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Thighs…

I make a lovely cat bed,
My thighs are soft and pliant. 
Tortured by the shredding claw, 
Until they are compliant. 
And if they think of moving,
Or are at all defiant,
The sharp hooks of autocracy,
Shall render due chastisement.  

Ow. 

So, we’re getting towards recording the final scenes, so I thought I’d share the only edited scene with you so far. This scene was written by me, it is not in the book, as a prologue. Hope you enjoy!

You can follow the progress of Radio Rivers on Twitter @RadioRivers.

Aunt Celia

Aunt Celia

The text message said, ‘Hi Molly, I’m sorry if I’m disturbing you at work. I know you’re busy. The thing is, I don’t know if it’s night or day at the moment. I can’t see either way. It’s awfully dark in here, and getting quite smelly if I’m honest. Dear, I think I’ve been buried in the ground, as if I’m dead. I woke up and found myself in what appears to be a silk lined box just big enough for my length, and no more. I can’t find an opening anywhere, and I can’t hear anything about, not even Ethel’s dog barking next door. My mobile phone is with me, of course, and what feels like a rose, I think. But nothing else. Is there any possibility you could shed some light on my predicament, literally?’
Molly, quite understandably, read this text more than a few times, possibly hoping the words would rearrange themselves, or disappear. But mostly she read it through again and again and again because she needed time to process the fact that her Aunt Celia had texted, apparently from her grave.

The funeral had been very dignified, but not too fussy. Aunt Celia didn’t like fussy. She didn’t like to feel a nuisance to anyone. Of course, she liked to keep up with her correspondence. A letter to her favourite chat show, at least once a week. Her fortnightly four page gossip to her Australian cousin. And she never missed a day without calling her friends or paying them a visit. And now there was text messaging. A marvellous way of keeping in touch with her favourite niece throughout the day. Molly had bought Aunt Celia the mobile phone to keep with her at all times since her husband, Frank, passed and she was living alone. Aunt Celia had no children of her own, and living only a street away Molly felt she needed to keep an eye on her. It turned out to be the other way round, however. Aunt Celia doted on Molly, whether from gratitude, validation, or boredom, she wasn’t sure. But, inconvenient as it sometimes was, Molly felt she was doing the right thing. It made her feel good that Aunt Celia felt good about making Molly feel good. Which was good.

But this, THIS…made her feel bad. Very bad. Was this a cruel trick, or had she actually buried her Aunt alive? She’d placed the phone in the casket, as she knew how attached Aunt Celia had become to it. Instant communication in writing! ‘A marvel,’ Aunt Celia had called it. With comprehensive support from Molly, she had filled it with the numbers of her friends who had also been given mobile phones by their loved ones (just in-case), and had also found it a most convenient way to communicate the smallest of observations to whoever they fancied, day and night. And now, it turned out, alive or dead!

Molly, managed to coerce her shaking hands into dialling her husband’s work number on her mobile phone, which connected and rang.
‘Hello? Molly? What’s wrong?’ Her husband’s tone conveyed the type of worrisome curiosity that an unexpected and unusual phone call does from a spouse on a week day when such communication during the grey and grinding not-to-be-disturbed working day can only mean disaster. A text message was for orders of milk or toilet roll, which can be picked up during the walk from office to car park; a part of the transition from hard-work-head to soft-relaxed-at-home-head. But a phone call meant serious business. As did the muffled silence at the other end of the line. ‘Molly?’ he repeated.
Molly found out very quickly just how incomprehensible a shock she found herself in. The words would not form. How could they? In what order could they be arranged to convey such….such….terrible and…bizarre news?
‘Er…’ she managed. Then, ‘Dave…’
‘What’s wrong, Molly, for god’s sake!’
‘I think,’ Molly quivered, ‘we’ve made a terrible mistake with Aunt Celia.’

Dave managed good time in the light and lazy afternoon traffic. Tea had been ceremoniously brewed, and the dining table took the weight of stoic elbows. A decision must be made. Firstly, was one of them losing it? Secondly, were both of them losing it? Thirdly, were both of them fine and this was actually happening? Fourthly, what the hell did they do now? Dave went through the various stages at which it should have been picked up that Aunt Celia was still alive. The paramedics when they examined her still in her bed on a Tuesday lunchtime, the pathologist when he opened her up to confirm she’d died of a cerebrovascular accident in her sleep. The funeral home when they made her up before placing her in her silk lined casket and drove her to the church. All logical places encompassing qualified people who had all, seemingly, concluded it was a corpse they were dealing with, not just someone having a nap for a week. The facts were: Aunt Celia had died seven days ago; Aunt Celia had been buried with her mobile phone; Unless the grave had been robbed, Aunt Celia was indeed texting them from her very own mobile phone, from within her grave.

Molly and Dave pulled up in the unusually busy car park near the church, having not uttered a word to each other since they’d made the decision to check Aunt Celia’s grave for themselves. To check the reality of the situation as well as the state of the grave. They wanted to find the coffin exposed to the air with crowbar marks on the rim. They wanted to find poor DECEASED Aunt Celia lying there, bereft of her beloved mobile phone. This sick, sadistic world was capable of such horrors, they hoped.

The first thing they noticed were the people hovering about the vast graveyard, gathering in clusters. They seemed upset, which of course is not unusual in such a place, but they also seemed a bit sort of worried? Paranoid? Freaked out? Aunt Celia’s grave lay undisturbed. Molly and Dave stared at it, trying to hide the monster of fear creeping inside their heads. Then, in the distance someone shouted, ‘We have to get them out! Now!’ A sticklike balding man with unruly side hair was running as fast as he could across the slippy grass. He lost the battle and fell just short of the gravel path, leaving a damp, greenish stain across the knee of his beige slacks. The clusters of people turned as one to the scene. He scrambled to the path and dashed into the church, yelling for some…any kind of assistance, divine or otherwise.

The media arrived within minutes of an army of diggers, ordered by, firstly, the rich, eager to prove having money is worth it in a crisis, and then the local council, who, bombarded by such horrific pleads, tears, insults and threats, felt it wise to help their voting citizens by enabling them to dig up their dead. Designated individuals within each cluster were frantically texting on their mobile phones, informing their interred loved ones of the latest of news from above, reassuring and smileyfaced. Molly had already sent hers. Aunt Celia was busy texting Margaret, who had died within a day of Celia and now found herself in a similar situation. Margaret, however, had a news app on her mobile phone and had become quite the hub of undead interaction within the subterranean network. She’d set up a Facebook page too, which was thriving! But her closest friends hadn’t entered that world yet and required the more intimate yet slightly formal text message. Burying loved ones with their mobile phones was a relatively new fad, but it seemed to be turning into quite popular tradition. The modern equivalent to the Victorian grave bell to some (who were now quite smugly correct in their thinking), but mostly for sentimental reasons, or so they could continue to grow their small holding on FarmVille in the afterlife.

That evening, Tesco One Stop shops reported a rise in tea bag sales. The clusters had moved to their respective dining tables, bringing in the occasional chair from the hallway to accommodate the extra ‘body’ at the table, just like at Christmas, and the healing process began. Aunt Celia was still a bit shaken by events. The pink wafer finger was helping though, and her second helping of tea in her familiar porcelain flowered cup was definitely hitting the spot.

‘Hundreds of loved ones presumed dead have risen from their graves in an unexplained phenomenon sweeping the globe,’ the Six O’clock News reported. ‘Thanks only to modern technology via mobile phones buried with them did these ‘undead’ manage to alert their family and friends.’
‘It was lucky I could get a signal,’ squawked Maureen from Telford, gaunt yet perky, ‘It’s usually terrible round my way. I mean, HEAVEN KNOWS what would have happened! You know. Mm.’ Cut to wide shot of Maureen surrounded by wide eyed, brave faced, stiff upper lipped family, the father of which staunchly declared it to be an awful shock all round. The twitch in his usually solid left eyelid confirmed this to be true. A contrived image filled the screen, the family, all together again, tea in hand, squashed into an inadequate cream leather settee, watching Pointless. Aunt Celia beeped in an early noughties Nokia way. ‘Ooh, a text message from Sylvia,’ she peeped, and got on to it straight away. Molly was in a self-sustaining cycle of tea making, drinking, and expelling. Dave was asleep, in his fantasies. He drank the tea, stared at the TV, and avoided thinking.

As the weeks trundled by Aunt Celia was living life to the full. Fuller than ever before, in fact. She’d bought herself a smartphone, on Maureen’s recommendation, and had downloaded the Facebook app. She had 24 friends, and was now an admin on the ‘Buried Alive and Survived!’ page. They began to meet on Thursday mornings at Clayton’s Cafe on Shriver Street for tea and iced buns. The younger ones met elsewhere, but cordially communicated online via the page. They were unequivocally connected now, young and old, rich and poor, male and female. A commonality between generations, genres, and gender. The undead dead consoled those who had been nearly dead. Those who wanted to be dead whinged about their inability to be dead to those who wished they were dead. Death was extinct. The earth mourned its ally.

Experiences were shared and recognised, stories were told and printed, books were written, gimmicky chat-shows made a comeback with double the amount of mailbags. Various officials were conveyed across the news broadcasts speaking in solemn tones regarding their inability to fathom this event. Politicians squirmed within their grim suits giving contrived statements, being probed by media trained journalists. Medical professionals postulated unsubstantiated theories and carried out tests, and tests on the tests. Philosophers wrote papers, then had breakdowns realising that they couldn’t even end the pointlessness of existence with suicide. Mental health services cried out for more funding to meet the demand. Social workers begged for more houses to be built and for hotels to open themselves up to accommodate the growing undead.

Then, on Thursday 27th of June, two months, three days, sixteen hours, and thirty three minutes after that first text message from the grave had been sent, 9,792,453 people died, all at once, across the globe. This, sadly, included Aunt Celia. Happily, she was at her Thursday morning gathering in Clayton’s when it happened, so she wasn’t alone. This, of course, meant a logistical nightmare for the funeral industry. Thankful for something vote-winningly heroic to do requiring ‘large scale coordination’ and ‘mobilisation of various government resources’, UK politicians charged to the nearest news bulletin to make clear their plans to aid the electorate at this difficult time, and that therefore there was no need for families to take matters into their own hands and fill that space between beloved Jake the Jack Russell and the buddleia bush. The diggers were deployed, funeral parlours were put on 24 hour duty, as were priests, registrars, and florists, and employers were subsidised for authorised absences as the whole world took bereavement days within the space of a fortnight. Mass mourning gripped those who lived, iced in sickly-sweet melancholy by the media. The Facebook page was closed, but preserved. The last chapter of the book was written. The uncanny incident was over.

Molly and Dave sat watching Pointless with a cup of tea and an iced bun. The funeral had been nice. Not too fussy. There was a queue after all. Aunt Celia would have approved. She looked peaceful as she lay there, smartphone next to her right hand. Molly picked up her phone and checked for any red bubbles loitering around her messages app. Dave put his arm round his wife and held her safe.

Funnily enough, everyone from then on requested they be buried with their mobile phone. Coffin makers were offering wind up phone chargers and signal boosters as added extras. And all those still living, especially those recently bereaved, checked their mobile phones a little more often.

Death brushed a biscuit crumb from his infinitely dark robe and stared at the empty in-trays, the shelves full of completed paperwork. He sipped his cup of tea with satisfaction. ‘Holidays,’ he thought, ‘are all very good, but the backlog it creates just isn’t worth it.’

https://www.facebook.com/buriedaliveandsurvived

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#MadeInWakefield
https://thethinkingchimp.wordpress.com/
@ThinkingChimp

The Snocker Elf

The Snocker is an elf that lives within the snooker table. He is especially active during major tournaments, and comes out at night to sweep the baize and collect dropped chalk. Although classed as an elf, The Snocker has a bit of the fairy mischief within him for he likes to play tricks on players, especially at crucial times in matches. He is responsible for kicks, which he does by prodding the baize from underneath with his broom handle. If you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of The Snocker in a pocket as he blows very hard so balls that should be certain just miss. When a ball seems to roll round the edge of a pocket or wipe its feet, you can be sure that is The Snocker Elf at work.

The Snocker Elf

If he’s hungry, The Snocker will guide balls into pockets with no warning. He considers the white one the tastiest. He likes nothing more than the sound of applause rippling through the crowd, but gets very angry when people shout out at inappropriate moments and will carry out his vengeance upon the flow of the table.

The Snocker Elf at work

An offering when a player has nearly worn down his chalk is much appreciated by The Snocker. Leave it under the table by one of the corner legs to ensure the tournament has a happy ending.

I Love Your Pi

I love your pi
You’re my third of a tenth
My love for you is fractal
Infinite in length

I less than 3 you
It must be a sine
You are my singularity
My optimal prime

You’re my X
I’m your Y
Like dividing by zero
Our love cannot be defined

You are my Big Bang
My gravitational law
My special relativity
You RAM my motherboard

Dear Space Live,

You’re speaking to the ISS 220 miles above the earth, carrying out numerous experiments on a space craft where every inch is taken up with gadgets and equipment, and you ask them what they had for tea? Really? Suppose you’ll be asking other such insightful questions like ‘how do you feel?’ and ‘what’s it like?’ Um, well, I can see the earth from space. It feels fucking terrible dunnit. Three years of media studies worth every fucking penny.

As I do not poses a degree in ‘media studies’ please feel free to ignore this list of questions I would have posed had I had the opportunity to attend your pre-production meeting…

What was the robot in a space suit?
What’s in all the bags?
How’s the ants?
What is ‘the research’ you keep mentioning?
Are you allowed to flick bogies in space? Is there a written rule, like 123.2a ISS directive.
Do you masturbate in space? What do you do with the result? Do you ever let it bob round the space station? (Genuinely interested)
Can you use spray deodorant?
What is the relationship between zero gravity and bra wearing?
Does the perception of human idiocy get even worse once you’ve returned to earth?
How does your shaver work?
Do viruses work differently? Can you catch a cold?
Would you prefer to be speaking with Brian Cox instead of Dermott O’Dreary?

All I want to do is buy some pants. This is the only time of year I even consider doing such things, buying pants for others. I have a limited amount of time to purchase said pants. The pants deadline. Who would have thought it would be such a difficult task to accomplish? I have spent half an hour looking for the correct pants, then finding they’re not in stock, so having to look for other similar pants, that will be posted within this country so that it doesn’t take till next year to arrive. I have even got to the point of checking out from this online pants hellhole, when a small note to the side of my chosen pants said ‘no longer in stock,’ such was the complex process that led to my pants filled virtual shopping basket. In short, buying pants online is pants.

And so the ridiculousness of December begins. I bet it wouldn’t be this hard to buy pants in January, or even February for that matter. In fact, I bet the person I’m buying the pants for would appreciate receiving such items ANY TIME OF YEAR, not just in December. In fact, I bet it would seem like a more sincere gesture if I bought the pants for no other reason than I wanted to, because I genuinely care about their pants situation and want to help, because I thought about them and their pants randomly, rather than the current situation where I HAVE TO buy pants because the dictates of an archaic system exploited by the capitalist rulers of the western world states I must buy pants in December, before the pants deadline.

I have pressed the X in the top right corner, and resign myself to the fact today is not the day to buy pants.

This is part one of my twelve hates of XMoose. More to follow.

So she was married.

But from the very next day, not content with cliché, Snow White did dwindle in a mind of dismay.
Now she was caught, bewebbed. Ensnared in a life of the bride of the land’s millionaire.
“But what shall I do all the long days at home?”
“Why my dear you can drink beer and sit on your throne! You have nothing to worry, flurry or fear. Your life is sheer pleasure now you are here.”
To Mrs Snow White this was of least console. She longed for her stove and washing up bowl.
“I shall go mad with this fad. It can only end bad. My mind will wither!” And she shivered, while the thought wound its way within her.

Snow White decided she needed a break. All this abundance, it was all she could take!
She wandered through town, hood up, just in case, and soon found that her pace had brought her to Cinderella’s place.
“Hey there chicken, how’s the role of latest bride kickin’? Oh, I remember the day I was given away. The day my scrubber was taken away. That day,” she sighed. “Oh what a day!”
“Well actually, mate, it’s starting to grate of late,” admitted Snow of her fate. “I have so much time all the time. I have nothing to shine, nothing to mend, nothing to clean, no broth to tend. Nothing to do but sit near a window, by the pond, by a tree, looking astounding, regal, and kinda pretty. And my husband, upon his weekly quests, keeps bringing back damsels, mostly in distress, who obviously needed rescuing from their own dress!”
“Oh my friend, don’t be sad. It ain’t that bad being clad to a loaded prince and his chintz.”
But Snow White didn’t look convinced.
Cindy, adept in such couplings, said “You’re supposed to lie back and have babies and things. Do whimsical sewing, plat your hair, drink from cool springs. You have to make things out of flowers, have a radiant glow. Ooo, I’m getting a vajazzle next week, wanna go?”

Snow went to see Beauty, just down the road. She was sat by her lake in heavy discourse with the Frog Prince’s uncle, by marriage of course. He hopped in a jump as Snow parked her rump, then skip-lopped away, having bid them good day.
“So Mrs Princess, how’s life of noblesse?”
“My chest,” said Snow,” needs relieving, I guess. I have all that there is, solid gold, no less, and I’ve got nothing to tidy, no mess to unmess. My Prince always has an undertaking to take or an honour to defend, and I’ve nothing to do, nothing to mend.”
“That, my friend, is your lot. It’s how it all ends. It’s all that you’ve got.” A sigh left Beauty, as light as a sheet. “I could do with some sleep, nice and deep, but hey, you gets what you wish for, in this land at least.”

Snow walked on in a daze. ‘Maybe it’s just a phase,’ she thought, ‘Why be so distraught? Maybe it’s not as bad as I thought.’
But then a branch caught her upturned hood and she realised she was in the wood. Not somewhere she should be. Not good.
She turned on her heal to return to wifehood. But before she could, a Witch stood in her path, with a tall gangly staff.
“Hey little missy, how’s the new gaff?”
“Well,” said Snow, “it’s a bit naff. My husband, alas, to prevent further despair, has chopped down all the apple trees so all it leaves is pear, which I cannot bear. I have nothing to do but sit in the shade from the sun, and I’ve not had much fun since we burnt my step mum.”
“Ha!” the Witch cackled, remembering how the Queen had crackled,
“Do you think we are not aware of these things? You may have your ending, your riches, your prince, but your purpose lies dormant, matted and minced ever since. It may be passé, but it’s the price you must pay for getting your own way all the time.”

Snow wandered back home and put the TV on to forget this life she was chasing and stumbled upon the horse racing, and found it quite entertaining.
She bet on a nag and won a whole bag of gold swag right on the nose! The whole castle heard her shriek! She watched it all week, like a religious freak, and then the next week, to perfect her technique.

The Prince was very happy his bride was less flappy. She didn’t wonder or fret, she just placed a bet. She won more than before, and lots after that. In fact, she doubled their wealth. It was good for the commonwealth.
But her health soon declined, body and mind. Now, you’ll find, if you look very hard, beneath the vines on the window confines a vivid shine of hair, white as snow, sitting on a pile of dough. There she sits, in her pyjamas, eating pizza and drinking larger to pass the time while the gamble wins at double chins and batwings, beholden to chestnut geldings and TV listings.

The End

Feet

Oh wouldnt it be neat,
If I could see my feet.
They were there long ago,
With my little toe,
But now we never meet.

Oh wouldn’t it be neat,
If I could see my feet.
It seems over the years,
They’ve just dissappeared.
Like all the things I eat.

Oh wouldn’t it be neat,
If I could see my feet.
But I’ve gained a lot,
In what and not,
Well rounded and replete.

So if my world’s so neat,
But I can’t see my feet,
It means I am wise,
Though I’ve grown in size,
And my feet I’ll never greet.

YES YOU SHOULD!

If you’re thinking should I post what I made in Made in Wakefield? The answer is YES, every time. Sometimes us humans don’t even realise we’re being creative. Whether you’re writing your next novel or cooking something from your leftovers for tea, you are being creative. Whether you’re an adult planning how to decorate your front room or a child scribbling on a drawing pad (or a newly decorated wall!) you’re being creative. If you’re in the moment, the flow, making something that didn’t exist before, you’re being creative. All these things should be shared in Made in Wakefield. If you’re planning an event where people can get in the flow, are encouraged to play and be curious, (and that’s preferably free and for all ages) you should post in Made in Wakefield. If you’re showcasing others’ creativity, at WHATEVER level, from charity cup cake making to master artists, you should post in Made in Wakefield.

We are conditioned at school to conform to a certain way of being, a sure fire way to become a successful human, and we all believe it. Why wouldn’t we? We are all children after all, sponges, waiting to be moulded into whatever our experiences and influences choose to make us. Curiosity, play, thinking, creativity become less important the older we get. We are told we will not receive any gain from pursuing these ways of life. Better to conform to a set way of thinking, a job description life, to guarantee ‘success’ as a person, a member of the human race, in accordance with standards already set by another member of the same race (usually financial, mostly superficial). It is a challenge set by yourself to be creative, to allow yourself the time to pursue the most human of activities, to ignore all the self perpetuated pressures of life, washing, shopping, working for someone else, and take an hour to let the mind wander to an undefined, unplanned destination. The destination that makes creative thought inevitable.

It is also a challenge to recognise and be proud of when you are creative. We often think we’re not good enough, there’s others better than us, we are not worthy players, we should go away and stop wasting everyone’s time. Well, you ARE good enough, there is NO ONE better than you, you ARE worthy, and I’d love to waste my time on you, because, simply, you are a Homo-Sapian. We are known for our amazingly complex and creative brains. It is the reason we are the most ‘successful’ species on this Pale Blue Dot of a planet. Next time you’re cooking dinner, doodling on your cappuccino napkin, building with Lego, gathering words in new ways, collecting colours in one space, crafting sounds with your most unique and intricate of hearing processes (your ears), or, most importantly, PLAYING and EXPERIMENTING, be assured we want you to post the results in Made in Wakefield. We are interested and happy that you’ve managed to achieve the flow in this most demanding of lives and we want to celebrate the fact you’ve achieved that. Nobody and nothing can tell you what is creative, what is art. It is a fundamentally human thing to do and EVERYONE can do it. Be proud of it, don’t take it for granted, and share. Made in Wakefield is made by YOU!

STILL unsure if you’re being creative or not?
John Cleese made this wonderful speech about how to get in the creative flow of things. And no, you don’t have to be a professional (god-like-genius) writer for this to apply to you… http://tinyurl.com/ox8684e

But only children play. It’s not for adults. Big fat WRONG! Be better at being an adult by playing more… http://www.helpguide.org/life/creative_play_fun_games.htm

Get posting!
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