Christmas Eve in the night shelter – a memoir

We're all human. Aren't we?

We’re all human. Aren’t we?

Some years ago I was working as a night project worker in an experimental night shelter. It was experimental because it was a ‘wet’ shelter – a temporary haven for the homeless where the residents (we were supposed to call them clients, but I never felt comfortable with that, so to me they were residents) were allowed to bring in and consume alcohol on the premises.

To the casual observer the set up may have appeared to be a recipe for disaster, yet it turned out to be workable for the most part. The shelter was staffed by two salaried project workers with a line manager and a night duty officer on call in case of problems. We worked four nights on and four nights off, opening up the building and admitting the residents from 8pm to 8am daily, and that year Christmas Eve was – along with my co-worker – our last night.

One of the worst aspects of the job came about in the mornings. The residents had beds in individual cubicles and a communal area for socialising, but in the mornings they had to leave as the building was unstaffed in the daytime. That’s a tough call on a cold winter morning. Most residents would while away the daylight hours in the local library, a pub if they had the money, a fast food place or even a laundrette, before coming to the shelter in the evenings for a meal, a spot of socialising and a warm bed for the night.

We couldn’t possibly have turned the residents out onto the street on Christmas morning, so my co-worker and I volunteered to stay on for an extra 8 hours (unpaid) after our shift until a local volunteer group arrived to cook Christmas dinner for the residents.

The same volunteers had opened up an hour early on Christmas Eve, and as I arrived I sensed something amiss. The residents were clustered in a group in the communal area, and one or two were looking agitated.

Next up, the doorbell rang and when I went to answer it I was confronted by half a dozen cops in riot gear and the same number of irate citizens. It later transpired that one of our younger residents had decided to amuse himself by smashing car wing mirrors with a small hammer, and had been pursued by said citizens and police to the shelter.

So the cops came in, and the guilty kid made it clear that he wasn’t going with them without a fight. There was a stand off, and I was stuck in the middle, between an angry young man and police officers holding out canisters of pepper spray. I just did the first thing that came into my head.

“Whoah!” I said to the cops. “Don’t start spraying that shit around. Let me talk to him. He’ll be okay, trust me.”

With that the cops thankfully paused, but the kid was getting increasingly agitated.

“Look,” I said to him. “Think about it. One way or another you’re going to be going with them. The hard way isn’t a good option. Just give it up and talk to them. They won’t hurt you. I promise. I won’t let them.”

Looking directly into his eyes I could see that he wasn’t going to do that, I knew the kid and I knew where he was from, so despite the fact that he appeared to calm down, then raised his hands and said: “Okay.”

He tried to do a runner, bolted, but as he spun around he ran face first directly into a cast iron roof post and knocked himself spark out.

Not the greatest start to an evening in the season of goodwill.

My first duty of care being to the resident, I crouched over him, shielding him from the police, who seemed all too keen to pepper spray him, but to their credit, they didn’t. They thankfully held off.

He was out cold for a matter of seconds, but it seemed like an eternity until he blinked and started talking again. I helped him to his feet and the cops put him in a van without further incident.

Until he realised he’d been nicked and started kicking the shit out of the sides of the van. But that’s more or less a given in the circumstances, and the cops didn’t seem too concerned about it.

Considering all this occurred within ten minutes of the Christmas Eve night shift things weren’t looking good, but everything chilled out considerably after that.

We had three musicians in that night, one a novice, one who’d come from a well off family who’d taken to the streets after losing his friends to drugs, and a sensitive soul from my wife’s home town.

We spent that Christmas Eve listening to these wonderful guys playing sweet music on their guitars and singing. One of the highlights being the former pro band member who gave a comedic interpretation of Eric Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’ substituting the signature line with: ‘You look like fucking shite.’ Adding that as a busker, asking a guy in a cinema queue what his girlfriend’s name is and then substituting it for Sally in Oasis’s ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ was a guaranteed money spinner.

In the meantime, I got into a conversation with the guy from my wife’s home town, a musically talented and gifted sensitive soul who was a committed vegan. I asked him if he’d eaten and he replied that he hadn’t so I offered to rustle something up for him. He had a passion for garlic mushrooms, and thanks to my beloved wife – from his home town, Worcester – I had the perfect recipe.

So I cooked the guy some garlic mushrooms, and he said they were the finest garlic mushrooms he’d ever tasted. He was teary eyed when he said it, and it moved me.

“I’m going home,” he said. “I’ve decided. It’s been too long.”

“But it’s half four on Christmas morning,” I pointed out. “No trains, no buses. Get your head down here. You’ll be okay.”

“Thanks all the same. But I’m going home,” he said. “Could you open the door please?”

I tried to talk him out of it, but he wasn’t having any of it. He thanked me for the garlic mushrooms, slung his bag on his back and walked off into the mist at 4:30 on Christmas morning, thanking me for my hospitality and understanding.

It was a strange night, yet a wonderful night, and one I will be eternally grateful to have been a part of.

There is no moral to this story. It’s just life experience for all of those involved.

We’re all just people – no more, no less.

Thanks for reading this, and Merry Christmas.

Cafe Spike.

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Our Christmas message to politicians

Theresa May - hasn't got a fucking clue what Brexit means.

Theresa May – hasn’t got a fucking clue what Brexit means.

Dear politicians

Whilst we – the great British public – truly appreciate that you’ve taken the time and trouble to record personal Christmas messages to the nation, you really shouldn’t have bothered. [Read more…]

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Ten Christmas TV Specials We’d Love To See

It's Christmas Day and this family are settling down in front of the TV to watch 'The Evil Dead.'

It’s Christmas Day and this family are settling down in front of the TV to watch ‘The Evil Dead.’

Strictly Not Dancing – Ten couples who all have two left feet flatly refuse to dance and prop up the bar despite being cajoled by a panel of judges possibly including Jeremy Clarkson, Holly Willoughby, Donald Trump, Nicole Scherzinger and a meerkat out of the Compare The Market ads.

Gogglebox Watch – Drunk people eating massive takeaways are filmed watching and reacting to Gogglebox on the telly, saying how they either like or dislike the Gogglebox regulars and revealing which ones get right up their noses. [Read more…]

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Lynton Cox’s “What The Dickens?” Part 5.4 – It Ends Here

 

Until Next Time Folks!

Until Next Time Folks!

Episode 5, Last part! (And thanks so much if you have come this far)

They took off over hills now and valleys, across seas, deserts and forests, through clouds into a sunset and the air became warm and balmy and full of the scent of flowers, and finally they landed on a mountain top overlooking a city of white buildings. There was a large columned building gleaming in the orange sunset. It looked vaguely familiar to Cox. They sat there on the hill in the soft grass among the white rocks. There was silence apart from birds singing.

“THE HOME OF DEMOCRACY. OF QUESTIONING AND PHILOSOPHY.”

Said the apparition who sat there next to Cox looking very much human now and as if a weight, if not his muslin bonnet and Confederacy cap, had been removed from him. He looked more like a monk in contemplation now than the original awful apparition and the breeze was blowing the wisps of his greying hair on his lined pink forehead.

[Read more…]

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Lynton Cox’s “What The Dickens?” Part 5.3

Is It Finished Yet? My Eyeballs Are Melting!

Is It Finished Yet? My Eyeballs Are Melting!

Episode 5, part 3 (I do hope you are bearing with me.)

The apparition gave the tearful, sobbing Cox no time to gather any argument and once again they took off into the blackness and the tableau below faded away. This time thankfully no demons assailed them and after a short time they alighted at a large wrought iron double gate with two stone pillars set in a high wall overgrown with ivy. It was still night but the whole scene was thrown in stark, eerie shadow by the glimmer of a gas light. The the gate creaked and clanked open and the spectre led Cox along a narrow gravel path. It had started snowing but a mist was hanging low on the ground and swirling as they moved through it. The spectre stopped and pointed and Cox looked at it questioningly.

“Move yah fuckin’ ass! We ain’t got all damned night! Go take a lookee see, I ain’t a pointin’ fer the fun of it asshole!”

Cox moved towards where the bony finger pointed and he saw protruding up through the mist and snow a stone, a headstone, of the cheapest kind. He brushed away the accumulating snow and what he saw froze his very heart.

Ebenezer Cox, born 1820, died….. it was the very next year.

“Yup Coxy it comes to us all sho nuff. Oh yeah, we all thinks we’s gonna live forever, ‘ticularly when we’s young. We push it ter the back of the mind until we cain’t help but think about it. But there you lie Ebenezer Cox like the rest round here. No epitaph, no “beloved father and brother, uncle”, o’ shit like that. Jest another victim of naichur, the eternal war. Did yah think yah’d have anythang else? Some eternal legacy? Look at me. Ah’m no different to anyone else. Ah lived mah life an’ ah done things that ah shouldn’t an ifn those hoody bastards round that table are right, then ah’s well weighed-down with sin jest like you. Within a few generations even those who have epitaphs, big tombstones an’ shit, gits fergotten an nobody brings ’em flowers anymore. Ifn nobody don’t remember them fer the good they did d’yah think anybody’ll remember their sins?”

“B..b..but surely people do good things in their lives sometimes? Does nothing count?” Asked Cox.

The apparition grabbed his hand abruptly and they were off again over the rooftops and shortly they found themselves in a large room full of people. They alighted next to a couple of old crones knitting and gossiping; One said to the other,

“They say ‘e laid there weeks afore anyone found him poor ole bugger”

Her companion replied nodding her head.

“Doesn’t surprise me, ‘e wuz such a miserable old git nobody went near the place, not even the neighbours, till they smelt something funny that didn’t smell of curry and didn’t go away by the mornin’ an’ then called a policeman. They say they found ‘im in ‘is bed strangled by his own nose hair. Curled right round ‘is neck it was and went down to ‘is feet it did! Crawlin’ wiv maggots the place was”

Another voice shouted from a dais at the front of the room

“Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to Snuffit, Clearit and Floggit Auctioneers. Today we have a mixed sale of effects from the, ahem, “estate” of the late Mr. Ebenezer Cox, gentleman of this parish.

Jeers and laughter went up from the room and shouts of “Gennelman?” and “Bloody hateful ole skinflint!” rang out along with boos and hisses.

Cox mumbled forlornly,

“Did nobody like me at all?”

“DID YOU DO ANYTHING TO MAKE ANYBODY LIKE YOU?”

“Now, now, ladies and gentlemen, let us ‘ave a little respect for the er sadl… er .. dearl…. The deceased… purlease!”

Said the auctioneer, bringing the room to order with his gavel, rather too peremptorily, for Cox’s comfort

“We have some, er, um, yes, very interesting lots today ladies and gentlemen. I’d like particularly to DRAW your attention to a lovely set of bed curtains, real moleskin they are, as good as new. Would do someone a good turn those; could make several pairs of lovely fashionable trousers those or a few nice gentleman’s waistcoats.

Groans from the crowd greeted the feeble pun.

“We have also an interesting and rare example of taxidermy; an Owl. Nearly new it seems since one can still smell the mysterious oriental spices used to embalm it. One never quite knows with people what their private hobbies and interests are and Mr Cox seems to have been a dark horse in that department. Quite what it was doing on the ground outside Mr. Cox’s house is a puzzle but, it has nevertheless not suffered at all from the recent snow and would fittingly grace any cabinet of curiosities.

As would likewise this box of er, what looks like coarse ginger hair but, which we have on good authority from the local museum, is genuine Mammoth hair, a very rare item indeed and for which we already have substantial interest and an absentee bid placed by Madame Bitters of the The John of Gaunt public house. A bid, may I say, so impressively high, that anyone who wants it will… and I am giving nothing away here, will indeed have to go it some today to beat her obvious palaeontological passion to possess it.

There are many more items of interest, boxes of assorted slightly stained underwear, gentleman’s hose, a walking cane and stand (the dead mouse comes free by the way), a gold half-hunter watch, etcetera, etcetera, so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, let us pass to lot numb……”

The scene faded as Cox and the spectre once more shot away into the darkness and they found themselves hovering in the void

“Is this what it all comes down to in the end?”

Bemoaned Cox in a low sorry voice, bitterly shaking his bowed head

“What the hell d’yah think happens when you croak asshole? Where ah come from there are hundreds of charity shops with shelves lined with the books, trinkets and ornaments that belonged ter dead little old ladies an’ men who led blameless, downright evil or somewhere-in-between lives. Ev’thing that they didn’t go to the grave wearin’ is hung up in public view fer sale there. Ever’thin, that is,what their money-grabbin’ relatives didn’t care ’bout an’ others’ll pay good money fer. It all ends up in another charity shop or yard sale when the new owners ‘ventually die an’ so on forever or till each sad l’il trinket smashes or piece o duds wears out an’ in the end not even the least invisible trace of the memory of the lovin’ touch of someone’s skin on cotton or admiring hand on porcelain remains.

“It’s so sad so so so sad”

Cox whispered forlornly.

“I REALLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT PEOPLE ARE THINKING!

ALL THIS RUBBISH ABOUT POSTERITY! FOR GOODNESS SAKE! DO THEY THINK WE’LL EVEN GET NEAR APPEARING IN SOME FUTURE FOSSIL RECORD?

DON’T THEY KNOW THAT ONLY VERY FEW GET REMEMBERED AT ALL FOR ANYTHING REALLY GOOD OR BAD THEY DID?

EVEN THEN NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THE OUTCOME MIGHT BE OF ANY OF THEIR ACTIONS!

GOODNESS KNOWS, DESPITE THE ABE LINCOLNS AND WINSTON CHURCHILLS AND ALL THOSE OTHER SO-CALLED HEROS OF ONE THING AND ANOTHER IN HISTORY THAT WE RAISE UP AS GIANTS IN STONE ON PLINTHS, MY WORLD OF CHRISTMAS YET TO COME STILL FINDS ITSELF IN A SORRY MESS REGARDLESS OF THEIR GREAT VICTORIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PAST!

“You mean I’m right about all those bloody politicians and celebrities and stuff? That my ideas and philosophy are right?”

Cox interrupted mocking and rather gleefully surprised, but the spectre cut him off

“RIGHT! RIGHT? WHO KNOWS WHAT IS RIGHT?

ALL WE KNOW IS WE FIND OURSELVES HERE WITH NO IDEA OF HOW WE GOT HERE OR HOW IT WILL ALL END.

WE THINK THERE MUST BE SOME PURPOSE TO THINGS. BUT WHAT IS THE PURPOSE, IF THERE IS ONE, OF A BUTTON OR A BEGONIA OR A BEETLE IN THE GREATER SCHEME OF THINGS, IF, AGAIN, THERE INDEED SUCH A SCHEME?

FOR ALL WE KNOW, THE IDEA OF MEANING OR PURPOSE MIGHT BE JUST SOMETHING THAT EMERGES ACCIDENTALLY FROM THE MESS OF CHEMICALS THAT WE ARE MADE OF.

THE WAY OUR BRAINS DEAL WITH THOSE THINGS WE CANNOT KNOW.

JUST LIKE WHEN THERE IS DEAD SILENCE WE THINK WE HEAR THINGS.

OR WHEN IT IS DARK WE SEE FLASHES OF LIGHT THAT AREN’T REALLY THERE.

OUR EYES AND EARS CAN’T COPE WITH NOT DOING THE JOB THEY ARE EVOLVED TO DO AND SO “INVENT” THINGS FOR COMFORT BECAUSE THEY CAN’T SEE OR HEAR ANYTHING. THEY JUST AREN’T MADE TO BE IDLE.

WITH THOSE THINGS WE CAN’T KNOW, IT IS THE SAME BECAUSE OUR BRAINS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO SOLVE PROBLEMS RATIONALLY AND FIND THE HOW OF THINGS. TO WORK OUT PURPOSEFUL ACTION TO ACHIEVE GOALS.

WE THUS IMAGINE THERE IS PURPOSE BECAUSE WE ARE HARD-WIRED TO LOOK FOR CAUSES AND EFFECTS.

BUT PURPOSE IS THE WHY OF THINGS THE GOAL OF AN ACTION.

HOW DID EVERYTHING START? WHERE WILL IT END? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE , WHY ARE WE HERE? WHY IS THERE SOMETHING AND NOT NOTHING?

WE CANNOT COPE WITH UNKNOWABLES – IMPONDERABLES.

JUST LIKE THE ANCIENTS DID FOR THOSE THINGS THEY COULD NOT CONTROL LIKE DISEASE, THE WEATHER, NIGHT AND DAY, OTHER NATURAL PHENOMENA.

THEY IMAGINED THAT THERE WERE UNSEEN GODS THAT DID CONTROL THEM

BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THAT SINCE HUMANS CAN CONTROL SOME THINGS BY APPLYING PURPOSEFUL ACTION THEN THERE MUST BE OTHERS, SO AGENCY MORE POWERFUL, WHO CONTROLLED ALL THOSE THINGS THEY COULDN’T AND TO THE SOLE PURPOSE OF CAUSING HUMAN FEAR AND SUFFERING.

THEY COULD NOT IMAGINE ACTION WITHOUT PURPOSE. THEY FEARED HAVING NO CONTROL. AND THOSE WHO DID CONTROL WHAT THEY COULD NOT MUST BE FEARFULLY POWERFUL

THEY IMAGINED GODS WHO WERE DISPLEASED WHEN NATURAL FORCES WERE UNLEASHED UPON THEM. THEY THOUGH THEY NEEDED TO APPEASE THEM. SO THEY BUILT EFFIGIES AND TEMPLES AND MADE SACRIFICES TO THEM IN THAT HOPE.

IT DID NOT ALWAYS WORK OF COURSE BUT IT WAS ENCOURAGED BY THE PRIESTS BECAUSE IT GAVE THEM POWER OVER PEOPLE

IT’S THE SAME WITH THE GODS OF TODAY. WE APPEASE THEM BY DOING WHAT WE THINK THEY WANT OR WHAT THEIR PRIESTS TELL US THEY WANT.

AND SOME OF US EVEN STILL LIVE IN FEAR BECAUSE OF IT.

SOME MAY WELL INVENT RELIGIONS AND BELIEF SYSTEMS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES BUT THEY AREN’T PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM THE WRATH OF SOME ANGRY GOD;

JUST FROM FEAR OF THE IDEA THAT THERE MIGHT BE NO PURPOSE TO ANYTHING. NO REASON. NO LIGHT AT THE END OF THAT TUNNEL OF THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE. THE COMFORT THAT, DESPITE ALL THE BAD THAT HAPPENS, THERE IS A PURPOSE TO OUR BEING AND OUR SUFFERING AND THAT THERE WILL COME A TIME THAT WE WILL FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT PURPOSE IS.

FOR IF THERE IS NO PURPOSE WHAT OTHER REASON IS THERE TO CONTINUE TO EXIST?

WHY CARRY ON IN THE FACE OF ALL THE PAIN THAT THIS MESS OF CHEMICALS THAT WE ARE ALSO INFLICTS UPON US IN OUR INTEREACTIONS WITH THE WORLD AND OTHERS AROUND US?

ARE WE REALLY JUST THE PRODUCT OF NATURE? THE ECONOMY OF WHICH MANY WOULD VAUNT AS ULTIMATE AND EXQUISITE, WITHOUT WASTE. OR ARE WE THE PRODUCT OF A DIVINE MIND THAT PUT US HERE FOR SOME MYSTERIOUS REASON ONLY IT KNOWS?

WHICH OF TWO SUCH ALTERNATIVE GREAT FORCES COULD HAVE SEEN FIT TO PRODUCE AS AN ABSOLUTE AND NECESSARY PART OF ITS UNFOLDING UNIVERSE; ITS GRAND EXPERIMENT, A SPECIES THAT REQUIRES SO MUCH SUPERFLUOUS TINSEL IN ITS LIFE SUCH AS DEVICES FOR TAKING SPIDERS OUT OF BATHTUBS, JUST TO ELIMINATE MINIMAL SUFFERING TO ITSELF AND ITS FELLOW BEASTS?

IS IT HUMANS THAT ARE GOOD OR NATURE OR GOD?
I DO NOT KNOW, BUT IF IT IS NATURE THEN WE ARE DOOMED ALREADY.

IF IT WAS GOD, HE REALLY HAS A STRANGE SENSE OF HUMOUR AND IS NOT VERY NICE AT ALL.

IF IT WAS MAN THEN PERHAPS THERE IS SOME HOPE AT LEAST SINCE, OF THE THREE, ONLY WE POSSESS THE POWER TO CHANGE THE AMOUNT OF HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD.

BUT WHAT IS HAPPINESS?

Cox was listening intently, warming to this argument since it made him feel far less guilty than he had been up till then;

“So can I be criticised for behaving as I do, bad or good, if it doesn’t matter? How could people tell whether in some so-called “morality tale” about me behaving as I have it gives them some positive direction in which to point themselves in the labyrinth of their lives if it’s all pointless? If self-gratification is the major thing in our lives then why not pursue it good or bad?”

“I AM AFRAID I AM REALLY NOT SURE I HAVE AN EXACT ANSWER TO THAT. BUT THROUGH TIME, IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN THERE HAS BEEN A NEED FOR ORDER WHEREVER THERE IS MORE THAN ONE PERSON AND PERHAPS EVEN WITHIN US ALL ORDER IS REQUIRED.

WHAT HOPE MIGHT THERE HAVE BEEN FOR THE HUMAN RACE HAD THE FIRST MAN AND WOMAN SEEN FIT TO SATISFY EACH THEIR OWN SELFISH GRATIFICATION BY JUST BEATING EACH OTHER OVER THE HEAD?

TO SEEK NO COMPROMISE? TO COOPERATE?

THAT IS REALLY ALL ONE CAN SAY. WE NEED SOME RULES AND VALUES. SOME ORDER TO RUB ALONG WITH EACH OTHER.

WE MUST IMPOSE ORDER ON EACH OTHER AND ALSO UPON OURSELVES

HOW CULTURES HAVE SOUGHT THIS DIFFERS. IN SOME DISORDER MAY HAVE PROVED DETRIMENTAL AND THUS THEY EVOLVED TO BE ORDERED, BUT, ORDER WE NEED AND MUCH MORE THAN WE HAVE CURRENTLY JUST TO PREVENT OUR OWN PROFLIGACY.

WHAT YOU HAVE DONE IN LIFE EBENEZER COX MAY BE FROWNED UPON BY SOME OR INDEED LAUDED BY OTHERS OF A MORE RUTHLESS BENT; BUT IS IT BAD? CAN ANYONE REALLY SAY WITHOUT SOME SORT OF FRAMEWORK OF ORDER?

YOU HAVE NOT ACTUALLY BROKEN ANY SECULAR LAW. BUT THERE ARE SOME WHO WOULD SAY YOU HAVE BROKEN SOME INNATE UNIVERSAL MORAL RULE ”

“Bloody hell man you’re making no sense! Is it good to be good? or good to be bad? or bad to be good? or bad to be bad dammit?”

“I SEE YOUR MORAL COMPASS HAS BEEN PUT SOMEWHAT IN GIRATORY MODE BY THE LODESTONE OF SUCH PHILOSOPHY.

BUT AGAIN I REALLY DO NOT HAVE ANY ANSWERS FOR YOU.

IF WE AGREE THAT THERE ARE SUCH THINGS AS GOOD AND BAD AND RIGHT AND WRONG AND THAT THESE ARE STATES OF MIND GOVERNED BY THE CHEMICAL SOUP THAT FORMS US.

THEN, SINCE THESE CHEMICAL REACTIONS ARE GOVERNED BY UNIVERSAL PHYSICAL LAWS THERE MUST LOGICALLY EXIST A STATE OF MIND THAT WILL LEAD TO GETTING THE RIGHT ANSWER FOR ANY MORAL QUESTION.

BUT HOW WORSE THAT STATE OF MIND, HOW ABNORMAL, IS THAT STATE OF MIND THAT LEADS TO THE “WRONG” ANSWER THAN THE ONE THAT LEADS TO THE “RIGHT” ONE?

I HAVE NO IDEA. AND IF WE EVER FIND OUT, WHO IS TO BE THE JUDGE OF WHAT BRINGS GREATEST BENEFIT OR HAPPINESS TO THE GREATEST NUMBER?

DOING THE RIGHT THING MORALLY SHOULD ALWAYS BRING MOST HAPPINESS TO THE MOST PEOPLE

EVEN SO, SOME WILL STILL INEVITABLY SUFFER AS A RESULT OF OTHERS’ FINDING HAPPINESS. SUCH THAT THOSE WHO END UP SUFFERING, EVEN IF MINORITY WILL FOMENT DISCONTENT AND CONFLICT.

CONSIDERING ALL THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES THAT MIGHT FOLLOW AN ACT “GOOD” OR “BAD”, CAN WE REALLY SAY WHAT THE FINAL OUTCOME OF ANY ACT WILL BE?

IT IS ALL CONTINGENT, LIKE THE REASONS WHY THE BOY TIM DIED.

OSTENSIBLY BAD ACTS LIKE KILLING IN WARS CAN POSSIBLY HAVE GOOD CONSEQUENCES AND VICE VERSA.

FOR INSTANCE IF YOU GIVE A BEGGAR MONEY WHO THEN GOES AND GETS DRUNK AND KILLS SOMEBODY. THAT WAS NOT YOUR INTENTION ONE PRESUMES.

SO CAN ANYTHING BE GOOD OR BAD OR RIGHT OR WRONG THEN?

IT SEEMS WE HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF SKILL AT AVOIDING SUCH DIFFICULT ABSOLUTES.

WE HAVE TO, OTHERWISE PEOPLE WOULD BE AT EACH OTHER’S THROATS ALL THE TIME FIGHTING OVER SOMETHING OR OTHER.

WHY DO WE CONSIDER IT A CRIMINAL ACT IN OUR OWN COUNTRY TO FORCIBLY HOLD DOWN A LITTLE GIRL OR BOY AND MUTILATE THEIR GENITALS, YET IN A COUNTRY FAR AWAY WHERE IT IS PRACTISED BY MILLIONS WE FOB IT OFF AS “CULTURE” OR “RELIGION” AND THUS NOT INTERVENE AGAINST IT AS BARBARITY AND MORALLY WRONG?

SHOULD DISTANCE FROM US MAKE AN ACT LESS WRONG?

IT SEEMS THAT THROUGH HISTORY WE HAVE SPLIT INTO GROUPS THAT HAVE DIFFERENT VALUES AND WHERE SOMETIMES THOSE VALUES DIFFER GREATLY.

WE HAVE NO PROBLEM IGNORING SUCH RELATIVE VALUES HOWEVER DIFFERENT AS LONG AS THET REMAIN WITHIN THE FRONTIERS OF SUCH GROUPS.

IN THE END WE HAVE TO COMPARE SUCH GROUPS AND SEE WHICH VALUES HAVE LEAD TO THE MOST HAPPINESS FOR THE MOST PEOPLE AND COME TO CONCLUSIONS ABOUT WHERE WE SHOULD BE GOING.

ALL I CAN SAY THERE IS I WISH YOU MUCH LUCK!

SO PERHAPS WE SHOULD THANK EITHER SOME GOD OR OUR SOCIAL EVOLUTION FOR POLITICIANS AND PEACEMAKERS WHO HAVE TO DEAL WITH SUCH DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GROUPS. AND ASK OURSELVES IS IT ANY WONDER THEY SEEK NEVER TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE DECISIONS THEY HAVE TO MAKE?”

The voice changed.

“’An don’t you go thinking that ah’s goin’ soft neither. Not Francois J. Delamare Abraham, Jefferson, Jackson, Jordan III! Ass hole! Right ‘an wrong good ‘an bad don’t need no goddam Almighty, they’s jest as easy come by with secular ethical philosophy than bah some stoopid idea that they’s dictitated bah some invisible sooperior fuckin’ bein’ that y’all should be afeared of. An evolution don’t have shit ter do with it neither. Don’t forgit neither that them Bible-bashin’ “true believers” reckons you can sin even in thought an’ it ain’t no coincidence that in mah time we’s fought many a war agin countries wi’ governments who tried ter stop their people a thinkin’; an’ those that did think they stuck away in mental institooshuns for it. At he same time all those who think we should all become some world-wide lovey-dovey community all a doin’ o’ the same things an’ havin’ the same values is gonna have a helluva war on there hands!

Obviously thoughtful, Cox said

“Well I have perhaps sinned in thought enough but never passed to the act. And yes I haven’t been particularly nice to my fellow man and there is no secular law against offending people or being reclusive and misanthropic.”

Then he looked up miffed

“But you seem to be forgetting that you and I are here together doing this and that it doesn’t seem to be related to any secular ethic as far as I can make out. There was your mysterious committee remember, talk of Purgatory, Limbo etc., who were they then if not the supernatural guardians of some moral code? Not very secular THAT so what is all that about if you’re so damned sure? What about all the weight of sins you have to shed by this paranormal work-out involving me they condemned you to? You must have been a real bad bastard in life! What did you do that weighs you down so much?”

“’Taint none o’ yo’ fuckin business asshole what ah diyud! Anyhows, ‘taint half as bad as some. I was a Marine an’ proud of it. Got nuthin to regret! ‘Taint my fault ah didn’t manage ter dodge the draft by goin’ into a fuckin’ Seminary but hell Nam wuz nuthin’ compared ter that place! They had just enough time ter indoctrinate me with enough o’ that shit ter have an effect afore I wuz sent out there. Ev’thing ah did wuz right at the time! But war an’ religion both fuck yah up!

You git ter searching fer yer men taken pris’ner bah the Kong you don’t ferkin care ifn you blow the hayud off someone jest ter git yer men out o’ the clutches of those murderin’ torturin’ madmen. Yer don’t care ifn later yer guide some missile ter blow some ragheads on a desert road ter kingdom come. It’s yer job not to moralise yer paid ter do it whether like what yer leaders have gotten yer into or not, yer do it! Someone has to! We’re pieces in a board game, actors in a play. We’s individuals but we has ter act as groups. ‘Taint important what each man thinks, we got not choice, we have ter leave our real selves, our humanity at home.”

He continued, visibly upset despite his protestations of right

“But it wasn’t ME, not ME I tell yah who put cameras on the ends of missiles jest so someone could show some po’ fucker’s face on CNN in front o’ forty million people jest before he gets blown ter smithereens. And what good did that do? Did it change the world? Did it make people think all that fightin’ was wrong all that murder was wrong and vow to never go ter war agin’?

The bastards took the things I love, Cameras and images and they corrupted ’em, they trivialised the horror instead of pointing it out in snapshots that tell a thousand words an’ really make people think! My images are my legacy to the peace I fought for. They tell stories, they affected others in the right way. They were taken with love and good intentions whether a dawg in the street or a baby cryin’ or a couple getting’ married, a vase o’ flowers or jest a turkey in the woods. Fuck this!

Cain’t yah see I wuz weighed down by what others, governments an’ religion loaded on mah back not what ah put there, from mah own thinkin’ mahself. Ah wuz a good man, ah did what ah did an saw as right but also cuz I had no choice. MAH INTENTIONS wuz good an’ yeah, the road ter Hell is paved with ’em. But yer cain’t help not foreseeing consequences good or bad. Yer jest has to have no ill in mind.”

The spectre seemed to be almost weeping but nevertheless seemed to be carrying less of his burden and his features seemed to have solidified into the normal recognisable one of a human being.

“C’mon asshole we got few mo’ thangs to go see.”

To be continued…

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Lynton Cox’s “What The Dickens?” Part 5.2

This Must Have Taken Ages - The Author At Work

This Must Have Taken Ages – The Author At Work

Episode 5, part 2. (No, I’m not giving you a recap! this isn’t some sodding TV program made for the benefit of morons!)

At that; sparks and smoke shot from the four feet of the walking frame and they rose into the void like a sky rocket. There was still no noise, just the black emptiness, but out of this to Cox’s horror came flying directly at them the most grotesque figures. The wraiths and phantoms assailed Cox all around, poking him and taunting with fearsome horrible faces thrusting into his, whispering, glaring at him with their glowing red eyes and hissing,

“Repent Cox, repent, repent, repent!”

Other entities, imps and demons, more ferocious still, snapped and harried at his heels and others, each one more horrific than the last, came at him, pinching, poking and biting whichever parts of his body they could reach.

Cox screamed and struggled but Francois J. D etc, etc Jordan III, “Ghost of Christmas yet to come”, gripped his hand so tightly on the crossbar of the frame that it hurt him as much as the bites and scratches of the massed tormenting imps and devils that writhed all around them in that void. With his other hand holding the walking stick Jordan was frantically, very accurately and extremely violently batting away the assorted imps and wraiths and shouting vile obscenities, such as;

“Mo’fuckin’ hoody bastard ass holes can take those fuckers to the taxidermist” and

“Where’s mah Kimber 1911 ah’ll shoot yo’ ‘nuther two assholes, you sumbich bat-winged devil’s shit red-eyed midget!” at them.

Eventually, the Ghost shouted, pointing his stick, which now had disgusting oozing fragments and dripping strands of miscellaneous diabolical flesh hanging from it.

“Look down asshole!”

Cox looked doubtful

“Are you sure you will be alright?

“ Look down asshole! Ah had relatives who whupped ass at Fort Sumpter in ’63; these cotton-pickin’ pointy-eared, red-assed flyin’ Yankee shitbags don’t know shit ’bout layin’ siege ter no wimmin’s fuckin’ panty shop. Git on with it dammit!

Through the gloom Cox could make out some buildings and human activity. He thought the sight was somewhat familiar. As they descended he perceived something written on a wall

“ ‘ollocks”

“That’s Shuttlecock’s place, I’ve just been there!”

The ghost looked at him still waving his stick around ferociously beating off sundry devilish entities

“Shit man look closer!”

There was activity, lots of it. There was a fire engine and people running around, an ambulance was drawn up and people were tending to others who were looking dazed and confused, injured, sitting at the kerbside wrapped in blood soaked bandages.

Cox recognised some of them, Bob had a sling and the Colonel was leaning on a first-aider being led to an ambulance while Sir Derek, uninjured and at full action stations, seemed to have taken charge and was ordering people to do things. Suddenly the bustle stilled and from the door issued two men bearing a stretcher with a blanket draped over it and a sobbing Ma, bent and broken withered to half the woman she had been, walking bereft beside it with two women trying to comfort her.

The ghostly walking frame swooped slowly, the diabolical onslaught now abated, until it hovered about ten feet above and to one side of the stretcher. Bob had stood and walked slowly to the stretcher and lifted the corner of the blanket. It was then that Cox saw the lifeless pallid face of the boy with the grey pussycat toy in his limp arms.

Cox turned his head to the apparition with a questioning look of disbelief

“Yup, sho’ nuff its the rug rat what did y’all expect to see?”

“But b b b b but.” Cox started blubbering, “It’s all MY FAULLLLT! If I’d paid his father a living wage… been more thoughtful…”

“Ha! If if if if if s’always fuckin’ IF!” Exclaimed the spectre, mocking and going on,

“Yah think it’s all about YOU don’t ya? You you, you, you, po’ l’il Ebenezer Cocksuckin’ Cox, you ass hole, yah full o’ crap!”

“But it IS! I’ve been horrible to them all. ALL of them. They hated me for it and they were RIGHT! I gave no thought to the consequence of my actions. I was mean, selfish, full of bitterness and spite because of THAT WOMAN and how through my selfish indifference to her she left me. ME! I was too blind and proud to admit my own failings! I even insulted my OWN brother and those poor charity workers.”

“Cain’t you see nuthin’ bo’? Those beggin’ bastards after money fer the po’ is jest a bunch o’ ass holes. Oh yeah they’s a comin’ round at Christmas a preyin’ on the guilt o’ other po’ folks but they don’t tell yah that their boss gits paid mo’ in one year than the whole o’ the po’ in yo’ country can git in their whole lahftimes. Charity mah ass! What right they got ter prey on peoples like thayut? An’ that sumbitch bro’ o’ yours he’s happy ’nuff. What right he got a judgin’ you, cos judge you he does, a makin a effort ter invaht yah fer Christmas jest so’s he feels better that he tried an’ cain tell evr’body ’bout it! What’s thayut ifn not some smug holier than thou treasure-seekin’ in heaven thang?”

Cox looked at the spirit askance

“Are you sure you understand what you’re meant to be doing? Those instructions? What your spooky committee told you?”

“Sho’s hayull ah am bo’! Ah’s a Atheist, tho’ praps ah”m a startin’ ter think ah oughta change a few o’ mah views on thangs, but th’ain’t nuthin’ less Godly than those bastard ass holes who comes aroun’ a tellin’ yah what you oughta be a doin an’ hows yah oughtta be a doin’ it an’ shit’. Bet none of ’em take mo’ than a glimpse in a mirror ter tittivate themselves, ‘stead o’ lookin’ deep at what the mirror don’t show unless yah’s a real honest mayun.”

The spirit spoke once more, but this time the authority in it’s voice returned

“NOW COME COME COX SURELY YOU SHOULD HAVE GOT ALL THAT SELF-REVELATION AND AWARENESS BIT ALREADY FROM MY RATHER CAMP COLLEAGUE WHO I MET IN THE WAITING ROOM! THINK MAN! BUT ARE YOU TO BLAME FOR EVERYTHING HERE?

HERE, WE HAVE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A LITTLE BOY COSSETTED BY HIS PARENTS AND WHO NEVER LEARNED ANYTHING ABOUT THOUGHT FOR OTHERS JUST THE GRATIFICATION OF HIS OWN DESIRES.

HIS PARENTS PANDERED TO HIS EVERY WHIM AND THEY NEVER TAUGHT HIM THAT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO DO WITHOUT AND YOU CANNOT ALWAYS HAVE INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

THEY WORKED THEIR FINGERS TO THE BONE FOR HIM, STRUGGLED TO GET HIM HIS PUSSYWUSSY FOR CHRISTMAS AND WHAT GRATITUDE DID THEY GET?

HIS SIBLINGS TOO WERE FORCED INTO SACRIFICE BY CIRCUMSTANCE BUT DID THEY COMPLAIN?

CRUTCHES AND WHEELCHAIRS AND HANDICAPS DON’T MAKE PEOPLE GOOD!

AFTER YOU LEFT HE STAMPED AND STAMPED IN HIS TANTRUM AND THE ROTTEN FLOOR GAVE WAY. THAT WAS AS MUCH HIS FAULT AS THE FAULT OF BOB AND MA THEIR SINISTRALLY BIASED LANDLORD MITCHELL.

“What d’y’ mean?”

Asked Cox, surprised and irritated and a bit confused.

MITCHELL WAS QUITE HAPPY TO GROPE MA’S AMPLE STRUCTURAL ATTRIBUTES AND IGNORE THE OBVIOUS STRUCTURAL DEFECTS OF THE PREMISES HE RENTED TO THEM.

SHE IN TURN WAS HAPPY TO BE GROPED AND BOB HAPPY TO TURN A BLIND EYE FOR THE SAKE OF A CHEAP ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS.

NO, COX, NO ONE PERSON IS OF IMMEDIATE BLAME HERE IT EXTENDS BACK IN A CHAIN AND OUTWARDS IN A NETWORK.

INDEED, SHOULD ONE BE OF SUCH A POLITICALLY CRITICAL BENT ONE MIGHT GO BACK AS FAR AS GOVERNMENT WHICH CREATES THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT OR EVEN TO SOME DEITY WHO ALLOWS SUCH THINGS TO HAPPEN EVEN THOUGH HE KNOWS THEY WILL HAPPEN AND SUPPOSEDLY HAS THE ABILITY TO PREVENT THEM. HIS EARTHLY “REPRESENTATIVES” EXPLAIN THAT AWAY BY FREE-WILL (BUT THAT IS JUST OUR WRITER BORING US WITH PHILOSOPHY AGAIN – TAKE NO NOTICE).

NO COX, THE RESPONSIBILITY IS SHARED BY AS MANY AS ONE WISHES TO INCULPATE. WE ARE ALL, IN THE END, ANSWERABLE, FOR THE FATES OF EACH OTHER AND THE WORLD. BUT WE ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR OURSELVES AND ONLY EVER OUR OWN VICTIM.

To Be Continued…

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Lynton Cox’s “What The Dickens?” Part Three

 

And A Partridge In A Pear Tree...Humbug!

And A Partridge In A Pear Tree…Humbug!

(In which Ebenezer Cox having been spectrally forewarned by the ghost of his dead writing companion receives the first promised visitation. Another spectre appears to remind him of happier times and we learn about his decline into misanthropy and bitterness.)

Dear reader, by means of our most humble hand you have read of the visitation experienced by Ebenezer Cox in the spectral form of his long-dead former writing companion Obadiah Shuttlecock.

They each contributed many years ago works of little merit that masqueraded as satire but which were really designed to obtain readers’ attention through the promise of titillation by salacious reference to the pulchritude of female celebrities on the very worst of the worst satire sites of the ethereal communications network that is the Internet and which is called thespoof.com. He left these poor works of infantile content and orphan code to rot, moulder and die; neglected, to haunt a dark corner of the infinite cyber-void of forgotten information of no particular use but to those who might absent-mindedly or accidentally search for keywords such as “vagina”, “breasts” or naked”, quite accidentally or absent-mindedly alone or even randomly combined with names of famous female celebrities of popular culture such as Cheryl Cole, Susan Boyle, Miley Cyrus or other such popular human refuse of the modern culture of celebrity.

Cox did this through both laziness and in the vain hope that immature pimply cyber-vagrants might run across them from time to time and thus be plunged unconsciously into the insidiously wicked net of his activities to rule the world. He also left one more fictional character, Alfred Frimley, to undeservingly rot, forgotten and underdeveloped; something that he should have regretted because with a little care he could have become a strong character. A mild-mannered pensioner Frimley cared for his aged bedridden mother and her equally bedridden yet occasionally lucid sister his aunty Vi. The cares and evils of the world just washed over this innocent, such that even the Devil himself would be sympathetic to his plight and have pity on him. Perhaps that is why Cox included him in the business name Shuttlecock, Frimley and Cox, in guilt of the memory. Or perhaps because his name was fraudulently entered on the tax returns and thus wholly responsible for any financial irregularities that might have been overlooked or over-cooked by Cox’s Eagle-eye for figures.

When Ebenezer Cox awoke, it was so dark, that looking out of bed, he could scarcely distinguish the transparent window from the opaque walls of his chamber. He was endeavouring to pierce the darkness with his ferret eyes, when the chimes of a neighbouring church struck the four quarters. So he listened for the hour to sound through the milk of the fog pressing insistently on the window pane.

To his great astonishment the heavy bell went on from six to seven, and from seven to eight, and then regularly up to twelve; then it stopped. Twelve! It had been past two when he went to bed. The clock was wrong. An icicle must have got into the works. Twelve! Humbug!

He lay in this state until the chime had gone three quarters more, when he remembered, on a sudden, that the Ghost had warned him of a visitation when the bell tolled one. He resolved to lie awake until the hour was past; and, considering that he could no more go to sleep than go to Heaven, this was perhaps the wisest resolution in his power.

The quarter was so long, that he was more than once convinced he must have sunk into a doze unconsciously, and missed the clock. At length it broke upon his listening ear.

“Ding, dong!”

“A quarter past,” said Cox, counting.

“Ding, dong!”

“Half past!”

“Ding, dong!”

“A quarter to it”

“Ding,!”

“The hour itself, said Cox, triumphantly, “and nothing else!”

There was a sudden whoosh of air and the bed curtains opened just a crack, enough to reveal an apparently disembodied face and the fingertips of two hands.

“DONG! He he! Ooo-er I GOTCHA there didn’t I!?” The face thrust through the gap!

Cox, started up into a semi-recumbent attitude and noticed he had a painfully tight sphincter and momentarily sympathised with the cat. He found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor perched on the end of the bed and who now drew the curtains fully apart with a flourish.

“Taaa Daaa!”

It was a strange figure; like a child, yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance sometimes of a white pencil sketch upon black paper, and being diminished to a child’s proportions. Its hair, which hung about its neck and down its back, was white as if with age; and yet, the face had not a wrinkle in it, and the tenderest bloom was on the skin.

Cox started up as the visitation spoke with an odd nasal tone, head tossed back and its eyes looking askance at him across the shoulder and down its slender nose, which had strangely flaring nostrils

“Hellooooo Coxy! ‘Ere, wait a minute! You’re ogling my skin aren’t you!” exclaimed the somewhat diminutive and rather undernourished spectre rather shrilly and putting on a false scandalised air.

“Ogleogleogl…Wa what?” spluttered Cox, half flabbergasted at the appearance of the thing and half at surprise that he could see into his very mind.

“S’alright ducks, they all do it and I’m very proud of it, my skin that is. Regular washing with Wright’s Coal Tar Soap and Oil of Ulay morning and night and you can’t go wrong. Would do wonders for your sore arse; and the cat’s mm yeess. Disinfects too it does.”

The rather uncomfortable erotically suggestive way that the apparition ran his hand up and down his arm and the following overall imitation of the application of something upon his whole body startled Cox and unease passed into anxiety on the road towards outright panic at the sight of such a pantomime.

“Oiloiloiloil of wwwwhat?” burbled Cox somewhat interrogatively, reeling and confused.

He saw the spectre shimmering before him looking rather satisfied with itself or rather himself although in impression the supposedly male phantom seemed both of no gender and ageless. The arms were very long and muscular; the hands the same, as if its hold were of uncommon strength. Its legs and feet, most delicately formed, were, like the upper members, bare. It wore a tunic of the purest white with pink piping around the hems and stitch lines and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt with a silver filigree buckle on which he could make out the letters D-O-L-C-E, E-T, the sheen of which was beautiful. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand but in singular contradiction of that wintry symbol, had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. But the strangest thing about it was, that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light, by which all this was visible

“You’re ogling again you are, stop messin’; about! I know I look like something carved by Michelangelo but that’s no excuse for ogling me, an’ at your age too! Should be ashamed! Although who could blame anybody? You ain’t one of those paedo thingies I ‘ope”

“Ssssorry.” Cox spluttered again.

“Come on ducks we ain’t got all night there’s twelve dongs, there’s three of us ghosts so that makes four dongs each tonight. Oooooo four dongs each oooooo er! ‘That’s generous’ I said to the boss. When I was alive that only happened once in a blue moon and then only when I went on me holidays to Thailand! Four dongs, ooooh sweet memories! Anyway, enough of that deary, I got me orders so look lively sweetheart!”

“Orders?”

“Yes dear, orders!” He said emphatically, looking at Cox pointedly as if it should be the most evident fact to the trembling wreck in front of him.

The phantom drew out a paper from his belt and started to read:

“To the Ghost of Christmas Past: (that’s me, ducks, but you can call me Kenny) You are to proceed to the apartments of one Ebenezer Cox and therefrom conduct him on a mysterious voyage through four dong’s worth of time to relive selective Christmases from times past. This is in order to allow him to recall happier days and reflect on the reasons for his misanthropic decline to his present sorry state. You are also to warn him that if he doesn’t mend his ways he and all his cyber-doings will be doomed to walk undead in spectral form through cyberspace or until such time as he is finally cached on some derelict server. Remind him too that there will be two more spectral visits this night and thus he should not make any alternative arrangements for at least 8 dongs worth of time before the stroke of the hour. So you see deary, it’s all there in black and white, I got me orders; it’s all official so shake a leg!”

At that the phantom took him by the hand, led him to the window, and as if leaves in the wind they were swept up, floating through the sky which as they went became light and dark alternatively, faster and faster like the flickering of a guttering candle flame.

“’Ere you’re not epileptic are you? You know, got the falling sickness or anything like that? You know, foaming at the mouth tremblin’ an’ all that?” asked Ken.

“No, w-wh-why do you ask?”

“Can’t be too careful these days you know, all this flickerin’ can set ’em off bitin’ the carpet and shakin, ooooh; shakin something rotten, convuuuuuulsions I tell you! Before you know it you’re being sued for negligence, new false teef and new carpets an’ stuff – an’ we couldn’t have that could we? Then again, you might not know you’ve got it so close your eyes love, just in case; there’s a good boy.”

Cox felt the wind rush gently past his skin and in his ears, sussurating as if calling his name. Ebeneeezer Ebeneeezer Ebeneeezer!

After a short but indeterminate time he felt a light bump and opened his eyes. He found himself standing in the parlour of a large family house. The walls and ceilings of this welcoming homely room were bedecked with greenery and garlands. In the corner a large Christmas tree stood, hung with silver and gold, and twinkling lights. Gaily coloured paper-wrapped parcels were piled in a tumbling mass beneath the fragrant branches and candles were aglow in profusion on the mantel shelf from which hung stockings full to bursting with a cornucopia of fruits, nuts and candy canes.

“Why! I know this place!” Cox exclaimed.

He had no chance to say more before a pretty lady dressed in a shimmering green shot-silk gown came bustling into the room calling out in a tinkling, laughing voice, “Ebby, Gussie, you may come in now! I do believe that Father Christmas has been.”

“Mama!” Gasped Cox as a tear of remembrance and realisation came to his eye.

There was a clamour in the hall beyond the door and two little boys came running in, one, in a sailor suit and the other dressed in bright blue satin knickerbockers and a lime green silk smock shirt with billowing sleeves, ruffed neck and cuffs, and black patent leather shoes with silver buckles. One boy was slightly bigger than the other indicating the two years that separated them.

“Hurrah hurrah!” they shouted in unison, eyes widening with surprise and wonderment at the festive sight before them.

The scene faded and Cox turned to the spectre at his elbow with tears in his eyes and said,

“Oh my dear mama, oh how those were happy times!. That was the year I got my very first computer, an Amstrad CPC with GEM operating system, cheaper than IBM but that was all Papa and Mama could afford, he was only a lowly Mole catcher.”

Ho Ho Fucking Ho!

Ho Ho Fucking Ho!

(This, dear reader,was something of an inaccuracy that many in positions of wealth and power tend to exploit so that others believe them to be of similar lowly stock. In fact, although Cox’s father had indeed been apprenticed to a Mole catcher in his youth, his ambitions and shrewdness in the catching and skinning of various rodents and other wild creatures had provided him with a growing and successful business in the fur trade. His products had clothed the rich and famous and one could guarantee that if you saw a fine lady wearing fur that Cox’s father had been somewhere behind her Beaver.)

“Yeah crap weren’t they!” the spectre rejoindered, adding, “I was more into Barbie dolls meself but there you go luv.”

The spectre looked at him strangely and asked:

“Was that reeeally you in those blue satin knickerbockers Coxy? If I didn’t know better I’d have said you were a bit ginger, you know like, a bit of the old mutual ma…” The apparition broke off suddenly

“Oh my gawd look at the time! Come on you, there’s more to see!”

The scene passed from light to darkness as if a curtain had closed on the tableau and when the darkness cleared after a moment Cox found himself beside the spectre in a large room full of electronic gadgets and screens.

“I know this place too exclaimed Cox it’s where I studied-where I did my programming PhD, look, yes! There it is on the shelf over there!”

The spectre took the thick book from the shelf and looked at it and then looked at Cox accusingly. He read the title with a rather disdainful and exaggerated gentrified voice which as he proceeded turned into an accusatory nasal whine full of irony

“On the Accuracy of Inferring Location in IEEE 802.15.4 Networks? It’s all Greek to me, but I happen to know that this is what gave rise to the embryonic idea of the Cox Clickomatic. But instead of being a force for good why did it all go wrong Ebenezer Cox? what was behind it? could it be anything to do with that photograph in the frame on your desk?”

Again with tears in his eyes Cox reached out and grasped the silver frame and clutched it to his breast weeping.

“Oh Cham.. Cham…” he was breaking down

“Go on say THE NAME COXY, say it!” Yelled the spectre at the weeping crumpled heap of a man before him.

“Chamooooone Chamone Chamone Chamone !” Cox wailed dolefully to the heaven above, his arms outstretched, the picture in his hand tears streaming down his cheeks.

“Yes Coxy boy that was when it all turned sour didn’t it! When you were abandoned by the only person you ever loved apart from yourself and your mother. Chamone! That’s HER! Chamone O’Leary from up on the estate at the back of the recreation ground. CHAMONE who dumped you for some male stripper called Darren who she met down the pub while you were off at yet another technical symposium! You lost her, through your own stupid indifference and then descended into bitter misanthropic spite aimed at the whole world because you couldn’t face the outcome of your own actions! Bitter and twisted you were that she could have gone off with that dimwitted idiotic vaudevillian with those pumped up pectorals and bulging biceps (an’ I bet they weren’t the only muscles either that ‘e ‘ad that bulged when they were pumped-up!). The hate and disgust you felt for YOURSELF Coxy go on, GO ON ADMIT IT! You used her rejection as an excuse to turn against everyone, to slander all those well-meaning nice politicians, all those talented journalists at the Daily Mail; to bore all your Facebook friends with your long words, philosophy and moralising. Have you no shame Ebenezer Cox, NO SHAAAAME?”

Cox looked dejectedly at the spectre, he was a pitiful shadow of himself, his chin flecked with the desperate dribble caused by him seeing again after all these years the image of Chamone O’Leary and her excruciatingly sufficient GGGG brassiere, seismically straining like Vesuvius. About to erupt her pulchritudinous pink pumice on the floundering plinian wreck of a man sheltering in its lee.

“But she just left me! LEFT me dammit! And I had just installed surround sound in her cleavage too, cost me a bloody fortune too for the plastic surgeon to sew the sub woofer in her fanny and the tweeter up her bum.”

The spectre sharply rebuked him,

“Shame on you Ebenezer Cox, SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOOOOOOU! Face the consequences of your own actions, your own omissions!” Shrieked the by now hysterical spectre, his voice raising in a reproachful crescendo rising in cadence to a high falsetto as the spectre itself started rising slowly. Then at the same time as he flew up into the black void and disappearing above Cox’s head his voice became a gradual diminuendo.

As the darkness and silence closed in once more around him Ebenezer Cox found himself back in his room; in his own bed again, sobbing, his body racked by tremors that shook the cat (who was sat, still attending with diligent care to its rear end, on one corner of the counterpane and wincing with every lick of its tongue). The echo of the phantom voice still resounding in his head, he found himself in urgent need of a piss.

To be continued…

With even more apologies to Charles Dickens

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A wife is for life – not just for Christmas

How Wives Used To Be Back In The Good Old Days

How Wives Used To Be Back In The Good Old Days

British League Of Wives (BLOW) is set to launch a concerted television advertising campaign aimed at men, with the objective of raising awareness among men – who take a wife solely in order to have somebody handy over the Christmas holiday period to make meals and generally wait on them hand and foot – that such behaviour is just not on.

“It’s just not on,” said Sandra Bloefeld of BLOW. “This is the 21st century after all. The days when women would spend all day in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove and traipsing back and forth from the fridge with endless cold beers for their fat lazy arsed husbands are long gone.”

Disturbingly for women everywhere, a report compiled by the Department of Intuition reveals that the percentage of men who take a wife for Christmas before kicking them out immediately after the holiday is over, averages out at a staggering 93%

Abandoned wives charities such as Battersea Wives Home complain that the January abandonments place tremendous strain on resources, leaving many unable to cope with the deluge.

“We need to change attitudes dramatically,” Sandra Bloefeld told us. “Men need to realise that the cute, sexy, subservient wife they married in December will grow into a strong, independent woman; one who will soon tire of running around after a lazy spouse, and develop a range of complex character traits, such as demanding that the husband leave the toilet seat down, that he occasionally ought to get up off his arse and get cracking with those long overdue DIY projects and realise that occasionally at bed time she really will have a headache.”

“Well I’m not going to change my attitude for any bloody woman,” said Joe Calderbank, who has had three wives for Christmas and kicked them all out by the second of January. “They’re all cute and cuddly for a bit, and then comes the nagging, the moaning, the burnt dinners and the fights over the TV remote. Well they can piss off. I’ll get another one this Christmas – probably a nice Thai model – but if she starts getting bloody stroppy she’ll be out on her ear by January and no mistake.”

We asked Joe if he was aware of the strain imposed on abandoned womens’ charities by negligent husbands such as him and whether he had any regrets about abandoning wives into the January cold, he responded:

“Those charities get shedloads of money off the public and they should be grateful that blokes like me keep them in a job. In answer to the second part of your question: Do I balls regret it. When you buy your Christmas turkey you chuck it out once it’s eaten, once it’s outlived its usefulness. There’s no point hanging on to it. It’s the same with wives. If they aren’t up to the task they need to be discarded. No point in having them stink the place out for years to come.”

Sandra Bloefeld had the last word on the matter, as she sharpened a carving knife and stormed out of our office saying:

“I’m going to slice that sexist pig’s knackers right off.”

More as we get it.

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Lynton Cox’s “What the Dickens?” Part One

 

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells etc etc etc

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells etc etc etc

Well friends, it’s December so I suppose there’s no longer a reason for an old misanthrope like me to moan about Christmas decorations in the shops and seasonal stuff going on when it isn’t yet the season to be jolly. But hey, I can always moan about not being able to moan, even being a misery has its bright side! Day by day we can get jollier and jollier and spite miseries like me who continue their miserable shenanigans until such time, as like Gary Cooper, we get sent a wingless angel to show us the error of our ways having first rescued us kicking and screaming from a wintry river where we wanted to end it all.

Anyway my friends I have prepared for you a salutory seasonal tale that warns of the dangers to miseryguts like me and what might happen if we don’t mend our ways. I shall publish each installment in true Victorian magazine fashion, weekly, up to Christmas when the denouement will be published and by which time you will all be on the edges of your seats or have got bored and gone down the the pub . Amen to that!

Here is the first of several installments of:

What the Dickens?

Part1. In which we become acquainted with the parsimonious misanthropic Ebenezer Cox and his activities.

The sign over the door of the backroom of the shop says “Cox”. Well it actually says “Shuttlecock, Frimley and Cox”, but the other two names have been crossed out. Shuttlecock and Frimley were long years dead. That you have to understand, dear reader, for if disbelief you do not suspend, no wonderment can come of this tale.

Cox knew this fact as sure as he knew the tattoo on his left buttock said “I’m the funniest man on Earth” and the one on the right said “Rhetoric rules is that OK?” The one in the middle said “Bollocks” but that was more by way of a reminder than a pithy statement.

The register of their burials was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner, Cox himself, signed it too. Old Shuttlecock, old Frimley were as dead as door-nails. I will not query this simile for, dear reader, you would consider it an odd Victorian pedantry, fit only to be read in pompous tones by an ageing but venerable homosexual actor in the guise of an overly sanctimonious, bearded and coiffed literary “giant” and social reformer who needs to use verbiage and long words as sure as an ursine mammal requires to defaecate in a highly wooded area.

The shop window, grime-covered, allows in, grudgingly, what light is left of this three o’clock snow-rapt, frosty Christmas Eve and outside the gas lamps twinkle into existence as people wrapped against the icy air hurry about their business to carry joy, gifts and seasonal blessings to their friends and loved-ones; halloo-ing and hailing compliments to fellow city dwellers known and unknown with blythe looks of anticipation.

The shop is dark and cold and the cold seeps into each abode and workplace through every crack and crevice in wall, window and wretched damp floorboard. Perhaps this is not quite true for chez Shuttlecock, Frimley and Cox because the cobweb-draped gloom and dust-decrepit misery that pervades this place has a chill of its own that, whatever the temperature, defies nature by flowing; flowing out and polluting everything with its mean frigidity contrariwise to the laws of thermodynamics.

The doorway to the room is vaguely lit from within by the dim glow of candles and as one enters in, the glow of two glass screens makes silhouettes of two men and the only sound to be heard is the scuttle of mice among discarded bread crusts on the floor and the rapid tap tap tapping of long spindly fingers on two keyboards.

A voice is heard.

“Erm… Mr. Cox, Sir? I… I..”

It is the voice of Bob Shuttlecock, Cox’s clerk. A bright cheerful being who, out of grudging pity, Cox took on, contrary to his usual innate spite, since it was a condition of the last Will and Testament of his dead partner Obadiah Shuttlecock. He had been the lad’s ward and Great Uncle, having sheltered him and fed him and saved him from the workhouse after the death of his poor parents who had died during the “Great Stink” of ’31. Shuttlecock the elder and the previous clerk Martin Fuckwitt had met their end together whilst walking in the street when a passing Carpenter’s cart had shed its shed-load of prefabricated sheds upon their unwitting persons who then rather rapidly shed rather than, shuffled off, their mortal coils. Dead they were and so flat they could have posted them to the mortuary for the price of a penny black rather than the exhorbitant florin that shocked Cox who had to hand it over to the undertaker.

“Out with it Shuttlecock! I know! I suppose you’ll be wanting Christmas day off as usual this year. Can’t think what Shuttlecock and Frimley were doing letting clerks have it off in the first place! But I shall expect you in at five the next morning! You can have it off, Shuttlecock , as no doubt you do, frequently, with all those sprogs of yours, but you know the terms, five o’clock! Right? Go on say it! SAY IT!!”

This same scene was played out year on year as Shuttlecock stood head bowed

“Go on Shuttlecock I want to HEAR it!”

A mumbled response

Louder! LOUDER man!

“Five o’clock, Sir, on the dot sir, thank you Sir you are kind and generous to a fault Mr. Cox Sir.”

“Christmas? Humbug! You won’t catch any of the writers or my Facebook friends taking a day off from Facebook, sad bunch of bastards! Oh no! He he he he!”

The frosty rime of this cold cold place was on Cox’s head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He exuded his own low temperature; and with it he iced his office in the summer; and didn’t thaw it one degree at the depth of the Winter Solstice, making no exception for Christmas. Even the candle flames shrunk at his approach.

Cox glanced at the clock on his computer screen, it was ten past three. He glanced at the dull window. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: there was fog on the Essex marshes too, but that was a bleaker story still. He could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. But what did Cox care? It was the very thing he liked! Fog, cold fog. To edge his way along the foggy crowded perimeter paths of life, warning all human sympathy and frailty to keep its distance. Telling everyone how ridiculous they are and calling people names and spreading vile invective and untruths, being steeped in the misery of the World and its vile people and events, was what the knowing ones call nuts to Cox; as were the consequences and responsibilities.

“A merry Christmas, brother! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Cox’s brother Augustus, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.

“Bah!” said Cox, “Humbug!”

He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this brother of Cox’s, that he was all in a glow and steaming; his face was ruddy and handsome; his blue eyes sparkled like icicles, and his breath smoked again as he spoke.

“Christmas a humbug,?” said Cox’s brother. “You don’t mean that, I am sure.”

“I do,” said Cox. “Merry Christmas! What RIGHT have you to be merry? What REASON have you to be merry? You’re poor enough. Look at all the misery in the World! All those people on Facebook, bowling along pretending life is good, sticking up pictures of every nook and cranny of their boring private lives to human view, oblivious of the realities of the doom about to fall upon them all.”

“Come, then,” returned the brother gaily. “What right have YOU to be dismal? what reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough.”

Cox, having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, “Bah!” again; and followed it up with: “Humbug.”

“Don’t be cross, brother,” said Augustus.

“What else can I be,” returned Ebenezer Cox, “when I live in such a world of fools as this Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas. What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in ’em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will,” said Cox indignantly, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. They deserve it! They can see what’s going on in the world, they don’t care about it and can’t think further than the next episode of the latest bloody soap opera on telly. Bollocks to them all, they don’t deserve saving, nor peace nor goodwill none of ’em!”

“Ebenezer!” pleaded the brother.

“Brother” returned Cox, sternly, “Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.”

“Keep it!” repeated Augustus. “But you don’t keep it.”

“Let me leave it alone, then,” said Cox. “Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you! Much good has it done anyone!”

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, and there are many ills in the World about which I may not continuously give thought nor cogitate upon the morality thereof” returned Augustus: “ But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round – apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that – as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys and out to wreak evil. And therefore, Ebenezer, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket on Black Friday or any other day, I believe that it HAS done me good, and WILL do me and others good; and I say, God bless it!”

Shuttlecock who had all this time been steadfastly tapping his keyboard, revolved around in his seat and involuntarily applauded. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he pretended to fiddle around with his mouse and erased a whole hour’s work with one click.

“Let me hear another sound from YOU,” said Ebenezer Cox, “and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your situation. Testament or no bloody Testament!”

“You’re quite a powerful speaker, sir like many of those misguided souls that haunt Facebook,” he added, turning to his brother. “I wonder you don’t go into Parliament with the rest of the moronic bunch of ’em.”

“Don’t be angry, brother. Come! Dine with us tomorrow.”

Cox said that he would see him in….. – yes, indeed he did, loudly so. He went the whole length of the diabolical expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first.

“But why?” cried his brother. “Why?”
`
“Why did you get married?” said Cox.

“Because I fell in love and discovered that there was more to life than the Internet.”

“Because you fell in love!’” growled Cox, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a Merry Christmas. “Good afternoon!”

“Nay, Ebenezer, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?”

“Good afternoon,” said Cox.

“I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends brother?”

“Good afternoon,” said Cox.

“I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute brother Ebenezer. We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I’ll keep my Christmas humour to the last. So a Merry Christmas to you brother!”

“Good afternoon!” said Cox.

“And A Happy New Year!”

“Bollocks and now just fuck off!” said Cox.

His brother left the dingy room without an angry word, notwithstanding. He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greeting of the season on the clerk, who, cold as he was, was warmer than his employer; for he returned them cordially.

“There’s another fellow,” muttered Cox; who overheard him: “my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas? Lunatic he is! I’ll retire to Bedlam.”

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

This ‘lunatic’, in letting Cox’s brother out, had let two other people in. They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Cox’s office. They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him.

“Shuttlecock, Frimley and Cox, I believe”, said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list with his finger. “Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr Cox, or Mr Shuttlecock or Mr. Frimley?”

“Er er…that depends”, said Cox, hesitating, “If it’s about copyright, it’s not me you want, I’m not responsible for those idiots who write comments on my page. Anyway if it is, you must be the only ones who read that rubbish because nobody else visits it and all the “friends” and “comments”are completely made up. That’s what Shuttlecock does all day.”

“No it’s for the poor people, the orphanage”, said the most rotund and rubicund of the three.

“Well in that case the three of you mendicants can bloody well fuck off and don’t let the door hit you in the arse as you go out. Go on sod off!”

Cox stamped back toward his desk, only stopping to squat and defaecate profusely into the small earth closet dug into the centre of the floor. “Humbug” he grumbled again. “Shuttlecock! Did you remember to put all the Christmas comments up and the links to Christmas films and stuff?”

“Yes sir”, came the reply

“Can’t have anyone enjoying things like Christmas can we Shuttlecock? Not when there’s so much misery in the world eh? They need reminding now and then! Nice people expecting to be confronted with a suicidal Gary Cooper and some fat wingless angel soaking wet by the side of a freezing river. Likewise, a happy family gathering, grandma, grandad, mum, dad, all the kids waiting for their annual dose of Christmas tear-jerking schmaltz. It’ll wake them up to see Tracy Lords stroking some great big cock all over the screen or to go to some page about human trafficking or female circumcision. Show the kids what their parents really get up to, what all those “noble savages” in far off lands are really doing to each other. Bloody hypocrites!”

His very words thickened the very fog and the darkness so, that people ran about with flaring torches, proffering their services to go before horseless carriages, and conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slyly down at Cox out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. The cold became intense. In the main street, at the corner of the court, some labourers were repairing the gas-pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, around which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture.

“Fuck the lot of them”, thought Cox. But for tap tap tapping, silence descended on the two men and the gloom and darkness closed in once more.

At length the hour of shutting up the shop arrived. With an ill-will Ebenezer dismounted from his stool, and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk.

“Remember, Shuttlecock, five o’clock!” said Cox..

Cox too donned his coat, hat and cape, scarf and gloves and ignoring the cheery “Merry … er… sorry sir” as Shuttlecock skipped into the night, he snuffed the last candle, stepped out of the door and locked it behind him, before making his way to his usual tavern for a meagre dinner.

Cox was unaware because his back was turned but the water-plug being left in solitude in the horse trough, its overflowings sullenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice which flowed and moulded itself, distorting into the glimmerings of words the glows and the twinkles of flares and braziers. The words read, Cha…. and were then swallowed by the fingers of threading fog.

To be continued…

With apologies to Charles Dickens

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Ye Olde Cafe Spike Gift And Noveltie Shoppe – Xmas Sale Now On

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Café Spike Xmas Hamper

Café Spike Xmas Hamper

With the festive season careering towards us like a rocket powered one horse open sleigh, our thoughts invariably turn towards purchasing the usual load of old tat in order to keep our friends and relatives sweet over the Christmas period. We know it’s a pain in the proverbial back entry and we want to help. So what we’ve done is we’ve got Café Spike’s Marketing Director to come up with a soupcon of outstandingly tacky gift ideas, going cheap, which you can buy now – and in so doing save yourself the bother of going out in the wind and rain this winter. Ye Olde Café Spike Gift And Novelty Shoppe is proud to announce that our Jumbo Chrimbo Bargain Bucket Sale Jobby is now officially open for business.Stunning Selection

Our Marketing Director has personally hand picked a number of locally sourced junk and novelty items which are available NOW to all devoted Café Spike readers.*

*Offers exclusively restricted to Café Spike Members only. For details send us your name and address on the back of a £50 note in biro and we’ll get right on it once we’ve finished whatever we happen to be doing at the moment.

Sea Gorillas

Here’s a great idea for the kiddies! Sea Gorillas! All you’ll need is a big fish tank to keep your Sea Gorillas in and we’ll take care of the rest. Just send us your money and we’ll send you a sachet containing approximately 250 freeze dried Sea Gorilla eggs. All you have to do is dump them into the water and wait a bit until they hatch, and boy are the kiddies in for a treat when they do. Before you know it you’ll be presiding over your very own miniature Sea Gorilla colony as the cute little hairy characters hatch out and start to colonise your fish tank. You will be the king or queen of your very own Sea Gorilla city, with the ability to be a tyrannical despot or a philanthropic godlike figure presiding over your very own colony of hairy miniature aquatic Sea Gorillas.

And that’s not all!

Aquatic Sea Gorilla Pub. (Artist's Impression.)

Aquatic Sea Gorilla Pub. (Artist’s Impression.)

In conjunction with Dodgy Dave’s Miniatures we have special rates (providing you’re a member) on quality aquatic underwater hotels, pubs, bars, restaurants and sports stadia, roads, bridges, Sea Gorilla cars, submarine factories and army camps. Yes – you read that right. Dedicated Sea Gorilla enthusiasts can start wars by training their Sea Gorillas in miniature Sea Gorilla army camps to go out and oppress their untrained Sea Gorilla brethren until the flames of revolution are stoked.

Make money by charging your friends and neighbours to come round yours and watch your Sea Gorillas – it’s much more entertaining than anything on the telly.

Sea Gorillas starter pack: 250 (approx. – give or take a couple of hundred) freeze dried Sea Gorilla eggs (not freeze dried tadpoles) in a posh sachet only £19.99 + £80.01 service charge. (Includes VAT, postage, packing, handling, payment protection insurance, all beer and company kebab shop fees and our cheap complimentary bonus prize.) Usual terms and conditions apply. Send us your money and there’s an outside chance we’ll actually send you something in return.

Café Spike X-Ray Specs

This one is our most popular seller among adolescent male teenagers – and that’s no surprise! Wa-heyy!!

Teens, let’s be honest here – how many times have you walked around in your town and wondered what that hot guy/chick would look like with no clothes on? We’ve all done it at some point in life and it’s a bit frustrating because you’ll never know – unless of course you physically assault said person and by virtue of physical force divest them of their clothing.

Which isn’t really recommended and could in exceptional circumstances lead to a lengthy term of imprisonment.

And rightly so.

How CS X-Ray Specs Might Look On That Woman Off Shameless

How CS X-Ray Specs Might Look On That Woman Off Shameless

With Café Spike X-Ray Specs there’s no need for any of that malarkey. All you’ll need is a pair of CSXRS’s, a table with a good view of passers by and a walking stick to disguise the effects of this world beating product as you limp away into the sunset.

Our new honeycomb thermoplastic X-Ray lens technology allows you to see right through clothes, and even read credit card numbers through handbags and purses.

In minute and explicit detail.

It even works when you’re watching the telly! (Allegedly.) Just think – Loose Women as nature intended! (Or perhaps not.)

Admittedly, you’ll look like a bit of a knob sat out in public trying to scan naked people in our outrageously oversized and stupid looking X-Ray Specs which make it patently obvious to the whole world and its entire family exactly what you’re up to, and that you’re a bit of a weirdo. But hey, it’s all part of the game – and it will increase your communication skills no end as you try to explain to investigating police officers what the bloody hell you’re doing.

Available now – Only £19.99 + £80.01 handling and admin charges.*

*Credit card purchases may accrue additional billing but we promise it won’t amount to any more than 17,673% pa of the original billing fee.

The Café Spike Ant Farm

Yet another stunningly innovative gift idea from the boffins here at Café Spike – run your own ant farm and become an official air traffic controller as you guide your very own flying ants in and out of your very own flying ant airport, being careful of course to avoid mid-air collisions, and direct your very own ant miners and leaf cutters as you strive to prevent your very own ant colony from extinction/annihilation.

Your starter pack consists of 250 freeze dried ant eggs which may or may not hatch when immersed in water.*

*Café Spike accepts no responsibility or liability for stupid ants that can’t swim when exposed to water. Sorry – but that’s your problem.

You will need – a big terrarium with a thin bit at the bottom so you can see the intricate ant mining tunnels in minute detail. (Magnifying glasses available at reasonable prices. Members Only.)

By our own admission, our Ant Farms aren’t half as entertaining as our legendary Sea Gorillas, which is why we’re offering them at the reduced rate of only £19.98 + £80.02 to cover the fiddly bits, which quite frankly can be a pain in the poop tube.

We Didn't Have Any Pictures Of Ants So We Bunged This One In. We're Guessing It's A Dog.

We Didn’t Have Any Pictures Of Ants So We Bunged This One In. We’re Guessing It’s A Dog.

Having said that though, our Ant Farms are really good if you get some kind of a kick out of watching ants digging tunnels and scurrying about all over the shop despite having no particular place to go. And if you buy the Ant Farm in conjunction with our Café Spike X-Ray Specs offer you’ll be able to see your ants in all their naked glory.*

*Order separately, or add a surcharge of £50 when ordered together. Because we know a mug when we see one.

Stay tuned for more spectacular offers from Ye Olde Café Spike Gift And Noveltie Shoppe.

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