Monday, 31 October 2011

An Apology

This isn't a post... it should be but it's not because I've been exceptionally busy and that busy state hasn't been doing anything constructive. However in the last couple of days I have been approached on multiple occasions about the words I choose to put on the internet. That feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and as such made me feel really bad about the missing last couple of scheduled updates. I shall be returning to the regular schedule as of tomorrow and once again I offer a heartfelt apology. I hope to return to being humorous tomorrow.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Why Zombie?

I'd ask you to excuse the lame joke in the title but I, Zombie: The Chronicles of Pain is an overlooked masterpiece of the dead things trying to eat people genre. Anyway those who know me are aware of this... I'm obsessed with zombies. I use the word obsessed because I cannot say I love zombies, I'd like nothing more than to brutally slaughter all the zombies in existence... of course that requires the existence of zombies, something reality refuses to co-operate with me on. I'm an unashamed geek. It's a label I wear with pride. At the very core of being a geek is obsession, the hardcore Doctor Who fans or Whovians display this by wearing bow-ties, for the history geeks it's the vintage musket over the door and for the Trekkies it's... well we all know about the Trekkies. For those of us who have found our interests firmly focussed on all things post-apocalyptic and flesh-eating it manifests in different ways... my bedroom has a large shelving system constructed from timber and breeze blocks which will double as barricade material when the time comes. Today I got to thinking about why exactly this particular fiction has a hold over popular culture and why it's gripped hold of me so firmly.
It might be the gnarled claws.
The zombie that we know and love/loathe is not the same creature that first shuffled it's way into the popular consciousness, it is instead the end of a long and peculiar journey. Zombies are a mainstay of the Haitian Voodoo tradition, but they were never the slathering monsters that they have grown to be. Whilst both Shelley and Lovecraft can definitely be credited with some of the early work on the re-animation story, the first mention of the zombie proper is in the book The Magic Island by WB Seabrook. Seabrook's book was a sensationalised account of a journey to Haiti. Seabrook was an incredibly interesting chap, he refused to write about what he hadn't experienced so prior to including cannibalistic scenes he actually had a friend at the morgue steal some brain for him so he could taste it. He released a book at a time when the American public was obsessed with Haiti... so much so that they later ended up invading it in that funny way that Americans do every now and again. Alas I've digressed, in short order a play had been produced quickly followed by the classic movie White Zombie, which featured a Bela Lugosi at the peak of his powers. I'm going to meander off here to mention the another early zombie movie I Walked With a Zombie, it's a brilliant piece of film-making and I highly recommend it.
It may not look scary now but the remember in
the 30's it was enough to just show a black guy
The zombie as we know it these days wasn't brought into the public conscious in a big way until the release of George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Without a strong literary legacy to protect it like Frankenstein's Monster, vampires and werewolves the zombie had been free to evolve to reflect the changing fears of the American cinema goer. Gone was the strange and exotic creature and in it's place was a stern metaphor for the modern day issues such as race, consumerism, nuclear war and feminism. It was this zombie that I was first introduced to at the age of ten. After years of negotiations with my mother I had finally got a TV for my bedroom and it with it any notion of the concept of bed-time had fucked-off out the window. As long as there was no light visible around the door, blanket and tape round the frame, and the volume was low enough, even breathing to loudly drowned out the noise, I could stay up late and watch TV. That is how at the age of ten I found myself watching Dawn of the Dead.
I'm not even going to cover the litany of errors
you've made if you ever have this view
Dawn didn't frighten me as much as I suppose it should have. I think it's worth noting that childhood was not a pleasant time for me. My parents had divorced when I was five or six, weird how I'm much clearer on first seeing Dawn than on that detail, formative experiences are where you find them I guess. The divorce had been unpleasant to the point where I still believe my parents hated each other a lot more than they loved me and my brother who were regularly used as pawns in various mind games. I'd taken it on myself to act as a lightning rod in this situation, hoping in some simple way to protect my younger brother. By the time I was ten my brother was firmly enthroned as the favourite and I was free to allow myself to deal with my own feelings. Looking back I can clearly recognise this as when I had my earliest clash with depression. I'm not going to whine on about depression suffice to say that it is a dark, vicious and evil disease. I only mention it to give some idea of where my mind was when the zombies first shuffled in. Dawn showed me a world where every identifiable problem from my life was eliminated. All you needed to survive, nay thrive, were wits, self-reliance and no attachment to the human race, things ten year old me thought he had in spades. The main characters nearly all die but it's easy to see why (getting to attached to the mall, and failing to leave) and easy to plan against (leave the mall). This was a world without restriction, if you want something you can take it, if you don't like somewhere you can just leave and if you were angry you could take it out on something.
Take that, <bullies name redacted as he's actually alright now>
A seed had been planted and I was hungry for more, like a zombie I became single minded and uncommunicative. Mention of my new found passion would risk the removal of the TV and my young age meant that my acquisition of further films was highly limited. Each week I'd grab the TV guide and hunt out anything showing after 9pm that looked remotely promising. I watched some terrible shite, but among them were gems, Night of The Living Dead, Day of The Dead, Evil Dead II (Evil Dead I was banned from British screens at the time), Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town, Assault on Precinct 13 (I know there are no zombies but in theme and tone this couldn't be more of a zombie film) and many more. I grew to loathe the undead, huge swarming crowds endlessly consuming all identical and mindless, like people who at this time I also despised because that's what depression does to you. I got the fear of the bite though, that I understood, the idea that something could wander into your brain and shut out lights hit a lot of nerves for a youngster with a family history of Alzheimers, a love of learning and a family history of Alzheimers.
It's staying where it is even if it's gonna' rot from the inside
As I have grown and changed so has the zombie movie... I'm not talking about the running, that doesn't make scientific sense, 28 Days Later is awesome but at no point do zombies appear in the film, rage infected humans and the reanimated dead are not the same thing. Shaun of Dead combined my love of comedy with my love of seeing ghouls get their brains bashed out and even more recently Zombieland finally showed as a zombie film without all the useless idiots. What gives the zombie genre the ability to keep going, other than a healthy dose of the T-Virus, is the fact that they are a blank slate on to which our own fears and beliefs can be projected that is what makes the concept of fighting them so alluring it's much easier than trying to vanquish your actual demons. Also it would kill all the stupid and fat people first.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


The following is a transcript of the interview of Marcus Denham arrested on suspicion of Grand Theft Auto, Grand Larceny and Murder 2. 

"March 31st, 4:30 in the A-M. Interviewee is one Marcus Denham. In the room are myself Detective Jacob Taylor and Detective Marlana Fisher. Let the record show that Mr Denham has waved the right to an attorney, but agreed to full cooperation with this investigation... You OK there Marcus."
"I'm fine."
"Sorry about the coffee, we tried to get hazard pay for it but... Anyway Mr Denham I'd like you to tell us about the events leading up to your arrest"
"Well it all started with Jimmy..."

""Banks," Jimmy had said "... are, by definition, the worst place to try and take money. Now, the best place to steal money is before it reaches the bank." This caught every-bodies attention.
"What? You want to stay outside and stick-up people as they walk in the joint?" Mickey had asked, Mickey was a good guy but he weren't paid for his smarts.
"No, you mook. I'm talking about the fresh money, the stuff that comes in from the other side." Here Jimmy had rolled out a map of the Docks on the table. "A lot of people don't know this but the Federal Government exchanges money with the banks." Here he pointed at one of the docks. "Once a month a big federal shipment comes in to supply all the banks in town."
"One big shipment of extremely traceable sequential bills" Billy chimed in.
"Not our problem. We're collecting the money for a third party." Jimmy said with the little smile he always used when he thought he was smarter than he was. 
"So we swoop in steal a couple a' hundred million from some tub crawling with Feds... in exchange for what? Some joker's everlasting gratitude?" Billy grumbled.
"First of all our employer ain't just some joker." Billy paused and smiled to himself. "Secondly our payment is the other half of the deal." Billy paused a moment to build the tension. "These are tough times and Uncle Sam is feeling the pinch and, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to cut back on funding for this particular operation. So the same boat that drops the money also collects the used notes the bank is swapping them for. Fresh money comes in old money goes out. Now these old notes are taken to a special facility and incinerated." He'd smiled then. "I know, I know it breaks my heart to. These guys are the real deal and the operation is pretty slick. They do the swap as soon as the boat is in so they can get back out to see where they are under the protection of the US Navy. Now usually they'd do this in the middle of the day. However on this occasion the storm that has been kicking the city's ass for the last week has held up the ship." Here Jimmy lent back and smiled.
"When's the boat arrive Jim?" I asked just to interrupt his moment of calm.
"Two hours?""

"Two hours later I was riding shot-gun in an eighteen wheel juggernaut, which had until recently been stuffed to the gills with used notes, gripping a city issue assault rifle and dressed as one of the city's finest as we rolled through the security checkpoint into the dock. All of the equipment had been supplied by Jimmy's mysterious third-party.
"Billy, you know that bag with the masks and shit?" I asked.
"What about it?" Billy grunted in reply trying to keep his shit together as we got closer to the waiting ship.
"Pass it here." Billy reach down beside him an threw the bag at me. I glanced inside grabbed one of the masks our benefactor had provided. "Fuck!"
"What?" Billy glanced over at me saw the clown mask I held in my hand. "Fuck! If we get out of this alive I'm going to fucking gut Jimmy.""

"The job itself had been almost two easy. Mickey and Jimmy had been in the empty container on the back of the truck and hitched a ride over to the boat. Whilst I slipped out the side and clambered up the crane. The guards who'd come to open the container on board got a short and nasty surprise. The first moment the crane operator new something was wrong was when he heard me open the door to his cabin gun in hand. Now Jimmy had told me to cap the crane guy, but I ain't into killing those that ain't trying to kill me so I gagged and tied him. I'd say we were about half way across town before  everything spiralled into the fuck jar"

"Billy had slammed on the breaks as soon as he'd felt the tires go... when we got out it turned out all of the tires had blown at once. So there we are four us standing in the middle of the street next to a truck filled with stolen money, wearing clown masks and holding assault rifles in one of the worst parts of town. 
"Look we've got our share, let's just ditch the truck and run" Mickey whined. In a second Billy had Mickey by his throat.
"Look you fucking moron we're wearing fucking clown masks. Do you know what that means! It means that the guy who wants this money won't just kill us if he doesn't get it. He's gonna get fucking creative. Clown masks Mickey! Who do you know who makes his goons wear fucking clown masks?" Billy dropped Mickey to the floor.
"Oh shit, Jimmy is what he's saying for reals?" Mickey whimpered at Jimmy who was already in the back of the truck.
"I've told you guys before only whack-jobs is hiring these days. It's work for the freaks or go hungry."
"What are you doing in there?" Billy shouted as Mickey pissed himself on the floor. In answer to this  two bags filled with the cash landed in the street.
"Grab the loot, leave the truck and let's get the fuck out of here." Billy was still stuffing bags. "Before shit gets worse" Billy's voice replied from inside the truck.
"Before shit gets worse? Worse? How can this shit get any worse" Mickey whimpered, as if in answer a shadow flitted across the moonlight "We're already working for the fucking Jo..." 
"Shut the fuck up!" I growled. I moved slowly to the back of the truck. "Psst Jimmy, we need to go. Now."
"We don't get this money for the boss-man we're worse than dead." Jimmy called back.
"We don't move now we're in trouble... I think he's here" Everyone froze.
"Bullshit!" Jimmy called back at me but Mickey and Billy were already at my back guns pointed to the rooftops.
"Fuck you Jimmy! We're gone" Called Mickey before plunging into the nearest alleyway as fast as his legs would carry him. I called for him to come back but Billy went after him. I cast one look back at Jimmy who was still stuffing bags with cash and took off after the other two."

"I'd barely gone twenty foot before I heard machine gun fire. Three maybe four shots. Then a muffled scream from behind me. Jimmy was out of the game. I caught up with Billy and Mickey just as they forced there way into some abandoned tenement building. Inside was almost black I could barely make out Billy and Mickey. Mickey went to say something but Billy gently covered his mouth and put a finger to his lips, without lowering the finger he pointed upwards. I remember even as we formed up back to back I knew it was already over. No-one ever gets away. I could barely see even after my eyes had adjusted to the darkness. Every shape could have been him and every noise or movement could be the one that let him find us. We slowly moved through the building sweeping each room."
"It was Mickey who spotted the fire escape n the second floor leading down the other side of the building to where we'd come in. Before either me or Billy could grab him, he'd made a dash for it, he was half way out of the window when he disappeared, a garbled scream cut short. I glanced at Billy or to where Billy had been to see the silhouette of a retreating figure flying up the stairs. I made a decision and ran down the stairs. I was back out the door in seconds pulling the mask off and throwing the gun away I hoped that I could blend back into the city proper. I heard a terrified scream and look up to see Billy cannoning towards me from the roof of the building flailing and screaming, blood pissing from his noise. Just before he hit me he stopped dead hung in the air for a second and flew back towards the heights still screaming. The screams only stopped after a sickening crack rang out of the darkness. I was frozen solid. It was only when my feet got wet that I realised I'd pissed myself. That's when the police arrived"

End of Transcript

Let the record show that Commissioner Gordon is recommending leniency in view of the Mr Denham's co-operation with this investigation. Further to consultation with the DA's Office it is the view of the commissioners office that this individual would be ideal for the new Wayne Foundation community rehab program. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

I apologise in advance to the mongoloids who completely miss the point of this.

Well, well, well. It seems that twitter is all-a-kerfuffle over some humorous comments that @rickygervais, the twitter persona of esteemed comedian Ricky Gervais, made which included the word mong. You'll note that I didn't say that he made comments about mongs merely that he included the word mong. Stuff such as "Two mongs don't make a right". Now this led to an all out twit-storm in which a bunch of hypocrites decided to get offended... yes that's right, every single person offended by Mr Gervais's judicious application of the word mong is a hypocrite. While that may sound like an insane proclamation it is, actually, a fact. Allow me to explain. Those offended by these tweets fall into two categories, those who follow the bearded funny-man on twitter and those who don't. If you don't follow him, then you are offended because someone else told you to be. If you do follow him, then you must have decided to do so because you liked his work. In the seminal comedy show 'The Office' two of the main characters leave a disabled woman on a staircase during a fire drill. If you weren't a fan of Gervais's brand of close to the knuckle humour then you shouldn't have been following him. However that isn't what I want to talk about. I want to talk about offensive words.
Anyone Japanese reading this is really very offended right now.
Cunt, wank, balls, shit, fuck, piss, bastard and so on and so forth, are not offensive words. They are words. If you think that they are offensive then you don't actually understand the nature of offense. You see these are merely words that people have told you are offensive. There are some words in the English language that are offensive. Genocide, homophobia and collateral-damage are all offensive words invented through despicable necessity because of what the human race really is when you strip away the lies that we choose to cloak ourselves in. Where as cunt, wank, balls, shit, fuck, piss, bastard and so on and so forth are words used as a way to turn the mudanities of human existence into titillation.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Google Image search for this picture.
Cunt is just a four letter word for a human body part, the only difference between cunt and hand is a bit of lube. It is also one of my favourite words, the reason it is considered by some be offensive actually has nothing to do with the inherent meaning of the word but actually to the do with the way the word is structured. Firstly it's built around 'U' the most offensive vowel, for those wondering 'E' is the least. Secondly it has the required four letter form that lends itself to the finest swear-words. Finally it has a hard 'C' which adds a nice crunch. Now the reason I say that the meaning of this word isn't what's offensive, is the fact that vagina is considered a more acceptable word and vagina has it's entomological roots in the Latin word for scabbard... SCABBARD! A place to keep your fucking sword! It's one of the most, if not the most, misogynistic words in the English language. The point I'm trying to make is that the original meaning of a word isn't where it gets it's power from. Power is drawn from a words current usage. 
Nigger. Nigger is the answer I have on the card. No points will be given for nigga'.
Nigger is a bad word because the history the word has attached to it. This means the word is sadly off-limits in some situations and that's an important distinction, nigger is a word that can be used by black people any which way they choose but can only be used by white people at other white people. Now it's important to note that the word nigger used to be a very powerful word and that power has been destroyed over time, and that has not been achieved by prohibition. The word nigger has been re-appropriated and placed at the very centre of an entire culture that has in a few scant generations not just taken the edge off of the word but actually taken it away from those who used to wield it. The same is true of the journey the word queer has taken over the last few decades.
Written in a fairly mongy way I think you'll agree.
Now when it comes to mong, this re-appropriation is off the cards. If someone with down syndrome decided to wear a t-shirt with mong written on it in big letters and declared themselves proud to be a mong, you would assume someone had fucked with the poor spastic wouldn't you? Before you even start, the word spastic was the name of a charitable foundation that aided those with disabilities until they re-branded as Scope. The reason for this change was the fact that the word spastic had been stolen and corrupted. If spastic can change its meaning over time then so can mong. You see, until this recent furore, I'd actually forgotten about the root of the word mong and had, in fact I spent my Sunday just monging out, watching movies with some friends. Even when used in as abuse it's always used in a kindly manner, the phrase "Don't be such a mong" is filled with a playfulness that robs it of the energy of a word like cunt. This word is well on it's way to being completely robbed of any power and the only thing that can restore that power is taboo. I don't want that to happen I'm glad we live in a world where cunt is the only real swear-word left, oh if you're reading this from somewhere other than the UK then you should know that we here in Good Old Blighty are currently moving to re-purpose cunt as a fuck replacement... we're not all the way there yet but it is already being regarded for it's versatility.
"I'm Eddie, and I endorse this message"
The bald truth of it is that words are never offensive. Intent is the only thing that can be. "I hate gay people." There isn't a single offensive word in that sentence but the intent behind the sentence renders it offensive. When I was in school the words Jonah and Colin were used to describe those with no friends and they were used far more viscously than I've ever heard the word cunt employed. The word nazi has all manner of horrifying connotations attached to it but it's been robbed of power over the years by the fact that English speakers globally take it not to mean ruthlessly efficient genocidalist, but rather to mean pompous jack-booted toss-piece. So embrace the words that people tell you are offensive take them out at parties and wave them around and then when everyone's gotten over the initial shock we can stop getting offended by the words that we think we should be and start getting offended by the intention lurking behind the innocent words used by those who seek to make the world a more evil place.

eddie <chuzzle-cunt is a fun word to say... consider it a gift>

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Suicide Note of a Broken Man or The Library of Lost Souls

Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever.- Samuel Smiles, 1812-1904

On an ordinary street there is a small building that looks like any other and yet it conceals a maddening place and a unique individual. You could spend a life time watching the goings on of that house and never for one second even begin to suspect the true nature of the goings on inside. The old man who lives there looks as though he has lived since the dawn of time as do all old people, in this case however it is a lot closer to the truth than most. If one were to approach the man on the street and start a conversation with him, he'd have a very interesting story to tell but no-one ever does. All it would take would be a simple hello and you'd have opened the door to a surprising world that only a handful of people have glimpsed in hundreds of years. Had I known that when I saw the old man drop his bag of groceries I'd never have stopped to help, I'd never have been sucked in.
I was once like you a normal man, just trying to make it through the day without have the universe crush me in a new and interesting way. I worked in a book store, I used to love books. One day I was walking home, I normally got the bus but this was a bright and sunny day which just goes to show that you can never tell, which is a nice innocuous beginning to the story. Despite the fact that I'd lived in this town for twenty of my twenty-six years on this earth I somehow got turned around and found myself on a street I'd never seen before. I used to be a fairly laid back individual so I took this in my stride and kept walking knowing that I'd eventually find myself near some familiar landmark.
As I ambled down this road an old man in front of me blocked my path in the way only old people can. He was clearly struggling with several bags of shopping one of which was obeying universal narrative laws by having a baguette poking out of the top. Being in a good mood I offered the gentleman some assistance with his burden, that was my first mistake.
“Why thank you, young man.” He replied with a toothless grin and a wheezing laugh. “Been a long ol' time since I met anyone willing to help an ol' fella” I took the greater share of the bags and he pointed up the street by about ten or so houses “I'm only up there” He wheezed in a good natured way. I helped him along with his bags all the way him wheezing on about my good nature and me mumbling modestly in reply. The house was like any other on the street, I'd guess it was Victorian, you could easily imagine Holmes and Watson discussing a recent case by the fire of in one of the high ceilinged windows. By now we'd reached the foot of the short staircase that led up to the front door.
“Thanks for the help young 'un, I'd feel remiss if I didn't offer you a cup of tea.” The old man wheezed as he opened the door. I muttered something about having to get on but he wouldn't take no for an answer. Now I don't know what I was expecting when I stepped through the door but it was certainly not what greeted me.
I found myself standing on a gantry looking into a pit that just didn't seem to end. Now when I say gantry I think it's important to point out that it wasn't some metal clanking jittery thing it was, well to call it plush would be to miss the opportunity to call it luxuriant. Deep red carpets, mahogany railings, each floor, whilst hollow in the middle had at least one corner which had enough room for a couple of incredibly comfortable looking, the floor I was on had, in addition to the gantry around the edge of the room a walkway leading across the void to the other side. Now I feel it's important to mention that all of this only hit me after I'd been standing in the door way for about a minute staring around. My first thoughts can best be summed up thus books. Books, books and more books. I was standing on the top floor of what looked like the greatest library in the world.
After being stuck to the spot for about 2 minutes I followed the old man across the walk way and through a door to a small kitchen in which he was boiling the kettle. I stood in the kitchen dropped the bags and slumped into a chair by a small table. After a while sitting in near uncontrolled shock I had a cup of tea placed in my hand and found myself staring at the old man who'd sat down opposite me.
“I know,” he said smiling “it gets people like that at first.” I can't recall exactly what I said but I'm pretty certain that the words impossible and how must have escaped my lips. “Well yes I'd say it is impossible under current understan'in' of physics.” The old man replied. “As to the how, well that is a story...”
“In the year 1350 I was a young chap interested very much in scholarly studies. Sadly I was not of the right class to have access to the limited books in the kingdom at the time, I'd been taught to read by the local lords father who I'd been a serving boy to in his later days. He had a love for language and he took a shine to me. Sadly I only my time in his service only lasted a few years but in that time I'd read all fifteen books in the keep. They were good times but there end was not. You see the old man grew sick and called me to his chambers when he was not long for this world. There he handed me a single slip of paper and told me that with it I could ride forth and seek my fortune. Now I thought that it'd be a letter of recommendation allowing me to possibly seek out another position elsewhere. It was in fact a map. I packed up what few belongings I had took my mule and headed to where the map pointed. It took months of travel and searching and it is a pretty tale in and of itself but I won't bore you with the details. I eventually was led to a small cave hidden by a waterfall and in the depths of the cave I found only one thing.
At this point he picked up a lamp from a nearby shelf. Now if I was to describe the most exact example of a magic lamp to you I still wouldn't get close to how close this item fit the stereotype.
“I see you've worked it out” he said staring into my eyes “Well I made two wishes that day, I've been most unhappy with the results.” There was something of a twinkle in his eyes as he said this. “Fortunately so has the fella who is still trapped in here. So want to guess what the two wishes were?”
“All the books ever written and immortality” I responded finding my tongue for the first time since I'd encountered this remarkable man.
“Close and perhaps I would have been happier with the outcome of those wishes but no I used my imagination I sat and I pondered exactly what to wish for for several weeks until I finally decided on it...” He then leant forward and whispered in my ear the wishes he had made. I will never be able to write down on the page what my reaction was at that point the myriad of possibilities that opened themselves to me.
“I wished for every book never written and a place to read them”
No time passed in the library that was important, I spent years in there trawling through wonders that you could never believe, books that could rip apart our society and ones that could rebuild it as a shining wonder. The plays that Shakespeare barely half conceived, the thoughts that Nietzsche considered to dark to to place on the page, histories of civilisations that never existed, poems never thought of, autobiographies of those who were never born. Sometimes books would disappear as the author finally committed them to the page but it was always outweighed by the masses that kept appearing as “will dos” faded to “could've done's” in the outside world. Occasionally in that library I'd encounter another individual whose own experience seemed to match my own but never one who'd read a single page of the things I'd read. Imagine living for what must have been decades never once being able to discuss the wondrous things you have found with another person. Eventually it became to much and I felt ready to enter the world again. I had the idea that I could write my own book, one that could change the world I had access to sources, influences and inspirations that no-one else could ever know off. I only stepped out to get some pens and papers.
I've never been able to find that house again. Every day is a maddening torment as my mind is occupied with thoughts of heavy tomes of wonders most men will never see, every forgotten page is a fresh heartbreak. I write this short document hoping it'll serve as some sort of explanation to those who once knew me for my disappearance and now my passing. I take some solace from knowing that even as I leave this world a new book will appear in my favourite library.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Home

The four old men sat out on the porch of the home while the evening sun toiled its way across the heavens, a cool breeze rippled the soft grass of the lawn as they watched some of the other residents potter around the garden.
“You don't get sunny days like you did back in the day” The man who spoke was an Egyptian gentleman sitting on the left of the group. He had the look of a man who had been tall and muscular in his day but now was small and withered, he sat in a rocking chair with a blanket covering his legs. He was wearing a baseball cap with an eagle on it which would've shielded his eyes from the sun were it needed, his eyes were milky white and obviously didn't work. He swung his white stick in a line close to wear he imagined the horizon must be. “Not like today, can hardly see a thing” With that he let out a sickening wheezy laugh closer to a death rattle than a sign of amusement.
“Ray, that joke was old when you first used it and it won't get younger.” The man next to him responded with a thick Norwegian accent. The second speaker didn't appear to belong here he was old but in the same way a grizzled marine sergeant is old, he was almost completely bald but what hair he did have was long and white and tied into a pony tail going down his back. He took a sip from a large metal tankard. “Why won't they let me drink beer, can't stand this fucking water.”
“Because your liver and your bladder are shot and when you drink beer that nice young nurse has to clean up your piss.” The man on the far right of the group replied with a very passable Italian accent with only the slightest hint of it's Greek roots. He had a short crop of white hair that stuck out in all directions giving him the look of a man who had spent to long in a Faraday cage. He spoke with the soft coolness of a man who is used to people listening to what he had to say regardless of what volume he spoke at. “I don't understand why your always in a bad mood these days Don.”
“I don't get why your not.” The Norwegian replied. “I mean look at you, back when we were young we used run the scene, we were powerful men. You stabbed your own Father in the back just to get a shot at running the family business.”
“True, true,” The Greek nodded in response, “but you mellow with time, plus running things just takes it out of you, if you'd told me back at the height of it all, with the politics and the violence that I'd live to be an old man I wouldn't have believed you.” As he said this he pulled out a pipe and pouch of tobacco.
“You see that's where you went wrong,” Don replied “I never wanted to run the show I was happy being out and about. When there was trouble I didn't want to be stuck behind a desk I wanted to be on the front line sorting things out.” As he spoke the Greek loaded his pipe and held it in front of the much smaller man sitting between, them there was a bit of a shuffle and the pipe was lit.
“Thank you, Bill.” The Greek said and took a lug on his pipe.
“No problem, nice to be useful.” The man in between them spoke with a clipped British accent. He was the smallest of the four and had small goatee beard with a kind of ragged look to it, his hands where coated with strange pock marks and nicotine stains. He reached into his unkempt red hair and pulled a cigarette from behind his ear. He cupped his hands over the cigarette and fiddle with the top pocket of his green jerkin for a moment and when he sat up right the cigarette was lit. Almost as soon as it touched his lips he coughed ferociously. The Greek slapped in on the back until he spat out what looked like a piece of tar. “Cheers...” Bill took another, much longer, lug on his cigarette. “Don's right though Chief we used to be big news and now look at us. I mean what happened.”
“Well I know what happened to me” Ray croaked from the end of the line. “Some fucker muscled in on my turf.”
“Alls fair in love and war.” The Greek replied. “Anyway I'd have more sympathy for you if I hadn't rolled with the punches.” As the Greek said this Bill nodded along. “Look when then fucking Italians rolled up and started trying to take my turf what did I do. Did I roll over, no I re-branded, I knew I had the stronger product and I pushed it. Not to long later I had the whole of Europe in the palm of my hand” As he said this Bill nodded in a very matter of fact way.
“Indeed, Ray as I recall you just rolled over and before you knew it all bang...” Bill added “That's all she wrote.”
“Fuck you, Bill.” Ray wheezed. “At least people fucking remember me, my name still carries some weight in the world.”
“Fuck me.” Bill retorted. “Fuck you. They may not remember me but they remember that it was my lads who were the first to start giving the Italians a good hiding. No disrespect Chief” He said nodding to the Greek
“Oh, none taken at all Bill, that was an over ambitious move and was widely regarded as a mistake believe you me.” The Greek responded
“Better than what happened with us.” Don stated.
“What exactly did happen with you?” Ray asked
“Exactly.” Don said taking another swig of his water. “I wasn't even around turned me back for what seemed like fifteen minutes and when I came back the Jew had muscled in took over the whole show. I mean I'm still known about and I get a lot of respect, but that's not money in the bank is it?”
“Fuck the Jew” The Greek responded and all four of them nodded in agreement.
“Do you think he'll ever end up in here?” Don asked in the tone of one who doesn't particularly care for the answer.
“Oh of course he will.” Ray responded. “Look I've been here long enough to see nearly all of them come through here. Some are lucky, people remember them, and maybe they last a little longer than the others but in the end we all go the same way.”
“It's not like it was.” Bill said “I blame education, time was anyone could get a gang together, get out on the the street and move some product and within no time you were a player. Now you've got to be ruthless to push your way into the game at all, people know to much these days, they've seen the results.”
“I mean the only people making any money out of the game these days are the Jew, the Fat-Man and the Arab.” The Greek responded.
“Oh but anyone can push to addicts and that's all those three are doing.” Don replied
“I wish I'd thought of doing it the way the Jew and the Arab do it though” Ray chipped in. “Just franchise the entire damn operation, no additional employees just all the pieces of pie flowing right to the you.”
“And your Dad” Bill said, the four of them chuckled at this which seemed to nearly kill Bill and Ray.
The conversation continued like this for the next few hours, with back and forth about the old days. Old rivalries turned to amusing anecdotes by the passage of time, the same passage that had turned these old enemies into friends as the differences between them had crumbled to dust. Their camaraderie strengthened by shared hatreds and a fondness for looking back based on a fear of looking forward.

As the sun dipped lower in the sky and the four men sat around the table by the window continuing another round of the exact same conversation they'd been having for years
“... No she wasn't my girlfriend she was my daughter...” The Greek was saying
“One of” Bill interrupted with a chuckle.
“...fine one of my daughters.” The Greek continued.
“Then why was she your date?” Don asked.
“She wanted to see the place... Always look after your kids that was my rule.” The Greek said with a authoritative tone.
“Shame your wife didn't agree.” Ray responded.
“Oh she looked after her kids...” the Greek paused for a moment, “and I looked after mine!” There was another round of the throaty coughs which the passed for laughter in the home. As they continued talking a small sweaty black man hobbled towards them wearing traditional African garb.
“Hey Jengu, how's it going.” Don said as he saw him.
“Fantastically my friend...” he spoke with a voice that was so deep and powerful that it often caught people of guard. “Have you heard about the Jew?”
“What about him?” Asked the Greek without turning to face the wizened African.
“He's on his way down.” The smile on his face transmitted to his voice and filled it with a vengeful joy. The Greek turned in his chair and a series of crackles that might have been his back where all ignored. Even Ray's useless eyes were fixed on the African. Don got up and grabbed a chair from nearby and made a space for this bearer of interesting tidings. Jengu took his seat and looked at them, he coughed and in a flash a glass of water and a cigarette were presented to him he settled into his chair with a grin that threatened to take the top of his head off he put the cigarette in his mouth and within seconds Bill moved forward and lit it for him. He had the air of a man who was about to clean up at the poker table, savouring the moment before he lays his cards down. Time seemed to slow down. Still he didn't speak.
The Greek leaned forward and put a hand on his shoulder. “Jengu I know you like to build the moment,” the Greek was almost growling as he said this, “but I swear on my honour that if you don't tell us what you know soon, you'll leave this table in a body bag.”
Jengu laughed “Fair enough, well the word on the street is that, he's having some major problems with his people and not the sort of thing he can use his influence to sweep under the table. Turns out a lot of his street level employees, have been dipping there pen in the company ink so to speak.” Jengu said glancing over his shoulder.
“So they've always done that you just kick 'em out or make 'em apologise.” Ray chipped in. “Basic public relations.”
“Not when the company ink is under-age boys.” Jengu's grin grew bigger as their jaws dropped. “This isn't a one-off either turns out it's rife in the organisation, the last three or four of his top guys have been working to cover the whole thing up.”
“Now, that's not right I never hurt kids and anyone working for me who did was looking for trouble.” The Greek replied.
“Now they're trying to play the innocent and are coming out and criticising the police. They've even been arguing with out-right facts for a while now.” Jengu sat back as he said this with an air of achievement on his face. “Apparently he said that what he's going to do those guys will make Hell look easy.”
“Well beginning of the end for the Jew then.” Bill responded.
“Oh he'll hold America for a while, that markets hooked on what he's pushing but yeah not much longer if you ask me.” Ray replied.

Some time later Bill was sitting out front of the building looking towards the gate, he was the only one there and he'd never been gladder to be anywhere as the car pulled up to the bottom of the steps, two orderlies rushed past him and jogged down to the car door.
“GUYS!” Bill shouted but no-one responded. So instead he rubbed his hands together quickly and then clapped as hard as he could, a massive fire ball exploded making a noise that reverberated through the building, within seconds Don, The Greek and Ray had hobbled outside to see what the noise was. Bill was sitting there with half of his clothes burnt off pointing down the stairs. The three of them looked at the car.
“What the fuck was that noise.” Ray asked.
“It was Bill he made an explosion.” Don replied without moving his head.
“Why did he do that? The orderlies won't like it.” Ray replied.
“Shut up Ray.” The Greek replied.
“I don't need to shut...” Ray was halfway through responding when the Greek cut him off.
“It's the Jew, Ray, they're bringing in the Jew.” The Greek responded. More people had congregated at the door, a whole host looking to the bottom of the stairs where the orderlies were opening the door of the car, the Jew stepped out. He stood at about six foot tall with an incredibly straight posture and had long hair and sandals other than that though he didn't look much like the man they remembered, he'd put on weight he was wearing an incredibly expensive suit and sunglasses that were clearly helping him nurse a hangover his beard was ragged. He looked up the stairs and took his glasses off. He saw the assembled crowd looking down at him and glance over them with a smirk. As his eyes reached the Bill, Ray, Don and the Greek the smirk fell, and a look of fear fell over his face, he turned to climb back into the car only to be grasped firmly by the two orderlies who started to drag him up the stairs as he got closer they could all see that he looked older, and the look of terror on his face just made it worse. The Greek clicked his knuckles while he kept his eyes trained on the Jew as he was dragged past him still struggling all the way.
“You can't put in here with those psychos they'll kill me... You can't do this! You can't! Don't you know who I am?” The screams faded as the orderlies dragged him of for orientation.
“This is going to be fun” The Greek smiled. He looked at his cohorts and smiled, he hadn't seen them this energetic in years, smoke was rising off of Bill and he had a strange fire in his eyes, Ray's dead eyes were pulsing with the power of an exploding star and Don's hands were clenching and unclenching.
“Yeah it is” said Don. “Just wish I had my hammer.” The Greek smiled and as he did electricity pulsed over his teeth in the most alarming fashion.
“Yeah this'll be fun” The Greek chuckled and with that the four of them went inside to await the newest resident of their little community.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

My Work Ethic

Some people love to work. These people are freaks of nature that I will never understand in a billion years. Even once the entire human race has been expunged from space-time, all the stars have died and the entire universe has slid towards entropy, I will not understand this trait. Allow me to explain this more fully. Confucius once said "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" I agree totally with this statement. If you have your dream job, if you awake in the morning with a smile on your face and a song in your heart if you truly passionately enjoy what you do, then you don't actually work. If you'd do it for free and the fact that you get paid is nothing more than a bonus then you are not working are you? If you'd happily spend your entire life making cupcakes then doing that for a living is not work. If you'd happily spend your entire life punching people in the face then being an MMA fighter is not work. If you are a man then being a pornstar is not work.

"I was supposed to leave 5 minutes ago...
OK fine... but I want time and a half"
The point I'm trying to make is that I get that there are certain jobs in the world that mesh up with certain people, I also get that you can draw a certain satisfaction from grinding through the shitty little jobs you have to do to get to the job you really want. No I'm referring to the jobs that no-one wants, there are billions of people in the world doing jobs that suck. I'd be OK with that if it wasn't for the fact that these people have bought into the myth of job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is a devious and evil myth. On one occasion I and my flatmate of the time drank an entire bottle of Sambuca in a single sitting afterwards I was satisfied. I once pissed away a year of my life not just completing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas but fucking owning it like a bitch, afterwards when the I looked at the 100% I felt satisfied. Today at work I sorted out my desk... I did NOT feel satisfied.

Pictured: My Happy Place
Not Pictured: All The People I Killed There
Job satisfaction is one of those myths that was invented by the people who employ you in order to keep you under control. If they can convince you that you enjoy work then they've already won. The strange  thing about the way work works is that the fundamental reward structure. The people who are happy to work insanely hard, end up becoming CEO's. These are the people who will be able to retire at the age of 50 and spend the rest of their lives laying in a hammock drinking rum out of a coconut... and they will hate every second of it. Whereas those of us who wish to spend our lives laying in a hammock drinking rum from a coconut will spend our lives toiling for others. Currently the world is having something of an economic hiccup. I think that part of the problem is that the world has bought into the ridiculous job satisfaction myth.

If I was here you I probably wouldn't be writing this blog.
The things I do for you people... and I don't even charge.
You see the whole point of human advancement is to get to a point where we don't have to work. The one thing we should all be striving towards is a world where every pointless, dreary and un-fulfilling task is performed by robots or children from the developing world. I want us to be free to focus on the creative and fulfilling stuff that we want to do. Creative pursuits, art, literature, creating wondrous things that will be cause awe and joy throughout the world... or just laying hammocks drinking rum out of coconuts. Sadly it's very difficult to find jobs with a strong hammock bias. I'm not saying everyone should go and quit their jobs, but maybe we could all swap so that those of us with some spark of life could take the good jobs and those who were dead inside could just do the shit ones.

Anything where you have to talk to the
general public is a shit job... they're morons.
eddie <will write for cash>

Monday, 10 October 2011

Reverse the polarity

I'm sick and tired of polarisation. Let me be clear here I'm not talking about magnets, the earth's core or the national grid. I fully understand that those things require polarisation, in fact it's an integral part of their function. No I'm talking about the polarisation of arguments in day to day life. Actually I'm not even talking about that, I'm talking about the assumption of polarisation. This assumption has recently been impacting a significant number of my conversations. It as led to me to a simple conclusion, everyone in the world is a fucking moron. Allow me to explain that opinion in full. I have conducted 27 years of exhaustive research into the human condition, that I like to call this being alive, from this I am unable to conclude that every single human being alive is a sparkling genius of titanic proportions, therefore the only available alternative is that you are all morons. What's that you say? There are a multitude of other options in between those two bat-shit mental assumptions? Well actually no there are not, not under the rules of debate that the entire world seems to have adopted at a meeting I must have missed.

"Item 2: All women will pretend not to find bald bearded
bloggers attractive despite it being a transparent fiction"

It first came to my attention during the London Riots, and yes I mean the London Riots this was before it became hip and other cities started joining in, when a lot of people decided to entirely give up on morality, intelligence and rationality. You see a lot of people decided that the best option was for the police to pick up machine guns and open fire into crowds of people, because heavens know the that's always proven to be the best form of crowd control available. Especially when the police are completely immune from mistakes as they are in Britain (Brazilian fare-dodgers not withstanding). I on the other hand felt a need to point out that opening fire on a crowd, even a crowd of rioters, was wrong... I could list a million reasons for why that's the case but instead I'll just ask you to go watch the Running Man, seriously go watch it I'll wait... GO. FUCKING. WATCH. IT.

I know that I keep pushing the Running Man but that's because
every time I don't Arnold Schwarzenegger drowns a puppy...
it's a long story but basically, never play poker with an Austrian. 

You done? You better be because I will cut you... Good well before you thank me for reminding you to watch an awesome film, I have a question. Why was Arnie in prison? Because he refused to follow an order to open fire on a crowd of rioters. Now if you're in favour of shooting rioters you must also be in favour of the imprisonment of Action Heroes and while that is a great plot device it does make you a baddie, if you're OK with that that's fine but you will die horribly. Anyway I've meandered somewhat away from my point here, and that point is that when I stated I was against the casual murder of crowds of people, many people asked me if I felt the rioters deserved a reward, a hug or a biscuit. Now I'm not going to use this article (using the 'a' word again... please, please take me seriously) to discuss the riots and my views on them as I still don't think enough time has passed for a rational perspective, maybe at the six-month point. Anyway the point I'm trying to make is that in the eyes of those engaged in the debate the only options available were killing all of the rioters or rewards, hugs and biscuits. I hope to fuck these people don't breed as that blinkered view will result in a lot of dead kids... like more dead kids than is desirable. You see my view was actually in the middle of these two equally retarded ideas, what's wrong, I said, with merely, I continued, kicking the ever-loving fuck out of the rioters, I concluded. I wanted rubber bullets, hose trucks and casual night-stick beatings.

My version of the middle ground is very different from others.

This polarisation reared it's ugly head again more recently when I got into a debate about fox-hunting at work. Now first of cards on the table time I'm a vegetarian... that's all I have to say on that subject, I'm not preachy about it because if there's one thing I've learnt from my carnivorous friends it's that the minute you start being preachy about what other people choose to eat you become a tedious arsehole. However my vegetarianism doesn't blind me to logic and reason, I like people but I think our numbers need to be cut and I feel the same about foxes. Foxes are lovely creatures but so are tribbles and if you get to many of either it'll cause problems. Fox hunting was a cruel and futile way of controlling fox population that has been, rightly, replaced with more humane methods. However the minute I said I was against fox hunting I was asked if I was a vegetarian, I replied with the affirmative (it doesn't do to tell fibs, even to win arguments) at which point I had to listen to a tirade of points about the need to control fox population. The assumption was made that as I was against the cruel and pointless extreme of fox hunting then I must want to let foxes eat babies, I don't just to be clear I definitely don't want that. 

Google Image Search: fox eating a baby... first result.
Conclusion foxes have great PR.

However this is the point where we get to the problem with making assumptions about this kind of thing. The chap I was arguing with then proceeded to lecture me on the need for a badger cull to stop Bovine TB. This chap had already decided that I was a liberal nut-case so my opinions against badger culling could be easily ignored. Firstly I had it explained to me that I don't know what badgers are really like. Well my home-town contains a metric fuck-ton of badgers. I know all about the vicious streak they have but I also think that the only species on the planet to ever launch a tactical nuclear strike isn't really in a position to judge. I then had it explained how a badger cull is the best way to stop the spread of Bovine TB... but it's not. You see badgers are estimated to be responsible for about 17% of cases of BTB, where as the rest of the cases are due to fields being a little to close to each other. So when you have two factors on a 17/83 split I figure you address the big number first and the government scientist who published the report on the link between badgers and BTB agrees with me.

Couldn't find a picture of a badger in a lab-coat.

This is brings me ever so circuitously to my point, when you decide anyone who disagrees with you're point of view is on the extreme of the other end you miss out on actually finding real solutions. For example it's entirely possible that instead of the entire human race being a bunch of retarded morons or a bunch of super geniuses that the real answer, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Angel and The Atheist

The Archangel Gabriel was lying on a chaise lounge listening to an incredible piece of music that Mozart and Cobain had just composed for steel drums. He looked at his watch. He had to meet Leonardo for drinks in half an hour; just time for another one of these amazing cocktails…
“There's a man at the gates who won't come in.”
Gabriel lowered his sunglasses to look at the figure who had just hurried towards him. “What do you mean he won't come in?” he asked in a languid tone.
“He says he doesn't want to.” St Peter said in a nervous tone.
“What do you mean he doesn't want to, Peter?” Gabriel sat up.
“Just that. He says he won't come in unless some basic questions are answered first.” Peter was running the hem of his robe through his fingers. Gabriel had frequently suggested that Peter get Versace to run him off a suit, but Peter said the robe was important; people always expected the robe.
“What sort of questions?” Gabriel asked.
“Well, that's it. They're sort of complex.”
Gabriel raised a perfectly formed eyebrow at this. “Really, Peter? How complex can they be? You have access to the knowledge of the ages.”
“Look, you'd better just come and see for yourself.” With that St Peter hurried back to the gate with his funny little shuffle that had become a favourite of Chaplin's to impersonate.

The two of them walked back towards the gate, opened it slightly and Gabriel walked outside while Peter pulled the gate closed.
“Can I help you at all?” Gabriel asked, taking his sunglasses off to stare into two of the sternest eyes he'd ever seen, which baring in mind he'd had breakfast with George Washington, was saying something. The man was a taller gentleman, wearing a fine black suit, with a touch of grey in his hair that gave him the distinguished look of an Oxbridge professor.
“I'm an Atheist,” The Atheist replied.
“No you're not,” Gabriel said. “You might have been before but, here in this place,” he extended his arms in a gesture that took in the giant pearly gates and the cloud-like substance they were standing on, “you cannot be.”
“None of that!” the Atheist interjected. “The existence of jolly bearded fat men isn't in doubt, but there definitely isn't a Santa. Just because this is all here doesn't prove any of the major faiths correct.” The Atheist’s tone was that of man who wasn't going to arrive at any conclusions until he'd examined all of the available data.
Gabriel had encountered non-believers before; Darwin still maintained he was an atheist. “Fair enough,” he said.
“Anyway,” the Atheist continued, “if this place did adhere to any of the major religious texts then I wouldn't be here.” Gabriel had to admit this was fairly iron clad logic that was, unfortunately, based on bad information.
“That is incorrect. The words of God were corrupted by men in search of power. You have lived a good life and that was all that was required. So, if you'll just sign the forms, you can come in,” Gabriel replied with the level calm of someone who has been through this explanation more times than could possibly be imagined.
“I don't want to.” The Atheist said in a simple monotone.
“I don't think you understand. Through these gates lies an eternity of pleasures you couldn't possibly even begin to conceive.” Gabriel delivered this line with a hint of used car salesman about him which reminded the Atheist that Lucifer was supposedly an angel as well.
“I don't think you understand. I want no part of this.” The Atheist replied, again keeping his voice calm and flat.
“Look you can't just stay out here forever, you're holding up the queue.” Gabriel motioned to a queue that seemed to go on for an eternity and well might.
“I don't care. I don't want any part of this.” Now the Atheist seemed to be losing his patience. This was new to Gabriel; he normally spent the vast majority of his time trying not to be impatient with mortals.
“Look it's not up to you, you have been judged worthy and as such you are welcome to enter heaven.” Gabriel was now getting a touch impatient himself and was completely forgetting everything from the customer service seminar they'd attended last week.
“Make me.” the Atheist responded with the firmness of a man who is used to getting his own way.
“Sir I don't understand why you are being so difficult about this. What exactly is the problem?” As Gabriel said this, a little jolt of electricity sparked between his teeth.
The Atheist noticed this but seemed to take it entirely in his stride. Being dead really took the edge off of any worries that you might have; it can't get any worse can it? “Let me put it this way, when I was a kid there was another boy who lived in the neighbourhood, he wasn't nice. On more than one occasion he beat up...” the Atheist started.
“Billy Jones,” Gabriel impatiently interrupted.
“That's the one... Just out of interest, he in there?” the Atheist inquired.
“No, he hasn’t died yet. Plus he's a priest now so he's probably headed the other way,” Gabriel replied with a smirk.
“Well at least you got that right,” the Atheist laughed. “Well one day he had a birthday party at his house, which was really nice. I mean he had a pool and everything.” The Atheist gestured around him as he spoke.
“Yes and you didn't go even though he invited you.” Gabriel responded.
“Exactly!” The Atheist said this as if the Angel had made some huge logical breakthrough.
“What the hell has that got to do with this, sir?” Gabriel asked clearly not having made the mental connection the Atheist had hoped for.
“Just because your clubhouse has the best toys doesn't mean I want to join the club.” The Atheist stated in a slow and deliberate manner.
“Join the... sir you really must get over this kind of thinking, I mean here and now it really doesn't matter,” Gabriel said as he began to polish his shades with the corner of his jacket.
“Yes it does! My beliefs may have been wrong but my values weren't.” The Atheist seemed to be trying exceptionally hard not to shout.
“Listen, I understand your point of view but look, everything you heard on earth isn't completely true is it? Or we wouldn't even be having this discussion,” Gabriel said with a weary tone. “You’d be downstairs right now, having a far less pleasant conversation.”
“It's not about what I've heard. It's about what I've observed,” the Atheist responded.
“And what exactly might that be?” Gabriel asked, raising a quizzical eyebrow.
“When I was thirteen my friend Jenny had rocks thrown at her because she was different from the other kids. And by different I mean that she was Jewish. I told the boys to stop and when they wouldn't I had to step between her and the other boys. I got hit in the face by a stone and it knocked my two front teeth out. Where was God?” the Atheist angrily asked.
“He was watching and he judged that it was good,” Gabriel answered smugly.
“When I was eighteen my friend Dave came out to his parents, he was kicked out of his house. He could've wound up living on the streets and died in a gutter. I invited him to come live with my family. Was God watching then?” The Atheist was shaking with anger.
“Yes he was, and he judged that it was good.” Gabriel was now growing concerned that he was going to get punched.
“After university I became a human rights activist. Every day I saw terrible things and I worked my hardest to help those in need.” As the Atheist said this, spittle flew from his mouth and landed on Gabriel's face.
“God saw and he judged that it was good,” Gabriel said taking a step back and wiping his face.
“So here is my question: If I had seen all of those things and just noted that they were bad - done nothing - would I be here now?” the Atheist asked, taking a step forward.
“No. For without action, thought counts for nothing.” Gabriel started to see the shape of where this was going.
“So what gives God, an individual who sat idly by and let all of those things happen, any right to judge me who actually stepped up to stop them.” The Atheist crossed his arms and stood back with a triumphant smile on his face.
“God cannot interfere with free will,” Gabriel said, with the slightest hint of uncertainty in his voice.
“Sorry. Is this the omnipotent creator of the universe we are talking about here? An omniscient, omnipresent, supreme being?” the Atheist asked sarcastically.
“Yes, of course,” Gabriel replied now firmly on the back foot.
“So, when those boys decided to throw the stones, he could've quite easily created another universe - an exact copy of my own but with all the individuals therein actually puppets - and let the event in question play out without Jenny getting hurt or me losing my teeth.” The Atheist now took another step back as if to let his logic dazzle the Archangel.
“Well, I suppose there's no reason why he couldn't.” Gabriel was finding this entire conversation very unnerving by this point.
“So there, without the need to subvert free will, the innocent are protected,” the Atheist stated matter-of-factly.
“But without that incident you wouldn't have been tested. You may never have found your calling.” Gabriel said with a hint of desperation in his voice.
“My calling was only necessary because I'm morally superior to the guy who created the universe. And while we're on the subject of free will; what about natural disasters? Why doesn't God help the people hurt by those?” the Atheist demanded.
“God cannot intervene in the world.” Gabriel replied with the dejected tone of a child who's been caught out in a lie by his parents.
“He intervened by causing the fucking disasters in the first place!” the Atheist yelled.
“He doesn't do stuff like that.” Gabriel replied, but his heart wasn't in it.
“Look, he's omniscient. That means the minute he lit the fuse on the big bang, he knew everything that was going to happen. And anyway, isn't it interfering with free will to leave a big list of rules and threaten people with eternal damnation?” the Atheist pointed out.
“Lucifer is responsible for the eternal damnation side of things.” Gabriel was on safer footing here and felt a little more comfortable.
“Only because God is a coward and wants a scapegoat,” the Atheist scoffed.
“No. That's not it at all...” Gabriel started.
“God is omnipotent Lucifer isn't. That means God could destroy Lucifer with a thought,” the Atheist stated.
“No, he couldn't. Lucifer is almost as powerful as God,” Gabriel replied.
“What do you mean nearly as powerful? What, he's omnipotent but he can't make toast?” the Atheist quipped sarcastically.
“Look, this isn't getting us anywhere is it?” Gabriel sighed.
“I just want to know what gives God the right to judge me and decide whether or not I'm worthy,” the Atheist demanded.
“Well, he created you didn't he? Or at least set in motion the events that would lead to your creation.” Gabriel said this in the same way your mother would call you ungrateful when you had an argument in your teens.
“Is that it? Is that your best answer? I'm a sentient being! My origin has no place in a discussion of my worth. I am who I am and I stand alone,” the Atheist said with the assured calm of a man on solid philosophical ground.
“Look, what do you want instead of coming in? You can't stay here forever,” the Archangel asked sounding like a man who is just desperate for a conversation to end.
“Oblivion,” replied the Atheist with an absolute calmness.
“What?” This took Gabriel by surprise! Not once in the nearly fourteen billion years since the universe had begun had anyone asked this.
“I had no intention of coming anywhere after I died. I made my peace; now oblivion please,” the Atheist requested with a smile.
“Look, I'm going to have to talk to my superiors; can you move to one side in the mean time and let the rest through?” Gabriel motioned to the infinite queue.
“Fine I'll be sitting over here.” The Atheist indicated to the right of the gate and went to sit down. Gabriel nervously went back inside and hurried off to call a meeting.

Aeons passed. The Atheist sat there waiting for an answer to his simple request. In that time literally billions of people passed by. Many stopped to ask the Atheist what he was doing, but no-one ever joined him. Finally, after the last person had entered, the Archangel returned. The Atheist got up and walked back towards the gate.
“I don't suppose there is any chance that you've changed your mind is there?” Gabriel asked.
“None whatsoever. I refuse to give your boss the satisfaction,” the Atheist replied.
“Well, I'm afraid that we will be unable to fulfil your request,” Gabriel replied.
“Why the hell not?” the Atheist demanded.
“Well, it's a bit complicated so bare with me,” Gabriel began. “Basically, the point of heaven is to reward all the good people by allowing them unbridled happiness. Unfortunately, that means that if even one person is unhappy it has knock-on effects that ripple out to everyone and it ruins the whole thing.” The Archangel seemed a bit awkward as he said this. “Now, there are people in there who like you and they want to talk to you. The fact that you're not there is causing unhappiness which is really screwing up the balance.”
“What do you do when they want to talk to people in Hell?” The Atheist inquired
“Hmm, well... you won't like this but we, sort of, let those people into heaven,” the Archangel responded.
“What the fuck!” the stunned Atheist replied. “So, if the mother of a paedophile wants to see him, then the paedophile is allowed into heaven?”
“Well, yes... we've tried to find a few work-rounds over the years but unfortunately we promised eternal happiness and we have to deliver,” Gabriel said quietly looking at his feet.
“So is there anyone in Hell at all?” the Atheist asked.
“Well, yes. There are two thousand nine hundred and forty eight people in Hell. The ones no-one wants to talk to.” Here Gabriel took a deep breath. “But I do have to admit over five hundred of those are senior members of the Nazi party.”
“Well, you can't make me come in” The Atheist replied.
“No, of course not, Sir. My employer has offered a compromise,” the Archangel responded as he pulled out a key “The universe has ended and we therefore have no need to use the gate any more. You may remain outside and have complete control over who comes to visit you.”
“I will also want a laptop computer with access to all the knowledge in the universe.” The Atheist replied with a glint in his eye.
“Fair enough, Sir.” Gabriel replied and produced one from thin air. “If you do ever change your mind please understand that you may enter at any time.” Gabriel walked back to the gate, opened it and walked through. Almost instantly he poked his head back around the gate. “It seems you have your first visitor, Sir.” With that the archangel disappeared and a small old man in a Hawaiian Shirt, cut-off jeans and sandals walked out. He walked over to the Atheist and fixed him with a powerful gaze. He reached behind him and pulled a chair out of thin air. He gestured at a table and another chair, which sprang into existence as he did so. The Atheist took a seat and sat the laptop on the new table.
“Who are you?” he asked the Old Man.
“I have many names,” the Old Man responded with a gently powerful voice.
“Oh, you’re him aren't you?” the Atheist enquired.
“Yes... So, what are you planning to do with that?” the old man asked gesturing at the laptop.
“Well, I've got an eternity to sit here and go through all the knowledge in the universe and when I'm done, I should have worked out how to end my existence,” the Atheist answered smugly.
“Excellent, should present quiet a challenge” The old man stood up. “Well, if you work that one out... Please let me know how.”
With that the old man was gone.