rocks had changed position and they all seemed to have moved or been moved in the same direction. On the third there was a figure that someone in antiquity had attempted to erase from the carving by rubbing over the image with something rough.

It had never made any sense to Willie except there was something peaceful about the carvings and the cave. There was no doubt about it there was a connection between the story that these carvings were telling and the rocks moving.

Willie decided he’d go out to Lazy Boy Canyon and have a look for himself. He’d go at night when the desert was a lot cooler then he’d catch the stones as the sun came up.

He pitched his old tent by an overhang that helped him get some shelter from the frost. He tried as best he could to get some sleep but this wasn’t a night for it.

Just after two in the morning he could hear a scraping not too far from the tent, he guessed it was just another lonely animal out looking for company or food.He rested a while but around four in the morning the sun rose over the top of the Moonboys and caused the tent to heat up real bad. Willie felt the only place to go was outside and anyway he was eager to see the stones. 
Sure enough, there they were, streaks of sand behind them like they had been moving on their own.

Surely that couldn’t have been what he’d heard in the dark of night?
Willie walked over to the rock and all of a sudden he felt a peace come down on him like he’d never felt before.
 He bent down and touched the rock  and smiled.A few days later they found the tent but nothing was ever found of Willie.
There was one strange thing that only the wild animals would have seen, the rock that Willie had touched had moved forwards a few feet.

5. The 'Tweens

In all the time that planet Earth had been circling our Sun, it was a miracle that they hadn’t been seen or at least caught on camera before now. 
They had lived here far longer than us and had kept themselves apart from us. Perhaps that was the reason they survived. Homo Sapien’s impatience with those different from themselves had long been demonstrated. 

They were probably mistaken for Yeti, or Ghosts, or Monsters – Man had called many things monsters except perhaps, himself. 
The Universe was theirs – they lived amongst the dark matter, they lived in the time between seconds, they lived in the rooms that were left empty until we entered them, they lived in the spaces that we had not owned or destroyed. They lived in the inbetween. 
There’s one now in the next room from you, living the life of a ‘Tween  - until you turn the door handle, that is. 

bobby stevenson 2013

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