The Festival of the Forest Mechanic

I am going to a festival with an ex girlfriend. I treated her badly, and we hardly talk. She gives me my tickets for travel, and we get on the tram. She doesn’t want to sit next to me, she’s still really angry with me. I try to explain, not make excuses. I want to tell her about the sexual abuse I suffered as a young man, but not here, not now.

We get off the tram, and walk through a shopping centre. Our route leads us along a metal pole, over a swimming pool. I find it hard to balance, and at the end of the pole, I have to step onto a thin strip of Lego, and climb up a ramp of tiny stairs. The stairs are disconnected. I’m worried that I’ll fall. I let a couple coming down pass me, as I try to clamber up. There’s lots of little things to grab hold of, but each time I try to pull myself up, they snap off, and I’m scared of falling into the pool below and drowning. Eventually I’ve broken off all the loose hand holds, and I manage to swing my baggage up onto the bottom step of the ramp, so it doesn’t pull me backwards. I’m still not sure I can lift my own weight with just my fingers. I try. I manage to drag myself up.

I am on a Chinese mountain side. My uncle runs a garage in a clearing in the forest. There are no roads. We walk down to a shop, run by our family, also in the woods. My uncle asks me to return to the garage for some 90w fuses. They are red, and about two centimetres long, he says.

I head back to the garage. Nothing is clearly labelled. The organisation is to my uncles taste. Everything is everywhere. A customer appears with a car. He needs a specific part. I tell him to feel free to search for it, as I’m beginning to forget what it was I’m searching for.

I take the dog for a walk, leaving the guy searching. We enter a house, and sit by a gas fire. I’m tired. I have an early night.



Serbian Skulls

I am in Serbia. I walk across a muddy field. An old lady shouts at kids not to cycle on the grass. We walk a muddy path across the hill.

As we reach the top, the path becomes a trench, with the skulls of those killed in violence emerging from the mud. The children pose next to these, wanting money for photos. I refuse. I climb out of the trench, over a fallen tree, and walk towards a small town.

I’m in a shopping centre. I discuss with someone the pointlessness of the International University Lecturers Union. Walking around, I see many young people, teenagers. I wonder why they are so happy, then I remember how happy I was at that age, despite having nothing. I meet an old customer. She asks if the doctor has signed me off sick, as they’ve been ringing people to cancel my sessions. A student, Nick, is lay on the floor. A group of grannies kick him while he’s down. It’s like a Monty Python sketch.

As I leave the centre, a giant guy comes in. I’ve been recalled to active duty by star fleet. In fact, so have my two colleagues. We follow the giant. Our unicorn friend, Rkell, is injured, he has called for our assistance. His horn glows red. I wonder where the ‘y’ went from the end of his name.

We track the alien that attacked him. Like a giant spider or crab, with a Paisley patterned underbelly and inner mouth. The other two follow it round a corner. I climb onto the roof for a better vantage point. It sees me and crashes through the wall. I pick up a bread knife and slash and stab at it, it jumps toward me and I stab in through the heart.


The Ayn Random Trap

I am in Vilnius, Lithuania. I talk to an English farmer about how cheap it is, and how hard working the people are. He has been to a place called Troika.

I enter a building development. A couple are selling plots in a village colony. It sounds lovely. There’s relaxation music, talk about living your dreams, flowers float in water, as a boat takes you across a moat. It feels cultish. The people are all nice. They want to get to know one another, to live in harmony. I’m undecided. The woman gives me a cassette with talks, relaxation music/hypnosis on, and a cover that’s hand drawn. It reminds me of Gong’s ‘Camembert Eleqtrique’.

I attend a meeting. The would-be community discuss how they want to live. I read through my handout. One proposal demands the right to protect your property. I ask for clarification. I explain that in the UK, this would mean politely asking someone to get off your land. The American lady who proposed this explains that she means the right to bear arms. I am uncomfortable with this. I ask what the law in Lithuania says about this. The man doesn’t know. I begin to worry that this couple are Ayn Rand lovers who will take people’s money and run.

A woman asks if someone will study for a degree on her behalf. A man in the audience says “Why would anyone do all that work and study to benefit someone else?”

There’s a flaw in his thinking. I point out that someone studying medicine benefits the whole society, not just themselves, by gaining the skills to save lives. I then list other qualifications without which modern life could not function. Law, dentistry, technology. I explain that I would happily do any number of degrees, as it would benefit me and society. I explain to the man that he should start with philosophy, to learn how to think.

Outside, the man chats to me about how setting boundaries is good, and violence can be used in place of words. I ask him to wait. I have a faster than light trip to the dentist, and return with tiny ballistic missiles for teeth. I open my mouth and launch them all at him, simultaneously. I laugh with my empty mouth.

I am in the couples house, I am dating their daughter. We sneak in after dark and talk in her room. One day the mother asks me how often I’m there. She can smell my urine in the bathroom. I don’t answer.

She makes me some soup. Chicken and coriander. I use the toilet, and when I return, more chicken has been added, and coriander plants grow from the bowl. Flowers cover the table.

There is abundance everywhere.



I’m at my parents house. I use the toilet. The entire bathroom is one huge green toilet. I think it’s modelled on my mouth. It’s like I’m standing inside a giant model of my mouth. Shit clings like plaque to the edges. I piss it off, my piss is like a power hose. I’m angry at the state of this place, how much mess my parents shit has made, and the effort to clean it with my super-piss.

I’m in Finland, and I’m going to Finland. I need to call a taxi to the airport. I can’t pronounce the name of the village I’m in. I don’t speak Finnish. I’m finished.


The Day They Found the Bodies

A house. A visiting woman offers me a water pipe. She burns sticks into it while I suck. I feel hot embers in my mouth. In the kitchen, I drink water and spit out embers. I am stoned, hallucinating.

I am in court. They have found the bodies. I decide to confess, and serve my time. It turns out I am not Simon. I’m some kind of genetic experiment. I don’t know my real name. I can only remember being called Simon.

I play with a pile of beige G3 macs in a skip. I think about escape.

I need to leave this country. It is too right wing. I catch a bus from Devon to France. The bus drives around the poles, the quickest way to get to Singapore. They don’t check my passport. In France I’m homeless. I find Tommy C. We sleep on the grass, others in wooden boats made for children to play in.

We meet up with others. We go to a reggae gig in a huge transparent tent. I talk to a bass player, a whirling light keeps banging me on the head. I mistake my friend Hum for Loz.

I meet some homeless rock stars. Our shoe laces are breaking. What is normally a first world problem is a disaster when you’re poor and homeless. We slip and slide on a muddy field. Tommy C crawls away through a pipeline. I find myself back at the house, fussing fat cats with glove puppets that look like fat kittens.


The Yesterday Re-enactment Society

Jef sat in his hospital room, drinking tea. Or was it a prison? He wasn’t sure. The door was locked. He knew it would open in precisely seven minutes. He looked at his wrist, where his watch should be. They’d taken it away, so he had drawn one on his wrist with a felt tip pen. It had no hands. Jef knew exactly what time it was. He finished his tea, washed his cup, and stood by the door. He wore the same clothes he always wore, this place had provided him with two sets of clothes, exactly the same, at his request. Jeff was a thin man, possibly malnourished. He ate the same things, at the same times, everyday. He suspected the staff of adding multivitamins to his food. But he could say nothing. That wasn’t in the script.

The door opened. “Good morning Dr Bates.”

“Good morning Jef”,

The doctor had medical students with him.

“Jef here is a classic case of obsessive compulsive disorder, has to do the same thing at the same time every day, gets very upset with changes, don’t you Jef?”

Jef couldn’t answer. This wasn’t in his script. This didn’t happen yesterday.

As a teenager Jef had loved history, so much so that he joined in with reenactment societies, dressing as a Roman, recreating the English Civil War, learning how Neolithic man shaped flint into tools. On his twenty fifth birthday, his parents were killed in a car crash. Jef was devastated, and he coped the only way he knew, he kept their memories alive, in his own reenactment society. A society of one. Forever re-enacting yesterday, the last day of his parents lives.