Posted tagged ‘Superstitions’

2.2 The Bronzed Adonis

May 9, 2013


The supermarket queue was moving slowly though Ralph himself was in no hurry. He was waiting in line to purchase his All-in-One cleaning and fresh breath toothpaste at the princely sum of £4.99. The racks of goods on his way to the checkout didn’t interest him- bars of chocolate, magazines with lurid tales of the rich and famous, different sized batteries- not least because he only had a five pound note in his pocket.

At length Ralph’s turn arrived. He smiled friendlily at the cashier and placed his paste on the table. It was scanned and deposited in a small bag.

“£4.99” said the checkout operator.

Ralph handed his fiver over and was given his purchase. The teller looked to the next customer before seeing that Ralph had not moved from the serving area. It was only a few seconds but Ralph felt like this moment was as long as Huey and he didn’t feel like no King Ralph. With a frown the cashier rattled into loose change box and, with a smack, delivered a penny into Ralph’s outstretched hand. Ralph flashed a goodbye smile that had fake written all over it.

This little incident bugged Ralph all day and later, meeting his friend Jeff, in a plush, posh bar downtown Ralph recounted the penny incident.

“I wouldn’t wait for a penny.” said Jeff.

“Why not?”

“For a start, its bronze.”

“What’s that got to do with it?” asked Ralph.

“I don’t know if you know what century this is but the bronze age has long gone. Most of those pennies are stinking of …rust and …oxidisation-”

“Oxidisation?” interrupted Ralph. Jeff, with a low nostril noise emitted a I-might-be-right-but-I’m-not-sure face and went on.

“That’s right. The penny stinks. God knows what kind of diseases are lurking on its surface. And another thing if we all reject the penny change the queue goes in quicker. It angers me when I’m in a long line and those in front are stalling for 1p. One of these days there’s going to be a fist fight on account of the penny change. Penny rage, they’ll call it.”

Ralph tried a new approach. “Ok, how about this? What if you bought two items at £4.99 each and you handed over a ten pound note, would you wait for your 2p change?”

“You’ve raised the stakes, Ralph. Everyone has a limit and that 2p could be vital in the long run. There’s a big difference here. Only a fool wouldn’t wait for the 2p. 2p is a no-brainer, there’s no 2p or not 2p about it. But 1p? I wouldn’t like to embarrass myself.”

“If you ask me the 99 price thing is all a scam. To avoid the awkwardness of waiting for the change why don’t they round the price up.” Ralph pointed up.

Jeff pointed down. “They could round it down, that’d be even better. Hey, here’s Sly.” Sly was Jeff’s wife. “Hi Sly.” He kissed his wife.

“Now it’s my turn, Sly,” said Ralph “you’ll love this kiss. Look at my nice white teeth and fresh breath. I’ve been using an expensive new brand of toothpaste and well worth the price.” Ralph made his Joker face revealing pearly white molars that looked good enough to eat.

“No thanks, Ralph, though I must say your teeth do look tremendous. Aren’t you buying me a drink, Jeff? I quite fancy the Bronzed Adonis cocktail. It’s always good to try something different.”

“For you, sweetheart, the world.” Jeff signalled the barman over and ordered the cocktail. A few moments later it was brought over. Jeff opened his wallet and took out a ten pound note figuring that would be more than enough for the one drink.

“£9.99” said the barman. This flustered Jeff. He knew that Sly’s position on the penny change was the same as Ralph’s. She would break his neck if he didn’t take his change.

The barman waited for his fee. A stand-off ensued.

The music of Ennio Morricone played in Jeff’s head.

Jeff feared losing face in front of Ralph by taking the coin yet feared Sly’s response even more if he didn’t take the penny. Ralph looked at Jeff. Sly looked at Jeff. The barman looked at Jeff. Jeff eyed the other three in turn. He’d already used his fainting trick three times this week.

“Tell you what, I’ll have another whisky and you can have another whisky, Ralph. And have one for yourself, barman.”

Jeff fished in his wallet for a further money. If the round still came to something 99 he’d order a bag of nuts.


Tear your Playhouses down

January 1, 2013

The flames of a wicker man was burning at the side of the road as Long Hair trail blazed along the freeway. He had no inclination to see if there were any human sacrifice taking place in the straw. Necking down on a bottle of Jameson’s he was looking forward to the next three songs on radio 666’s Metal Chainsaw show’s playlist. They would be-

Evile- Cult
Opeth- Folklore
Marillion- Grendel

Before the barnstorming trio could be heard through the airwaves, Long Hair found himself going through the space and time continuum -as can happen to any one, from time to time. He was transported back through the ages and landed somewhere in a stony place in Wiltshire. The grounds were populated by natives of the era. This was dangerous, thought Long Hair, even Dr Who said you had to be careful with time travel. One little minor change can cause the whole of history to be re-written.

“Greetings, stranger. I am the chief Druid” The ancient druid welcomed Long Hair to the bustling nightclub that was Stonehenge. The flowing robes of members of the ancient order were dancing around an arc of stones. The Stones were set in a perfect, circular order. Some of the more adventurous dancing druids had mistletoe above their heads and were kissing their cousins.

Ignoring the rousing family get together that was in progress, the newcomer said. “I’m thirsty. Have you anything to drink around here?”

“Yes, my good man, we have many potions. Try this, it’s our best concoction. We call it Hooch.”

Taking a pitcher of the alcoholic beverage from the Chief Druid, the parched traveller drank merrily like a drain. What goes down must come up and he sprayed the regurgitated mixture out like a stream onto the chief Druid’s face.

“That Hooch is garbage.“ was the visitor’s opinion. “Tell you what, druidy boy, can you make me some of this.” He handed the drenched druids man an empty bottle of Jamesons.

“Of course we can. We can make anything here. Won’t be long.”

True to his word, within minutes a huge vat of Jamesons was produced that was as good as the original. Long Hair dunked his face in the bowl and filled his boots up.

“That Pict can’t half drink.” said one of the partying druids. Long Hair lifted his head from the cauldron.

“Did you call me a Pict?” he asked the innocent lower order druid.

“Yes, I did. You’re a Pict, aren’t you?” repeated the half-drunk partygoer in a pleasant tone of voice.

History was about to be changed. An enraged Long Hair battered the drunken druids one after the other -they were all guilty by association- into submission. Not content with dazing the druids Long Hair became a kind of Samson -he still had his long hair, after all- and he destroyed their nightclub of stones. Not a stone was left untouched. But he still wasn’t happy so he picked a few of the big blocks up and placed them horizontally on two upright blocks to make up a selection of goal posts. Should have brought a ball with me, thought Long hair.


“You’ve ruined our runes.” said the Chief Druid, coming back into consciousness.

“No, I’ve not, I’ve made them better. Only last week I tore off the arms from a statute and I was told it made it more ‘aesthetically pleasing’”

“You’re right. The place does look more distinctive.” agreed the Chief as he surveyed his new surroundings.

Long Hair pulled the robes of the druid and drawing him close to his face, with a fiery whisky breath uttered “How do I get out of here, wise man?”

Using a skeletal hand that had a large fingernail, the druid indicated. “The future is that way.” he said.

Loading the cauldron of Jamesons into the back seat of his car and breaking the axles in the process, Long Hair jumped into the driver’s seat. With his engine roaring he hurtled back to the future.

Admiral Birthday

June 1, 2010

One of the great cricket spectacles has caused me angst. The late cricket umpire, David Shepherd, would raise one leg whenever a batting team or individual player was on the score 111 or multiples thereof. He performed this ritual as he considered it bad luck to be stuck on a “Nelson”. The Nelson 111 pertains to Lord Nelson who lost an eye, an arm and a leg. However, Horatio Nelson had both legs intact. Seemingly Chinese whispers had invented the legless myth.

When I heard of Mr. Shepherd’s superstition (and saw it a few times) I started to believe that the “Nelson” was an indication of doom. The only way I come across Nelsons is when I read a book. Therefore I never bookmark on pages 111, 222,333 etc: (for the record, I also never stand with one foot raised while on these pages). Going the full Nelson I also refuse to stop reading on pages 11, 22, 33 and so on and so forth. Even if a chapter ends on say, page 155, I will read one more page.

Previously I had only looked on the pages 67, 167, 267 …as bad omens and hastily scan these abominations. Nineteen sixty seven was, of course, the year of the fluke. I have never ever read a book of 2,000 or so pages length and I dare say if I did, the page 1,967 would be ripped from the spine, quartered and burned. My moral outrage would bring about a new bonfire of the vanities.

These days I try and steer clear of any new numbered portents as I’m running out of good karma pages and will soon have to read a book all the way through. Worsening my odds of stopping on a positive page, an esteemed colleague remarked that, you should never stop reading a book on an even numbered page. His reasoning is that even numbered pages are on the left side and the left hand is connected with the Devil. Soon I will be selling all my book markers on E-Bay.

My paranoia is getting worse as the countdown ticks closer to doomsday. I am referring to the book of life. This November will be a “Nelson” birthday for me, my first since finding out about the David Shepherd rite. A whole year of gloom is forecast. Luckily, the year 2011 of our Lord is not a leap year so there’s not an extra day to worry about.