For reasons far too complicated to go into here - or anywhere - there are no rehearsals tonight. So the moment my beloved hit the button to bring up the dreaded Coronation Street theme tune, I grabbed the 'pooter, and have started tapping.
Actually, I took the chance to transfer a little music first. Among the albums I have recently acquired is the one I'm currently thundering into my ears: Tori Amos, "Spark'. Not new, but WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME ABOUT HER BEFORE??
Probably, of course, because I wouldn't have listened.
I have come to understand that I am no longer 28. Or even 38. I caught a quiet little cold last week, and it has thrashed me. I've never before coughed so much. It seems to take a little longer to recover from even minor bugs like a cold. People, of course, did ask me if I had the 'flu. No, dear. If I had the 'flu, I would have been in bed, hoping to die.
Oh. Yes. I was in bed, wishing I was dead.
But there is someone in this home who looks even worse than I've been feeling, and that is the new resident, Susan. One may look at her, and think she bears a startling resemblance to the darling Jenny, except for the Black Eye. (Black-Eyed Susan? Geddit? No? Ah, well, I tried.) Jenny was putting the rubbish out on Wednesday morning (I was crook in bed) and she noticed that someone has dropped some McDonald's wrappers on our berm. She bent to pick the litter up, and her foot slipped. She hit the concrete pavement face first, hip second. She has more bruises than a Springbok forward.
I'll give you a proper catch-up on Sunday. in the meantime: Kia kaha, and think nice thoughts. They won't do me any good, but they may well help you.
Listening to: Tori Amos. See above.
Reading: Superluminal, Tony Daniel. Well, I'm about to start it, anyway.
More "Paper Heroes":
in his trade, leading skirmishers at the leading edge of a battle, whistles and hand signals often took the place of shouted commands.
“We have brought you to us, without your say, because we need you. We need you to do something we cannot do. We want you to go – no, we need you to go and destroy the facility in ‘Merika which sends out these radio beams, and causes so many of us to lose our control and kill each other. We have no other defence against this weapon of the Henrys. You are our only hope.”
“We know,” said the man named Paulus, “that we have committed a crime against you. Our predicament, we feel, gave us no option. We brought you here against your will –“
“We were dead,” said John Prester, tiredly. The weariness of a world left behind stained his voice. “A bit difficult to send us a note asking for permission, I would have thought?” A gentle murmur of laughter swept around the table. Blunt nodded to Whistler, instructing him to stand down from his readiness. He smiled to himself – they had no idea of the violence Whistler could visit upon a room full of enemies. Hanno pulled his dagger from his belt and thumped the tabletop with its hilt. Blunt pointed to him.
“Hanno? You wish to speak?”
“Aye,” grunted Hanno, Barbarian King and God-Emperor. “I would ask these, what can we call them?” His voice was savage. “These weaklings? Yes, that will do for now. Weaklings!” He glared at Charles, “Tell me what you offer us. You want us, a mere six mortals, mortals who have already known the pain of death, to go and destroy this machine, and to make your puny lives safe. Why should we? What do you offer?”
“Our thanks,” replied Charles, quietly. Even though he had prepared for this first meeting, he could feel his embots battling the stirrings of – was it fear? Nothing he had imagined could have readied him to face the raw hostility, the air of violence. “And – your life.”
“I’d say you were a little late in offering us our life in return for this job,” drawled the small Texan, Justin Grey. “Way I see it, I’m alive right now. And if you say you can’t ‘visit violence upon another man’ then I figure you ain’t got no magic trigger which is going to kill us, neither.” His gentle Southern accent did nothing to soften the steel in his words.
“Yes, Mr Grey,” said Cienwyn. “You are, of course, right. We have given you back your lives. We cannot take them back.”
She tight-beamed to Charles “This isn’t going the way we planned! These people are supposed to be in awe of their surroundings. In awe of us!” He looked at her, and signalled back “I know. I think that we have remade them all too well: I doubt that these men ever held anyone in awe before. Has our desperation led us to an error in thinking?”
The meeting, once again, was starting to break down. Hanno and Whistler were rumbling at each other, Crayne and Grey were talking, the smaller man slamming a fist into his palm, emphasising a point. Prester sat alone, silent, head bowed. Blunt raised a fist, and thumped it down onto the top of his table, which splintered and fell. “Enough!” he cried. “Enough!” He pointed to Charles and Adam. “You two, leave us. You, boy: your name?”
“Paulus, sir,” said the shaken technician.
“Paulus. And you, woman. Your name?”
“You two: stay.”