We’re all writers, right?

In a way, yes we are, whether we are penning quarter million word best sellers, carving the name of a lover on a tree  or spraying Baz rools orlrite on someone’s brand new Bentley. Though I would strongly recommend there are other, more positive ways of exercising one’s latent literary talent otherwise you mind find yourself  writing letters that begin….Dear Mam and Dad, prison food isn’t so bad….

Here’s something to make you smile….I hope.

The Nine Amendments is a fantasy novel with a humorous religious theme that is set on a post apocalyptic Earth.

The story tells of Judysear undertaker, Isack Knewtun and his trip to Sunniclimes, ostensibly to remove and relocate the newly discovered Mummy of Mo Sez, a Prophet who is believed by the Theocracy of Judysear to have been burnt to a frazzle by The One God atop Mount Sinisitis for being a dreadful sinner.

It says so…right there in The Book.

Other translations suggest it was because he was a dreadful singer. The issue has never been resolved and caused more schisms than the head of the church has had hot dinners. Or hot somethings.

But this is all a ruse…and Isack is far from being a simple undertaker and Mo Sez is far from dead!

Chapter 7.

The burial chamber was large, as befitting one of such importance, and full of all the accoutrements a former Pharaoh could possibly need in the afterlife.

Although there were no servants. That was something to be grateful for.

Convincing those stupid old sods that he did not need five hundred handpicked members of the Royal Household, including twenty-five of the most nubile and energetic concubines had been quite a feat of diplomacy.

He was relieved not to have that on his conscious

Though he remembered having to threaten them with all manner of dire and grisly death if they ushered anyone into his tomb after he had made his final journey.

He had made one concession: his favourite camel, Flem.

They were correct; he would need transport when he arrived.  However, arriving back here was not part of their plan.

It was most definitely part of his. Although, in reality, he had never left.

The walls were full of carvings, detailing his life’s achievements, for all that was worth, he thought, as he scanned the archaic symbols.

Didn’t I add one of my own somewhere, he wondered? He looked at the wall above his sarcophagus.

‘There it is,’ he announced. He read the inscription aloud. ‘Mo was here.’ He chuckled. ‘I wonder what they’ll make of that. If they ever find it, that is.’

In the shadows, at the far end of the tomb stood Flem, snoring gently

‘Wake up, you cantankerous, moth-eaten old git.’

The sound of the Mummy’s voice echoed eerily around the chamber.

Long eyelashes fluttered. A wisp of breath escaped from its nostrils and a small plume of dust appeared from the camel’s rear-end.

‘Hrungnff’, said the camel.

‘Oh, for crying in a bucket. We’re cooped up here for I-don’t-know how long and the first thing you do is fart? The last meal you ate was so long ago there can’t possibly be anything inside of you that could warrant such a stink.’

Mo covered his nose with a bandaged hand. In a muffled voice, he continued to remonstrate with the camel. ‘The least you could have done was to wait until we’re out in the fresh air. Something that is now decidedly lacking in here.’

Flem turned his head slowly in Mo’s direction, gave one languid flutter of his eyelashes, swished his tail, and farted again. Then adding insult to injury, he belched loudly.

Mo shook his head in resignation.  ‘Limber up a bit, I would,’ Mo advised the camel. ‘It’s been a while since either of us had any proper exercise. Don’t want you pulling up lame after five minutes out on the sand.’

The camel gave him a look of disdain; nevertheless, he began to move his legs while remaining in the same place.

Even such a limited amount of movement had the effect of kick-starting the camel’s digestive system and immediately produced several foul smelling ‘parps’ of ancient dust.

‘Okay, okay,’ Mo pleaded, ‘enough limbering.’

The camel came to a stuttering halt but continued to swish its tail suggesting an attitude of, ‘Any time you’re ready, chief?’

Mo contemplated the effect on a regiment of enemy infantry if one hundred farting camels were turned rearward at the moment of charge. Maybe it could be bottled he mused.

‘Food and water are a priority. I’ve got enough for a week,’ he said, hoisting a dripping, ice-cold crate from the sarcophagus, ‘but we’ll have to find something for you.’

The camel snorted in agreement.

‘Once we’re out in the desert, the nearest oasis is around fifty miles away, so we’ll have to make sure you have a full tank. We’ll wait ’til it’s dark before we leave. There used to be a bar near the palace called Seti’s, if memory serves? They had several water troughs and food bins for camels. If the place is still there, we’ll be all set.  Mind, you, that was a long time ago. Keep your fingers crossed.’

The camel gave him a sideways look.

‘Figure of speech.’

Flem moved his head in an up and down fashion as if appraising Mo’s attire.

‘Yeah, I know. But what can I do? If I take the bandages off I’ll burn up like a thousand year old piece of papyrus.’

Flem jerked his head to the left, towards the sarcophagus.

‘I already checked. Nothing. It was a new-fangled idea some of the priests believed in. Something about being re-born. Except for the bandages, you entered the afterlife wearing the same gear as when you first came into this life. Well, if need be, I’ll try to find something when we get outside, alright?’

Flem smacked his lips and ground his teeth.

‘So what if we’re confronted? I’ll make a few woo-woo noises and wave my arms about. That should be enough to scare the you-know-what out of anyone.’

Flem snorted.

‘Okay, not you, of course, because effectively, you don’t have any you-know-what inside. Ha, ha. Not funny.’

The light began to fade as the sun dipped into late afternoon.

‘I suppose I’d better look for a candle or something, but with you farting every five minutes, I doubt there’s enough oxygen left in here for one to burn. By Dog, you stink. ‘Okay, let’s get ready to leave. Oh, I almost forgot.’

Mo reached into the sarcophagus and retrieved something oblong and metallic. It looked similar to a Tablet. Remarkably similar, in fact. ‘Don’t want to leave this lying around.’

He walked stiffly over to Flem, packed the saddle with supplies then slid the Tablet and the sceptre into a specially designed velvet-lined leather satchel.

‘If you would do me the honour, old friend?’

Flem knelt down and Mo swung gingerly onto the saddle.

‘Whenever you’re ready, old friend.’

 

Copyright ©Douglas Pearce

Book Excerpt – Almost Dead In Suburbia

almost dead2

1

Not Really Dead

‘Eighty-three,’ the squeaky voice called out.

Thirty-three heads dropped to stare at the numbered ticket each person clutched for dear life.

‘Nope,’ said a voice from behind.

A heavy sigh was the response from the woman sitting two seats away.

‘Dammit!  – An erudite outburst from the back of the room.

There was also a small cheer.

Someone got up and disappeared beyond the temporary partition for a few minutes; then reappeared, all smiles, holding on to their prize and giving a fleeting look at the poor sods that remained before making a beeline for the exit.

And so it went on.

Funny that, thought Ralph, we’ve all been here the best part of an hour and yet every time the secretary or tea lady or whatever she was entered the room and called out a number, every single person looked at his or her raffle ticket.  You would think after sitting in the same position for so long everyone would remember their ticket number.

His reaction was no different from the rest of them.  His head went down just like theirs every time the tea lady (he had decided to go with this option) walked across the grubby black and white linoleum floor, stood in front of this small gathering, and recited.

The response was usually the same.  Nope, Sigh, Dammit and a small cheer.

There had been one other respondent previously sitting in the chair directly behind Sigh.  He alternated between ‘crap’ and ‘shoot’, but had left in a fit of pique after having his number called out while he was not in the room.  Leaning forward, he had tapped Sigh on the shoulder, and as she turned said in a hoarse whisper ‘I’m just popping into the corridor for a smoke.  I’m dying here without a ciggy.  Wave if my number’s called, okay?  I’ll be able to see you through the glass.’

She nodded dumbly.  Trouble was Crap/Shoot was in such a rush to have his ‘ciggy’ that he forgot to tell her his number.

When he returned, leaving behind a cloud of smoke, Sigh beckoned him over and whispered.

‘You forgot to tell me your ticket number, dear.’

Crap/Shoot mumbled ‘Shoot’,’ and when Tea Lady reappeared he enquired about the last couple of numbers.

Because there are certain  rules of narrative fiction that while not written on paper, are so old they are almost certainly carved in stone, so naturally, one of the numbers had been his.

A few words of pleading, followed by a brief, heated outburst containing several more colourful expletives, did not produce the desired result: that of being bumped up the queue.

Losing his temper with Tea Lady wasn’t winning him any friends amongst the others in the room either.

She would not budge.  He had missed his turn, and that was that.  She tore off another raffle ticket which she handed to him and indicated with steely grey eyes that he should take his seat once more.

Crap/Shoot nearly had a fit, screwed up his ticket, then unscrewed it and tore it into little pieces right under Tea Lady’s nose.

Her response appeared practised.  ‘Security,’ was the call.  Tea Lady didn’t even raise her voice.

Crap/Shoot stormed off in a rage, banging into the metal waste bin as he turned, and hurting his right knee in the process.

Seems it’s true: smoking is bad for your health, Ralph thought.  Then, just as he felt the impulse to smile, he received a murderous glance from Mr.    Crapshoot and quickly rearranged his expression into the one that said, ‘I’m a moron just like the rest of us here.’

Forty-seven minutes and eighteen seconds later Tea Lady called out number ninety-two and Ralph leaped out of the plastic seat, went into the available cubicle, handed over his receipt and was issued with his new passport.

When was that, he wondered?  He couldn’t remember.  It wasn’t important.    Not any more, anyway. Dead people don’t need passports.  So why had he been thinking of the passport office?

Then he got it.  The raffle tickets.  He imagined wherever it might be he was heading to would have a similar character who would call out his number when it was time for him to ‘go’.  But go where?  That was the question he was waiting to be answered.

Ah, here it comes, the tunnel, the bright light.  He had heard or read something about people who claimed they had died and afterwards . . . what was the term? Came back to life?  Resurrected?  Anyway, all had said that this was how it was.  For some reason he felt that the opportunity to confirm the story to anyone would not present itself.  Unless, of course, he found a way to communicate from the ‘other side’.

He began moving towards the bright light.  Not too far now, he thought, although there was no real sense of distance.  The light just seemed to swell around him until he became immersed in it.  His final thought before crossing over: Hey, just think, I get to meet God!  From a self-confessed atheist this was quite ironic.

There was a flash and, he was back in the real world, whatever that was.  The tunnel had gone, the bright light had vanished, and he was standing outside a suburban house at the scene of an accident.

At first glance it looked as though an ambulance had rammed into a car as it was reversing out of a driveway.

What the hell!

Then he realised where he was, and what he was looking at.   The car was his, the house was his and the unfortunate victim lying on a stretcher by the damaged blue BMW was him.

Oh, no! I’m dead!

Copyright© Douglas Pearce

View From The Side’s Weekend Theme – Opening Lines

Opening Lines.

http://viewfromtheside.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/weekend-theme-128/

From the South African political satire, Identity, Cry *Sies!

The almost familiar country of Sarfrica is about to get a new president. But there is a problem. A serious problem. He is  English and worse, a Manchester United supporter.

Oh, my god!

download (2)

Identity. Cry Sies!

Chapter 1

In South Africa a stoep is the part of a house outside the front or back door; usually the front. The closest English equivalent would probably be verandah or porch.

The South African stoep generally conjures up mental images of a rustic, unhurried way of life. Rustic clothes, rustic furniture; a battered old rocking chair is always good, zebra grazing on the dusty horizon, tails swishing and ears twitching, ever alert for the  lion whose flattened body can just be made out by a pair of ears poking above the grass. Ah, Africa!

The above example is a genuine, honest to goodness description of a true stoep.

The tiled (imported) area fronting the almost palatial home, owned by the immaculately dressed (imported), albeit casual, individual sitting on designer furniture (imported), drinking a double scotch (Black and White, naturally) at ten o’clock on Saturday morning, using expletives that began with the sixth and nineteenth letter of the alphabet doesn’t quite have the same appeal.

This individual however, did not give an expletive that began with the sixth letter.

To him it was still a stoep. His stoep. He was a Son of Africa. The problem was he was not an African.

* Sies is an Afrikaans word meaning, for shame, bah! pooh!

It is generally used to denote disgust.

Okay, be honest. Did you count your ABC on your fingers? 🙂