Downtime Stories

Short stories for when you have time for a short story.

Stop Animal Abuse

All throughout history there have been horrific cases of mankind’s cruelty to animals, but no category of animals has suffered more under man’s oppression than the noble, yet tragic Pokemon.

So much so that the popular tag line associated with these once free and majestic creatures is now “Gotta catch them all.”

However society has pushed forward, not only content with catching them anymore, but now making them fight, to do vicious battle against one another for man’s own gain.

The Oxford dictionary defines a Prison as a building to which people are legally committed as a punishment for a crime. If only Pokemon were so lucky. The modern day Pokemon would most likely see a prison, or even a building as a five star holiday compared to the small, spherical Pokeballs in which they are confined for more than 23 hours of the day. And for no crime other than being what they are.

Ethologists have made predictions that our treatment of the Pokemon will cause a fundamental shift in the species, perhaps causing irreversible effects that will more than likely lead to their extension. Yet nothing is being done.

A simple look into the nature of Pokemon shows us that they once lived in harmony, with Grass, Water & Fire Pokemon working collaboratively for the greater good of the whole species. Today however their numbers have more than halved, and their relationship now resembles more that of a United States maximum security prison yard, split by “type” and controlled by the will of others.

It’s unknown just who or what will bring about the change required to save this species, but we do know it requires a large cultural shift. Away from catching them, away from making them fight, and away from glorifying those most responsible for this, the famous trainers like Ash, Misty & Brock who have made their living and fortunes off this horrible practice.

And we need to do it before it’s too late.

sad-pikachu

Hi Hello yes, God?

Go for God

Hi Hello yes, God?

You got it

Oh really? It’s just that I’ve been on hold for a really long time I was about to hang up.

Sorry about that. It’s pretty busy you know? Especially on Sundays.

Yes I can imagine… That’s actually sort of why I’m calling. I’m feeling a bit existential

Big weekend pal?

Yes… It sort of got a bit out of hand. And it’s just, like, I’m going to be OK right? Like really OK? I’m not going to die or anything am I? I’ve felt a bit like I’m going to die today. Sort of like I can’t take a deep breath and that my body could just shut down at any second. It’s causing me a bit of anxiety actually.

Hey, guy, relax! You’re going to be fine. Well eventually you’re not going to be fine and you’re going to die, but not today. I don’t have you on my list for today, so take it easy my friend. 

Phew. I mean, I didn’t think so, really, but you never can be sure can you and jeez, it could just be the weekend I had but I was actually worried for a minute there. Silly of me!

Well yeah maybe a little bit silly of you, but seriously just take some time off the marching powder you know?  You know that stuff is no good for you, gets you all out of whack with the world. And the packet of noodles you had for dinner? That really didn’t do you any favours. Eat healthy this week exercise laugh more for fucks sake. We’ve got this… Just calm your farm a little you know? Settle your fish my special friend.

You’re right God. Thanks, I appreciate the time – really. And I’m not going to do anything big this weekend. Like you say, just settle my fish a little, maybe stay in, read a book, visit the country side or something?

Well… Do your best. All good my friend.. 10 out of 10 for effort, but try a little harder next weekend. Oh and just to let you know I’m off next Sunday so you might want to organize a different friend to check in on you. 

Toodles.

 god-04

Click.

Great Job David

I’m currently sitting in the British library about to write my first book. Well I’m actually in the cafeteria… They wouldn’t let me into the main section without registering, and I needed a bank statement with me to do that. And who the fuck carries bank statements around with them, except presumably bankers. That’s what bankers do right? Lucky bankers.

Other than the location, it’s all going very well. I’m about 400 words in, and while they’re not the best 400 words they are quite strong and are definitely on the right track. Not bad for my first try writing a book.

I think, at this rate it’s going to take me about 5 years to finish it, but I’ve given myself a bit of leeway and said I’ll have it done by 2020. I even emailed my friend Sam’s Dad who I recently told over a spot of lunch about the book, and that because he was listening to me talking about the book, that he would get a dedication. I let him know he might want to block that weekend out to gloat to all of his friends or some such thing.

The good thing about writing my book is that in 5 years when it gets famous and sells all the copies, I will have as much money as J.K Rowling.

And this is where the fun will begin.

When I have as much money as J.K Rowling, the first thing I’ll do is buy St Pancras railway station, and turn it into my own modern day castle. You hear lots of talk, amongst a certain type of people, about converted warehouses. Well I am going to convert a whole fucking train station. “A whole fucking train station? He’s mad”  they’ll say.

To which I will reply “I’m not mad, I’m just rich, which is much the same thing.” 

And if you’re lucky enough to have been to St Pancras, you may be thinking “Hey David, you know St Pancras isn’t a little hop on, hop off Station, it’s big. It’s really fucking big. It should be called St “fuck that’s big and impressive” Pancras.”

To which I will reply “Yes, but shut up, I’m rich, go an read my book again.”

Because the thing is, St Pancras is wonderful. Too wonderful in fact. Too wonderful to share. And that’s why I’m going to build a moat around it.

This may cost a little bit, but I think it will add on some extra value if I ever do decide to sell. I’m guessing when I’m rich I’ll care about things like extra value on resale of properties. Rich people are always talking about things like that.

The next thing I’ll do is declare war on Kings Cross station. It’s not that I have anything against Kings Coss station, it’s just that now I have a castle the next logical move is to declare war on something. Or so history tells me, and Kings Cross is a stones throw away.

My war will be merciless and swift, and no expense will be spared until victory and glory are with the St Pancreans, which is what we will be called.

Pending how the war goes, and how long it takes I think I’ll invest a significant amount of money in my friend Chris. He’s always coming up with great ideas like that time his McDonalds chicken nuggets got cold by the time he was home, so he deep friend them again, creating double deep fried chicken nuggets. Genius.

Or the other time he came up with the concept of food re-mixology, which is some kind of cooking show/ DJ set hybrid where you’re mixing music, and mixing food genres. Yeah, I’ll definitely invest in things like that. The sort of things others have decided not to invest in. I think those ideas are marvellous and have some legs.

I’d also like to buy a pirate ship, an island, and create a miniature city and spend the time my friends are at work, walking over it saying Godrilla, Godrilla in a Japanese accent. That’s when I’m not writing my long, long awaited sequel of course. And then when we’re all sitting at the pub after work talking about our hard days, I’ll be sitting there, in my Godrilla costume, mask off, just enjoying my hard earned beer.

Yes, that’s what I’ll do once I’ve finished my book.

Funnily enough I feel I’ve exuded quite enough productivity for the day, and have decided to leave the library cafeteria, and work on the book another day.

It’s time to meet everyone at the pub.

Great job David

godzilla54

Power Poles

This story is set to a song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg_dRAmSzvA

Listening? Ok Good.

I want you to imagine something for me.

You’re walking down a street in London. Not a main street like Oxford Street, one like Woburn place. It’s still busy, but it’s nothing like Oxford Street.

It’s the morning, before 9 and it’s raining. It’s not overly cold but you’ve got a jacket on and a scarf wrapped around your face, and you’re alert. You’re alert because you’re walking down a busy’ish street in London and you know that you have to walk well or you’ll be in the way.

You’re also listening to Ludovico Einaudi – Una Mattina on repeat. It complements the grey skies perfectly, and doesn’t entirely block out the sounds of the city. It’s all going to plan. You’re off to a good start.

You’re walking and you catch a glimpse of someone with all the right shapes, and all the right dress, and all the right hair, but someone’s head blocks her face.

You’re trying to look, but you’re also trying to walk well, and nothing should stop you walking well on a London street. It’s the most important thing.

At the exact moment the head blocking her face disappears, you both walk past a pole that again blocks her face from view, and as your head turns, you keep walking at the exact same pace as one another which means you’ll never see it. All you get is her body disappearing behind the pole, and coming out the other side with her hair then blocking her face.

You keep walking because it’s too late, but you get a funny feeling. Because I think they’re the people the world teases you with that would probably be the most beautiful and interesting people you’ll ever meet. But you’ll never meet them, because the guy’s head stopped you from making eye contact, and then the pole blocked you from smiling at each other, and you both go on with your days never knowing what was on the other side.

And it’s tragic. But it’s weirdly beautiful because it makes you think of all the people that are lucky enough to have not had their views blocked, and had their normal, grey London mornings propelled out of this world with a morning smile.

So you go to work, and you’re listening to Einaudi on repeat, and you go home and you do it all again tomorrow.

Super Power Support Group

Hi. I’m David and I can turn into a pigeon.

Hi David the group murmured in unison, half of them not even looking up.

So, as I was saying I have a super power. I can transform myself into a pigeon at will.

Now some of you might think this sounds good but it’s not. I don’t transform into a man/ pigeon hybrid or anything cool like that. I don’t have super human strength and the cool attributes of a pigeon, like the ability to fly, or smell food from really far away. That would be great.

No, I just turn into your average pigeon like the ones you probably avoid in the city. That’s why I still call myself David and not something cool like Pigeon Man, or the Great Pigeon Guy or something badass like that.

And like, yeah it’s cool being able to fly and everything, but what’s the point of flying when everyone you fly near hates you. The other day I was flying by the beach and I got this whiff of fish and chips, and I flew over to see what they had ordered and heard someone call me a rat. The rat of the sky were their exact words. They hadn’t even met me; it was just a judgment call based on pre conceived social prejudices against pigeons.

Every now and then you do get some legend who throws you a chip, or a bit of a flake or something, but it’s still like fish & chips when you’re a human – the first bit is always really good, but when you get about half way through you just start feeling really greasy and afterwards you’d be happy never to see tartar sauce again.

I know it could be worse. I could be one of those pigeons that has a bulbous foot, or a missing leg. Or I could be like my old mate Barry. Someone threw him a chip that had panadol in it and he’s…. Well he’s gone to a better place.

And I’m worried you know? I’m worried I’m not going to be that super hero that gets the girl, and I’ll be forever stuck that weird nerdy guy, off to the side, like Spiderman pre powers, or Clarke Kent just working at a newspaper just existing.

Anyway. I’m just trying to take things day by day. Like anyone, trying to figure out what my purpose is and living in the hope that one day someone’s going to need a super hero who can squawk in a semi annoying fashion, and fit things larger than my head into my mouth. It will happen.

And if it doesn’t I’m just going to keep taking pigeon poops on people’s heads, because fuck it, it makes me feel better.

Thanks for listening.

Photo on 6-10-14 at 9.46 PM

Pizza

One of the main problems (for there are many) associated with trying to stay skinny is pizza.

Pizza is really good.

A recent study done by the University of London’s culinary school has discovered that 9 out of 10 times eating pizza is better than not eating pizza, and that the only time it isn’t better is when one is under water.

After discovering this, they popped over to their chums in the science department and are now working on ways to overcome the issue, and predict that soon pizza will be available underwater (at least at the more trendy underwater venues that are the only ones worth being seen at anyway).

Pizza has also been known to combat depression through a new phenomenon called ‘pizza goggles’ which is the feeling of having just finished some pizza, and having a bit more of pep in your step. It’s quite a good cure for situations like Sunday evening, or being drunk at 4am any day.

Some foreword thinking nations are even addressing political instability with pizza lead incentivisation schemes to quell social unrest, and there is rumors that others are testing dropping pizza instead of bombs onto enemy nations to lessen border tensions.

It’s all very fascinating, if fascinating involves having a bit of a jiggle around the stomach and ever growing love handles.

I am very pleased to announce that my pizza is now ready to come out of the oven, and my pizza goggles will soon be on.

P.S Burgers are good too, but we can speak about that another time.

pizza

Why Your Body Changes

You always hear that your body is going to change, but you never really notice it changing, only when it has. 

I don’t remember my growth spurt in year 8, I just know that one day I was tall. I don’t remember getting my first chest hair, I just know now I have a hairy chest. And I don’t remember growing tits, but today I noticed, I have them.

Bitch tits. Breasts, humble mounds atop my chest, I have them.

I met this realization with a mixture of shock and humour. I shouldn’t have breasts, I am a man, but now I have them. The humour came into it because today is Sunday, and of course the day you discover you have breasts is a Sunday when you’ve already done some damage to your self esteem the night before.

I first caught glimpse of my small breasts in the reflection of a shop window. “Maybe it’s just the tight grey t shirt I am wearing” I thought. But then remembered this t shirt was bought oversize, and was never tight. 

Did the changes started to happen around the time I moved to London? Could it be my diet of beer and kebabs? Could it be the combination of long hours and lack of exercise? Could it be that I’m not as young as I was, and my body just can’t handle it anymore?

No. It’s none of these things. It’s a gypsy curse.

Growing up I always knew it was dangerous to cross a gypsy. Didn’t every child learn that from their Grandparents? Well that didn’t stop me.

One day on the way home from work I popped into a Kebab shop, and made eye contact with a gypsy as I entered. She was not your common gypsy, she was young and quite pretty, but you could tell by looking into her wild eyes that she had gypsy blood.

As I ate my kebab I couldn’t help noticing the gypsy kept glancing at me, and when I finished and walked passed she spoke to me.

“Do you smoke?” she asked

I replied that I did on the odd occasion, however didn’t have any, but that’s not what she was after.

“No, I have some, would you like to join me for a cigarette?” she asked

I knew it was a bad idea and that I should be trying to put as much distance between me and the gypsy as possible, especially because I’d left all my anti gypsy rubies back in Australia, but I threw caution to the wind and went outside with her.

Her name was Bianca and she told me her story. She was in the UK to audition for The Voice, and had that very day fallen apart and not made it through to the next round. She blamed Tom Jones for this (who’s bitch tits are surely from her too). She was of many races, and a bit of a wanderer. She planned to stay in the UK to become a model, or a brain surgeon, because she informed me that she was beautiful and smart enough to do either.

She spoke at me for a good 5 minutes about how she actually didn’t have any money, and couldn’t pay for her kebab. And that’s when I knew it, she was trying to use her gypsy trickery to get a free meal.

All of my childhood learnings had taught me that at this point the only thing to do is to chop the gypsy’s head off and burn the body, however I was in public and didn’t have my sword with me. I also didn’t want to buy her kebab because I didn’t have any money either so I jumped up, mid conversation and said

“Very nice to meet you Bianca, good luck with everything” and shook her hand.

This was the moment that changed my life.

I had simultaneously wronged her, and given her the opportunity to touch my flesh and indeed curse me. And she did. As she shook my hand she looked deep into my soul, and I felt the curse pass into my body.

For the next few weeks many things happened to which I blamed the gypsy. I had a string of bad luck, a few more grey hairs, I turned 26, all of which I thought may have been the gypsy curse coming into fruition. But it wasn’t. The curse hit today when I noticed my bitch tits and knew that the curse had found its final resting place. 

I tell this story because I don’t want it to happen to anybody else. Let my life be a lesson. Carry your rubies and always have your sword ready. Be prepared to burn the body in public even if you end up in jail, because at least you won’t be in jail with breasts.

And me? I’m going to embrace my bitch tits. No I won’t exercise more, or change my diet, because that’s not why I’m in this position. I’m going to turn it into a positive. I’m going to get in contact with Tom Jones and propose we do a calendar together so we can make some money off our milkshakes. I’m also going to find another gypsy to track down Bianca and vanquish her into the darkest rungs of hell and regain my flat chest.

For anyone that’s reading this who has either been cursed, or has man breasts feel free to get in contact with me, or Tom Jones. We’re here to help.

Or for more information on breaking gypsy curses, please see the below Yahoo answers for all the good it will do you. “The best way to break a gypsy curse is to stop believing in it….” What kind of idiot would take that advice.

https://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20

gypsycurse-full 

In Two Weeks I Turn XX

In two weeks I turn XX.

I was thinking about being XX and was about to have a mini panic attack. My brain was rushing through all of the usual age related thoughts that lead to age related panic. You know the ones…

Am I where I thought I’d be? What am I doing with my life? Do I look old? Shit, do I look old while not knowing what I’m doing with my life? Will I be rich? Houses are expensive. Will I be successful? Cripes, what’s success? Fuck… I’m single…

After a short loop of these self-deprecating, spiralling thoughts of bunk-ness, I stopped myself, and shook the feeling of wanting to simultaneously cry and laugh hysterically at the same time.

Another thought popped into my head. “Hey, guy, you have these thoughts every year before your birthday.”

I had the same crisis 1, 2, 3, 4 years ago, and am most likely going to continue to have it at the same point every year until I don’t have any more birthdays. And then the birthday happens, and you forget about it all, and just crack on having a generally good time.

Because the rest of the time you’re not trying to benchmark yourself against an age. It’s impossible to benchmark yourself against anything really, unless you have an identical twin in both looks and personality. And all the identical twins I’ve seen spend most of their time trying to be as different as possible to each other, and would tell a benchmark where to go and stick it.

It’s a comforting thought to think that there is no benchmark, or no definitive answer to “Am I where I need to be?” Because as it would seem, it’s quite difficult to be anywhere else other than where you are.

Like, currently I’m in a park. In London. I have a job in London, is it the right job? I have no fucking idea. Is it the right park? Well I don’t see why not. There is grass, a fountain and quite nice trees so that’s something.

The thing is I’m the one that has to live with where I am, no one else, so as long as I’m happy for more time than I’m not then yeah why not? Stick with it guy. You have good hours, and good minutes. And it’s the sum of all of these that mean you’re happy or you’re not.

And if that changes, and the bad starts to even be considered, then that’s when you go somewhere else where the good outweighs the bad again.

So fine. Turn XX, it’s all going to be OK. And then two weeks before my birthday next year I’ll read this again.

P.s You’re turning 26, you look old, you’re single, you’re not rich, and you’re not successful. You make me sick.

mid-life-crisis

A Completely Accurate And Well Researched Book Review Of ‘Pensions And Wealth In Retirement’ by John Greenwood.

Today in London it is raining a little bit more than usual. In an attempt to make the most of it all, I decided it would be a good idea to head to the library to increase my knowledge or something, before I decreased it later on.

What kind of knowledge? I asked myself.  And the first thing that popped into my head was alligators. Why? I have no idea, but somewhere in my sub conscious I must have a desire to learn more about alligators, and who am I to deny myself what I want.

I got a bit of pep in my step. I had a plan. I walked through the rain, hopped on the over ground, had some coffee, juice and smashed avocado and entered the Dalston Library.

This is where the mood changes. Libraries are not what I remember. They almost feel like hospitals. They smell a bit funny, the people in there seem a little bit sad, and the books feel like they have been forgotten about. It’s also very difficult to find a book about alligators.

To say I searched high and low would be completely un-true.  I gave the shelves a thirty second sweep, came up empty handed and decided to select the first book that jumped out at me, and write a review on it, and this is what I’ve done.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, the review of ‘Pensions & Wealth in Retirement’ by John Greenwood.

 Image

 

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To begin at the beginning, John Greenwood is not the sort of man you would invite to your dinner party. He has a chip on his shoulder. He comes from a long line of Greenwoods who for generations have been Park Rangers. For years, Greenwood fathers have passed on their knowledge of the forests to their sons. The centaurs, the fauns, what berries to eat, which fairies you should avoid, but this was not the life that John wanted.

John wanted to write. Upon telling his father this he was banished from the forest and cut off from his family. This did nothing to quell his determination and for 20 years he worked and researched until finally he finished his book. It was his magnum opus. It was Pensions & Wealth in Retirement and to him it was perfect.

A quick scan of the book confirmed my greatest fears. John Greenwood’s Pensions & Wealth in Retirement does not mention alligators once. Whether he has overlooked the importance of alligators to ones retirement or he simply has some kind of prejudice against these wonderful creatures, it reaffirms the original statement that John Greenwood is not the sort of man you would invite to your dinner party.

The opening sentence: “It is worth asking yourself what sort of retirement you visualise yourself having” is strong, but if one were really being true to ones audience, they would re-work the sentence to say “It is worth asking yourself what sort of alligator you see yourself retiring with,” a huge oversight by John and his editors.

Phrases like “Annuity Risk” and “Stakeholder Pensions” could have been improved ten fold simply by inserting the word alligator. “Alligator Risk” and “Stakeholder Alligator” just flow off the tongue. Am I right?

The book also foolishly does not feature one diagram of an alligator, which as we know improves a book at least 70%.

Image 

The book comes to a crashing and wholly unremarkable conclusion, with a chapter on offshore pensions, which to me sound like they are illegal and downright reckless, and finishes with the sentence: “You should ask your advisor about the level of investor protection offered in the jurisdiction where the QPOPS arrangement is in place in the event that the provider goes bust,” in which it is clear that John has started making up words and is quite possibly drunk.

All in all the two sentences I read in this book have left me feeling disappointed and unsatisfied, like a hungry alligator with an empty lighter belly (see diagram above). I give John Greenwood’s ‘Pensions And Wealth In Retirement’ 7/80 alligator teeth and hope to see John returning to the forest and reuniting with the remaining Greenwoods where he can really make a difference.

Alligator. 

Dear Corporate World

Smile more.

It’s really not that bad.

Smile more when you’re commuting to work. Smile more when you’re sitting at your desk eating breakfast. Smile more when you’re in the elevator and someone else gets in.

The trick to smiling is to move the muscles either side of your mouth up slightly and lift your eyebrows a little bit. To help, in the beginning think about a time when you were happier. Perhaps when you dived into the ocean over summer, or when someone told you they liked you.

It can be quite a tricky thing to do, so maybe try a few in the mirror when you’re brushing your teeth, then start off with one on the way to work each day. And then build up from there. 

Be careful though, because there can be some consequences to smiling at people. Some people may think you are a little bit strange, but others may smile back at you. Some of these may, after a few smiles begin a conversation with you which could lead in to a friendship or romance. You may accidentally brighten someone’s morning, who then in turn may brighten someone else’s morning, and it could turn into a world-wide epidemic. So if you’re against this then keep doing what you’re doing.

But it’s really not that bad, and if it is, then you should go back to the place you imagined when you were happier and start there again.

Image

Image: A Sloth smiling whilst hard at work. Note the sides of his mouth are elevated and he seems warm and friendly. 

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