Sunday, 20 January 2013

Why is Wigloo?



New reader? Confused as hell? Fear not! Click this link to begin your foray into
THE RUSSIAN DOLL STORIES:

    Stench.
    Waste.
    Grime.
    None of these words are names but this Sunday afternoon a woman feels the grope of destitution, its gag inducing aroma shawls around her psyche so tight that having anyone call her Steph now would for a short but stark moment strike the 'Punk-Lit' author as somehow inaccurate. However, it is my duty to point out that this Muslim was christened Stephanie Penny Tent so, that is what we shall call her. 
    The day is a Sunday and the weather outside is the sloshy wellington-boot type that one hopes won’t repeat the following week day; not that such climate affects Steph’s working hours; her being a writer.
    This former nine to fiver glares across at Keira Knightley from within the mirror on the far wall. Keira says and only to Steph,   
    ‘What the fuck have you cast me in?’
    ‘What was that you say?’ asks Doctor Silberman.
    ‘Nothing.’replies Steph.
     Keira can’t help but let out a giggle.
    If this artist was a danger to herself or others, she’d have no mirror, she’d not be allowed crayons and paper to scribble with – she’d not be in the Out Unit exchanging the odd glance with a mirror-bound waif actress.
    ‘How are we today?’ asks Doctor Silberman from the garish dark olive green visitors couch,
    ‘Any visions?’ he wonders.
    The patient neglects to reply and turns away from the Doctor at her bedside.
    After a few more attempts,   
    ‘Talking about it in your own time is important and waiting is fine by me but; let’s work toward a goal? What say you?’
    Filth.
    Trash.
    Rubbish.
    The online pulp writer is called Stephanie Tent but she still smells like a walking garbage truck even after the weeks since the rescue; since the shivering. She thanks Allah for sending her Milo but even as she prays, Steph can’t help but think of more rational reasons for Milo to have been driving around in her area.
    Car honks, the drill of road works, unrelenting engines far and near – she hears the howl of mechanics, a forever-din of London swirling around her head. The cacophony of progress has followed her into her room; this institution of recuperation. 
    Dr Silberman's calm and reassuring voice doesn't stand a chance. 
    He remains polite and makes his excuses. Steph can merely see his mouth moving under lorries backfiring. His leaving is the same as him being in the room. 
    Ah the room; the enclosure has three walls, movie cameras where the fourth should be…   
    Sometimes Steph hears barking. This perverse tick revisits her endlessly and without increment to warning. She might talk to Silberman later. She might not. Only fiction can drown out the experience of this hobo. 
                                                     ____ 
   ____
    Making life normal for a patient is of course the ‘backbone’ of the events, timetable and room layout of this institution. In the Out-Unit of Surrey’s Bellevue Hospital, one could be forgiven for thinking this were some sparse continental hotel. By the end of this fantastical episode however, Steph will have learnt to regret the inclusion of both the T.V and the wireless connection in her rather expensive room.
    We join her in bed, sitting up, covered by one of Bellevue Hospitals rather concrete but warming seashell white duvets (they match the walls), her red Easy-Note sits a little uncomfortably across her lap. How sad it is that our counter-cultural literary belle has tried and tried and tried to write down her life story and become bored mid process; so utterly nullifying is our rising stars’ time on earth that she’s wondering how to spice up past truths.

   But alas, the only thing that’s been interesting, the one element of these wasted twenty eight years of Steph’s is the rampant plagiarism of a homeless man’s hallucinatory fantasy tale. Far engaging still are the real-life ramifications of Steph Tent’s narrative theft; the visions she’s been swamped by have made her journey into insanity the epic biography all narcissists dream of. The irony that she cannot share it is quite literally maddening. As she mouths an idea at her looking-glass doppleganger, Steph types the thought out,

‘Can Plagiarism be Touted as Art?'    

    In the medium distance shot disguised as a mirror, Keira's fingers mimic her directors. Key stroke for keystroke. Steph realises an absurdity.
    Paradoxically, Steph, our protagonist extraordinaire, she’s hit another creative wall; Y’see, the diary, that faded aquamarine binding that reeks of unwashed hands, contains the original version of SPIDERFINGERS: ‘Hero-worship’.

    Problem?

    So many holes in the logic/motivation of the characters and no way to plug them all up, an impossible task to do in one issue. So, the final installment of ‘her’ ongoing kaleidoscopic soap opera remains in the word file like some abandoned cyber-surgical patient; forsaken by a professional therapist unwilling to finish the intricate procedure. Why fucking bother, it’s a goner she thinks. Should have stuck to the equally impossible task of patching a link between his Babushka tales. And it’s been a full year since he first entered her life with wonky chitter-chatter of stories within stories; a common theme to be sleuthed. Between the barks that seem somewhat conditional to her ill health, Steph cries quietly, unsure of fantasy and what might in fact be actual events.
    The house, a place covered in the fresh remains of humans and large furry creatures.
    The red man in the grey gangster suit sporting the wolf grin.
    The blue man.
    The big yellow-puss-spewing sloth that was their little baby brother.
    The troubled author wishes for a new algebra murder to distract her from memories of involving hallucinations. I am the damaged brain of a pop culture phenomenon, she decides and what will happen when people realise I can’t write him anymore? A two dimensional Keira shrugs her shoulders at her muse whose eyes have been caught by yellow and red flashes emitting from the T.V - an advert for a new McDonalds burger.
    Steph opens her mouth to say quietly,
    ‘People are counting on me to get chaos right’.
    The writer, she thinks of Reggie Droste her soon to be out of work web-designer and soon after, the guilt clutches at her chest because it’s Milo she should be thinking about first. He’s spent truckloads of cash, invested so much belief, even fronting the bill for her hospital sojourn. She has little sympathy for Foley Edwards, model, actor who poses for the Spiderfingers role. His legs buckling under the lobotomized Spiderfingers juggernaut will do him a spiritual boon. He’s the U.K’s answer to Paris Hilton but darker and much less female – famous for being photographed, and by his sister, a friend of Milo’s: Sarah Foley.
How much money have they both made from interviews where they wouldn’t reveal Steph’s identity, but always and without fail, each twin would leave a clue.
    ‘She may have been a school teacher. I don’t know.’ lies Sarah.
    ‘I heard that she has changed faith at least a dozen times.’ exaggerates her brother.
How many stories that are truly in the public interest have been shelved for their D-list celebrity maneuvers? Them talking about and at length their childhood. The middle class Trinidadian born siblings indulging in their life before the operation – Foley and Sarah were conjoined twins. Steph feels guilty for Gideon, not because of the money she was set to make from the deal with D.C (Milo broke the bad news to her gently but still, tears and wailing and barking) but because she can’t remember him as her son. The boy must be someone else’s. And besides, though she’s refused their visits, she remembers Howard being white – and she has never had consensual sex with anyone black; so the little mixed race chap that sits in her wallet just can’t be her own. Her mind flits between all these concerns and thank Allah that she isn’t somebody who only feels alive when they have their photo taken. Another picture of Foley Edwards in the vacuum that is the T.V commercial for Closer magazine - how many times has it been on now? Steph can tell from the drinkers in the background that Foley, caught oblivious and drunk is in some club where second rate glamour models, aspiring T.V presenters and Big Brother contestants spend money they don’t have. The road to immortality is seldom without fiscal input and waste. Trashed say his eyes. Any innocence that lodged at each pupils center has been burned out by paparazzi flash and paranoia. In an immediate way, Foley Edwards is dead – nonexistent. In his place walks and talks what he thinks he ought to be; a man remade by the media’s collaboration with his egocentric interview stance.


Her eyelids droop and not for the first time on this bitter cold Sabbath afternoon, Stephanie Tent puts her head to the snow pale pillow in the blank room hoping that she won’t dream of emerald green eyes and a wolfish grin.
    If I’m lucky, she thinks, I won’t dream of the red man. I might dream of flying and lifesaving and the barking will be faded right down, as though it were the far off rabid dog it ought to be. Here, in this slice of reality, her moment between waking and sleeping, Steph feels the odd chill through her bones because she emptied a sky blue recycling dumpster. She crawled inside like a loser and used the trash as a duvet. Steph can see her paper bank account once again and quite clearly. The cup with the word ‘Starbucks’ barely legible, the grime that her hands have left on its former white – the image has stalked into her sleep. 
    This is a time of ignoring the teeth that winter bites into her, the fang like wind that slashes and slices her weathered face. Such icy ferocity, but she continues walking and wondering about an odd sense of déjà vu that accompanies all she sees in here. Loser, she calls herself - you’re a liar, even to yourself, pretending you can’t feel temperature, and it helps as one foot follows another, on and on because remaining stationary makes you easy prey to the black hole of sadness that sucks from the inside. When walking is not enough you lose yourself in the recall of stories you have twisted only slightly from their original shapes. Stories you have stolen.

    The ex-Catholic/Buddhist/New Ager/Jehovah’s Witness turned Muslim doesn’t question the next scene change in the dreaming. The grains of sand that stick between her toes, they’ve always been wedged there; this imagery is only an aide-mémoire. The same can be said of blood that runs down her arm. This dream is an email from Steph's subconscious, 

RE: What Cannot Be Scrubbed Off

    Steph’s crying next to her sister (she cannot see her face she only feels that this little person is a female sibling) and they both try to stem the flow of wine coloured life dribbling out of her throat. Someone is laughing through the words ‘Off with her head!’ as our protagonist looks up at the lettering in the sky,
    At a moment’s notice, should they display emotional problems via a violent act, can all eight year olds feign guilt, or am I different?
    Steph, she can feel the bedclothes she’s in and that she has not been to the beach nor seen her sister’s throat cut in well over a decade. The dark blood splashed reverie is shoved off of her and an Arabic song of praise is streaming out of her mouth, right out into the world which is her room at Bellevue. She wakes a little startled by her surroundings. Despite the safe feeling that they provide, the bed, the table, her laptop upon it – she perceives them as mere constructs; her nightmare felt more real. Through sobbing she falls back into slumber. And as she sleeps you are all left alone.
    You watchers are left all alone with me.
    You need me to exist don’t you? Don’t worry about a name, past or multifaceted character traits – devices like me don’t really require such handles though I often unconsciously lapse into one of the many voices that surround me. It can be argued, and it can be postulated easily that I ought to have shown my face a lot sooner in this jumble of affairs. Stephanie’s life/Spiderfingers’ latest tale could have benefited from my intrusion as far back as Trust No One Under Twenty. Felt a little egoless back then though. And well I should have given the narrators lot in life. Still, admirable as it is to let a toddler find his or her own feet, this story you and I dance within needs assistance wouldn’t you say? I’m sure you have. First a few ground rules – nothing unexpected or hard to grasp – we need to be clear that I am the boss of you.
1)    I’ll come and go when I see fit
2)    Lovers of the fourth wall, you Brecht bashers you – you can all piss off.
    There now, I consider us all in the loop.
    What? Still some of you romanticists out there eh?
    Hmph, fine; I’ll explain myself, but just enough. If you must stay you may as well be a little more enlightened.
    Ready for some antidote to all these hyper-fictional shots?
    It’ll make you feel giant-like.

    Good.

    Choose to believe in alternate realities.
Not such a crazed concept considering all this. What if we’re all characters in a porky that an overly ambitious writer just can’t get right? Those days when you’re having an existential crisis is really you being re-drafted - all for the integrity for some marvellous plot. Your happiness has nothing to do with how you end up – for your invisible master, only narrative cohesion is important. Hey, such a reality wouldn’t be so bad. Think of the lack of responsibility you’d inherit. You’re just a tool that some grand unseen colossus uses to ease some magnificent philosophical point across – and how many Steph’s has he/she gone through in order to get the tale just right? Maybe that’s why Steph needs to remain dissatisfied with Spiderfingers. She stops spinning his soap opera life out and some mysterious supreme being will have no more use for her hmmm? Happy now, because if you’re still grumbling about verisimilitude and ‘cheating the audience’, piss off, this is my genre and I’ll subvert if I want to.
    So it’s all about the now really isn’t it? Or should we delve into a bit of past because Steph’s life isn’t gonna advance the story now that she’s gone round the bend. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we can just follow her and see for ourselves but trust me on this one, Steph has little to offer. Chill, I’ll fill you in on her homelessness. I’ll give you the odd update, even a rather interesting story she wrote at the turn of the year because ‘Why is Wigloo?’ is a departure for our ego-muffin. And next time, this, orator will make damn sure you don’t miss Saul ‘Zombie-Boy’ Buchannan’s entrance into her life but for now, Steph’s a bit of a yawn fest. The Discordians however, ahhh…now they’ve a story…
And I hear a little excitement in the back rows, far into the darkness of your gathering. Back there, I see you - reckon your murmuring won’t bother us here on stage right? No really, don’t get so self-conscious. Semi-contained babbling like yours during certain dramatic flair is well founded; very much appreciated. It’s an indication that this play is being written just right. We shamans of the chronicle feed upon moments such as this – your awe contributes to the power of the storyline.
    The Discordians then.
    A brief history?
    O.K, but I’d prefer to show you and for it to be effective, something of Spiderfingers’ past must be revealed. Everyone up for some bite-size-origin-flavoured foodstuffs?
    And it’s bound to be accurate considering I’m the plot-bearer. Oooh, you don’t like me calling myself that do you Mr romantic in aisle four. Would rather I not be seen and just heard?
    Tough – I deserve it. I’m doing you all a favor. I’ll give myself a name just to be more effective in getting under your skin. Call me Mr Lime. Now then for my creation - I call this poem Happy Birthday Mr Fingers!

For something to live, Clay had to die,
Nineteen ninety-something, the end was nigh.
Funny words and a sigil, drawn broad and tall,
Through shit smeared daub he hears god call.

Now how does the next bit – oh yes, its,

‘Come on,’ asks John, ‘reach in don’t fail!’
‘Don’t worry.’ says chaos, ‘you crap a good trail.’
Where once stood two, there rose only one,
Standing since birth, that half god of fun.

Yes, yes, thank you,

His hair had a glow, a wild firework show,
Red yellow and blue, a pop-culture brew
He depends upon you, so stare at his chest,
Awareness is key, the mythos of mess.

Yeah, still working on that bit. Now for the change of beat,

This be his way, both player and play,
Disorder now flesh now lingers.
You may call this absurd, but it’s true, every word,
The birth of mad Spiderfingers.

There. Now you are ready to understand The Discordians,

This creature had hunger eased only by clan,
So subconscious desire did doodle a plan.
His power reached out, upstairs and down,
The family within…the family within…the -

Oh no. I’ve forgotten...Something about...
Fiddle-sticks! No matter. I'll be back...
                    ____                                  ____
    Steph wakes into a dark fantasy for her daydreams are not complete without the odd tragic suicide, the public reaction lifting her high high up onto a pedestal amongst fellow counter-cultural die-hards. Tracks of salty hopelessness travel down toward her chin as she reads and re-reads prose on screen. Neither Steph nor Keira can stand by any of it. Both are entirely unable to motion their fingers to press delete. Steph looks into Miss Knightley’s eyes and all her reflective twin can do is hold her head in her hands. Unwilling to delete her experience, Steph opts for strike outs.
Maybe, just maybe, the Irish flag green of the garbage dumpster reminds Steph of Kryptonite? She’s kicking it saying, ‘home world fragments irradiate the immigrant of steel!’
    A feature on the news corrupts her focus.
    Her name is mentioned.
    As is the name John Clay.
    The photo of a black man that looks awfully like Foley Edwards fills the screen. Apparently he’s been missing for five years. Talk of his myspace bounces off the white walls of Stephanie and Keira’s room; neither have shivered so violently since Decembers street-life.
    ‘Woof!’ barks Stephanie. An A-list actress laughs at her director. Someone has alerted the media to the similarities in an online story and…And thus our villain/heroine dives deeper into herself via her writing. She is a magician seeking refuge under her own spell. And when she reads it all back,
…So many details to erase. So many distractions to operate upon.
Occasionally, the writer looks up from her cold slab of grey to see the poster in the brick-a-brac shop window. The monkey in the space suit. Steph looks at the poster wondering why.
Too many strikes and I’m left with nothing.
Man in road. He’s shivering but not from the cold. Off his meds? Off his head? Wants to die and the drivers honk at him. He won’t move and he’s saying run me over.
‘Sit!’- I shout, ‘sit by me?’  
He Bellows his reply at me…screams in my direction, calling me a crazy,
    ‘People like you make me suicidal!’ he waves at me. Then, a driver, big, tank top wearing in the bitter cold. He’s not the most gentle of people. Has the body of a bouncer. Lacks the sensitivity of an orderly. I bark at him but the way he rustles the shivering man to the kerb is so so wrong. The lady in the first car displays a thumbs up to him. He is a hero to the drivers that plough on and from behind.
    Steph, she recollects something said to a colleague. She knows she should be able to but for the love of god, the name of her work mate has evaporated from memory,
    ‘One story fitting into another, by way of shared characters or and, erm, narrators. There’d be a common theme, so I’ve called it Babushka Doll lit. You know. Those Russian dolls that fit into each other? If I was to tell you one, you'd have to look out for a character within the story acting as an opening to the next. It's more a game than a set of stories. Am I making sense?’
    Then, with trepidation, Steph writes a fantasy for Knightley to perform in because that biopic will be made despite what the fucking newscaster keeps saying and why? 
Small hands of an English born Hollywood star bang upon the reflective surface opposite me. I can do nothing as she becomes translucent, disappearing like a failing Marty Mcfly. Back in Time by Huey Lewis and the news floods through my brain. I hear the words,
Tell me, doctor
Where are we going this time?
Is this the fifties?
Or nineteen-ninety-nine?

    I look up. I catch the face of 'missing rock musician and writer John Clay' - his clothes so similar to the John Clay I met a year ago. Each Clay needs the other to exist and I just don't know. Why can't I write simple stories for uncomplicated audiences that love stories? Why the convolution? What has Spiderfingers done to me? 
    A blur. Present and past have become unruly school children and I am the lone supply teacher that must command them to their seats. Milo and white coats. Varying rooms of waiting and snarling. Something is barking and I say it’s not me. I know, says one of the orderlies and I’m held down. Too fast.
    Everything is too fast.
    After a prick in my arm I’m asleep and I can’t hear the news when I’m asleep can I?!
    Then I wake and it’s later, darker and I’m eavesdropping on Jean and Silberman outside my room. One medical expert says to his understudy how I haven’t been so uncooperative since New Year’s. They come back in and I prove myself unthreatening through a series of answers to dumb questions from Silberman. Wish it was just me and Jean. I nearly talked to her today. Gave her the Milk Maiden draft to read. They unstrap me and I choose to type this out. I tell them I don’t want the T.V in here. They agree to take it out. They’ll be back for it later, when it’ll be too late.
    No matter what channel I turn to I find myself looking for the latest about me. 
    A is for addiction.
    A is for addiction.
    A is for addiction.
    I don’t remember my birthday at all and the white coat people wouldn’t give me a pen so I’m not sure about the merit of this story since parts of the original have disappeared to wherever stories go when you’ve no pen to tether them down. My laptop gets what remains. I should be scared since I’ve never written for children before. I wonder if I should sketch the images myself, or is my style too ‘adult’? These details can wait. 
     Why is Wigloo…I like the name the most:
1

WIGLOO IS A SPACE MONKEY AND HE LIVES ON AN ISLAND CALLED LIMBODIA
(picture of tropical looking isle floating in space)

2

...LIMBODIA IS SURROUNDED BY THE SEA OF STARS
(picture over Wigloo’s shoulder of the sea of smiling stars surrounding the sandy beach of Limbodia)
AND WIGLOO WANTS TO KNOW WHY
(finally, an illustration of Wigloo scratching his head looking out at the stars)

3

WIGLOO LIKES TO EAT
(pic of Wigloo eating a smiling red fruit)
WIGLOO LIKES TO GO TO SCHOOL
(pic of Wigloo putting his hand up in class)
AND WATCH HUMANS IN THE DREAM POOL HE GOT FOR HIS 4TH BIRTHDAY
(pic of Wigloo staring at a mother reading a Spot the Dog book to a set of twin girls on her knee)

4

MOST OF, ALL WIGLOO LOVES TO ASK HIS MUMMY AND HS DADDY QUESTIONS
(pic of Wigloo pulling on his mother’s dress looking anxious)
LOTS AND LOTS OF QUESTIONS
(pic of Wigloo counting on his hands in front of his dad who is scratching his balding head)

5

ONE DAY WIGLOO ASKED HIS MUMMY AND DADDY:
‘WHY IS WIGLOO?’
(pic of Wigloo pointing at himself looking puzzled)
‘I DON’T KNOW-SAID HIS MUMMY.’
‘ARE YOU HUNGRY?’-ASKED HIS DADDY.
(split pic – 1: of Wigloo’s mother shrugging her shoulders whilst in the second half 2: Wigloo’s father offers Wigloo a blue fruit which Wigloo is waving away)
‘NO. I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT I’M SOPPOSED TO DO.’
(pic of Wigloo sitting with his head in his hands)
‘YOU’RE SOPPOSED TO GROW UP BIG AND STRONG AND GO TO SCHOOL. AND HELP ME WORK THE FARM’-SAID HIS DADDY.
‘NOW EAT YOUR FOOD.’-SAID HIS MUMMY.
(split page/panel 1: Daddy pointing his finger down at Wigloo whilst in panel 2: Mother offering yellow and blue fruits to Wigloo who waves them away)

6

BUT WIGLOO WASN’T HUNGRY FOR FOOD.
(pic of Wigloo looking out of the window at the Limbodia beach-line)
NOW EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT ALL SPACE MONKEYS FIND OUT WHY THEY ARE BY ADVENTURE.
(pic of Wigloo running to the shore of Limbodia)
AND WIGLOO HAD NEVER SWAM TO THE MAIN ISLAND.
(pic of Wigloo with a hand to his brow, shielding his eyes from the sun so that he can view the mainland better. It is a far distant grey splodge)
NO ONE HAD.
(close up on Wigloo’s eyes wide with excitement)
IT HAD NO NAME AND SO, JUST TO GIVE IT ONE, THE SPACE MONKEYS CALLED IT...
THE BIG UNKNOWN.
(pic of The Big Unknown, which is a large greyish sandy shore that preludes a dense jungle…many brown eyes staring out of its thick folliage)

7
AND WIGLOO HAD FOR AS LONG AS HE COULD REMEMBER, BEGGED HIS PARENTS TO TAKE HIM THERE.
(pic of Wigloo jumping up and down pointing at The Big Unknown whilst his mother sunbathes and his father builds a tractor out of sand)
BUT WIGLOO’S MUMMY SAID:
‘YOU’RE TOO YOUNG TO GO.’
AND WIGLOO’S DADDY SAID:
‘WAIT TILL YOU’RE A GROWN UP. ’
(pic of close ups of his parents mouths telling him the above)
‘BUT I WON’T BE BOTHERED THEN.’ SAID WIGLOO
‘EXACTLY.’ SAID HIS FATHER. WHO PATTED WIGLOO ON THE HEAD AND CONTINUED BUILDING HIS SAND-TRACTOR.
(pic of Wigloo looking bored as he helps his dad make the sand-tractor) 

8

SO THAT NIGHT, WIGLOO PACKED HIS POUCH WITH FOOD.
(pic of Wigloo stuffing lots of red fruits and a game console into his pouch)
AND HE SWAM THROUGH THE SEA OF STARS TOWARDS THE BIG UNKNOWN
(pic of Wigloo swimming against large waves toward The Big Unknown)
HE DIDN’T SWIM ALONE.
(pic of Wigloo shaking himself of stars as a blue fruit rolls from out of his pouch) 

9

DAVE WAS WIGLOO’S BEST FRIEND.
(pic of a blue fruit giving a thumbs up to us the audience)
HE WAS ALSO WIGLOO’S BEST KEPT SECRET.
(pic of Dave being placed by Wigloo into a small bed that lies under Wigloo’s bed)
DAVE WAS ONE OF THREE KINDS OF FOOD TO BE FOUND ON THE ISLAND OF LIMBODIA.

10

HERE, FOOD CAME IN THREE COLOURS.
(pic of fruit in a bowl on the large dinner-table)
RED, A FRUIT YOU HAD TO TICKLE, OTHERWISE IT WOULDN’T LET YOU EAT IT.
(pic of mother in the kitchen tickling lots of red fruits. A pot is seen to be stewing these with some blues and yellows)
YELLOW, YOU ONLY HAD TO TOUCH A YELLOW TO EAT IT.
...BUT THEY DIDN’T TASTE THAT GOOD, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE GOOD FOR YOU.
(pic of the family at the dinner table - mother and father eating yellow fruits whilst Wigloo plays with his)
AND LASTLY, THERE WAS BLUE, A ROUND POTATO LIKE THING YOU HAD TO TELL A STORY.
OTHERWISE IT WOULDN’T LET YOU EAT IT.
NOT A BIT.
(Dave pointing at a shelf full of books excitedly)

11

DAVE WAS WIGLOO’S BEST FRIEND. HE WAS A BLUE.
‘ARE YOU GOING TO EAT ME TODAY?’ ASKED DAVE BOUNCING ALONG BESIDE WIGLOO TOWARD THE JUNGLE.
(pic of the above action)
‘I’M STILL THINKING OF A STORY’ SAID WIGLOO, PARTING THE BAMBOO SO THEY MIGHT STEP INTO THE JUNGLE OF THE BIG UNKNOWN.
(pic of the above action which includes many brown eyes staring down from the trees and the bush)

    Nothing is pushing her to perfect this children’s story. Nothing except a vague notion that she was once good at it and that the most important audience of all would hurriedly interject her tiny but proud preteen storytelling; an audience yelping,  
‘What happens next?’
    She closes the word file and after finding the power to reach for the remote control, Steph switches the T.V off. John Clay’s diary finds its way into her hands and Steph, she reads the browning battered pages with Annalie Wilson's Killer Machine in the background…


January 12th 2010

    People give him shit for it but y’know, it’s always the wrong people laughing at Cliff Richard. If you were an old biddy, waiting to die in some retirement home somewhere – you’ve got certain illusions you poured your belief into. Cliff is one of them. You don’t need to be told that the dude who sang Summer Holiday is now one of those infamous they’re-not-out-but-most-definitely-are-gay-public figures. No way do you need to hear about Cliff taking it up the arse from some toy-boy or whatever. It’s like Travolta singing and dancing in Grease. It was a part for him but for the priestess’ that donated their pubescent attention to the temple of Danny Zucco, he can be nothing short of authentic. Do not seek to inform the old crone of Zucco’s belief in aliens and our darker emotions being soul-sucking-dead extra-terrestrials. Like any believer, the old sweetheart needs her gods to provide an order in a world that shifts and recalibrates seemingly on whim; without warning. 

    An empty page can be used to describe Steph only partly; always is this writer bubbling with concepts of chaos and anarchy. So many ways to express a voice she didn't have last January. She closes the book and places it back under her pillow. Her hand needs to close the myspace page for a singer songwriter. And like many times before this one (but perhaps not as conscious), Steph's sanity opts to preserve itself and murder her curiosity. She will not Google the name John Clay. 
    She's been there once.
    She's got the T-shirt.
    What little lucidity corrects her movements knows that what she saw, that Facebook link from www.myspace.com/colossustheband was a gross hallucination. Foley Edwards isn't that despicable, and how could he know John Clay's passwords?

    She briefly considers a bold move: have Milo print this diary as her own – typos and all – like the Cobain Journal. She could reveal herself to the world as a fraud, try to spin the truth out but on her own terms. She thinks of a title and hopes she'll have the courage to type it up. Her biography will be the death of her and at once a rebirth. Out of the husk that is her career writing Spiderfingers, Stephanie Penny Tent will embark on the dubious path of...what will the world call her?  It’s not like I can write children’s stories, thinks Steph as the latest N.M.E. finds its way into her hands. Her sweaty palms whisk to the page that will deliver her into nirvana.  
    Terry Anomie is her hero. He is her pusher, hers and Keira Knightley’s; in Steph’s mind they take the hit together:

    ‘Stephanie Tent’s written him into a wild eyed narrative that features diatribes on Cobain’s suicide, the earth itself written as a ‘police chief’ archetype slash mother figure, Eros recast as a capricious trapper of musical burn outs (Hendrix has a cameo) and an insane cliff-hanger to draw us back again in the usual months’ time. Crazy stuff and it’s been promoted well, surely the lapse between the last post and the eagerly awaited conclusion is in itself another marketing ploy?’

    Steph isn’t at all aware of Jean’s presence in the room,
    ‘Sorry, it was open well, there’s a Saul Buchannan downstairs. He’s at reception and…
    Jean’s voice trails off as she looks in the direction that Steph’s blank face is pointed. If she were inside Steph’s mind right now she’d notice the novel, that the heavy door stop of a book with Steph's face on it. The tome is held by a tall man, a short woman, a lawyer on his lunch break, a teenager and any lazy trope that sifts into the imagining. All of these people waiting in a line composed of their fantastically diverse demographics, these fanatics need to have Plagiarism as Art signed by Keira Knightley at a long table. The table is on a beach but don't ask Keira why. Miss Knightley won't open her mouth because there is a tiny fly-sized Steph inside and she's waving a Superman flag this way and that. Oh my oh my, just don't ask Keira why.
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Next time in Spiderfingers:
Acknowledgements: The children's tale 'Why is Wigloo?' was the result of a thrilling train journey with the painter/artist Yasmine Langford in 2010. Yasmine - you rock.


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