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


Laura loves to sing. Loud. And she doesn’t just imitate; she assimilates; she innovates. Her creativity knows no bounds. Emboldened by the finest of wines, swollen with the joy of life, she bursts forth in rapturous melody, remoulding the choicest morsels of the canon into scales known only to herself.

© Grumpy Axolotl

What Pegman Saw: Penthouse

The view cost and arm and a leg. Ok maybe just a hand and a leg, suspended in mid-air, but it was worth it. And I’m not finished yet; I’m putting a garden up here: Flowers, vegetables and a bee hive for pollination. Then I’ll add a five-piece rock-jazz-funk-fusion band and a barbeque. Why not a pool too?, with a submerged pool table so guests can get snookered under-water. Afer the bar’s been been open several hours, drunken guests are welcome to play honey-raid, which is initiated by lifting the lids of the bee hives. Some will run screaming and leap over the edge, others will fall into the pool, escaping the bees only to drown miserably behind the eight-ball.

© Grumpy Axolotl.
Written for What Pegman Saw
Image: Google StreetView


10 minutes of free-writing. No editing, save for fixing spelling-mistakes (most of which were made by iOS Auto-incorrect).

People walk around teapots. There is nothing wrong with that. Nothing to be scared or really, but they often skirt around the edges as if there is something sinister afoot As if maybe the lid is about to pop off and a hairy arm should shoot out and grab them, dragging them down into the bottomless pits of despair and endless cups of tea. Enter Bob, Bob is a dingbat. Bob enters teapot. That’s right. Off with the lid and he jumps straight in.  A coffee plunger is far more dangerous. Imagine hopping in to a coffee plunger . There’s plenty to drink,but then some smart-ass puts the lid on. Is it just me, or does the room seem to be getting shorter? They should execute criminals by coffee plunger. Squishy squashy. If they erect a giant plunger on a scaffold in the square behind the coffee-cart, it can serve a double purpose. People will come from miles around . “Hey let’s go the square and have an espresso while we read the paper and watch Roger-The-Rabid-Rapist get plunged”

Back to bob, well .. What can I say? He’s swimming in tea. It’s slowly tanning his hide. Have you ever been swimming in the sea when it’ full of seaweed. It’s horrible! Seaweed is so slimy, but one-time, we were staying at the beach and there must have been a storm out at sea, because masses of sea-weed washed up. Not just the small frilly stuff either. Great swathes of leathery plant, several meters long. My Mom is incredible right … She takes some of the big seaweed and turns it into sandals. Sandals, from seaweed. I wore them up the road to the store and back, and on the beach, but when I went into the water they went all limp and slimy and lost their shape, returning to drifting seaweed. What can Bob do in his tea-pot? There must have been in a great storm, considering all the tea-weed. Hey Bob?, Bob?, oh. Bob is living up to his name. Damn.

© 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

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

A Classic Tale of Six Words

It was reading Unbolt‘s story about tortoise that inspired me to try some six-word stories of my own. If you’ve never tried it, it’s hard! But it’s also a fun exercise when you don’t know what else to do, and rewarding when you get something good. A six-word sentence is dead easy, but packing in a story? That requires a little more effort. One of the coolest things about ‘tortoise’ is that so much of the story is left unstated, but the reader can easily infer the potential disaster.
Several of my own six-word stories to date have taken a poetic approach and rely on alliteration. I try to make them humorous as that is easier (for me) than telling a tale in such a short space. I hope it makes them worth reading. Also, I cheat a little by giving them titles, and making up words such as ‘twisticulating’.  I have some more ideas fermenting in the back room, so stay tuned (like a well-tempered clavier).

I was playing with some random-sentence generators and they produced a couple of gems that would have made great micro-fictions, if I had only written them myself. Unfortunately, I cannot take credit. The first is “The cowardly mind authorises the oil”. This had me in near hysterics. Maybe it could be improved by replacing ‘cowardly’ with another word. Maybe not. The runner-up was “The destruction modifys the thing”. I wholeheartedly agree.

Worse than Crabs

Sex sells. So does itching-powder. Sometimes sex alleviates the need for powder as the subsequent itching – after relieving the initial itch – is free.  Herpes must be awful. Hey, is there anything worse than crabs? Sure, just wait till you try the pubic-lobster!  Speaking of crabs, I was at the beach once and a young girl chanced to pick up a beautiful conical-shell from the water’s edge. Screaming ensued when the pincers of the hermit-crab inside emerged and snipped the air menacingly. I have never had crabs – I doubt they would make good pets – but our house used to suffer regular slater infestations, which made great pests. Slaters are crustaceans (as are crabs) and they look a bit like trilobites, but they live on land and they couldn’t bite if they tried. I used to play with them. I would construct little mazes from LEGO bricks and encourage them to navigate the labrynth, but the little bastards would just climb straight over the walls.  Unfortunately, my Mom called a moratorium on labrynths when she discovered the minotaur hidden under my bed, reading Playboy magazine. Oh yeh, slaters are more correctly called wood-lice. In North-America they are colloquially referred to as pill-bugs. They have 14 legs and feed on decaying organic detritus, wood being a favourite dish. If you want to find a slater, go look under a log. You’ll likely find a spider too. That’s OK though; most spiders are harmless and even the venomous ones will ignore you unless you dick with them. Case in point: A tourist in New Zealand went to sleep naked, face-down on a sand-dune (so the newspaper says) and a Katipo (our native poisonous spider that lives predominantly in sand-dunes) reportedly bit his joystick. He went to hospital when his poor sausage swelled to twice its normal size (There’s just no pleasing some people). I guess pubic-spiders are worse than crabs.


My point being?

I don’t mind if you swear. The occasional blast, drat, flip, heck or even damn – when you drop your favourite anvil on your toe for the third time this morning – doesn’t phase me in the least. Just don’t do it in every motherfucking cunt of a sentence. I went to a play last night. The play had the c-word in it. Cunt!  The actress spat the word from her lips as if … as if … Oh, I don’t know, she just spat it. Hissssss! Grrrrr. Apparently, this unspeakably filthy sequence of letters had been scrawled in 3-foot high red scribblings on the boards covering an empty window frame.  It wasn’t clear to me whether or not the word was intended to shock the audience. I had no idea what the fuck the play was about until afterwords (when I read the brochure), and I wasn’t alone in my bewilderment. It wasn’t worth the $40 I spent, but a friend had a small part in it, so my attendance was not optional. I know people who would have a problem with this word being used. It is, after all, considered to be among the strongest of the English language [citation please. get fucked] I know people that don’t mind the profanity in movies such as Good-Will-Hunting (which isn’t particular strong) because it’s an accurate portrayal of how the characters in the story would/do actually speak. So, why do they get offended when real people actually speak that way? Words have power, so they say. Bullshit, so I say. Words have no intrinsic power. Words do not even exist. Words are abstract concepts, just like numbers and mathematics. They are the disembodied embodiment  of ideas. This all made perfect sense in the early hours of the morning. It was a lead-up to a mind-blowing something-or-other regarding grammar and how you are able to read this sentence.  If I could only remember. It’s like when you have a dream within which the meaning of life is laid out before you in full clarity. But you’re too much of a dumb-fuck to wake up and write it down. In the morning there is only a fleeting remnant of something profound rapidly slipping from your grasp. Shit. Well, the All-Blacks annihilated the Wallabies. That’s good enough for me.

Fuck. The screwdriver slipped again gouging another cut across the back of Jason’s hand but the door was open and he dived into the back seat of the Falcon scrambling desperately for the cloth-wrapped package. Fucking mother-of-motherfuckers. It wasn’t there. That cunt Marie had set him up. Larry was going to have his balls on a barbecue, but not before Jason settled a score with Marie. He knew where she would be and he would fuck that whore’s ass to the end of the earth before stuffing her with Peruvian death-peppers and snapping her pretty little everbitching neck.  A cold rain was falling and Jason broke into a run down Herons-Bluff avenue.