The Chaos Of Dom – Part Two

The Phone

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< Part One

Peace. Silence. Serenity. Dom awoke feeling refreshed and very well rested. Even more so than usual. The night before was a distant memory, perhaps even a dream. Or a nightmare: Trudging silently down seventeen flights of stairs, gradually surrounded by a greater and greater number of similarly afflicted strangers, all marching sombrely together like they were heading off to war. Trying and failing to at least enjoy a cigarette when he finally left the building, only for it and his last remaining spark of hope to be extinguished immediately by the vindictively heavy rain. There was no fire. Of course there wasn’t. Dom had known it before he’d even got out of bed. It was just some pissed up idiots on a dare at three in the morning.

Dom opened his eyes slowly, cautiously accepting the bright morning sunlight as it beamed through his bedroom window. He reached for the bedside table to find his phone, but he couldn’t feel it. It wasn’t there. He opened his eyes fully and turned them towards the table, but this time he couldn’t see it either. Then he remembered. He’d taken his phone outside when he’d evacuated. He must have forgotten to take it back out of his jean pocket when he got back up to his flat.

Dom got out of bed, which was a thousand times easier now than it had been last night and walked over to the jeans that he’d left in a pile on the floor. He reached into his front left pocket, where his phone spent the majority of its time and pulled it out to check the time. It was dead. He pressed the home button. Dead. He hammered the home button. Dead. The power button? Dead, dead, dead. His phone was dead. It was as dead as the chicken in the madras ready meal he’d enjoyed last night and could somehow still smell, probably because it’s container still lay open on the bedroom floor, complete with residual sauce and chunks that appeared to have congealed over night.

A thought then occurred to Dom and that thought was this: He had forgotten to put his phone back on charge after the evacuation and it was subsequently dead, the only victim of a non-existant fire, meaning that if the time to wake up and go to work had been and gone, the alarms that he’d set on his incredibly dead phone would not have gone off, due to it’s being dead. Dom suddenly became very aware of just how bright the sunlight coming through the window was. Work started at 8. Dom had absolutely no idea what time he’d woken up.

Heart hammering in his ribcage, Dom ran to the kitchen. Well, it was more of a kitchen-come-living room, one of three rooms that comprised his supposed luxury but actually suspiciously tiny flat, along with bedroom and bathroom. He ran straight to the microwave, the only other method he knew of checking the time. His heart sank. The digital clock in the corner read twelve minutes past ten. He’d overslept. He’d overslept a lot. He was extremely late for work.

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Part Three >

The Chaos Of Dom – Part One

The Fire Alarm

…DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING…

Dom squirmed, trying to free himself from the cacophony. He’d been in a small rural cottage, somewhere far away. He’d savoured the smell of freshly cooked food as his wife had busied herself about the kitchen. Then he’d said something funny and she’d thrown her head back and laughed. He loved that laugh. He loved that life. It’d been nice. He’d been so happy. But then…

…DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING…

“Go away!” Dom moaned fruitlessly into his pillow, throwing his right arm out in search of his phone so that he could turn off the alarm. His fingers groped around the bedside table, discarding each object they found as soon as they were identified as ‘Not a phone’. He felt his packet of cigarettes… His fingers moved on… His lamp… Jesus, come on. Where was it?

…DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING…

With a reluctant whimper, Dom raised his head from the pillow and propped himself up on his other arm, squinting his eyes to shield them from the cruel, inevitable morning sunlight. But there was none. Dom’s eyes instead found themselves adjusting to the pitch blackness of his bedroom, just as he’d left it when he’d dropped off to sleep. This made no sense. He looked over to the bedside table where he had blindly tried and failed to find his phone. Straining his eyes in the darkness though, he saw it. But it wasn’t lit up displaying the time or an alarm. It was quite silent. Quite still. Fast asleep, just as he should have been. Dom stared at the phone for a moment, lacking the brainpower in his current state to put these pieces together. It’s still dark… The noise is not coming from the phone… And yet…

…DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING…

The horrible, inescapable noise permeated his entire body but it took a few more moments for Dom to realise its source. The piercing ringing sound that had awoken him from what he vaguely remembered to be a fairly pleasant dream… Although he couldn’t quite recall its content… That sound was his block’s fire alarm.

For a fraction of a second, he considered risking it. He was ninety percent sure that the alarm would have been pulled as a prank. He was ninety percent sure that some inconsiderate arse holes that plagued one of the seventeen floors of his building would have just got back from the pub and pulled the alarm as a dare. To be funny. And how funny it was. Dom scowled. However, he was ten percent sure that he was wrong, meaning that he was ten percent sure that there actually was a fire. A real one. He let out a long, defeated sigh, swung his legs over the side of the bed and planted his feet on the floor.

Dom dressed hastily in jeans and hoodie, unplugged and picked up his phone, then grabbed his keys, his cigarettes and lighter, slipped on his trainers without tying them, then stormed out of his bedroom and up to the front door. He unlocked and threw open the door – And regretted it instantly. The corridor’s fluorescent lights blinked on, sensing his movement. Dom recoiled. In his haste to leave, he hadn’t actually prepared his eyes for such an eventuality this time. Still half asleep and rapidly losing patience with absolutely everything in a seventeen floor radius, he let out another almost inaudible whimper.

The lifts would be off limits during a fire of course, so Dom headed for the stairs and began the long pilgrimage down from his seventeenth floor flat to the foyer and the outside World beyond.

…DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING-A-LING-A-DING…

Dom hated everything.

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Part Two >

Coffee

What on Earth could possibly be worse than this?

Helen and Frank, thought Bill as he took a cup from the supermarket’s self-service coffee machine and placed it onto the grate. Frank and Helen. He couldn’t believe it. His head was swimming. Bill pushed a few buttons on the touchscreen and coffee began to pour out of the nozzle and into the cup.

His wife, Helen. His wife of 20 years. How could she have done this? How could anyone do this? The machine finished filling the cup with coffee as Bill punctured the lid with a stirrer, then he gave the coffee a stir and pushed the lid into place on top.

His brother, Frank. The brother he’d known for as long as he’d been alive. 40-odd years. How could he have done this? How could anyone do this? Bill walked to the self-service checkout and pushed a few more buttons. £2.55 for a cup of coffee. Bloody rip off if you asked Bill, but he couldn’t wait until he got into the office. He rummaged in his pockets and dug out some change – a £2 coin, a 50p coin and a 20p coin. He placed each in turn into the slot.

Helen and Frank. How could human beings with the same compassion, the same morals and the same ethics as Bill do something so horrible as this? As disgusting as this? He’d never been more confused or upset or angry about anything in his life. What on Earth could possibly be worse than this?

The self-service checkout spat out his change: A 5p coin, three 2p coins and four pennies.

Oh.

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The Little Poo

Charles did a little poo.

Charles did a little poo. There was nothing unusual about that in itself, of course. Like the title of that potty training book had said, “Everybody poops”. Charles’ motivations for this particular little poo though were far from usual.

Charles was not a social man. He was a man that liked his hobbies: Biking around the beautiful parks that surrounded his isolated rural house was one, painting models of fantasy creatures was another. He’d never actually played a tabletop game like Dungeons and Dragons, but he found it so exciting, yet at the same time soothing to take these blank grey figures of minotaurs and elves and breathe life into them through colour, millimetre by painstaking millimetre. That wasn’t Charles’ main hobby though. No, Charles’ main hobby and his real passion was gardening. He’d find that same excitement and that same soothing satisfaction in planting seeds around the edge of his back garden, slowly encouraging and nurturing them into flourishing plants and watching with pride as they bloomed and blossomed.

But as happy as these hobbies made him, Charles yearned for companionship. His wife Audrey had left him for another man some years ago, and many of his good friends had since passed away. He missed them all dearly, but refused to wallow in their loss. The simple fact was that he didn’t have any good friends left, at least none that he saw more than once or twice a year. He was going to change that and he was going to change it today. Now. So Charles did a little poo.

The idea had occurred to him the previous day: He would grow a person! A friend! Just as he grew plants! Why not? The notion made sense to Charles. If a mighty oak tree could grow from a tiny acorn and a towering sunflower could bloom from an even smaller seed, then he couldn’t see any reason at all why a human being couldn’t be grown from a little poo. He could barely contain his excitement as he scooped the little poo up off the newspaper in the living room and practically skipped into the garden.

Charles knew the perfect spot to plant this little poo. He’d had to pull up a dead bush the week before and had yet to replace it with anything, meaning that there was a space of a good few feet along the back wall of the garden. He’d been keeping his bike there in the meantime but he could always just prop that up against the iron barred garden gate instead. It was a perfectly sized area of loam in which to grow his new friend. He took his trowel, which was lodged in the dirt with the handle sticking out, plunged it back into the earth and began to dig.

Once the hole was of adequate size, Charles reached behind him for the little poo he’d left on the grass. He picked it up, carefully placed it into the freshly dug hole and slowly covered it with layer upon layer of soil. It was at this point that a thought hit Charles: What would the little poo need in order to grow into a person? Water? Beer?! Maybe the personality and appearance of the person would change depending on how they were fed. Maybe feeding the little poo with vodka martinis would grow a little James Bond. Maybe Strongbow would grow a chav. Maybe Ouzo would grow someone with no tastebuds whatsoever. Charles had no idea.

Charles went inside and rifled through the cupboards. He wasn’t much of a drinker, so he had barely any alcohol in. He had barely any of anything in actually. Ribena? No… Orange juice? No… Eventually he decided that milk made the most sense. Yes. Milk. Milk for big strong bones. Lots of calcium. Maybe he’d grow a little super human. A bulletproof new friend with bones like titanium. Charles took his two litre bottle of semi-skimmed out of the fridge and into the garden, before pouring a generous amount over the spot where the little poo had been planted. Unable to stop the excited smile from appearing on his face, he headed back inside and went to bed. He was doing it! He was actually going to grow a person! Charles couldn’t wait.

Charles spent the next week or so thinking about nothing else. Audrey, as he’d decided to name his new person, was receiving around-the-clock care. He fed her regularly with milk, cut back other plants that threatened to encroach into her space and even installed a small lamp so that she could be well lit through the night. Anything for his Audrey.

And then Audrey sprouted. She didn’t sprout like a normal plant would have. Why would she? Audrey was after all a person and not a plant. Audrey sprouted with a muddy brown-yellow stem that pushed its way slowly through the surface of the earth. Charles was beside himself when he saw. He hadn’t celebrated like that in years, whooping and dancing and crying tears of joy. She didn’t stop there either and soon after she was nearly a foot tall and 6 inches wide. Still a muddy brown-yellow colour though and with a really strange consistency. The smell was also getting quite strong, Charles had noticed. The smell of his little poo, magnified several times by growth, decomposition and a few litres of stale milk that’d been heated day and night for nearly two weeks by the Sun and the lamp. Charles had been afraid that this might happen, but he didn’t want to admit it. He had to now though. There were no two ways about it: Audrey was composed entirely of faeces.

As Audrey continued to grow, she started to show more and more definition. A face of sorts was the first to form. If Charles squinted, the face didn’t seem all that dissimilar to his own, albeit composed entirely of human waste, which in all fairness seemed perfectly logical. Audrey had of course been grown from Charles’ own little poo. Charles’ DNA. Next she grew 4 limbs, which came out of Audrey’s now 3 foot torso in more or less the places Charles would expect. More or less. She also seemed to have developed at least some kind of internal organ system, as he would watch her faecal chest rise and fall with unmistakeable regularity. She clearly had some sort of lungs and if she had lungs she must have had a brain to tell the lungs to breathe and a heart to keep everything ticking over too.

The udders were a surprise to Charles. He’d be lying to himself if he’d said differently. The hooves too. In all honesty, he’d anticipated that the 4 limbs would have grown fingers and toes, but apparently not. Her face was now unmistakably Charles’, but again much more pungent. Charles didn’t celebrate any more. He worried. He fretted. He wondered what on Earth it was that he and his little Audrey poo had brought into this world.

3 weeks after she was planted, Audrey became conscious. Charles was first made aware of this development when he was awoken in the middle of the night by a blood curdling scream. Although Charles initially shook off the notion that he heard a hint of a cow’s “Moo” mixed into the terrible noise, he quickly realised that it was not just his imagination. Audrey screamed and mooed relentlessly from this moment onwards. A horrible, earth shattering wail that filled Charles with pain and regret. He thought at first that she’d grow out of it, like a teething child, but after trying and failing to drift back to sleep, Charles got up the following morning and decided that enough was enough.

As Charles stepped out into the garden, Audrey looked up towards him. She was no longer growing upwards, but had fallen forwards onto her 4 behooved legs. As Charles looked into the earthy reflection and their eyes met, Audrey screamed even louder and more desperately, reaching an octave to which Charles had not previously been introduced. A single tear started to roll down his wrinkled cheek as he unearthed the trowel and started towards her. Audrey started to panic, thrashing back and forth and scattering little flecks of her body over the garden as she attempted to free herself from the brown-yellow stem that still connected her to the ground.

Charles managed to walk about half way across the garden before the muddy brown-yellow stem was finally unearthed, roots and all. With her freedom abruptly granted, Audrey practically leapt across the turf, charging through Charles’ shins and causing him to topple over face first into the trail she’d left behind. As he scrambled back to his feet, she reached clumsily for the lock on the iron barred garden gate and slid it across, before pushing the gate open, causing his bike to fall to the floor.

“No!” Charles cried, but it was too late. Audrey, his once beloved faecal cow-human hybrid, picked up Charles’ bike, hopped on, balanced her front hooves on the handlebars and peddled out into the World.

Charles never saw Audrey again. He still was not a social person. He no longer tended his garden and preferred to let it grow wildly out of control. Nor did he cycle for obvious reasons. He still had his models though. He still had his models. He could still breathe life into the blank grey figures of minotaurs and elves through colour, millimetre by painstaking millimetre.

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Updock

A mini-saga

I just found out about mini-sagas, which are short stories made of 50 words or less. I dare say you’ll be seeing quite a few of these.

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Elmer gasped for breath. He felt hot. Too hot. In fact it was suddenly as if fire had begun to rage in his stomach, rising up his oesophagus and into his mouth. He’d been poisoned. And she’d done this. She, who looked suspiciously like a rabbit in drag. That bitch.

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Into Space

A poem. An actual one this time.

Here’s some advice that you can use,

At home or on your day’s commute:

Take all the shit that bothers you

And blast it into space.

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World Leaders leading you to fear,

That World War III is drawing near?

Hey, here’s a pretty sweet idea:

Just blast them into space.

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The newspapers that lie for clicks,

Blame victims for the 96,

Then get caught spying, stupid dicks,

Just blast them into space.

____________________

The people in your life that seek,

To make a trough of all your peaks

And make “real” enemies obsolete,

Fucking blast them into space.

____________________

Those thoughts that so often intrude,

Rip you to shreds for all you do

And whittle down the hope ’til you

Are left without a trace,

____________________

Ignore the things that others do,

Take all the shit that bothers you,

Address it to the fucking moon

And blast it into space.

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The Troll

It all started just like any other day…

OK, stop.

Thanks for choosing to read my new short story, “The Troll“, but before you read this story, you must be listening to the song “Bananaphone” by Raffi. Go and start that up now.

Excellent, you should now have “Bananaphone” by Raffi playing through your headphones or speakers.

I should explain: Listening to this song while reading this story is mandatory as it is intrinsically linked to the content, mood and overall flow of the story and so if you read “The Troll” without “Bananaphone” by Raffi playing, you’re only getting half of the intended experience.

So if you aren’t able to listen right now, if you’re at work and aren’t allowed music or you’re out and don’t have headphones or whatever, then stop reading here. Come back later. The story will still be here waiting.

It’s on Spotify, by the way, “Bananaphone” by Raffi. It’s also on Youtube. I think I’ll be able to put links up at the top for you to use, so if that works, you should be able to see them up at the top of the page there. In fact yeah, I’ve just done that. I’ve included the youtube video with lyrics, just in case you want to come back at a later date and sing along. However, this will not be necessary while reading the following story.

OK, so at this point you should be in a position where you can listen to “Bananaphone” by Raffi. Have you got it ready? Don’t start it yet, just have it ready. I’ll tell you when to start it. Shit, I already told you to start it, didn’t I. Sorry about that, just pull it back to the beginning for me really quick. In fact you can start it now, we’re ready.

For fucks sake, it actually turns out we need to wait a second, because at this point I know that there are still a couple of you that are just not taking me seriously. I see you. “Fuck that, I can’t be arsed”, or “Fuck that, I don’t like that song”, or “Fuck that, old man Franjo’s not serious when he says this stuff”.

I cannot stress enough how integral this song is to this story, so I really, really am serious about this: Stop messing about and load the song up, or fucking leave.

I’m serious, if you’re not going to show me the respect and do me the courtesy of taking this seriously, close this story down now. I take pride in this shit, you know. I take it very fucking seriously. Now get on Spotify or get on Youtube and load up “Bananaphone” by Raffi.

Thank you. I’m sorry about that. And I’m especially sorry to those of you who’ve had “Bananaphone” by Raffi loaded from the very beginning when I first asked you to. The above section wasn’t for you, there’s just a lot of time wasters out there, you know? Right, let’s begin. Oh shit, if you’ve had the song playing all this time, just bring it back to the beginning and press play for me. Right, here we go:

In fact, I’m so sorry, one last thing: I just need you to crank the volume on your device of choice up a smidge, just so that it’s “loud”. BUT not to the point that listening to “Bananaphone” by Raffi is in any way painful or uncomfortable for you. I do not want you to hurt yourself, it’s just that for immersion purposes I need you to have the song on nice and loud. But be safe and be comfortable. OK? Sorted? Right. Bloody hell this has turned out to be a lot of preamble. And I’ve left the song running again haven’t I, for fucks sake. In fact, it should still sync up fine, so just leave it running at this point. Lovely stuff.

Right, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, please immerse yourself in the rich tapestry that is the story of…

The Troll

It all started just like any other day…

Oh no. I’ve gotta split, sorry.

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