Poacher come with his Poacher’s gun

He waits.

Breath measured, regular, inaudible. Expression tense, taut, concentrated, but muscles relaxed, waiting to be called upon. Body still, blending into the undergrowth. Eyes scanning the treeline, anticipating telltale movements.

Any minute now.

It is sound that provides the first hint of their presence. Foolishly squawking their arrival, inanely chattering at eachother; they have the arrogant haughtiness of predators themselves, and believe themselves invulnerable in this, their private domain.

Easy mistake.

He is in the perfect position, having meticulously planned this meeting, so he needs only to slightly, ever so slightly, track his scope towards the noise and – voilá! Once the unwitting marauders emerge, he will require mere milliseconds to account for each and every one of them.

Get the Alpha.

As the hubbub inches ever-closer, he reminds himself one last time to ensure that all of the hunting party must be clear of the wooded sanctuary before he engages. It is not in his nature to be hasty – how could it be, as a highly-trained, hugely-experienced killer? – but he is nothing if not methodical. His method always involves a final check.

Isolate and annihilate.

The hoots and wails of the revelry are so loud now as to indicate intoxication. That was neither here nor there for him, it merely made it easier to identify how many targets there were.

Alpha… Mate…  Two heavies… Pater familias… Mater familias…

No problem. The sextet finally hove into view, almost as one, and he exhales for the last time before pulling the trigger. Mechanically, he dispatches his prey before they even have a chance to realise what is taking place. With total conviction and relentless dedication, he speedily accounts for the cackling crew. He takes a moment to settle down, to let his heart-rate return to normal, before slowly rising from his firing position.

God save the King.

In his poacher’s garb, he will not raise any suspicion as he exits the Sandringham woodlands. He is, after all, a member of this prestigious private estate. Once the alarm is raised, he will be far away, smoking a Romeo y Julieta and serenely celebrating a successful hunt. The assassin whistles a tune as he packs up his gear and ambles away from the carnage.

Goodbye to the King of Nothing really,
Wave of a hand and a Life of Riley,
Part-Nazi, Part-King Billy,
Goodbye to the Crown.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

 

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Call a spade a shovel

With a muffled-yet-resounding crump, the four-story building about half a mile upriver on the opposite bank crumbled under a barrage from unseen artillery. Cordite and concrete filled the air, an intoxicating and inhuman mix. After a minute or so, the smoke cleared enough for the ruins to be made out. Nothing moved. Nothing living remained. A brief cheer went up from the embattled bastion, and their commander gave a quiet sigh of relief before speaking into the radio.

“Good hit, good hit on One. I repeat, good hit on Fortification One. I can confirm that no further enfilade is being received from upriver, we are secure. Cease bombardment. Repeat, cease bombardment.”

How significant was this victory? It certainly brought about a cessation of combat which, however temporary, was desperately welcome. In such circumstances, the passage of time becomes impossible to gauge, so that the men and women who had been struggling to weather the assault felt as if they had been fighting for days, weeks, months…

Their enemies seemed incessant. Drawing from an eternity of enmity. Every bullet, missile and rifle a tool eminently necessary to extricate them from their circumstances. What else could they use? All they had left was a desire to eliminate the chains which had held them for so long, and the methods of violence which could assist them in doing so. The decision to fight for one’s survival is no decision at all when no alternative remains.

The military denizens of the riverside barracks were unaware of this. The soldiers viewed their opposition as an exterminator might view vermin; unpleasant, nasty, disgusting nuisances…which necessitate their existence. As one grizzled, surprisingly vegetarian NCO liked to put it, “We’re only good for crackin’ heads…so let’s give thanks to ‘em for givin’ us some heads to crack, at least!”

Infantry and commander were as one in their reading of the situation: The state must be protected. The government must be the rulers of the state. The rulers are always legitimate. Rebels are always illegitimate. Establishment good, challenges bad. Status quo ante bellum.

A spade is never a shovel.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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Behemoth-eaten in Scar City

Tendrils wrapped around every pillar of interaction. No space left to call safe. Privacy now a distant memory. Every breath measured, every utterance analysed, every thought policed. Orwell’s predictions now woefully quaint. The dystopian visions of the past a fairytale compared to the marketable reality of the present. Escape a hilarious joke. Death the only release. To sleep perchance to dream? To sleep perchance to evade dreams filled with focus-grouped product placement. Squeeze your eyes shut. Jam your fingers so far into your ears that the drums rupture. You will find no release.

You will never be free. You will never be free. You will never be free.

‘Vee haff vays off may-keeng yew calm…’ Pop pills for the quietude, play videogames for the achievement, watch X Factor for the schadenfreude, drink booze for the distraction. Create lusts and desires to fill the gaps left by mind-numbing soul-destroying tedium. Set about fulfilling them, however temporarily. Transient the satisfaction, but its presence a welcome relief.

Sometimes… Eyes meet. Mutual acknowledgment. This is out of hand. Solutions aired, opinions sought, optimism courted. No progress. No change. No revolution. Words drifting into the winter air. A prayer thrown up against the night. Not alone, but still lonely. Surrounded by humanity, struck by its inhumane direction. Angry at everyone and no-one. Those bastards!…but then, they are compelled by a systematic imperative. How can be free ourselves from our cuffs when we don’t even know who possesses the keys?

Rambling. Mumbling. Muttering.

Nonsense. Gibberish. Bullshit.

Every ideal twisted. Every principle discarded. Every soul for sale.

A frightening acquiescence to the destruction of everything that has ever been, and everything that ever will be.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…  

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The Curious Case of the Bus that disappeared up its own jacksey

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have information concerning the whereabouts of one 25 bus to come forward immediately. The lost public transport vehicle, which routinely departs its terminus at Lucan Dodsboro in the direction of Merrion Square, and its driver, a Geansaí Fitznun (35) of no fixed abode, have been missing since Thursday afternoon. When the commuter service failed to appear as scheduled at 13:20, the alarm was raised approximately 40 minutes later by a flabbergasted citizen – one Sebastien Claire (39) of Elve Larrakon, Strawberry Beds, Dublin 50.

Mr Claire was subsequently quoted as saying, “I just wanted to drop me docket into the Social Welfare – as ya do, like- and figured it’d take maybe an hour an’ a half, two hours tops. I mean, the office is only in Clondalkin, but to get there I’ve to get one bus into Liffey Valley, walk for about fifteen minutes to another stop, wait for maybe thirty-to-forty more minutes, then get another bus to the Dole Centre.

It’s fucking bullshit, frankly – but at least the cocking bus usually shows up eventually!”

Police say that they have no leads at this early stage, but speculation is rife about the location of the mislaid vehicle with wild conjecture theorising anything from simple larceny on the part of Mr Fitznun to transdimensional rifts consuming whole buses without warning. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the incident may be connected to the Luas which stood paralysed at James’ Hospital for almost 20 minutes on Monday morning, and the Ryanair jet which mysteriously remained on the tarmac for the guts of half an hour some evening last week.
The investigation continues.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…db

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On a lighter note; CARRRRRRRRRRRRRS!

Today, I shall be going through my Top 5 Automobiles in Fiction. Just a bit of fun, no particular order, but jaysus I’d love to give any one of ‘em a spin one day. First up…

Ecto 1

What a beaut. Inspired choice for the Ghostbusters films, with a cool siren and array of flashing lights. How could a lil kid like yours truly have any reaction to this sooped-up custom 1959 Cadillac other than, “COOOOOOOOL”? It was also perfect for the films, in that it was the ambulance/hearse style body which in itself implies all sorts of death and post-death ceremony. Reading too much into it? You bet! It definitely had some sort of paranormal aura though, ‘cos allegedly when it was driven around NYC to promote the first film in 1984, it “caused many accidents because other drivers lost control when they spotted the now-famous car.” It’s just soooo entrancing…

Bluesmobile

Technically the original ‘Bluesmobile’ was an unseen Cadillac that Elwood Blues traded for a microphone prior to the events depicted in the film, but since there’s no other name for this vehicle, everybody just runs with it. The real star of the Blues Brothers, which remains my favourite movie ever. That’s no small praise when you consider how much I feckin’ love my films! This 1974 Dodge Monaco with police package was just badass, outrunning cops, hicks & Nazis an’ doing all sorts of impossible stunts to boot. Put more rollers on – there are no more. Jake & Elwood’s trusty steed took them on their mission from God all the way to their destination, and then [SPOILER ALERT] fell apart completely. People say they teared up at the end of Terminator 2, when Arnie descends into the pit of molten metal, but for me the passing of the Bluesmobile will always be more worth a cry.

Bandit Trans Am

Forgive me, because the film this car stars in is not a patch on the previous two. BUT JUST LOOK AT IT! Ahem. This is a Pontiac Firebird, the speedster driven by Burt Reynolds in Smokey & The Bandit. Trucks, a bassett hound, Norma Rae as a bride fleeing a wedding, cop chases, a cracking theme tune… Loadsa fun. One question though; who the hell is ‘Smokey’?

A Bear’s Natural Habitat

Movin’ right along…in Fozzie’s Studebaker from the Muppet Movie. Not gonna lie, I’m a sucker for post-war era cars – tis one of my favourite things about L.A. Noire, getting to drive some of those gorgeous motors. I even quite like the dusty brown look this 1951 Bullet Nose Commander (what a name, by the way) has before the troupe decide to give it a proper hippie going-over & make it a kaleidoscopic celebration of their journey.

Greased Lightning

Technically, there are TWO cars called Greased Lightning, but one of them is clearly imaginary, so I’m going with the one that actually exists in Grease. Oh, you didn’t know? Yeah, the flashy red one that appears in the dance number and flies away carrying Danny & Sandy at the end of the movie is clearly some sort of ideal, a 1948 Ford Deluxe that the T-Birds cannot possibly hope to recreate with Kenickie’s motor. Confusingly, his is also a 1948 Ford Deluxe, only his is a more standard Convertible model. Anyway, this is more evidence of my love for all automobiles produced between about 1945 and 1980 – everything since then has, effectively, been unremarkable in my eyes.

So that’s yer lot. My favourite car ever is actually a Ford Mustang, but since I haven’t yet seen Bullitt I had to respectfully excise it from this list. Same goes for a lovely one James Dean drives in Rebel Without A Cause. Oh well.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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Is this navel worthy of such gazing?

Nervous and twitchy, I chew at my own cheeks. When I am like this, it feels like anyone and everyone in my environment is looking at me. Judging me. Laughing at me. Criticizing me.

I can’t speak for other sufferers of anxiety. I can only write about my own life. Maybe my experience is unique… Maybe it is the exact same as everybody else’s. There is no way for me to know – not precisely, anyone. Others’ words may strike a chord, but we can never convey the feelings, not really. Not entirely.

Dread. That’s the word that always comes closest to summing up the trepidation and anticipation. Gotta go to work? Dread. Gotta go to the shops? Dread. Gotta leave the house for any reason? Dread. It doesn’t have to be an external journey that triggers the anxiety – sometimes it can just be any form of obligated activity: Gotta write an article? Dread. Gotta make a phone call? Dread. Gotta do some cleaning/tidying/gardening? Dread.

It’s just a word, though. The frustration of being unable to articulate your own neuroses follows you all the time. The social unacceptability of your illness, your mental weakness, hangs over you and exacerbates the negative feelings. ‘Self-compassion’ is a word, a technique, that is absolutely vital for such times. It’s normal to hate yourself for struggling to do what others seem – ‘seem’ being the operative word here – to have no problem in accomplishing.

How can I describe these anxieties? There is the cannonball in the gut – a regular experience back when I saw romantic relationships as the be-all and end-all of life and was afraid that my own insecurities would be uncovered at any moment, leading to inevitable doom, dooommmmm, DOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!

Ahem. Sorry about that.

There’s the sickness and loss of appetite. Probably one of the reason’s I’ve remained so damned thin over the years. I have never dieted and rarely exercise, plus I love chocolate, and pizza, and beer, and all sorts of things that should make you gain weight…but I suppose when you’re the variety of anxious that tends to eschew food entirely on a regular basis, there should be no surprise when your body shape stagnates.

Flushing & blushing is pretty common. Doesn’t really bother me as much as it did in my teenage years – maybe it was more apparent then. The sensation of blood rushing to my face is, in any case, less of a concern when I feel like I’m gonna yak all over the place and said yak is mostly gonna be acidic bile ‘cos I haven’t been able to eat since god-knows-when. Lovely image, right?

The twitchiness, and the certainty that you’re doing something wrong – whatever it is – is a near-constant. Should I be crossing my legs in this situation? Is my cough irritating the other passengers? Do I look weird, looking at what I’m looking at? Oh sweet mother of dogshit’s origin, I just made eye contact with another human – do I now look like a sex-pest/dickhead/psycho? You get so tied-up and tight, it makes you just want to crawl into the nearest hole. Just to get away from the exposure.

As well as the inside of my mouth, I tend to chow down on my nails too. Not so much the actual cuticles, more the flesh around them. Mostly either side of the nail, if you know what I mean. Between the chomping of my cheek and the nail-skin, I get paranoid about how it looks to other people whenever I catch myself doing it publicly. ‘Now I know I’m coming across like a total nutcase’, I instantly think to myself.

How can you work – in a job, I mean – when you are under this strain? How can you live your life the way everyone else does, when the sort of actions you would be required to perform day-to-day are so completely unbearable? How can you get to a point where regular employment is not something to be feared, but something to be celebrated for the rewards that it might provide?

If I know anything about myself right now, it is this; I cannot work in a normal job – ‘normal’ here being defined as anything over a couple of hours employment per week – and I cannot envisage that changing in the near future. Therefore, my life is precarious, with very little in the way of safeguards or opportunities for growth – in the sense of saving, anyway.

To some of you, maybe even most of you, I am a bum. Believe me when I say; I wish this were not so.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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Get out your tiny violins

It is we who are the damned. We who have to live with the shame. We who must struggle day and night – especially at night – with the memories of how we saw all this coming…and did nothing. We did nothing to stop it.

A billion people on a dollar a day? Nothing. Two billion on less than twenty bucks per day? Nothing. The last drops of oil, the last sheets of ice, the last trees of rainforest? Nothing. We cannot claim ignorance. We knew about everything. We had the information superhighway and citizen journalists. We had satellite phones and 3G connections. We were the most developed, most knowledgeable, most equipped generation the world had ever known. All we had to do, was share.

Eighty-five people with the combined wealth of the poorest three-and-a-half billion. Half of the entire globe’s wealth owned by just one percent of its population. Nine out of every ten people the world over becoming poorer, year on year…while the few at the top get richer and richer and richer. Inequality without end, amen.

Except that it does end. We knew it would. We watched our HD televisions and drove our fancy cars and it’s not like we were stupid, for heaven’s sake; we just didn’t care. ‘People lived on cents-per-day and some even died in order for me to have this iPhone? Pah, fuck ‘em. Sure what else are they gonna do for a living?’ Five million people died in the Congo in a fight over who gets to mine the precious Coltan – a mineral used in ninety-five percent of all electronic devices. Martyrs for a consumerist age.

In the end, with a humorous slant, it is the drying up of our most abundant liquid that does for us. You would think that the Earth being about seventy-one percent water would be enough, right? Wrong. Peak water comes…and goes. None of us pay the slightest bit of notice. Not at first, anyway. Not until our own crops begin to fail at a rate that impacts on our beloved bran cereals, and those among our own privileged class begin to die drinking water sourced from a contaminated aquifer. Not until the water wars in West Africa, India and Peru begin to deprive us of our basic needs i.e. coffee, marijuana, cashew nuts.

We live the same lives that they did, now. Lives of scarcity, precariousness and desperation. The difference is that we are alive, and they are dead. We always survive, you see. We always last the distance. Why?

Because we are parasites.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters… 

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