Monthly Archives: July 2007


It’s dark. You can’t see. Your arms and legs move sluggishly because of the weight of the water on them. You almost start thrashing about just to get some freedom but as soon as you start you remind yourself to stop. To be calm. To concentrate on keeping your head above the water. You can feel the line around your neck like a noose. It’s rising. It’s rising quite quickly now. You tilt your head and that keeps your chin out of the water. You keep kicking with your legs, keep kicking, keep trying to stay afloat, keep kicking. And your hands are constantly searching, constantly tracing along the surface of the roof, the roof that you’re getting far too close to. Your hands feel only the smooth metallic surface. You know there is nothing. No release. Now no matter how you angle your head your chin is under water. You can’t move to keep searching. Your legs are tired but you keep kicking. Water laps against the corner of your lips. Even with your mouth closed you can feel it creeping into the cracks of the corners. You know it’s too dark to see anything but you have to try something. You turn and swim underwater, hands outstretched, blind, searching. It’s the last thing you remember.

A woman goes into a bar…

…and asks the bartender for a double-entendre.

So the barman gives her one.


After remembering this I thought, “they say innuendo is hard to come by”.

Pirates – Out to Sea – Part 4

[This is Part 4 of 4 in Pirates!: Out to Sea. If you’re interested then you may want to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first.]

Marshall could hear that the fighting had stopped. He was weak, he was about to loose consciousness. He took his hands down one more time and dipped it into the blood coming out of his leg and poured it back over his face. His entire body was covered with his own blood. And yet nobody had come, perhaps nobody would come and he would die? He knew that he was very close to the line. The most crucial thing now was to tourniquet his leg. He pulled a sheet towards him and tied the leg as tight as he could. He could feel the bleeding stop. Some of the blood kept dripping down his nose and onto his tongue, each drop tasted like a steel blade, metallic and cold.

Footsteps, there were footsteps, he was sure he had passed out. He tried to keep very still but he could feel that he was moving. It wasn’t the usual rocking and lolling that came from the ship but instead it was… it was… Marshall dared not open his eyes to identify the feeling, it felt very strange. He heard a grunt from somewhere above his right arm. He was being carried, that’s what it was. Suddenly he wasn’t being carried anymore, he was airborne. He knew he would have to act very hard to try and stop himself from exhaling air once he landed, he had been flying with some force. He breathed out before landing so that the air wouldn’t be forced out. He felt a rib crack, and then realised that it wasn’t his own. His fall had been broken by at least one… no three dead bodies. He was on a pile. He tried to lay still, but he was slipping on his own blood. Then he heard it, Pete’s voice…

“These are the dead?”
“Yes sir.”
“How many?”
“10 in total cap’n.”
“Right, see to it that…” Pete stopped suddenly mid sentence, he had seen Marshall lying there, “who did this?”. Pete pointed directly at Marshall.
“Not I sir.”
“I didn’t ask whether you did it. I asked who did?”

Pete was stalking back and forth in front of his five lieutenants. Each in charge of a different part of the attack they were following Pete now waiting for him to dispense gold as reward. They had not been expecting this.

“Perhaps, I didn’t explain to you earlier how important this little conquest was? Perhaps I didn’t mention to you how important it was that we kept this man alive? So,” he turned to a tall man with a thin moustache, “why did you kill him?”

“I didn’t, I swear.”
“You were in charge of the fighting men were you not?”
“Yes but look at him. He has blood all over him he must have been killed by a cannon.”
“Liar!” Pete shrieked. His sword ran right through the sergeant at arms neck. His thin moustache drooped for the last time and he fell to the ground.
“Although,” Pete looked manic now, he could fully appreciate the problem facing him. He was about to be hung by the Dutch. He knew it. He had promised them Marshall alive not dead, and the fear was great in him.

He continued, “Although, he did have a point. Marshall does have blood all over him.” He spun round to face the cannon-master.

At this exact moment, Marshall jumped up from where he was lying and stabbed Pete through the spleen. Blood poured out of the man as he dropped to the floor. Marshall, made sure Pete was dead by cutting his throat. He looked up at the men in front of him.

“I am the ghost of Captain Marshall. I am here to avenge my own death. You have nothing to fear if you were not responsible for my death. The only person I needed to kill was Coalface Pete here. At the moment.” Marshall paused for a second, allowing some blood to drip from his hair onto his face, he knew he must look terrifying. He started again, “I want you to go to the prison and place yourself within, letting the men within out.”

The four looked to each other. The cannon-master rubbing his neck as he did. They ran out of the room, fear painted large in each one of their eyes. Marshall wiped the blood around his face in a failed attempt to clean it, he thought of the wonderful waterfall he had found a season ago on one of the southern islands. He put such comforts from his mind, he looked down at the dead. He was looking for someone in particular. Not seeing him there he called out, “Killen! The enemy are defeated, come here!”

[Marshall will return.]

The 6 million dollar bottom

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better… stronger… faster

So they rebuilt him, and everyone always goes on about the legs and the eye and stuff, but what about the other bionic bits? Did he have a bionic bottom? It would have meant he spent less time on the toilet therefore getting him back out in the action. Surely that would be useful?

Anyone else have a bionic suggestion?

You know the feeling

You’re sitting there reading this and you know that feeling like there is something on your ankle. Something that feels slightly heavy. Something attached. Like there’s something crawling. Something slimey that’s sliding up and over your ankle bump right now. Something that shouldn’t be there. Something that doesn’t know the difference between your leg and what it usually eats.

Do you know that feeling?

Pirates – Out to Sea – Part 3

[This is Part 3 of 4 in Pirates!: Out to Sea. If you’re interested then you may want to read Part 1 and Part 2 first.]

Marshall looked and looked hoping for a sign he was wrong. He was a proud man, a man that loved to be proved right. And yet he was also a man who didn’t want to fall into a trap. He looked, and everything on the ship looked normal, absolutely normal, a normal that could only mean that it was being orchestrated. What should he do? He wanted to see Pete, he wanted to know that old Coalface was behind it. But he couldn’t wait for that. He couldn’t. Marshall’s men had just been on leave, they had been just sleeping with women, eating and drinking. They would be fat and lazy, ready for nothing, not his usual ready team he could rely on. This was the opportune moment to attack. He should have been thinking of that this morning and yet he hadn’t. He never, ever, normally didn’t think of the opposition position. And yet… And yet he’d been fucking distracted by fucking a woman. He’d been sleeping with his wife last night for the first time in a year. The first time they’d made bed together. And just as you’d imagine it had been earache from start to finish.

Marshall was still holding the glass to his eye and by the time he saw Coalface Pete disguised as a Merchant Seaman it almost didn’t matter. Marshall was already onto something else. Already thinking ahead. Already planning what he could do.

Marshall, quickly went downship, onto the main deck and found his first mate. “Killen, I have a headache,” Marshall explained, “you get us back on course”.
Marshall vaguely heard the, “Aye Captain”, behind him as he headed into the Captain’s room.

Once their he found the piece of leather he’d been rather unsuccessfully using as a bookmark. He put it between his teeth. Then he unsheathed his sword and stabbed himself in the leg falling back into his bed. The white linen rapidly started soaking up his blood.

Up on deck things seemed to be going even worse. Killen had ordered the ship to turn portwise and the other ship, unseen by Killen had turned to starboard. Before Killen even knew he was in a battle cannon were firing upon him. The pirates of the pirates kept turning and turning and firing upon Marshall’s ship while Killen was too timid to do anything about it, and through it all Marshall stayed below bleeding.

[What will happen next? Tune in next Friday to find out.]

Social Schmocial

The problem with social networks these days is that there’s too much and too little compartmentalising.

I have a lot of friends in several different groups. If I sign up to Facebook or MySpace then all of these groups will very likely collapse into one. Now I’m a lot less bothered about this than I once was but certainly I used to not like my cool music friends to meet my geeky programmer friends. Now my cool music friends are often as not married with kids friends and my geeky programmer friends go to more gigs than I do. Perhaps it’s a function of growing up or time changing things but I worry that on these social networking sites there isn’t a way to compartmentalise in this way.

I wasn’t willing to give up my first love of computers but I did deny it several times. And because people come to things at different times I probably you have had to de-friend my geeky pals to seem hipper had Facebook been around. Something I wouldn’t have wanted to do. I don’t see how you avoid it except to hope that all of your friends in one group use bebo and the others friendster.

But this leads to the second problem. Now that I don’t mind my friends meeting across the groups I want all of my friends to be able to find me easily. The fact that there is a new social network popping up every five seconds seems to be a bit of a barrier to this. It would be great if someone solved this problem but there seems to be almost too much personal self interest in that for that to work.

The final problem of social networks is the de-friending process. People naturally drift apart in the real world. They see less and less of each other and then you kind of stop being friends. Nothing harsh or dramatic it just happens. There is no equivalent on these systems. Here you have to declare that you have stopped being friends. Perhaps it’s less honest but it’s certainly more socially awkward. Perhaps friends you don’t interact for over a year should quietly fall off of the list?

As my feed from this blog gets repeated on facebook I would just like to add that if you are reading this on facebook then let me assure you that I’m not talking about you.

A gamboling problem

I have decided to change a few things around here, for my own sanity. I am on holiday at the moment, which partly drew my attention to the issue but it’s been a more general thing that’s been occurring to me.

I’m writing too much on gamboling I’m pretty sure, and it makes it hard for everyone to keep up. By being that prolific I’m almost certainly reducing the average quality level of my work. Also when there are good things written then I’m pretty sure they can get lost easily.

I will still probably write a couple of times a week on here. But the main thing that I will be attempting to work on are a novel and a script. When I started writing gamboling I wrote that blurb that’s been sitting up in the top left. I have been using gamboling to try and find some focus and to get the number of words I was writing a week up to a higher number. The aim being that I would then be able to harness that to finish at least some of the scripts and novels. Gamboling has been going for 4 years and that hasn’t really happened. So something is going to have to change.

I think this can be good for both of us. I’ll be writing more of the stuff that’s important and you as a reader will have more time to recover between each article and story.

Let me know what you think. As always I really appreciate any comments.

Pirates! – Out to Sea – Part 2

[This is Part 2 of 4 in Pirates!: Out to Sea. If you’re interested then you may want to read Part 1 first.]

“Wait. Turn back.” Marshall shouted.

“Back to port?”

“Back starboard. Belay that last order.”

“Yes Sir, Cap’n sir.”

Marshall wanted to turn back to face the other ship. They hadn’t been plotting that direction. But Marshall was intrigued. He had to see what happened. He wanted it to not be a wreck not simply because it would have been a senseless waste of life, but mainly because he would feel compelled to help. Or at least his crew would. He had control over his crew, but a pirate crew were more apt to mutiny than a regular one. It was something he’d seen, something he’d instigated, too often in a crew. And this was one of those divisive situations. Half the crew would hate him for not helping, half the crew would hate him for helping. Basically the only thing they were united on ended with gold for them. And this had no gold associated. So Marshall hoped it wasn’t something like that.

Most other captains would have sailed the other way. He knew that. Certainly all other pirate captains, but he wasn’t the rest, he knew a signal when he saw it. Or at least he thought he did. If it wasn’t a wreck it was a signal for Marshall. So while he wanted for it not to be a wreck he couldn’t see a good way for this thing to finish. Like he would have said if he could have trusted his crew, he wasn’t happy about this, but he had to know, no matter that everyone else would run away.

The ships were sailing dead towards each other now. There was no doubt that he was falling straight into the trap that the other captain was setting. They wanted him, they knew he would, sail straight towards them, they knew he would have seen him.

It was that moment that Marshall knew it had to be Coalface Peter.

“Bring me my looking-glass.”

[Check back next week for Part 3]

Why couldn’t the pirate play cards?

Because he was sitting on the deck.