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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Of Puppy Dogs And People – Op-Ed By Lynton

Avoiding the obvious poor taste 'joke.'

Avoiding the obvious poor taste ‘joke.’

A dog rehoming centre in Manchester was recently the target of an arson attack. 17 dogs died but many more were saved due to some real acts of bravery.

A million pounds has been pledged by well-wishers which will go towards reconstruction, veterinary treatment etc.

Moreover, gifts of food too have been made to ensure the traumatised tail-waggers will be cared for, and countless offers of homes – temporary and permanent – have been made for them.

This shows how open hearted and magnanimous people can be sometimes. Very commendable too. But it gets me thinking.

Our biological evolution in the time frame that Homo Sapiens has been on Earth is either invisible to us or in a hiatus. My own back-ache and that of millions of others is one thing that shows we are far from ideally evolved beings.

The progress we have made is due to whatever genetic change led to our ability to seek effects of causes and causes of effects; to imagine outcomes of actions and have ideas. It is ideas that drive the evolution of our society.

It is ideas that have given us our ability to delay the natural thermodynamic laws that dictate that everything will return to dust and which constitute our individual and collective industry.

It is our ability to empathise and feel compassion for animals and each other that is another one of these ideas. We care for the sick (as indeed did “primitive” Neanderthals) and we restore them to health and allow them to be productive but more importantly, if they are not productive we still care for them. We know too that in some societies this does not happen and we give to help those who help those societies grow and develop.

Yet, there is still a selfishness of our genetic material that leads us to ignore the individual who is not our kin.

Childrens homes are not submerged with presents at Christmas. The homeless and elderly still lack friends and the poor the food they need.

I am not moralising or sermonising but just pointing out a simple fact. People pour out their grief at the death of a child killed by neglect and tributes are laid knee-deep. However, such actions after the fact cannot assuage the guilt of us all for not having acted before the fact.

In the Boy Scouts, the promise is to do a good turn every day. This wasn’t based on frivolity. Good begets good and vice versa.

We like dogs.

We like dogs.

We are of course occupied with our own troubles these days and we cannot spend all of our time thinking of others. But by just being mindful that even small opportunities arise where we can do those little things that make a difference helps the world. Lifting a heavy bag for someone, looking in on an elderly neighbour – the seemingly small things help to lubricate the soul of society.

We Brits used to be pretty good at cheering each other up. Just looking at facebook comments shows this still happens among groups of friends. However, lately I think this happens less, particularly in everyday life.

So why am I saying this? Recently, somebody whose business it really wasn’t helped save the life of somebody else I know very well. They could have shrugged and done nothing but they didn’t. It made a big difference.

The message is- Don’t be human, be HUMANE.

Or do we all have to dress up in dog costumes before this happens?

Lynton. 2014.

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Brief Encounter avec mon ami Lynton!

Fortunately CJ's Passport Wasn't Up For Renewal

Fortunately CJ’s Passport Wasn’t Up For Renewal

So there I was just the other day, wandering around St Pancras International trying hard not to tread on the frogs and desperately looking for a fresh baguette to scoff on the Eurostar to Paris, when who should wander idly by with that typically vacant look on his face, as if he wasn’t quite sure what day of the week it was…..? Well knock me down with a feather duster and get caught trousers down shagging sheep in Hyde Park! “Quelle surprise, I gawped as I did my third double take. “If it isn’t me old mucker and partner in literary crime, Lynton Cox.”

Coxy was with a woman which was unusual! So I didn’t immediately smile at her because I couldn’t be a hundred per cent sure it really was his beloved wife . Mainly because I’ve never met Joelle. But also because I’d always presumed Missus Coxy looked like some tall slim bird of prey with a sharp beak, whereas this lady was petite, gently alluring and lacked that alarming red-eyed look of the lethal serial killer.

Nevertheless, I quickly ascertained this might well be the terrifying Joelle, even though she wasn’t dragging Lynton by the ear. Best say nothing, I thought. Steer clear of trouble. This could be her. Alternatively, she may be Lynton’s diary secretary. Or his secret lover. Or perhaps a friendly prostitute taking pity on the old boy and leading him back to her business HQ for a midday freebie. No need to make a scene, I decided. No fuss necessary. Best to ignore her.

I was off to Paris for a couple days. On no particular mission other than to show my delinquent daughter where to find the best piano bar in Montmartre, teach her how to walk along Clichy after midnight without being pestered by the punters – and make the case for pastis being a far safer choice of aperitif than absinthe. And importantly to argue my long held belief that the gloriously decadent dancers of the Moulin Rouge continue to further the mysterious cause of womanhood, far more effectively than the current crop of common-as-muck flesh-flashing sluts such as Rihanna and the Cyrus girl. With the great La Goulue it was always what the men didn’t quite get to see that drove them into spasms of wild desire.

But these idle thoughts of slim ankles and the can-can have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with mon ami Lynton Cox, he of the grey beard and laughing eyes.

London This Morning With A Bus

London This Morning With A Bus

One of the few nicer things about growing old is that one occasionally surprises oneself by the lightning speed that ones increasingly febrile brainbox is still capable of assessing a myriad of complex issues in far less than a split second. Thus, my own rusting old box was immediately able to understand that catching sight of the lesser-spotted Lynton at St Pancras International was just about one of the most natural sights on planet earth, like the nuns in St Peter’s Square and West London foxes rummaging through black rubbish bags at the dead of night.

Yes, Lynton lives in France, within striking distance of Paris. So whenever he’s not bringing the ancient jalopy over on the ferry, he’s sure to be a regular on Eurostar. Pangs of guilt trickled down to my untroubled conscience: I should have rung him. I should have telephoned the dear chap. If only to say I was coming and to offer up a suggestion that we share a few glasses in his home territory for a change Rather than the bar at Waterloo or the Coal Hole in the Strand where us stalwarts usually meet up. I should have called him. No doubt about that.

“Lynton old bean, what a lovely surprise,” I enthused. He smiled. A typical Lyntonesque smile but with no sound. Looks like the old prof’s gone ga-ga, I thought. Might even be early-onset alzheimer’s. He spoke. But alas I couldn’t understand a word he said. Partly because I’m stone deaf in one ear and there was a lot of noise about. But also because he spoke with a thick accent, un Pont Neuf too far for my schoolboy french.

So that was it. To be or not to be. Was this the real Lynton who has finally gone off his rocker.. Or was it some ill-begotten, frogborn, lookalike wannabe of absolutely no consequence? Come to that, has CJ finally gone mad? Or was this a perfectly simple (and rather boring) case of mistaken identity? We await further details and a full explanation for all these strange goings-on – with bated breath.

Par CJ

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