I joined Twitter recently. And went absolutely nowhere with it. I realised fairly early on that one really needs to stay looking at the screen 24/7, or carry around a cellphone answering Twittery-texts. Neither of which I'm prepared to do.
But I am reading an awful lot about how marvellous Twitter is: the social connectedness that lets one tell everyone else that you're having sliced banana with your cornflakes and yoghurt for breakfast is, apparently, an empowering thing.
Actually, I can't see it, myself. I couldn't care less what my friends, rellies, and favourite enemies are having for breakfast. Nonetheless, the challenge of writing pithily in 140 characters or less is intriguing. So, if I were to be someone who Twote on Twitter, here's what I'd tweet today:
Every time I approach a pedestrian x-ing in AKL, the traffic stops for me. Never saw that happen in Taupo.
Jenny read the first 20 pages of "Quiet Woman" the novella yesterday, and loved it. Will finish it, and get back to work on "47".
It just struck me: the new drink-drive crash commercial is a rip off of my short story, "47". Except my characters aren't drunk, or male.
Clio, our calico cat, has become very clingy since Spike died. The male cats next-door are becoming bold: have bought a water pistol. Splat.
Can't even get a job as a sh*t, p*ss, and blood courier driver. It's getting very annoying.
But Jenny may have a job! Yay!
Three days a week is better than nothing, and better than I'm doing: I've gone too long without work.
If you see me on a TV commercial, will you still respect me in the morning? Look for me on Shortland Street, a new Lotto commercial, and a new one for a telecommunications crown.
Be nice when they pay me.
Am listening to Antony & The Johnsons. Thought: are they the Johnsons that get swivelled on?
Have scored a couple of months free gym membership: body suffering, but arthritic pain going. All is good.
Am wondering if I'm running low on courage. I think I am. Will feel better after writing another 2,000 words of "Quiet Woman".
Have read "Transmetropolitan" comix. Add Warren Ellis to list of great comix writers.
Have looked at home bookshelves for something to re-read. Alexander pope recommends a re-read as being the best thing you can do to a book. Checking Adam Hall - better than Le Carre.
Thinking about Jenny: at 58, she's not beautiful. But she is the loveliest person I know.
Hmm. It seems you can get quite a lot communicated with just a few words. But is this stuff my precious friends, rellies, and favourite enemies need to know? Frankly, I doubt it. I can't help thinking that I just ain't that interesting.
WORD OF THE DAY: Melliferous. making or producing honey. Nice that it's so close to melliflous.
READING TODAY: I want to finish the O'Neill book (Netherlands) today, but probably won't. I keep putting it down and gasping. I'll tell you about it in the next post, but as an advance hint, here goes: it is, by miles and streets, the best book I've read this year. I'll give you a snippet from it tomorrow.
LISTENING TO: Antony & The Johnsons, "I'm a Bird". Sublime.
More about Henry.... and Mary, of course.
“Yes’m. He’s all right.” What’s up with her, then? Still, it is her brother.
“He’s all right? He’s been shot! What the hell’s Henry doing, getting shot?” Jesus Christ on a bloody pole!
“Don’t know, Marm.” Safe, that.
“Where?” Tell me, tell me he’s really all right.
“In the –“ God I don’t know, in the, in the, vague movements of the hand, pointing here, indicating there, flittering like a wounded sparrow’s wings, then settling on the backside. It, too, is cute.
“No. Whereabouts. What street. Where?” Snarling, very feral now, by god I’m a cop, I protect people like Henry, I don’t let people like Henry wander about getting shot. Shit. Shit. Shit!
“Ugglesworth Street, Miss. At the bank.” I’m the messenger! Don’t shoot m – oh.
“Marm.” A short bark. The, “ Which bank?” Christ! Henry?
“There’s only one bank on Ugglesworth Street, Mi- Marm.” Help!
“Ah. Right.” And Charlie is off, trailing Chanel Number 5 and the bittersweet tang of hot ginseng tea, which is soaking her blue slacks. Her car is a clapped-out Falcon, only four years old, come on you bitch start, start! On the way. What the hell has Henry been doing to get himself shot in the arse at a bank? Should have stopped to get more info. Watch the speed, watch the speed, don’t want to kill a kid.
Two more turns, and she’s on Ugglesworth Street, stopping clear of the cluster of flashing lights and noise and turmoil. She bullies her way through the crowd, accidentally oh so very sorry putting her entire weight onto the heel that crushes Jason Timmings’ in-step and makes him yelp in pain and almost but not quite drop his camera. Oh well, bad day at the paper, Jase?
Timmings is a journalist, and is Charlie’s second ex-husband. He is also an utter prick, and cares little that the victim is Charlie’s brother. Charlie breaks through the crowd, and sees Henry on the ground, sitting, leaning back against a lamp-post, and clutching his calf. Ah. Not in the bum, then. A paramedic, young Wally Simpson, who couldn’t blow his nose if his brains were dynamite, is trying to tell Henry that he needs to get on the trolley.
“Mr. Talbot, oh please Mr. Talbot, we need to get you to hospital.”
Upon which Henry says something, which he has never said in all his life, no, not for the whole 45 years, two months, one week three days and yes, 14 hours 7 minutes and timing of being.
He said, quite simply: “Fuck off.”
It’s strange how a sudden silence can deafen you.
Henry is quite possibly better known in Northridge than the mayor. Henry was born there, attended three schools there, joined the Scouts there, buried his father there, got married there, has lived with and loved Mary there, raised a son there, played cricket and rugby there, and almost everything else important in Henry’s life has been done there. But there two things Henry has never done there: one, he’s never gone to prison there, and two: he has never sworn. Not in public, not in private, not even when he thumps his thumb with a hammer. Well, almost never. More about that later.
Henry smiles, and licks his lips, as though savouring the flavour of the words.
“Yes, Wally. Fuck off. I am not going to hospital. I have a tiny wee hole in my leg, I am going to Doctor Know’s little surgery, and he will patch the tiny wee hole up. Ah, Charlie!”
Charlie is frozen. If Jason Timmings had copped a feel of her left breast she couldn’t have been more astonished. “Henry?” she says.
“Come on, Sis. Give me a hand up.”
“Did your jokers get the boy who did it? I thumped him pretty hard, but I’m afraid I don’t know –“
“Yeah, we got him, Henry.” This is Senior Sergeant Barry Thorndike, Charlie’s boss, and one of oh, about seven thousand men in Northridge who thinks Charlie has a terrific rear end. “We need you in hospital, mate, and I need a statement.”
Henry’s feeling rather good. “But I don’t need me in hospital, Bazza. So you can fuck off, too. If you want a statement, come around to my place in, say, an hour. Make it two. I’m feeling all weak, dazed, and girlish, and am in no fit state to be talking with coppers right now. And bring some Scotch with you. You owe me several gallons.”
Charlie helps Henry to his feet, and together they limp across the road to Doctor Know’s rooms. Tiny drops of blood mark their progress. Henry stops, turns around, and calls back to Thorndike.
“And malt, Bazza! The MacAllan!”
Charlie gets Henry to the doorway, and asks, “Henry? Are you all right?”
“Actually, Charlie, I really don’t think so, right now. I have to say that this being shot business hurts like, like –“
“Like hell?” She grins. Jesus. I’ve never seen Henry so unbent. Should have shot him years ago.
“Exactly. No: it hurts like fuck, dear girl. Now listen. Drop me off here at the Doc’s, there’s a good girl, and could you and Wolf get John and pop around home tonight? There’s something I need to talk to you about.”
Wolf Schmidt is Austrian, and is also Charlie’s third husband, and it does look like a case of third time lucky. There’s a very good possibility that a man has never been so ill-named. He’s a weedy little man, a good foot shorter and 20 kilos lighter than Charlie, much given to wearing lederhosen at Christmas, smoking twisted cigars that are made by Bavarian nuns, and laughing recklessly at moody 1960s Scandinavian movies that drive everyone else to thoughts of self-immolation.
“Bullshit,” says Charlie. “I’ll wait here with you, and that’s fi-“
“You’ll do as I bloody-well ask, young lady!”
“Eh?” Charlie doesn’t know whether to be shocked or offended. This is a side to Henry she’s never seen.
“Please, Charlie,” conciliatory now. “It’s important. Hello, Madge.” This last to the good Doctor’s receptionist, who is looking horrified at Henry. “Sorry about the language, and get Joe into your patch-up room. Now.”
“Yes sir, Mr. Talbot.” says Madge. She flees, and Joseph Know makes his presence felt.
“Och, we-eell, noo, and whut are we havin’ here Janet?”
“Oh, lord,” Henry’s request for on-high comfort is not answered.
“Back so soon, Henry? Och aye the noo! Charlie! Long time no see, and I’m all the poorer for it. Has Henry told you about his –“
“Later, John,” snaps Henry. “Time to stitch me up, and we’ll –“
“But you will tell –“
“Would everyone for fuck’s sake belt up?” Henry’s is delighting in the word, and is relishing the power of it. Charlie sits down.
“Charlie – about Wolf and John? Please – get them together, and come around home in a couple of hours. No. No. Better make it tomorrow. Have them come tomorrow. You too. No. Not then. I don’t know. Bother.” That’s more like it, thinks Charlie. Henry carries on “Can you come around tonight, alone? There’s something I need to get sorted, and I think Mary will need you. Yes. I’ll do the report thing with your boss tomorrow morning. Oh – and call Alison, next door, and ask her to look in on Mary, and to stay with her until I get home. Or better yet whip round there yourself, there’s a love. Let her know I’m all right, and it’d be nice if you were there to kick Jason Timmings in the arse if he shows up.”
“It’s important, Charlie. Really important.”