The Thing

There was once, like, this thing, y’ know and it was like … This thing. So it’s a little bit like that but not so much like that other one. Y’know the one I’m talkin about. It was just like that man, but not exactly, and y’ gotta believe it. I saw it. Y’ know what I’m saying man … Because some things are different. What I mean to say is is that this thing was different from the other thing. So they can’t have been the same thing man. Y known what I’m sayin? This thing man, it must have been something else. I reckon it was the thing. Roger nodded in agreement, and replied, Yeah I’ve seen that thing. It’s like, totally dope man.

© Grumpy Axolotl



“Your ass is toast!” She hissed, slamming the charred-remains of the door behind her as she stormed out of the now-roofless shed. I turned back to the pile of rubber still smouldering on the bare-earth floor behind me. What had once been a $300 pair of thigh-high, fuck-me boots was now no more than, well… a thigh-high, utterly-fucked, smouldering pile of rubber. The firedrake in the corner tried to hide its grin. I guess I fucked up. But look … it’s so easy in the books. It’s so easy on tv. It’s so easy in comics and video-games. Just like making apple-pie, eh? Actually, No. It’s all lies. It’s not fucking easy; Casting spells is hard! Take the current mess as an example. It’s a simple as it gets: 

200gm butter
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking-powder
4 grains gun-powder
1 drop essence of mystic mushroom
1 Galaxy-wolf testicle
1/2 cup finely chopped oregano

Mix the dry ingredients in an earthenware bowl whilst sautéing the testicle in a cast-iron skillet over hot-coals. Once the testicle is done, add the drop of mushroom essence. The testicle should appear to melt away and the remaining mixture will be glowing a very faint purple. Pour this mixture all at once into the bowl ft of dry ingredients and stir until it has the consistency of cream. By this stage it should be a neon-pink colour. (If it is too thick, you should be able to thin it with a little cream, but it will lose some power. Never, ever pee in it). Recite the following prayer to your preferred fertility diety:

I offer you this glorious slop.
The face I bear could stop a clock.
I tire of wanking into a sock.
Please send a whore to ride my cock.

Now, pour the whole lot down the barrel of a baritone-saxophone and shake. Aim the horn at the pair of thigh-highs and blow that mother-fucker for all it’s worth. (You can play some blues or Jazz in this step if you wish. Whether this improves the efficacy of the spell is still a matter of considerable debate, though some swear by it.) As you blow you will see a pink mist emanating from the horn. To complete the spell you need an ignition source, but it must be magical, which is why the firedrake was in the shed with me. Igniting the mist transforms it into magical rainbow-smoke that dances and swirls around the room in a dazzling kaleidoscope. (I fail to perceive the necessity of the light-show, but I didn’t invent the spell). When the smoke clears, the thigh-highs will have been replaced by a latex-adorned, elf-like horny virgin nymph.
As you will have surmised by now, that’s not what happened.  

When I blew the horn, the firedrake leapt into the air and coughed a little spark into the mist. Instead of magical smoke, a 3-foot flame shot out of the saxophone. The thigh-highs went up in smoke and what could best be described as a magical-explosion of pink and green flames vapourised the thatch-roof. The thunderous roar of mis-firing magic shook the walls. And the missus came running from the main house wondering what the fuck was happening

“You’ve been playing with magic again, haven’t you?” she snapped. The firedrake and I looked at each other and then looked at our feet.
“How many times have I told you not to fuck with that shit?.” She yelled “You have no training in the arcane. And look what you’ve done to the shed, you half-baked fuck-knuckle”
I thought it best not to answer.
“I don’t think I even want to know what you were trying. I’ll see you inside the house. You’ve got 30 minutes. And leave that infernal firedrake outside.”

“Come on” I said to the firedrake “I need to get this mess cleaned up and you would be best served by not showing at the house for a day or two”
As I pulled the door, it came off the hinges.
“And you can wipe that fucking smirk off your face” I snapped.
We looked at each other and both burst out laughing. 

© Grumpy Axolotl


The blank page leapt out from the computer screen and slapped him across the face. Alt least, it felt like it had. He’d been daydreaming again. Doodling. He always had a tendency to draw on himself when he was naked. Being naked was supposed to help with the uh, the thing. Hemmingway used to write naked, or was it Hugo? Someone famous. The top of his right thigh bore the fruits of a brown felt-tip pen. There was a skull and crossbones, a race car, a topless women with impossibly huge knockers. He put the pen down and forced his hands back to the keyboard. He was ready to write now, but the story wasn’t coming. It was supposed to be a horror. But he didn’t understand horror. Oh, he’d read the class-notes, but it just didn’t feel natural. Why couldn’t they have a fantasy assignment, or at least the option. He’d rather write about fire-breathing dragons and little green goblins dancing in their caches of ill-gotten gold. Well maybe he could get away with trolls and dwarves if they got loose with their axes and some heads rolled. And it could be set in a castle. That’s a good start. His fingers wriggled. “The night was Dark and stormy” appeared on the screen. “Oh holy fuck!” He yelled. “Son of a bitch! To hell with this, and to hell with Poe’s Raven in a fucking pear-tree!.”  

Back at the computer with a strong cup of coffee. Extra sugar. Perhaps he should bang out some poetry first. Simple verse. He wasn’t too bad at that, although he had nothing on the young brunette at the night-class. She had a rare talent and made it look so easy. Pity she had a boyfriend, or was it a girlfriend? Her poems were not about sex; they were about the most mundane things – Bricks, teapots, a pack of playing-cards – And yet they could only be about sex; when she spoke of tea-pots, the words seemed to drip off her sweet quivering lips like erotic pearls of moisture; the lyric cadences rising and falling like her breasts. When she spoke of playing-cards, her voice seemed to emanate from some dimension of orgasmic bliss. Building up. Swelling. He was masturbating now. “Damn – this isn’t helping!”

The coffee wasn’t helping. Pacing the room wasn’t helping. Cursing the Norse Gods had little effect. Ditto, the Greek Gods. He didn’t have the nerve to try summoning a demon, although that wasn’t a bad idea: Demons were pretty horrible. I wonder how the brunette is doing. Sitting in front of the computer again. He cleared the screen and the blank page seemed to sneer at him. Typing. “The brunette was dark and sultry” materialised. “Oh for fucks-sake.” He imagined her sitting in front of her own computer. Did she get frustrated? Did she ever find it hard.  Words just seemed to pour out of her effortlessly. Did she get undressed to write? Her skill is so … her skin is so clear and she speaks golden light as the long hair cascades off her shoulders rolling down the slopes of her breasts mmmmmm. His hand had slipped off the keyboard again. Well, Fuck it –  may as well finish one thing tonight.  

© Grumpy Axolotl

One out of Three ain’t False

One of these vignettes is true. The other two were dreams. Can you guess which?


They came in cars. A Mini and a Morris-minor both painted a shade of teal echoing the plumage of their passengers. There were no less than five inside each vehicle and a few more perched on the roof. Native parrots. Kea, Kākā, kakapo, kākāriki. All as big as the humans the cars were originally built for and by. Each bird had learned one or more phrases of human speech. They would shriek their pet-phrases at random intervals as if afflicted with Tourette’s and the bird-brained cacophony was hilarious. Then another vehicle pulled up. A white van this time. My grandmother hopped out of the van and kicked Liz up the ass. Then she got back in the van and drove away.


Young kids don’t think that way. That’s what a lot of women say. Bullshit! I was only five years old the first time we visited Toronto. School starts at age 6 in that part of the world. My age was more suited for the equivalent of what we call Kindergarten in New Zealand. Standing-desks were not trendy back then, but very common in school-type environments. So there we were standing by some table busy working away at … Goodness knows what … I can’t really remember, but that was probably when I was playing with the plastic castle that had a trapdoor leading into a secret room that could be accessed by locating the camouflaged sliding door on the side. The girl standing next to me was engrossed with something equally fascinating so I looked around to make sure no-one was watching, then bent down and looked up her skirt.


The beautiful and mysterious world of calligraphy. I don’t think the teacher was explaining it very well. Not my fault that I couldn’t read the blackboard from where I sat. Fortunately, my pencil-case was loaded for bear. I stopped scribbling with the blue ink and switched to felt-tips in bright colours. Then highlighters. At least two other kids at the same table followed my lead — either from boredom or rebellion — and we were soon making a fine mess on our pages. By the time my masterpiece was ready for grading I had used a decent amount of cellotape to ensure that the remains of my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwhich would remain fixed to the page. The thesis scrawled in bright red tomato-sauce “Remember: The bigger the spider, the bigger the mess.”

© Grumpy Axolotl


Chelsea smiled. She was well aware that passing wind was a ridiculous passtime, but it was a fun way to let off some steam. And besides, she enjoyed it. Having the sitting-room all to herself in the evenings was a pleasant consequence of her new hobby, and Charlie –Chelsea’s lumbering old chocolate-Labrador– had no objection. Verily, Charlie was an expert in the field himself. But there was a remarkable downside: the feng-shui.

(C) Grumpy Axolotl

L’oiseau. Ngā pātai.

Bonjour. Ko wai tō ingoa?
Tēnā koe. Je m’appelle Manu. Comment tu t’appelle ?
Ko Bewilderbirdee taku ingoa. Kei te pēhea koe?
Très bien, engari kei te hiamimi ahau, et toi ?
Çe va. Merci.
E hara i te mea he aha. Je ne suis pas fort, engari J’aime manger les chattes, e wāhine mā.
Auē! E hika! Hei te wā titoki e hoa.
Oui, oui. À bientôt. I put my head on backwards to sleep. Kua kore he tangata inaianei. Kei hea tōku wai?

(C) Grumpy Axolotl