400 Facts is a new comic written and illustrated completely independently (ie. no money) by myself based on a story and characters that I’ve been working on for a while. The first issue concerns itself with set up of the central tenants of the comic, literally and figuratively, we’re introduced to Eleanor, Adeline, Pru and Del who all come to reside at 400 Factory Lane - the crumbling microcosm where the story is set.
It’s been a real learning experience trying to multitask the writing and illustration, at times it was overwhelmingly challenging, but when I finished up the other week I was really looking forward to starting part two and pleased with what part one has set up as a springboard.
I’ll be updating the blog regularly with alot of interesting stuff I’ve got planned so stick close buddy. For now, why not have a look at some samples of 400 Facts Issue #1 below and if you like how it looks you can support me in these endeavours by buying a copy via the link on the right hand side of the page here or by going to the online publisher direct at lulu.com.
I thought I might post a few of my previous short stories here - to give you a flavour of what I’ve been writing, as I thought it might be hard for alot of people to take the plunge on a comic if they weren’t sure if they would like the writing. Have a read then of the first tale below and I’ll post a few more as the week progresses.
“My Favourite Bars Are The Ones Where The Clocks Have All Stopped”
I get on my bike and free cycle down the hill through Paletine and then onto the dual carridgeway into city centre where I always go past this bit which is blocked off to cars but bikes can go down and on a sunny day you’d swear you were in L.A, or at least the parts of L.A which you see in movies or sitcom stock footage seques with its spagetti junctions and billboards and the like, and for one very brief instant you could forget where you really were.
Today though, its raining again, the drops feel like tiny barbs on my gloveless hands, my knuckles tiny white lslands surrounded by a sea of angry red and frosted pink. I pop one hand, Napoleon like, into my coat making a mental note not to do this when cylcing through the rough estate in Hulme as I’m liable to make some poor soul thnk they’re about to get shot.
There’s no rush on to meet Leonard, he already texted before leaving that he was going to be late so I take my time, peddling slow and sloshing through claggy dishwater puddles.
Eventually buildings hove their way into view through the thick grey grease fog and suddenly I’m at the bar without even really thinking about where I was headed.
Pulling at the wisps of his thick black beard, giving his best stage-mournful look to the outside world, Leonard is sat at the bar nursing a barely touched pint, although to be honest it’s likely to be his second or third.
I slosh my way over and he turns to look for the source of the squeaking sound my trainers are making on the pockmarked marble floor.
“Hot date with poseidon?” he heckles as I near, great white teeth snaking out between the strands of Wile. e. Coyote beard.
“I may not look it but I’m gasping for a drink” then getting the attention of the barmaid I order a matching pint.
Leonard puffs his cheeks together and pops his eyes wide following the girl the length of the bar till she starts pouring the Stella. He slowly turns his pufferfish gaze back onto me and then exhales a cool jet of air in my face. He must fancy her.
“I’ve been trying to make moves with her for a while now. Shes quite fit.”
I’ve seen her about here before too and when you look at her properly, she is beautiful, her hair is dyed deep cherry red, pulled proudly back revealing very charming sticky out ears and perfectly khoaled eyes. You have to catch her when she’s scowling though or else the effect of placing your hopes and desires upon her isn’t quite so devastating.
“I tried to do the same a few weeks back’ I say, turning my gaze back to Leonard finding him still tugging on his hair. “I couldn’t think of anything else so I just talked to her about the flowers”
Looking unimpressed Leonard pointed to the now empty blue vases set amongst the debris of the bar which usually contained a fresh bouquet. I nodded ruefully and his face lit up. As the barmaid did another lap he quickly caught her attention with his galactic smile, cooing;
“‘Scuse us, me and my mate were wondering, whatever happened to them flowers from the other week then?”
“Do you remember Duck Hunt?” he says with a half cut smile splitting across his face.
“What did you just call me?” I retort and watch his face drop for a beat and then recover into a broad beam as the joke clicks. Behind him, through the car window, a streaky blackness is punctured by streams of lucozade orange light as the taxi speeds through suburbia, heading into the city.
I try to grip onto this moment, feel alive at this particular second, find value in it somewhere.
He bobs out the taxi ahead of me, arms aloft pushing through the gathered swaggering mass, his hands reach out and knit into another pair in the crowd, their fingers bleeding together. When I reach him, he introduces me to a small fair haired girl, called beccy or betty maybe. He speaks mainly, and as he talks his hands swim around in the air, opening and closing like puppets in a punch and judy show. The girl laughs and brushes her hair from her eyes, smokes her cigarette down to the quick before throwing it to the ground.
Before she moves inside, he places a hand on her shoulder and looks into her eyes intently, and says something into her ear that I don’t catch. I yawn and try and look elsewhere, in the distance I can see the outline of the mountains, the city lights making them hum with a deep murky purple hue. At that moment I feel like I want to escape there, hide away and live secretly.
I take a step out into the street, away from the crowd. A hand snakes out and grips my shoulder, lips appearing suddenly next to my ear, spitting frantically;
“Lets go in. Shit, can you remember that girls name? Begins with a ‘b’”
I shake my head and frown, give one last look to the midnight mountains before following him, sluicing through the crowd once more and down the cavernous stairs to the bar.
Back to work then, bang into 2010 and cannot make anymore excuses for not doing anything except for watching terrible BBC specials with awful CGI effects and eating malteasers all day and then doing useless situps out of guilt.
Been staying up late most nights trying to sleep but having the characters of 4HF run through my mind getting into different strange scenarios, a few of which I end up having to write down so as to not forget them in the morning. There’s a new character in the next issue called Dinah who I’m loving writing at the minute as she’s a brassy mare so its fun coming up with put downs for her. Here’s a line of hers that came from the aforementioned sleepless(ish) night, it’s in reference to finding her drunken big brother Del sat outside their house in the snow wrapped in their mums pilfered bedsheets:
“Is that mams bedsheets wrapped on yeh, from the line? - must’ve been the only thing keeping you warm out here - that n’all the whisky in yer dick”
Also, below you’ll see a new flyer that i’m going to get made into stickers and stick them about round town, drum up a bit of buzz. I’m mostly terrible at drumming up buzz though and its something that sticks in my craw most of the time having to be my own PR. I’m just not very savvy in that way as I’m sure most people who do this sort of thing aren’t either.
I think a flyer will be a fine start though before I move onto more ostentatious and desperate displays in vain efforts to garner public support, here’s to 2010!
I’m writing a short one page comic to stick on this blog when I get the chance and things are going pretty well so hopefully you’ll see the results shortly. I’m spitting piss about the weather outside though as I think I haven’t been able to walk properly for about 2 weeks now cos of the frost.
The one nice thing about the weather being like this is the moon reflecting off the snow on clear nights so everything out there is rendered in a weird glowing stillness. Tonight the sky is pale red and it feels like mars at dusk, theres big cotton swabs of snow falling as I’m writing this so its getting easier and easier to romanticise all this rather than damn it for all the logistical trouble its causing me.
Anyway, here’s another story from my short story vault - it’s not at all in the style of 4HF but I hope you enjoy it regardless.
I didn’t see to it, I told them. I didn’t see to it, kept on yellin it, still damn drunk.
I jest found the body, covered with puckers of bruises yellow an purple. All swoll up. Lips and nose flowerin’ out against a putty face.
Had been drinkin’ all day an’ went to sleep at the underpass, the rumbles of the vehicles above make me dream of the Lord shuddering out obscenities. I like them dreams.
I set myself down there and at some point a pair of highbeams cross my face and then light him up, not 10 feet away, eyes open starin’ up at the pass listenin’ to the gospel of ghosts.
“Listen up, that’s all you can do down here, you listen to His prayers. He won’t hear a damn thing you say back.”
and, hell if that didn’t set me off laughin’.
When they old bluejays picked us up in the mornin’ in their car they said I was laid up right beside him starin’ up at that dark pass, had taken off both our shoes and hats and put em in a pile under our heads.
But it wasn’t me, I didn’t see to that fellar, it was the Lord brought us together, to hear his word.
Well as promised, I’ve got here (well on down the page) the free ‘side story’ comic I’ve been working on this week.
It’s purpose is to compliment the narrative of 400 facts and flesh out another character who will really only be fleeting in the main comic, also I thought it’d be neat to give you internet chaps a chance to read something on here and get a feel for the type of comic you’d be letting yourself in for…
I hope you enjoy Dinahs first whirl round the comic book pole, her diary is a more surreal disjointed affair than 400 Facts too so i hope it floats all yer boats. Dinah herself is a testy bird and is really quite a contrary person. As she says herself, shes 17 and deadly.
On with the show then, remember to click the images to get a fullscreen (otherwise you’ll have a hard time reading it)
I sat down in a cafe the other day ordered up a tuna bagel and a large coffee (which I had planned to pour whisky into because it was so cold but an old dude sat next to me and I got a bit self consciously alky, I worry too much about what old dudes opinions of me are) and ate both like an animal - mayonnaise and coffee shooting out everywhere, headphones rammed in me ears and trying to balance a book on my lap all at once. What can I say - I’m a multitasker momma!
That night I also went to a big ol’ party and did a big booze. Tragedy struck however when I fell into a really deep gutter on their roof terrace in front of a lot of people. Later on I met someone there who told me a really boring story for at least half an hour, the kind of story where you know what the ending is but they can’t seem to reach it without a shit load of exposition and very little in the way of jokes (or whatever it is that makes stories interesting these days).
So it wasn’t the best start to the post Christmas party season I can tell ya, and then the curse got worse when I sank too many beers and had to nip to the toilet. Sadly, I was forced to piss outside because some really annoying girl wouldn’t let me use the one toilet in the place (which is inevitably commandeered and occupied by women very early on in these events whereupon it is renamed the ‘LADIES BATHROOM’ even though it is a toilet without gender and doesn’t mind which bits you stick in it)
It is simultaneously the most attractive and frustrating dance that two people play out in these toilet queue scenarios - the girl is justifiably indignant and appalled but the man is confused (drunk) and stupid (inevitably bringing up something like equal rights or some shite) and what ensues between them is a mixture of rolled eyes, discontented mumblings and outright sweary bollockings before the male swans off past the assembled crew of piss-eager girls who all make a mental note of said males face and add him to the ‘Total Twat I’ll Never Touch’ list.
But something has happened between them - a frisson of passion, a heated debate where their mettle has been tested, it could head toward flirtation very easily if it were not for one thing; you’re both subconsciously aware that as a couple you would forever be tainted by the knowledge that you first met via having a drunk fight at 4 in the morning over who could have a pish first.
That’s why I walked away from my True Love on Saturday.
P.S - 400 Facts stickers came today - Spot them in town soon…
Sitting on one of the sticky benches on the platform at Central Station at 9.30pm the other night I spied a beautiful woman from the corner of my peeper (I have one good peeper, the other one is shit and thus glasses are required.) She was, as The Sun would say in a big font, a stunnah.
In an odd way I wanted her to get on the same train as me, not out of any misguided ambition on my part but rather I wanted her on my team, to hail from the same part of Northern Ireland. Or more vainly, I wanted to revel in the knowledge that I was getting on the beautiful train bound for gorgeous-ville.
But I knew already my dream would be crushed, for I’d been in this situation countless times before - y’see, due to the timetabling of trains at Central Station, the Ballymena line (me & other uggos) overlaps with the Bangor Line (The beautiful people) resulting in an often confusing mix of Lovecraftian beasts from the abyss milling around in concert with pneumatic Uma Thurman lookalikes.
You may think I’m exaggerating, but almost as if to illustrate my thoughts at that point some spide hoved his quivering bleached white bulk into view as my train pulled in and then proceeded to stand in front of the door like a sun scorched dog turd for a stupidly long time before I had to press the big ‘OPEN DOOR’ button for him. As I stepped into the pish-stink carriage I took one last look across the platform at the Bangor train as it pulled away in the other direction and I could have sworn I had seen their train conductor somewhere before.
Then it hit me, I recalled one bored night late last year I was stuck in a hotel in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do so I had flicked onto Model-TV and seen this bangorian conductor striding down the catwalk at Chanels Autumn/Winter 09 show. You have to admit, a similar skillset is required and it helps keep a young model keep afloat during the downtime between shows.
As a result of this I’ve decided to make the move to Bangor, but not before some extensive surgery first so as to avoid being burnt as a witch upon entry to their town.
Maybe this is a bit specific, but have you ever went to certain places to scope out someone you fancy? I don’t mean in a creepy stalkerish way but there was a time when I used to frequent a pub and look over longingly at the barmaid working there (This does sound creepy but I would’ve been there with pals first and foremost, I didn’t just stand about gawping, dribbling on myself - it was a very pure sweet thing, OK?)
I was just thinking about it today and how great it was to have that going on and that everybody should have a secret crush and never ever reveal their personal feelings about it until one day you have a break down and write it all in your impotent blog.
The girl at this pub was brilliant though - she took no nonsense from anybody and would fling herself around the room with a perma-scowl on her face. Screw friendly staff - you’ll never develop awkward feelings about friendly, approachable people as those situations are far too easily resolved to be in any way passion filled. No, what I needed to do, nay, should have done was square up to her and offer to smash the granny out of her, she would’ve respected that.
Instead what I did for ages was just furtively glance over hoping that one day she’d come over, throw me over her shoulder and take me away for a week of gruesome scowl filled sex.
The reason I was thinking about all this though was because of how I projected this character onto her, without knowing anything about her - she is almost certainly completely different to how I imagine. I just foisted certain traits on her which suited her demeanor at busy times in her workplace and how she reacted to them. Effectively I created the idea of a feisty, unapproachable lass in my mind which in turn created a ‘no go’ zone in the real world.
I feel like I should be applauding my mind for being so creative without any prompting but I just want to stick sharpened pencils up my nose instead since it’s bent on holding me back from ever licking another ladies face. Or whatever’s a normal sign of intimacy these days.
I haven’t been around since last week, online at least, I’ve been around in real life - perhaps you managed to catch a glimpse of me spitting in tandem with the big Big Issue lady down at the Europa bus station, just passing the time till I got internet at my new place.
While I was in town I thought I’d head to Marks & Spencer to posh up my new room with a nice houseplant, don’t worry lads, I’ve got my NVQ in “Houseplant Buying and Maintenance” from girlfriend college, so I knew exactly what I was doing before you start to sweat.
I pick out a good looking plant which comes in an attractive little pot, and now botanically satisfied, I set it gently in my basket before scooting my smug hipster ‘probably listens to Belle and Sebastian and cries’ arse down the aisle towards the fruit and veg section to get something relatively healthy for tea.
After a few minutes of picking up and putting down the same type of cheese I notice that over the course of the past few minutes I’ve caught the eye of no less than three attractive women, with smiles and everything. “What’s going on here then?” the emaciated sex starved part of my brain croaks out - blinking at the light spilling in from the beaming glory of femininity that’s just roused it from it’s eternal slumber.
“It’s nothing. Go back to sleep.” I coax back, scared of getting it excited after what happened last time.
After more of this ocular flirtation occours as I pass these fantastic ladies in the aisle I finally hit upon what’s happening - it’s the contents of my basket that’s making these classy, organic hummus easting, fresh flower buying, foreign film watching, bicycle riding, wonderful specimens of femininity all hot and bothered.
I look around and there’s no other male in my age range - no competition. There’s a barrage of 20-something independent, intelligent women all mulling over pertinent food questions like which type of Italian ham they should buy. I realise I’ve inadvertently stumbled into the hottest singles bar in Belfast. I then glance down at my basket and discover I have hit upon a Georges Marvelous Medicine style concoction of foodstuffs and homeware to make any woman fake an orgasm with you ON THE SPOT. I shall list them for you now, but please gents - do not exactly recreate this list as the ladies will catch on and our game will be up. Improvise for best results.
1. The Houseplant. A note on this - don’t buy flowers, you’ll look like you’re in a couple, try and buy something masculine, something that looks penis-y.
2. Bottle of nice wine. I know fuck all about wine, but it’s important to look like you drink it around women when really you’re sat in your cold room licking the rim of a bottle of gin. Another note on this - If you need to buy wine glasses like I did, buy three of them as buying two is a no-no for obvious reasons and buying one makes you look like a hobo. Three is good because it adds mystery - “Why three?” she’ll ask herself possibly arousingly.
4. Fruit and veg - makes you seem healthy and virile - anything organic can go in here too as you’ll come across all ‘Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall’ Don’t buy ready meals as you like a slob who can’t cook. Don’t buy ready meals even if you are getting laid though, you’ll need to remortgage your house after a month.
5. Balance fruit and veg with a large Chorizo sausage.
Feel free to add your own success stories or suggestions in the comments below and apologies for ending on that Chorizo joke.
It’s happened at last, that moment that only seems to happen with characters in endlessly deprecating screwball comedies - I’ve bumped into the Old School Friend who has dropkicked me into touch with the real world. She regaled me with perfectly lovely tales of mutual aquaintences and ex’s I’d fallen out of favour with, getting married, buying houses (Who can afford a house? I can barely afford having lunch.), having babies all whilst living the high life in other countries now, trying to forget where they’re from.
While we stood fiddling with our milk-lids in the dairy aisle of Tescos, she asked me what I was doing back here again (I swanned off like a big prick to England a few years ago and then came back a little bit smaller but still a sizable prick) and I mentioned that I was drawing now mostly, which was precisely the moment where she realised I was a complete prick. I may have thought I was shopping for butternut squash and cous cous (still got the skills chaps) but to her I was just playing at House, complete with these obviously make believe airy fairy foods in my basket.
Catching this shift in mood my ego swelled to gargantuan levels and I blurted out ‘I got offered a job in London so it’s going quite well’. She just looked at me like I did a poo in the creme fraiche. I looked a bit of a Mickey Try Too Hard, a tad like a Tommy Trumpet, you know the boastful, deluded type of life’s failures you sometimes meet. And I was pretty much lying too, jobs usually offer to pay you don’t they?
So next time she bumps into a mutual pal of ours I’m sure the conversation will inevitably go;
“Do you remember speccy Stephen from school?” “Oh yeah! You saw him did you? What’s he up to now?” “Still wears specs, but he’s a complete prick now!” “He always was!”
Changing up the pace of the blog this week with a short story. What’s that? No! Of course plenty of interesting things have been happening in my life this week, it’s a constant fucking rollercoaster man!
Barry Purt stirred violently from a rich slumber. ‘BOOF’ went his head on the angled attic ceiling as he shot up poker straight from his bed. Minutes later as he woozily stuttered down the staircase he could still feel the reverb from the knock whizzing around his teeth and gums, making his pudgy cheeks flush crimson. Putting a hand to the banister to steady himself he decided that a spot of breakfast could put paid to the degenerative effects of an early morning head trauma.
Barry was fond of butter. Intensely so. He would huff and wheeze about its virtues, textures, colours and tastes to anyone polite enough to listen. He would elucidate further on regional varieties, rare breeds of butter-bred Friesians and elaborate churning methods used in the Netherlands. And, if you still managed to somehow remain enthralled by Barry’s inane whitterings by this stage, his hot, sour butter breath insinuating itself into your ear canal would inevitably begin to make your stomach churn in giant revolving tumbles of acrid gas and acid, bubbling up in an innate reaction to both Barry’s grandiose tales and repellent physical appearance. It was due to Barry’s freakish passion that he rapidly became known in social circles as the ‘Knob of Butter’
Barry loped into his small kitchenette, resting a portion of his gut on the breakfast bar whilst spreading his thick fingers into his matted brittle hair in search of the rapidly forming new lump amongst all the old ones. His head was beginning to resemble a sort of half cooked potato, slimy and viscous, pock marked and bruised with a sprouting of unevenly shod mud coloured bracken coming out of the top in place of hair.
Eventually giving up on his futile search, he commenced on hoving his quivering bulk towards the fridge, his bare feet collecting the detritus from a graveyard of crumbs which littered the untended floor. He swung the door to and it opened with a sticky pop. To watch Barry survey the myriad golden treats before him was reminiscent of the futile wealth of Croesus, his tongue lolling and clucking as his beady sunken eyes swept over the amassed gold bars which radiated with the light of a million buttercups. There were mountainous ranges of ochre cream, cleft and sculpted over time by lukewarm butter knives. Delving deeper you could find balled rolls of foil tucked near the back, foreign in origin with impressive lettering denoting flavours or regional characteristics. There were even big beige supermarket tubs causing a rabble in the bottom drawers where space was limited. They all had a place in Barrys fridge, mini deities who would see such frequent worship upon altars of toast like little butter Buddha’s.
Barry grasped at a particularly indulgent butter from the back of the fridge, coating his entire forearm in smears from the jostling assembly in the process, literal elbow grease the kind of like which had never been mustered in a less literal sense either personally or professionally. A butter from the Alsace region in France, this particular brand had been coveted by Barry for years, he scoured websites for insight into the creators near alchemical prowess in butter-craft, translating by hand anything he came across, even going so far as to attempt conversation with the master creamer in a stilted and rudimentary French patois over an expensive and not particularly informative phone call. When at last the day came and the consignment of butter from Alsace arrived, Barry eyed it lustily, it was such a small package really, one golden bar ensconced in delicate foil, that it would be it for the entirety of the fickle butter season that year. If it perhaps underwhelmed him in size, it more than compensated in taste, in many ways it was the finest butter he had sampled. It yielded slowly to glance of a knife, if at first it seemed resist it then gave itself over wholly to manipulation once inspired by heat. On the tongue it flirted tenaciously with your taste buds before revealing sweet undulating waves of sensation which pulsed and danced and quivered before sliding down your gullet leaving trails of sunset and salt and eyes bulging at hidden orgiastic delights. This was why Barry had rationed and not squandered it unlike many others whose fate lay in the coagulated mess of arteries buried deep in Barrys fat fortress.
Today would be different however, Barry needed succour, something to ease his lump and appease the lump himself, he resolved to consume the entirety of the remaining Alsace.
Peeling back the foil a large nub of Alsace greeted him, slowly beginning to shimmer on top as the powerful morning light started to motivate it into golden life. Barry salivated and licked the corners of his mouth to prevent frothing.
Reaching instinctively towards his favourite butter knife he stopped short, retracting his meaty appendage as he noted that all along, right up to his elbow, was still coated in a fine lacquer of butter from before which now swam and dripped from arm hair and off fingers and wrist as it congealed with porous sweat in the baking sunlight.
Barry had lived forty-five indolent years, mainly alone, spurring friendship and camaraderie in favour of spunking his life away into meaningless and abhorrent pursuits, which is mentioned only now so as to provide at least some justification to the events that follow.
Barry began to lick and tongue at his arm, slopping wadges of half sweat, half butter into his greasy maw, at first tentatively - casting furtive glances at no one in particular, and then ferociously, voraciously yelping as it gurgled through his gelatinous passageways. Everything that happened next occurred in such a frenzy that no one is still sure of what abnormality of physicality resulted in Barry being flung from the safety of his kitchenette into the wilds of his weed infested garden and beyond.
At some point during his frenzy he loosened his dressing gown and underwear and began to massage the famous Alsace down his gut and thighs and feet. Inertia failing him as he worked it between his toes he felt himself fall head over heels, the crumb encrusted floor rushing up to meet his face, a constellation of delicious abandoned stars as his podgy head crashed into them.
After that, deep dark black nothingness washed all over.
And then, a feeling of déjà vu, Barrys eyes sparked open just in time to see that he was once again about to swan dive into the kitchen floor. He stuck out his hands to break his fall closing his eyes instinctively. When he reopened them a few seconds later he found himself midway up the kitchenette wall whizzing past a dusty picture of him and his mum at Pontins some years previous. Before he could rationalise what was happening, his naked body was careening across the ceiling seemingly freed of both friction and gravity. His ears were filled with the most dreadful screech, not from his own lips however (for the gravity of the situation had not yet kicked in) but from the folds of his sweaty, buttered, juddering mass which recoiled and snapped and propelled in a most terrible and indescribable motion.
It was impossible for Barry to navigate in his condition; he was at the mercy of his body which now no longer obeyed any natural law. Barry had pushed it too far. He tried to lodge himself in the sink as he passed on one rotation of the kitchen and even managed to snag himself on the door handle on another but at each juncture his sopping body would interject and free him from any solace that he aimed for. Strange to relate then that at some point at the end of that first day, at some unknown moment in Barrys infernal kitchen spin cycle, he managed to fall asleep.
The next thing he became aware of was a large mollusk camped out on the bridge of his nose as the sun danced in a circular motion directly behind, searing and blinding with each revolution. He tried to lash out at his new found friend but found his limbs no longer carried any weight. In fact, had Barry been able to look at himself from above at this point he would see not a man, but a fleshy corpustule, smooth and plump yet bilious, covered in butter, breadcrumbs, twigs, crockery and slugs. From afar he probably resembled a deep fried bollock, spinning in his garden, baking slowly in the noon day sun.
As alarm and panic grasped him once again he cried out but no one came to his aid. He found that as he yelled he began to propel faster and faster and eventually he found himself spinning as if in a centrifuge around the fence of his neglected garden. Suddenly he slammed hard against the garden gate. It gave way from its corroded hinges and sent Barry into the cobbled alleyway to the rear of the house. He found he felt no pain as rusty nails and barbed wire atop fences couldn’t pierce his batter. His friend the snail had unfortunately long since passed having been flung off into the ether.
He bounced into the street. Across a car. Up a lamppost and down again. People began to take notice at this point, calling out, taking photos, jumping out of the way of the gargantuan butter bag. He flew through a Tesco Metro leaving a trail of wet creamy slime in his wake. As he passed through the butter aisle he picked up even more speed as if his body was absorbing the now hated substance via osmosis. He was beginning to blur around the edges as he sped through the streets.
Reaching town, he flushed down escalators and coated young mums with prams. He made polite gentlemen throw up in the street and helicopters began to follow him through their special lenses. He thrudupped thrupped thrupped through an entire Topshop and upset a dog.
The police tried to set up barricades and predict where Barry would slither off to next but it was completely futile. The more they chided him through their megaphones the more huffy Barry got and thus the faster and more corpulent he became. As a last ditch effort for rehabilitation they even put Barrys doctor in a helicopter which flew next to him shouting advice as he went “Have you been having your Five-A-Day” he squawked impotently. At this point the police just decided to shoot Barry. They reasoned with themselves; they’d given it their best shot, right?
Scuppering their plans as the snipers took aim, Barrys body took a hard left toward the train station, onlookers diving one way and the other, all instantly regretting how mawkish they had previously been as parked cars and dustbins came flying toward their face. Once on the train tracks, Barry was funnelled on a one way trip, headed toward Brighton, the coast.
He was so fast now the cameras couldn’t keep up. There are some photographs of Barry hurtling toward Brighton pier. And then off it. And then a huge splash.
Barry is probably the reason why Anglo-French relations are so terrible at the moment. They assumed he was the first wave in a terrific new kind of biological assault. The French president called up our Prime Minister to enquire as to why a seaweed encrusted scampi with the head of a potato was seen assaulting the peak of the Eiffel Tower with a massive Union Jack trailing out of its arse.
It was a moot point however as just as quick as Barry had scaled the formidable icon than he had launched off it at light speed toward the stratosphere, into space, into unimaginable gaseous colours beyond our conception, leaving only a streak of yellow across a cloudless azure sky.
It’s been a dreadfully quiet week, I’ve stayed in, drawn a few things and ate a really nice Pieminster pie which I found when I took myself out for a late night cycle trip to Forrestside. Upon getting home, I slobbered it up with mushy peas, brown sauce and a cold tinny, probably burping as I went, which provided my weekly dosage of overtly masculine behaviour - I then retired to the living room, put my feet up and patted myself on the crotch and told myself I was a good lad.
The fact that I haven’t gone out anywhere socially in the past few days has had a weird repercussion in other, usually more innocuous areas of life which I’ve tried to spice up in lieu of hanging out with friends. I went out for a burrito tonight (this week is evidently rich food treat week) and as I was ordering found myself repeatedly asking the girl serving me a lot of inane questions.
The conversation faltered repeatedly when she insisted that we stop having it and suggested that I order something instead. “What kind of beans are those?” I said languidly, in my best Masterchef drawl, my tone suggesting that I knew exactly what they were, but didn’t quite understand what that specific type of bean was doing in amongst the sweetcorns, guacamole’s and salsas, as if their presence was an offence to my attuned bean sensors.
I don’t think she picked up on my clever, suggestive, conversational nuances as she just replied simply; ‘Pinto’. She didn’t even say it with an accent, just her normal Belfast cadence. I know if I worked there I’d put a bit of pizzazz into the word and maybe follow it up with some kind of wicked cool hand gesture. I just nodded sagely before moving on to proffer my opinion on differing salsa strengths (“Y’know baby, medium isn’t medium anymore, it’s more like mild, and strong is too strong - don’t even get me started on people who go for mild its not a sauce it’s barely even a flavour more gas than liquid y’get me love?”) which she looked vaguely depressed by as at this point I still hadn’t ordered anything, and quickly after she looked like she was choking back tears. It may have just been the mild salsa gas getting in her eyes or she may have realised that she was wasting her life talking to condiment pedants like me.