Easy Life Top Beats

It's half past bollocks on the millionth of January and all the headlines end with question marks. Hunger's turned up unexpectedly. It's odd how they put the food court next to the seafood hall. When you open your mouth for the pizza or the pad thai the fish wriggle off their stalls and float up your face-holes, shaking ice-flakes to the floor. A hundred tiny puddles and not one yellow cone. Outside it's brighter and people walk past by themselves. A man is bothering a bus stop. The stop has people in it and the man is on a two-step ladder and is making loud Jesus-based noise with his mouth. Someone walking past points at the ladder and goes hey is that a stairway to heaven? The bus stop chuckles and a thigh is slapped.
A white van approaches. Black string is trailing from its back doors and at the end of it is a black glove. It's waving at the sky and tickling the trees and removing hats. The man has his back to it. When it passes him, the glove grabs his neck, drags him off his ladder and forty feet to the corner before it lets him go.

The Healthy and Tasty Nuts Give You A Joyful and Happy Moment

Tuesday night blank time. We should've all been home making things.
The trees who didn't make it through the auditions for the part of Treebeard in Lord of the Rings were sat opposite us in the corner. The pub was hushed. The windows were dribbling and the toilets were spacious. The three trees were rustling and grumbling. I thought we could bond over our shared un-love of Lord of the Rings. Book or film. Something to do with it being very dull.
We were drinking beer brewed in oak pyramids. It was said to have benefits. You couldn't taste the geometry, but it made everything you tasted afterwards taste amazing. For a while. It was the opposite of toothpaste. That was the quote on the bottom of the label: "The opposite of toothpaste!". Not everyone loved it. It was new. It was fighting hard. We were enjoying some sesame snaps from a zip-loc bag.
The trees were drinking it too. I thought it might be a way in.
Nice beer you're drinking, I said, on my way back from the toilet.
No it isn't, replied the middle one. He was old. He had transparent teeth.
What is it then?
Not nice?
No. Decent.
The other two trees looked at me and raised their twiggy eyebrows. The one on the left pulled a leaf from his nose, scrunched it up and threw it on the floor. I thought he might spit. Can trees spit? I asked him.
You mean like hoick-pwff?
No we can't. Too dry.
I thought you pumped loads of water round all day.
We do. It gets used up. We're efficient.
No seepage?
No seepage.
That seemed to end the conversation. I went back to my friends. A hiss followed me.
We were wondering why tasty is a good thing and smelly and touchy are bad things and sighty and soundy are non-existent.
Go and tell those trees that they're sighty and soundy, said one of us.
No, you do it, said another one of us. It went on.
They're a bristly bunch.
What'll we learn?
Actually there's unsightly, isn't there.
But not sightly.
Not even slightly.
Quite shitely.
They're staring at us now.
They might come over and loom.
We can't have that.
Shall we offer them a sesame snap?
They don't eat.
Why've they got mouths then?
To be gobby with.
Like us.
We finished our pints and sauntered out. A couple of leaves wafted after us.

Must Haven'ts

Simple things followed simple things until an effect was produced. The effect was a bit boohoo. The things were manufactured torrentially and distributed in battalions and dressed in gowns and left in places where people might pick them up and buy them. After a while a sticker was added to the front of them and people almost couldn't not buy them. Eventually so many people had bought them and talked about them that anyone who hadn't bought them felt sick at the thought of doing so, because everywhere they looked they saw people with them, and in the other direction was a bright animated advert for them, and in the papers were discussions of them and of the people who owned and were talking about them, or hadn't yet bought them but planned to or hadn't yet bought them and did not plan to, because of all the hectoring and boofboof.
There were attempts to turn the things into a film. The first one failed because of weather and no money. The second one failed because of two deaths and no money, but raw noisy footage exists. The third attempt is being made in secret, by a web of people who know how to keep secrets secret.

It Was Nice To See You Even Though I Couldn't See

Glenn wants an employee. The pay will be very little. The hours will be any or all. The position will be Junior Copywriter. The advert was on Gumtree. He doesn't want a CV or references or experience. He wants some words that will make him want to buy a suit, plus two samples.

Hello Glenn. Here's the r you missed out of the advert you posted on Gumtree:
You're welcome. And now you want me to sell you a suit. Well, I only have one, Glenn, and it's completely different to the one the average Londoner wears. Even the one the above-average Londoner wears. And as for what the below-average wear: I don't know any below-average people. Do you? I can't recall ever having known any. Not back in the day or here in the other day. Everyone I know is consantly on the verge of breaking through into exactly what they want to do, while in the meantime doing something that's nothing like the thing they want to do but preferable to doing something worse, or a little bit like the thing they want to do and the financial reward compensates for the lack of spiritual reward. Some people would call that Accepting The Lowest Bid For Your Soul, but I'm not so sure. I know one future rock musician who sweeps the gutters with his face every weekend, completely voluntarily. You know how chunky those gutters can get, Glenn. There's nothing I admire more than selflessness. That's why I'm doing you the gargantuan favour of letting you know about this suit.
When you wear it, it inspires people to do more with their lives. They are not aware that the suit is affecting them. They are only aware that something is compelling them to take that first step, the first step they always picture as a leap when in fact it's only a hop or a turn. It becomes unignorable the very moment you walk past, wearing this suit, and they spend the rest of their lives wondering who to thank. It's you, Glenn. You or whoever buys it. You will be the walking opposite of a catastrophe. And the best part is: No one will ever acknowledge you. At all! You will get absolutely no thanks whatsoever. Not even by accident.
I am offering it today because I am soon going to be living in a place where there are no people. We can't have it lying in an unused smudge on my floor, can we?
And why aren't I giving it away?
Well, galactic travel is very expensive, Glenn. But I only need another ninety nine pounds to secure my ticket. If you're not going to be the next owner of this suit, I know a man called Branson who's very keen on giving it a trial run.
Let me know anytime.



Rejoice Yourself Raw

At last I'm employed in a brewery. I knew it: I kept having dreams about boozy mischief and I'd wake up smelling of alcohol, gently sweating. How'd you explain that?
I'm in the canteen, being what some people would call a food service assistant, but anyone with any sense would call a dinnerlady. It's simple work and I don't have to talk, so I can leave my brain in the fridge and think about nothing at all. The disappointing thing is that there's no 24-hour batch-testing hall where everyone gets shitfaced and vomits their pain away like they must've done in the olden days (the sixties). The other disappointing thing is that we are paid entirely in Pounds Sterling instead of Pints Heineken. It must've been a laugh-a-minute at one time, because half the men are so very miserable now. Some of them seem to perk up after breakfast, which makes things worse for the ones who've worked there longer than I've been alive.
One of my fellow dinnerladies thought that I couldn't tell the difference between hash browns and beans and very helpfully pointed at the beans and said there's the beans. Sometimes I forget, though, and carefully place one or two beans on someone's plate next to the bacon and hand it back to them and they laugh and say I think you need to go to breakfast boot-camp.

If You Are Dazzled, Slow Down or Stop

Unlike most humans, I cannot stop achieving. Last year I ticked more boxes than you hated Mondays. Every day I lost the battle against success. Victory followed me everywhere like gloom follows doom and eventually I was the first person to appear on the cover of every magazine in WH Smiths in the same month. The Smiths in the train station, mind, not the new one.
The pinnacle of my achievments was the horse I made out of pastry. Vegan pastry, which is hard to get right, you know, especially on such a large scale. As large as the shirehorse I modelled it on. I rode it through town on a Saturday morning in May so that everyone could tell how humble I was when I donated it to the local bakery that was going out of business until I rode in.
By the end of the day, there was nothing left of the horse but the blue plastic hooves, which the staff now use as hats.

The Kind Of Thing That Happens In Those Parts

The disco tree came back. Your standard Oak hulk, alone on a small hill, lit from the trunk to the tip of every branch by those electric rainbow-cables they have nowadays. Are they fibre-optic or just fancy fairy-lights? Wrapped tightly and plugged into I don't know what. That special outdoor electricity you get round Christmas.
We gathered, about thirty of us, cold and dancing, drinking from cans and bottles and a hip-flask was being passed around, and when you drank from it your face turned inside out. There were some drums and oil barrels and things to hit them with, and the people hit them and we moved while the lights on the tree pulsed purple and red. It looked like one of those fish that live in the earth's core. They know how to have a good time, those fish. Have you seen the series where Attenbrough goes through the centre of the earth? It's worth a look. Pretty soon everyone had texted everyone else and there were people all over the hill covered in light and a very tall cockney woman said fuck me that tree's going chicken oriental. The branches at the top were all shades of red and the thicker ones were going from white to blue and back again. It was like that scene in that film where there's a few people in a place and they all seem to be having a good time.
The fireworks started then. It must've been five to twelve, and our attention turned from the tree to the sky and the things bursting in it. Also, someone on the ground had fireworks, not very well-positioned, and occasionally they screamed past our heads. But no one seemd too bothered. Except the tree, which as you might know is the jealous and attention-seeking sort. Our heads were all turned away from it for about ten minutes, and when we started trying to get it going again, after the fireworks had gone from booming to popping, it had turned a solid shade of dark grey. Someone tried to hug it and slightly burnt their face on the lights.
There was a lull, then the very tall cockney woman said hang about, why don't we try turning it off and fucking on again?
But we couldn't find the switch. Or the plug, or any kind of power cable at all. And by that time we'd ran out of drink, so everyone walked down the hill to the pub for tequila.