THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // F is for Fallow & Freckles

Kamil had been cultivating freckles all his life. It was a respectable family-run business. His father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather before him had all been freckle growers of considerable renown. Their freckles were the pigmentiest of all freckles, and as such beyond compare.

Of course, the business had had its ups and downs throughout the years. They’d almost gone bankrupt in the Victorian era. The skinny, pale, society bitches had shown a preference for frills, power-cleavage and arsenic rather than healthy, non-GMO, organic freckles. But then freckles went gangbusters in the swinging sixties, and the advent of flower power and nude love-ins made everything better. Freckles staged an unexpected comeback.

The golden age of hippiedom returned hope and prosperity to Kamil’s family, and so they dared to buy extra hectares of arable lands. They began growing new varieties of freckles, the more popular ones being shaped like horseshoes, others that twinkled like newly pledged promises, and even more that could be removed and placed elsewhere on the body at will.

Soon, everyone who was anyone was lining up to buy freckles to adorn their bodies with. It got to a point where such luminaries as Mark Zuckerberg, Prince William, Ron Weasley and even Peppermint Patty were counted among Kamil’s most elite clientele. And although negotiations with Leonardo DiCaprio and Garfield regrettably fell through, the demand for freckles was so great that their loss was barely felt.

Of course, the word ‘fallow’ should also be remembered at this point. Growing freckles depletes the soil badly, and after every harvest it’s recommended that the land be left to rest for a period of at least twelve months. If this is not adhered to then instead of freckles only polka dots for panties will grow. But who wants to wear polka dots on the face? No one, that’s who! And that’s why Kamil failed to become a gazillionaire. Alas!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

As I Went Out One Morning

Thomas Paine tried to usher in the Age of Reason. Hippies tried to usher in the Age of Aquarius. Then came me. All I can do is age.

I am filled with false hope at the moment. This might be due to the fact that the day is still young and nothing bad has happened yet. I feel like I’m trying not to be fucked up. Really, truly, I do. And I’m trying not to fuck up by fucking others up.

On any given day I feel like I’ve smashed myself on the rocks of indifference, like I’ve lashed myself to the wrong mast with the wrong sail and then headed off in the wrong direction. I’ve crashed into a lonely desert island, and am about to slide from the brine-slicked crags to vanish over the waterfall at world’s end. But today? Today, so far, I feel pretty alright.

It was in my teens that I made a terrible discovery. I discovered that a man could cry. That man was my father. His tears were for my mother’s brother. I’d entered the room to find him laid out on his bed, hands pressed over his eyes as if to hold them in. Really, he was only trying to hold in the pain. It seemed an unconscious act of self preservation, as if to prevent pain itself from seeping out and consuming him. But it was already too late. My father’s face was wet with tears and loss had clearly eaten him up from the inside. It was a powerful moment that unearthed deep, unspeakable things within me. I became afraid of dropping into that abyss at the edge of the earth.

Johnny Cash once sang about a man who couldn’t cry. The man had been like that for as long as he could remember, and when he finally did cry it rained for forty days and forty nights. Then he dehydrated and died. Then his family, friends and associates began to fall victim to horrific happenings and in some cases met a tragic demise. Is this really how it is if a man dares to cry? The world falls apart? Everything comes undone?

Okay, now it’s beginning to feel like the last days again, and hope is waning… but of course it would. It’s false. And time marches on, goose stepping like a hateful Nazi over the memories of once held dreams, over my carefully buried hopes and fears. I’ve learned not to cry in the presence of others but it isn’t always easy to be so scrupulously contained. Sometimes you cry in the worst place at the worst possible time. We’re not all machines. It just happens and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Let’s face it, the older I get the more emotional triggers I find. Take right now for example. I’m walking past a church sign that says we’re ‘too blessed to be stressed’. It’s probably a good thing I don’t own a gun. Not that I’d use it. Not really. I’d just think about those self-righteous godomites and get myself all twisted up and spiteful inside. And then I’d slink away to take a Pepto-Bismol or two. Or three. Hell, guns make me nervous anyway.

No, it’s far better to dwell on other things. Happy things. Like puddles. Look, there’s one now. My very own sky hole in the ground. I could just step off and drop through to the clouds beyond if I wanted to. It’s the lure of transcendence. I fall for it every time. Who needs to get on a boat to disappear? Just do this. Only… well…

…I can’t.

Not really. Damn reality in all its bloody-minded literalness! God fucking damn!

Sigh.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016