Thursday, February 28, 2008

Private Dick

Frank was in danger of lapsing back into Catholicism. It was that last glass of Campari which had just been one too many, and now sinister and subversive thoughts were stealing across his cerebellum with willful and wily alliterative intent. Transubstantiation might not just be a poor excuse for bad sleight of hand (seven years in seminary - surely enough for even the dullest seminarian to master a bit of simple palming!); confessionals needn't just be to save the pounds that pervy old Irishmen would otherwise fritter away on premium rate wank lines; and the whole shebang might not just be an outlet by which the closet cases of the world could have their camp cake and eat it.

He shrugged his shoulder and got to his foot. A passing sign told him that you're only ever half a man without Jesus. He grimaced, remembering the cute bit of Mexican trade who had stolen his wallet in return for what was probably the best blow-job the little shit had ever had.

A furtive man was glancing at him from the opposite side of the street, making a conspicuous effort to appear shifty. Frank saw through him like he was yesterday's countdown conundrum (washboard). He held no mystery, just a small dick and a tight throat. Why he was holding a throat will remain unknown. It was his own, as was the dick. Or at least until the hire-purchase people caught up with him.

A yellow net curtain hung in the shop window, and as he stared through it at the antique sweets within, he thought he saw the pattern in the net rearrange itself into an autostereogram of William Burroughs shooting up with heroin. Billow. It was gone. The tampax dummy in the window went on drying her hair as the fan restarted. Frank moved on before toxic shock set in. Serried ranks of solemn shops sailed past, echoing an earlier alliterative allusion and adding assonance as an alternative angle.

It was turning into one of those days. The initial bad sign had been when someone has almost discovered his secret identity. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a piece of foam shaped round a metal prong? Is it a rip-off? Yes and no, it's Thigh Master. With a final steamy whistle, that train of thought vanished into the distance. Even the favoured trick of sticking his head out of a high rise to admire the vertical horizon had failed, although he did succeed in donating a satisfyingly thick gobbet of phlegm to the sparse covering of a passer-by's head.

Perhaps it was time to become a lesbian.

A blush added brief fire to his cheeks for no other reason than that his corpuscles needed the exercise. Someone was playing Fur Elise badly on a piano with a flat A. Who was dealing these cards, anyway?

His apartment eventually made its ponderous way to his demanding feet, and with a sigh he headed for the cool comfort of the lift. There was only one letter waiting for him. The rest had been too impatient. It was an invitation to a party at 'The Gobbling Nun'. He didn't recognise the name of the sender. It was nobody he knew. He knew a lot of nobodys.


Da Nator said...

It's always time to become a lesbian.

Seriously, though, that was brilliant. Best first paragraph I've read it a long while, for sure.

One thing to be careful of: if a piece gets longer, a constant barrage of one- (or two-) liners can get tiring. That said, you've got a great start here. I was afraid it might be recycled Adams or Python, but you've got a nice, funny tone all your own.

Qenny said...

> It's always time to become a lesbian.

I would agree, except I'm lacking a couple of the essential qualifications, alas.

I think I stopped where I did because although I was enjoying writing it at the time, I realised that it would very quickly become tiresome if I kept it up in that vein.

I think my favourite sentence is the one about Fur Elise. I don't know why. I'm also very fond of the last three sentences, as a group.

Delighted that you liked it, dear heart, and thank you for the encouraging words and kindly advice.


Tickersoid said...

No interviews today then?

Brilliant! OK, some of the gags went over my head and I had to ask mum what some of the big words meant but very funny.

Atomised said...

Loved it Qenny - thankyou.Very funny. As they used to say in my hometown in their honeyed Stephen Fry tones - "Excellent big man - pure pished maself at that!"

Qenny said...

tickersoid: no, no interviews. Maybe next week. But I wrote this years and years ago. I mean 18 to 20 years ago. It's OLD.

atomised: I recommend adult diapers :)

FirstNations said...

If thats what you were capable of at 18-19, dear man why haven't you written more of the same??? you think sideways! the extra unexpectedness makes me gnaw my flesh with envy!

Qenny said...

Thank you, FN. Life gets in the way of writing, alas, and a serious lack of discipline doesn't help :(

Inexplicable DeVice said...

See, now you've made me jealous! I want to write as eloquently funny and bigwordedly as you.


I'd grudgingly buy any book you published and try and stifle my laughter.

Qenny said...

But there you go - using words like eloquent with eloquence, and bigwordedly which is itself a big word.

No fear of having to fork out for my literary endeavours any time soon, though.