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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Roadside Experiments

Well, there she was. Which was not ideal, for if she was over here then I wouldn't have had to shout against a background of heavy traffic noise. So, I believe she can hardly be blamed for any of the subsequent misunderstandings, except of course the incident with the weasel.

However, the weasel is now receiving intensive trauma counselling, so it is possible that later a line may be drawn under that particular aspect of the experience.

Although, current psychological evidence does suggest that the weasel may never be fully at ease... ever again. Especially in the near vicinity of a cheese and sweet pickle baguette.

However, such setbacks should not divert us from the bigger picture and the great advances made in our understanding of human sexuality. In particular how it relates – or not – to the lay-by. Especially during the early evening rush hour.

As well, of course, as the significant increase in our understanding of cheese and sweet pickle-related trauma in impressionable young weasels. A subject which, I'm sure you will agree, modern science has woefully left unresearched. Even despite the more than generous research funds available from the EU for such vital research.

Anyway, so there she was dressed in the full leather outfit and ready for our research project to begin. At least, until the police patrol arrived and insisted we erect the barriers to avoid distracting the passing drivers. In particular the drivers heavy goods vehicles. The police claimed there was a possibility of us causing a severe road accident when the aforesaid driver became aware of a rather under-dressed young lady striking nubile posses in a lay-by near Redditch. Which, if you have ever driven around Redditch will make you understand why those drivers were in dire need of any distraction available.

Still. The erection of several large cricket sight-screens in a lay-by did cause more inconvenience, we are sure – than any provocatively-dressed young lady would have done. Consequently, the entire lay-by was soon full of haphazardly-parked vehicles as their drivers stopped to see what was going on.

This, unfortunately, meant that any results we gathered from our research immediately became invalidated by the crowds of observers. For as we all know the nubility index of any young lady is often erratically perturbed by the number of observers present.

Therefore we had no alternative but to abandon the experiment for that day.
However, we plan to try again, but this time somewhere in the vicinity of Luton where – it is said – drivers are immured to all roadside distractions, no matter how provocative.

However, we shall have to wait for our experimental confirmation of this sometime in the near future before it can be stated without equivocation or the possibility of statistical error.

[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US).]

Friday, April 18, 2014

Couldn’t Stand the Weather

It was cold.

It was wet.

It was normal.

Plunk looked up at the sky, the clouds were grey. The bits of the sky were there were no clouds were grey too. There was a slightly lighter grey over where Plunk assumed the sun would be. ‘Bloody weather.’ He spoke without rancour or hostility, just stating a fact. He gathered his cloak around him and shoved at the door with his shoulder.

The damp-swollen door shuddered open and the cold wind threw a handful of rain straight into Plunk’s face. ‘Bugger,’ he said, again more as a statement of fact than a curse. He’d given up cursing the weather the day they’d found and killed the weather god. Plunk didn’t think there was much point in cursing the weather now there was no god to listen, but old habits do die hard… much as weather gods die, come to that. Plunk’s mouth tried to remember how to smile at the memory as he trudged head down through the puddles and the wind-thrown rain towards his barn.

Plunk couldn’t remember whether the weather was better before they’d killed the weather god, as some staunch religionists claimed. Somehow he doubted it, gods, like lords, like kings and everyone else who managed to grab some power – to Plunk’s mind – were all the same. As long as they were warm and dry and had all the food, drink and women their wealth and power could get them, then they couldn’t give a stuff for ordinary folk.

Plunk opened his barn door and smiled at his flock of ducks, who - contrary to local folklore - seemed more than happy to be inside out of the rain.

There was a rustle and she emerged from the stacked hay on the hayloft above his head. Plunk grabbed for his hayfork. ‘Who are you?’

She floated down the ladder, her feet not appearing to step on the rungs. ‘Don’t you recognise me, Plunk?’

Ye… y… Yes, Goddess,’ Plunk felt his knees bending as he pulled his cap from his head. ‘What do you want with me?’ He risked a glance up from his lowered eyes.

As you may know, our weather god had… a bit of an accident.’

Plunk nodded, not looking up, as his hands worried and wrung his rain-soaked cap.

The Goddess reached out and lifted his chin. Her hand was soft, warm and dry. She looked into his eyes. ‘We have decided, the next weather god… it is going to be you.’

Oh, shit,’ Plunk said.

[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US)]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Watching Paint Dry

After an initially uncertain start in the ratings, it looks as though the UK's latest celebrity-based reality show is now going from strength to strength.

Celebrity Watching Paint Dry (CWPD) has already come to dominate the early Saturday evening viewing schedules with an almost five-to-one lead over its nearest celebrity reality show rival, AntnDec's Celebrity Lawn Watching. A programme deliberately placed against CWPD in the vital early evening weekend viewing schedules.

The host of CWPD, the irrepressibly smug centenarian all-round entertainer Undercoat Slapdash is credited with making the show such a success. Of course, allied with the almost unbearable tension of watching celebrities, usually with the attention span of a bewildered gnat (unless looking in a mirror), stare at a wall of drying paint for as long as they are able.

Most of the show's viewers put its overwhelming success down to the fact that watching paint dry is far more riveting than watching anything else currently on our TV screens. So they find the entire spectacle of glamorous people watching paint drying in exotic foreign locations really exciting. This is despite the viewers seeing very title of those locations behind the freshly-emulsioned walls. All while Slapdash's voice-over allows the celebrities to tell – in their own monosyllables – of the amazing emotional roller-coaster journey standing in front of that still-tacky paint job takes them on.

Although, now there are rumours that the show's great rival, AntnDec's Celebrity Lawn Watching, is – in its new series – about to unveil a re-jigged format. One where its celebrity's watching the growing laws of some of their closet celebrity friends and greatest rivals. All of which, the channel promises, will make their show the must-see programme every weekend. Particularly as viewers are bound to be fascinated by the lawns of the rich and famous.

However, only time will tell which of these great examples of the TV programme-makers art will survive and prosper in the cut-throat world of TV entertainment.

[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US).]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Initiation

Then it was over. I looked down at my hands, then back up. It didn’t seem possible. The languid smoke rose from where they had stood a few yards in front of me. One boot remained upright and smoking as the one next to it crumbled into a pile of thick black ash. The rest was a scorch mark.

I looked down at my hand, my finger still pointed at where they now weren’t, but it shook and trembled. I made sure it stayed pointing away from me.

See?’ a voice said from behind me.

I did not want to turn and see the old man with the long white beard. He looked too much like a wizard, a sorcerer, especially now I knew all he’d told me was true.

I stared at the finger that had just killed the three…. They weren’t human, I knew that.

What…?’ My voice was uncertain, unsure of what I wanted it to say. For a moment, I almost pointed… then I remembered what that finger had just done. I shuddered, wishing I had a holster to put my finger in, or at least a safety catch on it.

What what?’ I heard him shuffling closer behind me, the tap of his staff on the stony ground. I wondered if I would need the beard and the staff, too… was it compulsory?

What were they? What did I do? What is going on?’ I turned to him, making sure my finger pointed at the ground between us. ‘|Just… basically…. What the fu…?’

The old man opened his arms. ‘Welcome to the club,’ he said.

You are now – officially – a wizard,’ he said. ‘Well done.’

Oh, shit.’

[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US)]

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Britain's Leading Illusionist

Spellcheck Ratlicker is – without a doubt – Modern Britain's leading illusionist. For years he has left audiences spellbound at the incredible illusions he performs in his live stage shows. Where, each night, capacity audiences are made to believe in the illusion of his talents.

Five years ago, Ratlicker amazed sell-out audiences up and down the land when he made thousands of paying audience members believe they were getting value for their money at his shows. Up to and including the 'special' souvenir show programmes. These cost £15 each for three pages of adverts, a two-paragraph biography cut-and-pasted from his website and an out of focus photograph of Ratlicker himself deluding a pair of homing pigeons into thinking he was a top-flight entertainer.

Ratlicker began on the club circuit where he would perform the traditional sawing a woman in half illusion. Often leaving a hastily restitched together lady, feeling somewhat bewildered and light-headed from blood-loss, a trail of blood and several other clues as he fled the scene only moments before the police arrived. Soon, however, he was running low on women that desperate to appear in show business. He then had to resort to sawing politicians in half, which while not quite so spectacular did mean the police no longer wished him to help with their enquiries. Especially as none of the halves of the women ever made claims of inappropriate sexual impropriety against him, even after Ratlicker sawed them in half.

After that, with the limited number of replacement glamorous assistants, or even politicians, available to him in such a situation, Ratlicker had to change his act. Particularly when he was booked to perform on cruise ships. There, he performed a daredevil stunt by diving naked into a tank of ravenous sharks and surviving there unmolested.

However, it was discovered that he was cheating by smearing his body with the cruise ship chef's special sauce. A substance that even ravenous sharks would not contemplate, no matter how desperately hungry they became.

These days, his act is mainly him sitting in a clear perspex box for as long as the audiences can tolerate, or until he gets a TV contract. Which, considering the state of current TV cannot be that long.

So we can look forward to seeing much more of Spellcheck Ratlicker on our TVs, unless we are lucky enough to have made other arrangements for those particular evenings.

[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US).]

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ah, Those Sexy Castanets

It happens, albeit not as often as back in the days of yore, or even mine. But, occasionally, there is still a sign of life in the old thing. Especially when she does that thing with the castanets and the current Argos catalogue.

Still, having said – or, at least, typed - that, I must admit that age does come to us all. With it, the ageing process brings many deprecations of the physical and the mental. Often, it gets to be the case that what is desired – even yearned for (as in the case of the Argos catalogue and the castanets) cannot be physically achieved. There is also the case that the physical is possible but you can't remember why you came in here, and why you are holding the spoon.

However, as I was saying, there are not all that many of then in Spain, especially in the more coastal regio....

Hang on, that wasn't it....

Anyway, there she was posed intimately with the Rear Admiral (as it were) and the commander of the Fleet Air Arm, both immersed in the bath full of lukewarm custa....

No, it wasn't that, either.

Hang on, I'll remember what it was I was going to say - and/or type - in a minute... as soon as I remember what I was going to do with this spoon....

Hang on, is that the sound of castanets I hear? Is that also the tell-tale rustling of the pages of a current Argos catalogue too?

Now I remember why she wanted the spoon.... and the handcuffs....

Duty calls....


[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US).]

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Time of the Lesser Gods

Now as at all times I can see in the minds eye, in their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones outside the fish and chip shop. But those days are over now and those in need of the holy benediction of hot chips go elsewhere and follow other – lesser - gods.

There was a time, when this was fish and chip shops as far as the eye could see. Well, as far as the eye could see at closing time when we fell out of the pub. But for some reason, back then there was something in the atmosphere – possibly some kind of industrial pollution – which affected the sight after only a few hours in the pub. Making even the avoidance of a collision with a street light sometimes very problematical indeed.

Of course, some blamed the beer, but that was mere foolishness. Except, possibly, in the case of the Bull's Head. A pub where there was a strong suspicion the landlord served industrial effluent instead of beer. But, usually by the time we got to the Bull's Head such acts of connoisseurship were often – at best – mere philosophical speculation.

Still, the day came when the first kebab appeared upon the face of the land. Of course, there were some who regarded it with suspicion, with Sceptical Stan wanting to kill it with a stick. But for others of a more questioning nature it was the kind of challenge they liked to rise to – or at least stumble towards – once the pubs were closed.

Soon the kebab shops were everywhere. They became just as much of a tradition as the tradition they replaced. Then those wise – or brave - enough to pontificate to the general bewilderment of those alongside them in the queue about such things are told, in the wise words of the prophet Nhigel to 'shut the fuck up'.

[Books by David Hadley are available here (UK) or here (US).]