THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // Earwig & Excitability (Katzenjammer in E sharp minor)

It was early morning, but Frau Earwig felt quite on edge already. She was rolling her eyes, wringing her wings and snapping with her forceps every few seconds. This was beyond her endurance! She, an honoured artist, drama teacher and fourth generation member of the intelligentsia should never have had to bear with the likes of these insufferable dormitory neighbours!

These vagabonds had lost all sense of shame. They indulged in binge drinking sessions every day, and organised vulgar karaoke competitions. They even brought home heavily rouged hussies to join the festivities. Who would’ve thought that such outwardly respectable looking kittens would turn out, in fact, to be lowdown bastard scum?

Frau Earwig sighed and took some valerian drops with her brandy, but this didn’t seem to help. Firmly resolved to end this crap, Frau Earwig flung a boa over her shoulders and took up a reticule. She then wended her way over to her loutish neighbours’ place.

The door was open, and through the crack seeped dirty jokes mixed with roars of laughter. Frau Earwig stepped cautiously past the threshold and let out a squeak. “Hello? Anybody home?” Of course, this tentativeness didn’t pan out as well as she’d hoped. She swallowed nervously. Frau Earwig forced herself to inch along, step-by-step, until she finally reached a spacious—though fuggy—sitting room. The atmosphere made her choke with a sudden fit of coughing.

That was when they finally noticed her.

“Hey, floosie! Get your ass over here and drink with us!”

Frau Earwig’s offense was betrayed by a gasp. It escaped her mouth before she could think to stop it. What? Floosie?! Then she heard another rude voice say, “Leave it, Fyodor! Don’t you see? This ‘hoptoad in fichu’ is a major bigwig! She’ll never hit the bottle with the likes of us! We’re too… lowbrow.”

What?! Hoptoad in fichu?!

It’s hard to say what happened next. After the red mist had passed from her eyes, Frau Earwig shook her head and took in her immediate surroundings. She was holding a Victorian hat pin in her trembling cercus, and a pungent smell of blood pervaded the room…

Dead bodies. Punctured bodies of dead kittens everywhere.

It seemed her Family Psychologist may have been right after all. Frau Earwig really did need to work on her anger management issues. Of course, she could always call the clinic the next day and arrange a follow-up visit with Gal. But as for here and now…

Frau Earwig stepped over to the nearest body and kicked it lightly. Actually, the fur had hardly any holes in it. Nice. It could be the perfect new boa…

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

EARS WIDE OPEN // tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown)

In May this year, a dream came true. Tati and I met face to face! Yes, the girl from Ukraine and the boy from Australia got to greet each other with nervous smiles in a Georgetown airport! After a year or so of fruitful collaboration, we were finally hanging out in an unfamiliar place together.

Malaysia is truly amazing. We spent our days gamboling about, exploring every nook and cranny, and getting to know one another a little bit. The smell from the storm water drains was the first thing to hit us upon arrival, but as our inquisitive minds began to take in the frenetic hodgepodge of sights and sounds that is everyday life there, our noses quickly forgot about unpleasant aromas. In fact, the tantalising whiff of street food would soon fill our olfactory senses instead.

We visited temples, botanical gardens, cemeteries, and even strolled through some obscure lane ways in search of street art, yoga joints and cat cafes. Oh, and the traffic! There were cars and motorcycles everywhere! We had to scoot up onto footpaths so narrow that they seemed like a drunken town planner’s afterthought. In fact, the whole city was a crazy scramble of mismatched buildings and bizarrely angled roads. It was a frenzied hive of activity that never seemed to stop.

And through it all, I was in the company of someone whose imagination easily outpaces my own. We’d use our down time to collaborate on new writings and new ventures. What fun! And even on that last day back at the airport, I remember us furiously typing up something awesome and wonderful on Tati’s laptop before the free WiFi expired. That something was a poem called tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown). Tati and I hope you enjoy this reading of it (by yours truly).

Every time I look at this piece, I smile fondly. I do miss Tati’s company, but hopefully not for long. We plan to make this happen again. I wonder where to next…

 

tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown)

in the muted glow of my mind
i saw peace just hanging there
i wanted but couldn’t have it
a fruit forbidden
inert and out of reach

there was darkness sweating from the cracks
along my skin and beneath my feet
so i walked the earth in search of naught
a loop unbidden
the streets in parenthesis

i stepped into right steering whirligigs
to chance my life into submission
i moored on jetties, shook off rickshaws
a stomach chidden
i panhandled for bread and circus

trash was art and art was salving
for gashes in walls and souls without traction
and i was art and i was trash
a twine lidden
on soaked paper at a cyclonic bus stop

for all their many eyes and limbs
the gods continued uninvolved
kittens and i slept side-by-side
a shrine hidden
lullabied by stinky holy water drains

 

Text by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
Audio by TONY SINGLE
Image by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2016

Oops!… We Did It Again (tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown))

Erm… hullo there. (This is rather awkward…)

Dear Reader, the stuff that was originally posted here has been removed.

We have done this because said stuff has since been included in one of our published books. We hope you’ll believe us when we say we’re not trying to be stingy. No, this has been done to honour the people who have already spent their hard-earned money on our eBook creations.*

If, however, for some reason you’re unable to buy one of our books, and feel you’ll die without seeing this piece of writing, then please contact us via admin@unbolt.me. We won’t allow our Dear Readers to fade away in the dark. We’ll send you the piece in question, and it will be absolutely free. All you need do is ask.

* Of course, we would be like two happy puppies if you too decided to buy one of our books.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016-2018