In the dark days when I worked for the Civil Service I went through what I could only call a ‘depression’ and during this time I started to write little stories to cushion my brain from the horror.
They were shit. Let me make that clear and get it out of the way but I did have a few moments of surreal clarity. I really enjoyed describing how things looked or functioned, the weirder the better, and they were often made into little paper books.
One of them was called ‘The Brutal Ramblings of a Wandering Mind’ from 2004 in which I deliberately removed all punctuation except when characters spoke. Why? I don’t know. Probably something William Burroughs had done.
There’s no flow to this story and this is the gist of what happens:
– Guy wakes up in his flat with a hangover
– falls into and ruins his arm around a bicycle
– there’s an unconscious, drunk leopard in his flat
– it has a huge bottle of Jack Daniels on its back (?!)
– The main character goes to a job he hates
– has an ‘altercation’
– falls asleep
– dissolves into another realm in a Texas mental institution as a ghost
– pops back again
– leaves work and goes home
– gets into bed and wakes up back in the mental institution
– he’s given drugs
– sees the leopard with the Jack Daniels bottle on its back again
– freaks out
– chats with the now drunk leopard
– goes back to his bed.
– back to the beginning
It was supposed to be a cyclical story, much like my work/life at the time.
Here’s a wee quote, early on, with some of the punctuation put back:
“Snippy cow!” he thought turning to see his desk was now ablaze thanks to a small nook in the curtains. He found a can of coke, opened it an sprayed it over the blaze. The coke was instantly turned into a hot napalm gel converting two chairs and a waste paper bin into fiery Neo-Christian iconography.
I might post some other quotes from other stories. I had one where Edinburgh folds in on itself and as the character gets closer to his house, my house when I lived in Leith, the populace devolves to savages and Leith is ruined, taken over by a huge tropical like forest sprouting out of the streets. Pure escapism.