Friday, March 30, 2007


Therapy Blues (part one of two)

Zeke blew out of town at dawn in a hotwired ’73 Ford Fairlane which some kid must have spent a small fortune restoring. Tough shit. Zeke had bigger problems. The sun was rising so quickly that the shadows of the town’s few tall buildings seemed to be shrinking back from the side of the road to avoid the car. Zeke kept up a steady 40 – no point in attracting attention – until he was clear of the suburbs and on the open road. Two lanes disappeared into the horizon ahead and on either side was parched prairie scrub. He turned the radio on, fired up a Lucky Strike and put his foot down.

It had been an accident. If the guy had just emptied the cash register he would have gotten out of there and nobody’d have been hurt. Instead the asshole had played at superheroes, no doubt to impress the three other customers in the store, and had gone for a piece he kept under the counter. Some Captain America he’d made after that, sprawled splay-legged on the floor with the contents of his head sprayed across the back wall. Zeke had had to take out the three customers, too, of course, one of them a girl who was quite a looker. He’d hauled the bodies into a back room and covered the mess in the front with some newspapers but it wasn’t going to buy him much time. He’d stowed the gun in the waistband of his jeans and loped through the silent streets till he’d spotted the Ford in a side road.

The early heat uncoiled itself across the prairie like a sidewinder. There’d been a couple of hundred dollars in the cash register and after an hour Zeke stopped at a gas station, filled the tank, and bought cigarettes, a bottle of Wild Turkey, a package of Slim Jims and a road map of Nebraska. He drove with the map open across the steering wheel and tried to figure a way out of this god damn hick state he should never have wandered into. New Mexico was where he needed to be, was where he could ditch the car and the gun and lie low for a few weeks, safe.

Nine o’clock, and the road ahead was shimmering and he was starting to stink of sweat. There was nothing on the radio but hayseed country stations. God damn shitkickers: did they really have nothing more in life to worry about than their ‘baybee leavin’ theyum’? Zeke thought that maybe he should take a shot at writing a country lyric. Hey Mister, I done gone done wrong/My heart’s real torn and sore/But not as torn as those shot-up stiffs/In the backroom of that store. He laughed and took a hit off the whiskey bottle.

Two hours he’d been driving, and he’d seen maybe ten other cars. And all around, the fucking scrubland. Where were all the cornfields the Midwest was supposed to be famous for, feeding the nation? God damn Okie farmers were probably laughing their fat asses off while the government subsidies kept pouring in, courtesy of hardworking taxpayers like Zeke. The heat was a shroud now, plastering his hair to his scalp and cloying in his mouth and nostrils. The radio station turned to static and he fumbled at the dial till he got a faint signal. More country, but a song he liked for a change: Bukkake Blues by The Snot Soup Singers.

The dog ambled into the middle of the road and stopped and Zeke hit the brakes in a drawn-out yowling of fraying rubber because it wasn’t just any dog, it was a great bastard the size of a pony, some sort of mastiff, and the Ford fishtailed and he struggled to hold it but the momentum carried the back of the car slewing round and the dumb bastard dog was just standing there staring at him and he saw it growing bigger and then he hit it and it was like slamming against a rock wall and something bounced off his head and he was out.


The sponge was cool and damp against his forehead like a mother’s kiss.

‘Ready to eat something now?’

The woman was maybe forty, her huge bulk squeezed into a tiny pair of lime polyester pants so that the rest of her spilled over the waistband like a mushroom’s cap. She wore a denim jacket over an orange T-shirt with a picture of Barbra Streisand on it. Her face was perfectly circular and beaming, and when she laughed her earrings jangled like overloaded key chains. Her hair was mouse-brown and tumbled over her round shoulders in unkempt tangles.

Zeke sat up. He was on a bed in a small, dim room which smelt of wet fur. He’d been awake now for a while, and had learned from the woman – whose name was Georgie – that he had been unconscious for ten hours. Georgie and her husband, whom Zeke hadn’t met yet, had pulled Zeke from the wreckage of the car and taken him to their house which was fifty yards down the road. They both knew first aid and had checked him over, and he didn’t seem to have anything broken. Zeke felt sick and his head ached like hell, but otherwise he was fine.

A tall, incredibly skinny man came in carrying a tray. His pitch-black hair was lacquered down and had a razor-sharp parting on the side, and he wore thick horn-rimmed glasses and a fixed, senseless grin. He looked like an older version of the kind of kid Zeke used to slap around in school.

‘Hi there. I’m Rudy,’ he said. ‘You must be hungry.’

Despite his nausea Zeke discovered he had an appetite, and he attacked the big plate of beef stew and was mopping up the gravy with a hunk of bread when he realised that the gun was gone from the waistband of his jeans.

As if reading his thoughts, Georgie said, ‘Your gun’s safe, honey, and we got your wallet and other stuff too.’

Zeke helped himself to apple pie. He needed to take a look at the car but from what this fucking rube couple had said it was a write off, which meant he had to find another set of wheels. Earlier he’d looked out the window and seen a pickup truck parked in the driveway. The two of them would be fairly easy to deal with, especially if he could get hold of the gun.

‘Lucky for you,’ Georgie said suddenly.


‘That we’re therapists. Both of us.’

What the hell? ‘Sorry, I don’t understand,’ said Zeke. He stood up. ‘Look, you’ve been very kind, but I should get going. If I can just have my -’

His legs buckled and he dropped back on to the bed. His arms flailed like empty sleeves. Something in the god damn food.

‘Oh no,’ said Georgie, giving him the warmest smile he’d ever seen. ‘You can’t go yet. Like I said, we’re therapists. And you need therapy, don’t you, honey? You’ve done something very wrong.’

Ah, Christ, he must have said something while he was unconscious, or there’d been news bulletins or something. He didn’t feel sleepy at all, just couldn’t control his limbs. The husband, Rudy, had disappeared and now he came back hauling a large, bulging refuse sack, his grin so broad that it threatened to split his face in half.

Zeke smelled something in the air and began to be afraid.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Contractual obligation post

Buy this book from here when you can. Last time I checked it was impossible to order it. Its compiler says it’s quite good. Harry Hutton has an entry in it, so you might get up to two minutes' worth of fun for your tenner. There's some kind of charity thing involved as well; burns victims or crack babies or some such.

As I say, though, it's impossible to order the thing.

Friday, March 16, 2007


I am not Steve Buscemi

So many people have been emailing, writing and even phoning me (at four in the morning - thanks, you loser stalker freak, whoever you were/are) about this issue that I feel obliged to set the record straight. (Somebody telexed me, and I don’t even know what that is.)

I am not Steve Buscemi.

I don’t know quite how the idea that I was him managed to take hold amidst the collection of social inadequates, weirdos and douchebags that haunts the nether reaches of the internet. You, dear reader, in other words. I have never obscured my identity. I’m an Englishman in his thirties who is variously a morgue attendant, a doctor, and a vigilante fighting against the creeping peril of the undead when they raise their rotting collective head to disturb the suburban peace. Nowhere in that potted CV do I find anything to support the notion that I’m an Italian-American actor born in Brooklyn in 1957 who has appeared in some of the coolest, most iconic films and television series of the last fifteen years and has usually been killed off during these films and television series in interesting ways (more about this in a later post). I mean, I am pretty cool, but I’m that way not because I’m a Hollywood movie star but rather through a combination of good genes, tremendous and sustained effort in the gym, rigorous dietary self-discipline, and innate talent, as well as excellent and expensive skin- and hair-care products. Plus, my tailor is old school: East End Jewish, the third generation inheritor of the family business, and in total control of his shit. A modern-day alchemist, he turns his shit into gold, silken gold in a blue-black navy wool blend with the most imperceptible pinstripe weave. The other day he was fitting the jacket of my new suit over my shoulders as I stood before his full-length mirror with my torso bathed in a pink and white Aquascutum slim-fit shirt which had set me back two Cs and was worth every penny. It was as though I was slipping into an orgasm induced by the velvet friction against my chest and thighs of cloth hand-woven from natural fibres. As I stroked my off-mauve Daniel Hechter tie into a casually perfect half-Windsor knot, I reflected that Steve Buscemi, my demi-hemi-semi-namesake and the man all those rancid bloggers thought I was, would have at best gone for something tacky like Versace or, Madonn’ forbid, Gucci.

So no, I’m not Steve Buscemi.

And if any of you motherfucking cocksuckers says so again, I’ll find you, clip you, whack you and then kill you.

With respect.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Stiff things

A woman in India has married a corpse. For some perverse reason this reminded me of my second year as a medical student when we spent a year dissecting a human cadaver. There were four of us to a body. The cadavers were preserved using a formalin-like substance, which smelled like the vapours from a freshly-opened grave and which filled the spongiform tissues in the body, causing them to expand. This meant that all the male cadavers sported prodigious erections. Gravity, however, took its inevitable toll and so the members in question were bent sideways.

One of my fellow students was a naïve young lady whose identity it would be caddish to reveal, so let’s call her Margaret Shuttleton of 27 Groveland Drive. ‘Gosh,’ said Margaret as the four of us stood gazing down at our newly unshrouded cadaver at the beginning of the year (1988).

‘Yes,’ I nodded, impressed at the size of the thing.

‘It must be really difficult,’ she murmured, spellbound.

‘What?’ I asked.

‘You know… having sex,’ she frowned. ‘With it bending to the side like that.’

‘You mean you thought…’ I said.

Which in turn reminds me of the following joke.

Professor of anatomy to pretty female first-year medical student: ‘What part of the human body expands to ten times its original size under an emotional impact?’

Pretty female medical student (blushing): ‘I’d rather not answer that.’

Smart-alec male medical student: ‘The pupil of the eye, Prof.’

Professor to pretty female medical student: ‘Not only are you ignorant, you’re also going to be very disappointed one day.’

Thursday, March 01, 2007


The turnip

27 February 2007

Dear Mr Eater

With reference to your letter dated 20 February 2007: Vegetables of any appearance which are grown within the bounds of a private residence and are not causing a nuisance to people other than the resident/s him/her/themselves/self, fall outside the remit of Brentwood District Council. I regret that we cannot assist you in this matter.

Yours sincerely

D.V.S. Fox, Liaison Officer, Brentwood District Council.

11 March 2007

Dear Mr Eater

Thank you for your recent letter which we read with great interest. It certainly sounds like a peculiar turnip you have there, and I suspect I too would be alarmed if I saw one that resembled the well-known politician you refer to! Unfortunately this is not quite the sort of thing we’re looking for on Gardeners’ Question Time. The programme offers gardeners the opportunity to seek advice from our panel of experts about problems encountered in the growing of vegetables and other plants, and the fact that your turnip frightens you is not something the panel would be able to help with.

With all best wishes,

Doug Hole, Director of Lifestyle Programming, BBC Radio Four.

PS If you can see the turnip then presumably you’ve pulled it out of the ground, in which case, how can it still be growing every day as you claim?

22 March 2007

Dear Mr F Eater

Further to our telephone conversation of Wednesday 21 March, I am writing to confirm that I have asked you to desist from calling our station about the turnip in your garden. I confirm that I reassured you that you were in no danger from the turnip, and that I pointed out to you that your repeated telephone calls were amounting to harrassment and wasting police time. You agreed that you would desist on the understanding that further such activity would lead to prosecution.

Yours sincerely

Detective Constable Meredith Stoneheart.

23 March 2007

Dear Mr E Foot, You wrote us asking about your turnip. There are of course many instance’s in history of vegetable’s resembling human being’s, and I suspect that your turnips resemblance to Health Secretary Mrs Patricia Hewitt is entirely coincidental. I am sorry to say our Union has neither the time nor the capacity to come and inspect the turnip, nor to remove it neither. Furthermore, might I add that I find your language and indeed your very rationale for writing to us grossly offensive. We are not ‘swede-bashers’, as you so crudely stereotype us, and the fact that we are based in East Anglia does not in itself make us expert’s on tuberous vegetable’s.


Rupert Ruction, PIGFUCERS (President, Integrated General Farmers Union, Central/Eastern Regions, Suffolk).

31 March 2007

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Foot Eater

The Prime Minister has read your letter with interest and is grateful for your contribution to the national dialogue. He regrets that he is unable to enter into personal correspondence on this matter at the present time.

Yours sincerely

R. Slicker, House of Commons, London SW1.

13 April 2007

Dear Foot

Just a quick note to ask how you are. I tried phoning but you weren’t in, and you didn’t answer the door when I knocked. I’m a little concerned that you didn’t collect your prescription this week. Please call me on my mobile just to let me know you’re okay.

Best wishes

Sam Hain, Community Psychiatric Nurse.

18 April 2007

Excerpt from pathologist’s report, Brentwood General Hospital.

Subject is a 36-year-old male, height 1.8 metres, weight 80 kilogrammes, no distinguishing marks. Post mortem examination reveals extensive blunt trauma to abdomen, chest and skull resulting in ruptured spleen, multiple rib fractures with bilateral pneumothoraces, and fractures to cranial vault. These injuries are consistent with crushing by a large object, as yet unidentified. Police Scene of Crime report indicates carpet of house where subject’s body found was smeared extensively with garden soil. The substance beneath subject’s fingernails is identified as Brassica rapa rapa, commonly known as the turnip.

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