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Sometimes, with regard to the imagination, it is frighteningly easy to become a fool. One man here becomes that fool despite the rather obvious clue indicated by at least one aspect of "reality".
I don't write enough stories. I don't have enough time. Mostly I write critical pieces, critical of culture and the lives we lead. I find it hard to be objective about my own writing. But then I find it hard to be objective about anyone elses too.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (1)
Sunglasses (Short Stories) The Sun can be hot. This might leave you feeling very cold. Sunglasses often help if your eyes are hurting. Might this interest anyone enough to attempt to read it? Perhaps you'd better wear gloves - ... [3,311 words] [Psychology]
I was feeling a bit light headed. I suppose it was the beer; well, that and the music. Sometimes that's the way music takes me, I get kind of light headed and giggly. Occasionally people look at me strangely and I know that I am talking too much and probably being a bit manic. It's the combination that does it, good music, beer, drugs, people.
I'm not always like that, as I said it's only sometimes. The music has to feel really good, I need it to feel like it is overtaking my physical functions and somehow controlling what I am doing. It's a bit like surrender, but a nice one, voluntary.
So maybe that was what was going on I'm not all together sure, but despite the drink I felt like some part of the music was lifting me and I was getting a glimmering of that bizarre transcendent sensation that takes place when I start to feel really unified with my instrument - and I don’t mean my penis (or do I?).
Then this bloody bloke came in with a banjo.
You see we were playing in the back room of some back of beyond backwater Scottish pub and every man and his uncle and aunty, his dog and all their dogs and a few other people who were, as far as I could tell, unrelated thrown in for good measure were all crammed in to this smoky little room, drinking and smoking like fools, playing like demons and laughing a lot.
Sometimes I think this is my element, but then I worry that it is actually going to kill me one day or the other, I don't know - who cares? If it's good then it must be good.
Anyway back to this character with the banjo. He looked like some kind of crazy chimpanzee and had the most amazing set of teeth that I have ever seen, they seemed to jut out from his upper jaw like the white cliffs of Dover. I know that this is a cruel thing to say, but as I explained sometimes I get a bit manic and these things occur to me. I frequently get myself into trouble like this. People don't like a gibbering idiot on some weird high saying casual cruel things all over the place and laughing like an arsehole; but I digress.
So here he is with his strange simian face, geological teeth and a dirty baseball cap perched on his head as if he's just stepped out of a character part in some deep-south road movie and what does he do?
He proceeds to play the thing really badly and in some way or another he's interfering with the rhythm in an unthinking careless way and all the lightness goes out of what we are playing. It's like we've all suddenly put on lead over-coats and gone for a swim in a muddy swamp of shit.
But then guess what happens? These two beautiful young women come over and join us, one is playing a flute and the other a guitar. They looked young but you know how it can be in your head. Very nice I thought and I felt like a monster but then it's only natural, isn't it?. I don't know. Maybe they were eighteen or nineteen something like that, maybe they were too young for me but then what's the harm?
So there I was onto a real roll on the fiddle, playing away with my mates and occasionally shaking off the mad banjo player thanks to our attempts at playing into the realms of traditional obscurity.
This is one of the cruel things that happens at these kind of events. If you don't want someone to play with you it can help to spend all your time thinking of tunes to play that they'll never know. Sometimes it works and others it turns out they’ve done their homework and have learnt every obscure unheard of tune in the universe precisely to combat this type of situation.
This is rare.
I think that some people cultivate a deliberately obscure repertoire just so that they are able to silence anything they don't get on with. I've seen it happen; it can't be chance, can it? I know that I have been guilty.
Shit, what kind of a man am I?
So I'm constantly making, or attempting to make, eye contact with these ladies. A smile here, a smile there, it's shameless really but I was feeling a bit "on one" as they say and at times like that shame definitely takes up a rear-guard action, only coming into play when it is too late and you are terminally mortified.
I started to kid myself that things were going rather well, especially with the flute player who was sitting nearest to me and looked like she had just beamed in from some exotic Caribbean island, all tanned skin and deep black curly hair. There was something about her teeth that just didn't register with any clarity upon my excited consciousness, something unbalanced, unusual, off-putting.
Drinking Guinness and smiling like a lunatic, I kept on catching her eye and raising my eyes to the heavens each time the banjo player launched himself into yet another calamitous tune that due to my idiotic heightened state of awareness seemed to take on the proportions of an international incident.
She played some crap tunes and my friends were getting so bored that they didn't even bother to join in, one of them expressed an interest in actually leaving. He was right of course we really ought to have left, but at that point I had totally lost it hormonally speaking.
I was launching into ancient hackneyed over-played tunes as though they held the greatest challenge and fascination, oh yes it's Morrison's jig for me. What a nob.
But bloody hell that banjo player, the man had no shame whatsoever, he literally didn't care, playing on oblivious to each new disaster he perpetrated. I carried on my covert dialogue, tutting and twisting my face as each disaster seemed to require.
After a little while, perhaps an hour or so of grinning inanely, swapping glances and smiling over tunes, she gestured to me to come closer with a wave of her hand. I was grinning and wondering what she was going to say as I inclined myself towards her seat.
"Yeah, what is it?" I asked expectantly, almost certain it was too much to believe that she was about to ask me to return to her hotel because she suddenly needed a man and was quite literally desperate for it. Almost certain because that's the way it is with these things. Even though you know for sure that something is not only unlikely but is in fact more improbable than a newborn volcano suddenly erupting out of your toilet whilst you are sitting on it, you just can't help entertaining the possibility that it might just happen.
You can never know. Anything involving the future must be some kind of fantasy, even a future only five minutes away, even waiting for the bus, it's only a fantasy until it arrives. Some people have less probable fantasies than others, that's all. Mine was pretty improbable; most of them are actually.
So I had asked her what she wanted in, to my mind, the coolest manner known to the human race and there I was static for a long moment which possibly only lasted for a few tenths of a millisecond eagerly awaiting the confirmation of my wildest dream.
All the fantasies I had ever had poured through my mind in a thick creamy liquid form that engulfed my reason and deformed my expectations.
"Don't be nasty to him he's my father," she said with a barely concealed hostility, and nodded towards the bloody banjo player.
One of my friends who was sitting between us burst into fits of laughter.
"Oh dear," I thought. "I've done it again."
|READER'S REVIEWS (5)
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"Hunh?" -- KungFu Gibbon.
"Okay so we all got the punchline half way through and the plot was a little bit weak, but it was still bloody funny and beautifully told. If I was going to change this at all, It would be to make it less apologetic, have faith in him being an obnoxious bastard and don't apologise for him "Shit what kind of man am I?" ect (EAM) Really got into this and can imagine that fiddle in full flight. " -- Sooz, Dalton-in-Furness, England, Cumbria.
"thank you sooz. I wonder if KungFu will manage to articulate anything beyond a grunt in the near future? We all know about the monkeys and the typewriters tho so I suppose anything is possible..." -- Fergus O'Ferguson.
"Dizzying and intelligently comic. I liked it...and found myself drawing an affection for its character. well done!!!" -- salai.
"Thanks very much salai...interesting name...." -- Fergus O'Ferguson.
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© 2002 Fergus O'Ferguson
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