The first piece in the above mention series is now available as an audio book on YouTube!
The first piece in the above mention series is now available as an audio book on YouTube!
Lawks! Behold readers! One has achieved a remarkable feat for such a techno-phobic forest dwelling goat boy, I’m on you tube!
There’s a good hand full of short fiction audio books already up there, mostly for young adults, but given time I shall convert all my pieces into audio format. WATCH THIS SPACE!
They are lovingly read by my good self or some other poor fool I’ve cajoled into doing it for me much more professionally. They also feature concept art and pretty pictures from either myself or some other like minded lovely person who has donated.
Does your phone or tablet keep getting wet whilst trying to read Satyr Tales at the same time as doing the washing up? Now you can have me read to you!
Fed up of crashing your car or bicycle into a hedge every time you need to swipe a screen on the latest silly tale from the Satyr? No fret, just let me read it to you! Hands free!
Fed up of listening to inane, repetitive commercial clap trap on your iPod whilst exercising? Say no more! Satyr Tales Audio is for you!
Enjoy readers and listening, my gift to you! All I ask of in return is that you like, share, subscribe and comment.
The whole never-ending maze felt like they were crawling section by section, compartment to compartment through one massive rusting machine. Or perhaps through the internal systems of some great, slumbering, ancient and infirm monster. Complete with associate smells and leaky bits.
The uniform, block stone walls were slick and sticky from insect poo and mould. The wreak of ancient air, harsh metal and good oil was practically edible.
There was a permanent sound track to their progress, a detached underlying bass hum. Always one persistent, dramatic, foreboding note constantly just on the edge of auditory periphery. This was accented every so often by a burp of escaping gas or wheeze of steam; either that or the occasional muffled rumble as chunks of either stone or metal moved about unseen.
To Burrs heightened and already frayed senses he half expected a massive foamy tongue or tsunami of fizzy stomach acids to come slurping round the next corner or out of the next door.
Normally his usually amiable Dwarfish associate would be very happy and very much at home here. But due to Burrs anxious presence he was very much not. Burr turned his attention back to said squat engineer who had finally calmed down enough to allow actual words and sentences to form. To Burr, it sounded like a distant thunderstorm gathering up all its pent up wrath…
‘…Burr, I have the patience of one of those Sunna Saints of yours.’ The dwarf’s eyes were tightly closed and his whole body was so rigid he vibrated. The storm grew more fractious and rumbled ever nearer. He continued, ‘I’ll have you know that I can hold my focus and nerve even when bombs are dropping and enemies are at large at my back and Mother Nature is doing her best to lay us low…’
‘Yes, I’m sorry, Bottkrak. It’s just…’
The storm was very much overhead and all enveloping…
‘…But what does send me kilter out of kelter is when I’m doing fine locksmith work like this and folk are whining and whinging and pacing up and down and asking me ‘HOW LONG NOW?’
The dwarf finally opened his fierce eyes and pointed a wide, hairy, grubby, stubby finger into the fat man’s face and bellowed ‘One break in my concentration and we’ll both be horrifically killed in milliseconds! But anymore crap, Pork Glugger and I’m going to take great pleasure in breaking this door down with your head. Understand?’
All of a once the storm broke, either that or Burr was luckily in the eye of it. The light spatter of the commencing precipitation cooled his forehead. Or maybe that was just his ‘I’m soon to be dead’ sweat pouring down his forehead.
‘Yes, of course. I’m so sorry, it’s just I’m a little nervous. He stammered. ‘And hungry. And thirsty…And cold.’
The oppresive gathering of dark clouds blew out of the many stony cracks and crevices then made a hasty retreat presumably toward the horizon; That just left the pair of them in that tiny, dark, dank, dirty room.
‘As am I, Lardicus. As am I.’ rumbled the dwarf turning back to his work his anger apparently spent. ‘Hell of a thust on me. Haven’t had a beer in nigh-on a day and a night. But soon as I’m through this door everything will be well. Now concentrate, Plumper; pass me the three-quater inch Cocksprocket.’
‘I’m afraid I don’t know what a Cocksprocket looks like’ whined Burr, gingerly poking around in the Dwarfs’ expansive armour-plated tool box. ‘Is this it?’ he said hopefully, holding up something drippy with some sort of nozzle flapping about on top.
‘By Bumgrims Red Hot Poker, buck up man!’ there again, that distant rumble of thunder. ‘How have you gone through life this clueless? Do you want to get out of here this year? Alive? With all your limbs on the right way?’
‘Sorry, I’ve had no real experience in tinkering or machinery. These tools are all so strange to me.’
The short man gawked at the fat man. ‘You mean to tell me that you haven’t so much as changed a wheel on a horse cart before? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t changed the wheel on a cart before. Won’t get very far in life not knowing how to change the wheel on a horse cart.’
‘Well no, see, where I’m from horse and carts aren’t really used anymore.’
‘What? Why? How are you supposed to get your beer from the brewery to the tavern then?’
‘Erm. Well, by a wheeled mechanical device; a combustion engine I believe it’s called.’
The crouching dwarf turned again and raised a shaggy eye brow. He waved a pointy ended tool in Burrs general direction. ‘I know what’cha mean, one of them new steam powered buggers, eh. Trains and barges and such?’
‘Sort of, it’s called a car!’
‘Oh, well that’s more like it. Thank Bonki’s Hammer Head, you had me worried then. Hold up…’ The brazen beardy bastard paused his work once more. ‘So you can change a wheel on one o’ them contraptions but not on a horse cart?’
‘Well, no actually. Neither really.’
The dwarf’s eyes rolled around the places on his head where hair was slightly less prolific. ‘Useless. Utterly useless.’ He grumbled as he returned to technical in hand. ‘My kin have yet to develop a word to chastise folk like you, Burr. Simply because we’ve never met anyone like you before. Remind me why the Companionship took you into the fold again?’
Burr took a deep breath of the thin, fetid air: ‘Because if you don’t see that I’m safely home soon your world and all you’ve ever know will cease to exist and the very fabric of space, time and reality will rip itself apart in a cataclysm of fire, light and blood…Apparently.’
‘Hm. Well. I suppose you’re right there, Bloatling. Well, hold up then and let me concentrate. Otherwise this cataclysm of yours is going to arrive before we’ve even got out of here.’
After a solid half hour of abject silence and absent minded thumb twiddling Burr finally worked up the courage to attempt to break the monotony.
‘So tell me, er, Noble Dwarf, why haven’t your people developed a machine that can do all the lock picking for you? You just jam it on the door and the machine opens it for you. Or perhaps a magical teleporting machine that puts you directly into the treasure room without having to go through all this palaver?’
The dwarf turned and shot Burr a look that suggested the fat man had just asked if he could defecate in his toolbox. ‘I want no truck with that new-fangled arcane muck!’ spat the dwarf. ‘Stick to what works, says I.’
Burr gingerly lit a cigarette from his lantern. ‘But surely your people are on the cutting edge of science and technology? You should be world leaders in this sort of thing.’
‘We likes our old, tried and tested ways.’ Grumbled the beard, now with a pair of telescopic eye wear on. ‘Every one of my people is a craftsperson in his or her own right. From the highest to the lowest. Everyone is treated as an equal. No matter their wares.’
‘Well, in that case-why don’t you simply get the biggest, oldest battering ram you’ve got, and knock the whole building down around the treasure room? The rich stuff is bound to survive somehow.’
‘By Gimley’s Stupid Name, that’d never do. That wouldn’t be right at all. Some bugger’s put all their time and effort into this stronghold and all the ingenious traps. Simply busting through the whole lot would be unthinkable. Downright uncivilised. Sacrilegious even. Furthermore, where would be the challenge?’
Burr elbowed himself off the wall to stare directly at the dwarfs busy, rippling back. ‘You mean you and your brotherhood would rather risk life and limb to obtain historic treasure in the most drawn-out obstinate way imaginable. Just to prove you could do it?’
‘Aye, Chunkster. And what, exactly, is wrong with that? Any fool can become a pick pocket or a bank robber. But it takes decades of study and practice in the art of Locksmithery to protect or expose treasures like this.
It’s an understanding we have between the guild of locksmiths and the guild of thieves. ‘They make ‘em, we break ‘em’. No funny business or half measures. S’like an unwritten law. And a dwarf’s word is his bond.’
Burr slumped wetly back against the wall as the lecture continued.
‘S’what heroin’ is all about when you get down to it: risk everything. High reward. If you fail, you weren’t good enough and you probably end up dead.’
Burr sighed rolling his eyes, ‘Wow, your people and their culture. Mind boggling. You really hate embracing the future don’t you? Surely your lot won’t get anywhere by being so close minded and unimaginative. Think outside the box once in a while!’
‘Is racist is that, Podgling. All dwarf folk are pig headed, unimaginative and uninteresting. Not just me. It’s our natural state’. The gruff beard and eyebrows returned to their diligent finger work. ‘Can’t stand folk who are racist.’
‘Apologies, Sir Dwarf. I didn’t mean it that way. Look, can’t you just cut around the lock with that sharp, shiny thingymajig?’
‘Listen here, Fatling, if I tamper anywhere else on this door it’s likely to bring the whole place down around our heads. But worse than that, this bloody thing could reset all of our previous work and I’ll get trapped in this rather confined, airless cupboard with a fat, foul smelling incompetent. Either way, we’ll never find Riskitts Gold, the King of The Southern Gate won’t get his tribute and you’ll never get home. Ah, finally!’
The mighty door swung gently open to reveal another empty, dimly lit, stone chamber. Guttering sconces on the wall exposed a haze of dust dancing around the freshly exposed room.
The dwarf knelt down, eyeing up the flag stone floor and stroking his beard. ‘Ah, cunning old devil…’
‘What, placing a room on the other side of a door? Seems a straight forward practical approach to me.’
‘Holy Oldburns’ Tobacco Pouch! I’ve got no time or patience to berate you Burr, so kindly slap yourself hard in the face and concentrate. Now listen careful, Wobbler: only tred where I tred. An inch out either side and you’ll be impaled, garrotted or cast tumbling down into oblivion.’
‘Surely not all three at once?’
‘Nay, course not. Probably just the one. As I’ve been trying t’ learn ya: This is Artyfeks Attributum, one of the best security systems of The Age. The whole place is wired. It’s not meant to be cruel. Just more of a deterrent. A highly efficient and highly lethal deterrent. Prevention is better than cure, Blobman. Stick an Artyfeks logo on the front door of anywhere and only the most skilled or stupid thieves will even go near it. She needs to be treated with the greatest of respect. Hence the time and patience needed to cajole her into opening.’
They made their way steadily across the room on tippy toes. The burly dwarf was surprisingly cat footed for such a bulky block of foul tempered hair. Meanwhile Burr had lost all sensation in his legs and every shaky step was a miraculous feat in itself.
They came at last to a short corridor that led to the final door behind which the treasure would surely be situated. Even Burr could tell it was the final door because it had a certain defiant air to it. That and the gold ornamental Pegasus and Cockatrices seemed to be taunting them from their resplendent facets. They gave the impression that they were daring the thieves to try their luck. Mounted high on the stone door frame was what appeared to be a finely wrought filigree hamster cage complete with water butt, food dispenser and chrome running wheel.
In front of the door was a pedestal, ornately wrought in gold of course, that sported a strange rectangular box with a symbolically large leaver set atop.
The dwarf unceremoniously rummaged around in his underwear and brought forth a shiny disk of gold and silver; rather like a large poker chip but with glyphs, insignia and rune in abundance. As the light from the object refracted around the room an ethereal hamster appeared in the cage, jumped on its wheel and immediately started frantically pumping its legs. Sconces about the room leapt to life blazing with an uncanny, electric blue light. Mystical runes engrave into each stone around the room erupted into life in a vein similar to that of the disk.
‘Behold, Riskitts key.’ Breathed the dwarf holding the disk aloft. ‘The one and only four dimensional key for the one and only four dimensional lock. The key cannot be copied, the lock cannot be picked. This was the pinnacle of Artyfeks craftsmanship and pride of the Locksmith’s Guild. Bloater, our quest is at an end…’
Vehemently, reverently and other such words that end in ‘ently’ the dwarf used both hands to carefully slip the disk into a slot in the box below the abnormally sized gold leaver. He gave Burr the biggest saintly smile ever, the eerie blue light reflecting in his eyes, then dutifully he pulled back the lever. There was a formidable chunk, ker-chunk, a woosh of escaping air…and all the lights went out.
There was the sound of someone struggling against the lever trying to return it to its original position. Then there was a scrabbling, scratching sound as if someone were trying unsuccessfully to poke his fingers into the box underneath the lever to retrieve the disk. Then all was quite again.
‘Bugger.’ Said the dwarf in the darkness. ‘I’m sorry, Burr. It can’t done. We’re doomed. If Riskitt’s Key doesn’t work, then all this has been for naught and we’re trapped here forever. Or until the oxygen runs out…’
‘What! Just like that?’
‘Fraid so. System overload or something. Power drain after so long out of use. Some…something like that…’
For the first time ever Burr heard the sound of a dwarf being unsure. It was so unfamiliar that he almost didn’t recognise the voice in the thick blackness. He sighed, struck a match and relit his lantern.
‘Well, luckily there is something I have learned about technology and such from back in my world.’ Chimed Burr happily.
‘It’s useless, Swill Belly, nothing can penetrate such a thing.’
‘None the less,’ said Burr confidently. He withdrew another match from its box and stepped up to the unfathomable device. He poked the match into a tiny hole beside the slit and the key popped out with a click.
The dwarfs bushy eye brows raised in astonishment.
Burr wiped both sides of the disk on his leather jerkin then blew in the slot a few times before reinserting the disk. Finally he gave the contraption a bloody good slap with his hand.
The dwarf hissed and ducked with his hands on his cap as gears and gizmos whirled overhead. The little phantom hamster reappeared and leapt back up on its wheel and sprinted for all it was worth. The weird blue flames erupted from their sconces once again and air flew back into the room. Burr watched smiling as bolts drew back, paddles flapped away and the door opened to the serenade of well-oiled mechanics.
‘See?’ Beamed Burr. ‘Tried and tested. But thinking outside of the box.’
The dwarf solemnly removed his leather cap and wiped his brow, all the while exhaling a relieved sigh. ‘Need to change me britches…’ he mumbled to no one in particular.
Ahead of them a golden glow…a plinth carved in ancient dwarfen runic hand. A fabulous golden tankard inlaid with rubies and next to it a vast gold hooped barrel already tapped with a gold, emerald encrusted spigot.
‘Thar she blows, Fatstuff.’ Respired the dwarf wide eyed and ringing his headware through his hands. ‘Riskitt’s Gold! Hitherto untasted by mortal in over two centuries. Ha! By Grum it’ll put hairs on ye chest.’ Smacking his lips he replaced his titfer and approached the plinth. Rubbing his hand together in glee he then helped himself to the gaudy drinking vessel.
Burrs jaw suddenly dropped and his eyes narrowed as he took stock of what the dwarf had just said.
‘You mean to tell me that we just spent over twenty four hours in this filthy, airless, trap ridden, er…death trap for some sodding beer?’
The dwarf shot him a glance back of almost dumbfounded hurt. ‘Not just any old beer, Chubster. Rustikks Gold!’ he exclaimed hefting his brimming tankard as if that made it all alright. ‘The finest beer ever to come out of the Mid-Land Dwarven holds. The original brew he developed and mastered. The one all his other brews were cast from. The secrets of which are only ever passed on by word of mouth. Nothing compares! Gaah that hits the spot! Fancy one?’
‘Love to.’ Said Burr closing his eyes and gritting his teeth. ‘Provided of course that’s it’s served in your upturned fleshless skull.’
Oh gosh, now is the time i suspect. New year, new horizons and hopefully a Publishing Agent to wrangle. Time to up the game…lets roll out the big guns…
Beholden! The first 3 chapters of my young Adult novella, complete with disclaimer (because I have to) and hastily scribbled illustrations.
Please click the link below to open this tale in PDF:
‘Raaaaagh! Come and die, bastards!’
‘No from your gut, man! Feel it welling up inside you, then let it burst forth in a torrent of rage and spittle. Raaagh! Again.’
‘Grrrr, come and…get it?…I’ve forgotten the words.’
‘This is hopeless’ exasperated, Heldman the Barbarian relented and sat down on a tree stump to finish his beer. ‘How are you going to strike fear into the hearts of your foes if you can’t even make them soil their britches with your ferocious war cry?’
‘I’m sorry, I’m just not that kind of bloke, I…’ started Burr, lowering himself slowly onto the grass.
Heldman continued unheeding, ‘It is as if you’ve never even been in a fist fight before, never stretched your manliness more than reaching for the next tankard. Or lamb shank. What did you do previously, I mean in your own world?’
‘Well, er, I was a gamer…’
‘What like a poacher? But Gretchen said you didn’t know the dangerous end of an arrow let alone which part of the bow shoots it.’
‘True’ said Gretchen materializing out of the woods otherwise entirely silently. She took up a fallen log and helped herself to a wine skin. ‘Closest he ever got to mastering the hunt was when he threw his bow away in frustration and accidentally concussed a hedgehog.’
‘Well, at least you got to eat that night right?’ beamed the Barbarian hopefully.
‘No, the concussed hedgehog managed to out-stagger him before he could summon up enough energy to deliver the death blow.’
The massive, ripped, semi-naked form of the barbarian slumped and generally looked rather glum, as if he had lost empathy with the world. ‘So, what were you, a pie maker or something?’
‘No er, no I just sat about all-day playing games.’
‘You mean like a gambler? A card shark, you can count cards and dice and such?’
‘No, not exactly, I play on, er, I guess a machine. It’s called a, ‘computer’; this ‘computer’ makes all the sounds and the FX and all your little men run around slaying each other…you press buttons…’
The barbarian’s mighty brow furrowed and fixed the fat man with a genuinely concerned and bemused face. The kind of expression a giant might use when being ambushed by a lone goblin armed with a limp lettuce leaf.
‘I don’t understand you or your world at all, Burr. I’m not sure I can help you.’
‘Please help him, Heldman’ breathed the sulky elf, ‘if not for his sake, then for mine – he needs to learn to fight in order to get back to his own world and I’m just plain sick of the sight of him.’ Not used to emulating human expressions Gretchen tried a doe eyed pout to sway the warrior, but gave up and just sneered at the fat man instead.
‘But no-one can be that useless!’ He can’t even hold a sword up for a minute without sweating!’
‘Can we not just fill him up with potions and get him to jog round and round the forest until he loses weight?’
‘Hm, brilliant idea, Elf. But I’m wary that the thunderous plod of his hooves and his thighs slapping together would rouse every orc, Wildhorn and brigand in the area to us. And I don’t think even us two could fend off all that lot all at once. I know I’m the mightiest warrior this land has seen in an age, but I don’t want my last lament on this earth to be remembered as being hacked to death by a hoard of irate forest gnomes whilst babysitting a fat idiot.’
The warrior stroked his square, bristly jaw. ‘Hmmm, we could always fit him out in the thickest plate armour and the biggest shield and just hope he can take the punishment.’
‘Great idea and one to keep for later. But if you hadn’t noticed we’re not exactly flush with coin at present; and besides you’d never meet a smith with enough metal to cover his tits alone. What about if we nab a gutplate from an ogre?’
‘Hmmm, worth a try if we can manage to stand the smell of ‘em.’
‘We have to put up with a similar stink now!’
Burr shrugged his shoulders sullenly as the pair glared at him.
‘Good point.’ Conceded Heldman. ‘Oh look, it’s no use let’s just kill him and bury him in a shallow grave and be done with it. There’s simply no way to help him.’
‘Hey, I am still here you know!’ whined Burr, rocking back and forth on his bottom in order to reach his backpack without having to get up again.
‘Only in body…’ said the Elf coldly and turned back to the barbarian. ‘Look, the wizard said our fate and that of the land is entwined with the Podgling. Either we help him or we’ve doomed ourselves.’
The handsome warrior sighed then straightened his back and set his jaw. ‘Right, fair point. On your feet Burr. And pick up that sword. Gretchen, you’re going to spar with him.’
‘Oh, God…’ huffed the petulant Elf.
Burr eventually made it on to his knees and got up off the grass. Only then did he realise his sword was still laying on the ground. So he therefore had to lower himself back down on to one knee, then use the sword to lever himself back up again. Panting and wheezing he took up position opposite the elf who was gingerly nibbling a pheasant leg.
‘Ok Burr, here we go.’ Said the warrior in his most level and patient tone. ‘Feet wide apart, shoulder to your enemy. Now don’t take your eyes off her…’
‘But she’s not even playing properly, she hasn’t got her sword out yet…’
‘Never mind that Burr, just focus, eyes on her hands; now take the biggest lung full of air you can into the pit of your stomach. Then, run at her screaming and waving your sword about. Go!’
‘Aiiiiee!’ Burr squealed and stumbled towards his unconcerned prey. Unaccustomed to moving all his limbs at the same time he half paused every few steps to swing the blade around.
Eventually he got within striking distance of his target. The elf didn’t even take her eyes of her meal as she side stepped, flicking her sword from its sheath and disarmed Burr as he ambled by. The sword flew off, end over end, in to the undergrowth and landed with a wet thuck!
Burr’s legs couldn’t keep up with the memento his belly had produced and he went down in a big, huffing, blubbery pile amidst an explosion of detritus from the forest floor.
The barbarian’s forehead slapped into his palms and he groaned the low, prolonged groan of someone not used to being defeated.
Gretchen tossed away the remnants of her lunch and beamed, ‘that was fun. Shall we do it again?’
‘Mo!’ Groaned Burr through a mouthful of leaf litter.
A violent thrashing from the forest brought everyone’s head up; even Burr’s as he struggled to turn over onto his back. The barbarian was already in a fighting stance with his broadsword ready and Gretchen had dived for her bow. By the time she’d rolled into cover she had an arrow notched and ready.
A large, sweating, bovine-headed man staggered out of the dense foliage clutching at his chest. At an awkward angle, protruding from his body, was Burr’s sword. The thing looked at the three heroes in astonishment, blood pouring from its gaping mouth and fell face first into the clearing. The sword erupted out of its back as it hit the ground fountaining more blood.
Heldman and Gretchen exchanged a glance, then the Elf roared, ‘Ambush!’ The woods exploded with motion as monstrous ram-horned men burst into the clearing waving crude clubs and other primitive death dealing apparatus. An ugly, malformed, reeking dog-thing attached itself to Burr’s forearm and started trying to wrench it off.
The barbarian took huge strides to meet the charge of three of the grotesque things, swinging his mighty weapon in death dealing patterns.
The elf rolled under the swing of a Wildhorn’s stone axe then shot another in the chest at point blank range. Shouldering her bow and unsheathing her sword in a heartbeat, she rushed through the defence of another slicing its guts open before leaping at a tree and back flipping off into another. Safe on a high limb her bow was again in her hand and fletches started appearing in furry chests.
Luckily for Burr, the evil hound’s fearsome teeth couldn’t penetrate his steel armbraces but doggedly held on. Adrenaline even lent him the initiative to wrestle his dagger from his belt and plunge it into the beast’s eyes and throat.
Around the barbarian bloody limbs and decapitated heads hit the ground and he howled with the glory of battle. His last victim raised its club to block his overhead blow, but the crude thing offered no resistance and the sword thunked down into the creature’s thick skull splitting it to the jaw, horns and all.
Panting, the heroes looked around them warily; it was all mess and blood and foul secretions. Burrs bottom lip was trembling as he pushed the spasming dog corpse off and tried to right himself.
‘Ah!’ said the barbarian brightly, lowering his weapon. ‘Lovely. Oh quick, Burr! On your feet, this is important!’
The barbarian grappled the fat man to his unsteady feet and snatched up a beast-man’s head off the ground. ‘Now then, hold this above your head, beat your chest and shout, RAAAGH!’
Swooning, Burr did as best as he was told. He lifted the dripping horned head as high as he could, about shoulder height, slapped his chest weakly with his palm, murmured raagh and then feinted dead away.
Another extract from the same, similarly titled huge piece that will probably never see the light of day in its entirety.
FANTASY FARCE: On a Pig Hunt
‘Gretchen, it’s still dark outside. Surely I need to be able to see our quarry in order to shoot it.’ Burr stumbled down the rickety tavern steps, ricocheted of a dozing horse’s bottom and landed face down in the muddy and empty street. The elven hunter, who was casually checking her fletches, rolled her eyes and sighed.
‘I told you we were getting up early’ she began, in that slow, monotonous droning Burr had come assume was how all elves spoke. ‘The best hunting is at dawn and dusk. And It is going to take us a while…well, you a while, to waddle out to the forest.’
The fat man lifted his grimy head from a puddle ‘But I’m still half drunk! All the delicious woodland creatures will hear me a mile off!’
‘And smell you…’ said Gretchen, soothing the startled horse. ‘Well it’s your own fault. I told you to get an early night. But instead you squandered the last of your time and coin on filthy rot gut and filthier floozy’s.’
Burr had managed to get a leg up under himself and was just gearing himself for the final heave toward verticality ‘Hey, I am a man!’ he panted. ‘A roguish, alpha-bull! I need to range and strut about my territory hollering and such…’
‘Quite. I am not sure I agree with any part of that statement, however this is precisely one of the reasons why we are out here in the first place. You have never slain anything wilder than a bacon sandwich. From adolescence, pauper or prince, my kin learns to track, kill, clean and cook his or her own food. And nothing goes to waste.’
Exhausted, Burr gave up trying to right himself and elected merely to fall sideways in the foetus position with a wet splat. Wheezingly, he rejoindered ‘Well back where I’m from all a young buck needs in order to provide for himself is a smartphone and the Just Eat app. either that or a conveniently localized fridge and microwave.’
Here’s some twaddle I just hashed up. A hypothetical quandary based on my own non-existent science. Just a theory.
Dedicated to my favourite YouTubers: AlfieAesthetics, Emelie’s Out Door Adventure, Joe Robinet, Haze Outdoors, Hiker in Estonia, My Self Reliance, Stephanie Margeth, Survival Lilly, TA Outdoors, Victoria Lune and Zed Outdoors.
If the great outdoors, hiking, bush craft or survival is your thing, check these wonderful people out. Say I sent you!
Mind Murmur: Ale Survivalist/ Beery Bushcraft
If you were marooned on a desert island or a piece of an artic pole and you had to choose between a huge stockpile of good ale or a huge stockpile of clean water, and that was all that was washed up with you, which would it be?
See believe it or not, it has recently been proven by…er…scientists* that it is infinitely better for you and almost assuredly improves you chances of survival if you choose the ale.
*(I believe the same pocket of folk usually responsible for developing new lines in ladies hair products and gentlemen’s multi-bladed shaving apparatus.)
And I concur. Time for the science bit:
You see real Ale is more fortifying than water, it has more sugar and calories in it, it won’t perish/ dehydrate/ stale/ stagnate or whatever it is that water does. And furthermore, once it’s been left lying about for a bit it won’t give you typhoid or dysentery. Ale will hydrate you to a point but more importantly and beneficially of all it increases moral 10 fold!
Whether you are aware that rescue is on its way or that it is merely a hopeless pipe dream, which would you rather do? Just sit about and bake or freeze to death whilst staring at the horizon praying for a reprieve? Or get drunk as a skunk and have a wander about? Do you dare venture away from that vantage point and miss a potential fleeting reprieve knowing that each moment that passes a ship could be drifiting by on the other side of the island or iceberg? Do you dare wander away from that vantage point and possibly stumble across something that will help you the most in your time of need? Like a kebab.
The extra fortification and everything provided by the Ale will give you this power, strength and assertion to go forth! You can go on reconnaissance, forage, collect firewood and shelter building materials. You could even give hunting a go if you manage to lash together a rudimentary elephant gun and telescopic sight. You would also capable of creating a half decent signalling beacon without having to resort to desperately waving your underpants above your head. Furthermore, the mystical powers of the ale will embolden you to source fresh, clean water. Win, win!
The list goes on, without the reassurance and emboldenment of ale you may not have the courage to seek higher ground, attempt to build a boat with little to no knowledge of seamen ship, or hunt inland beasties with only compacted balls of your own dung. Even attempting to create a flying machine out of nothing more than bamboo twigs and eczema flakes is not beyond you if you are constantly topping yourself up with good, wholesome, reliable ale.
Whilst merrily carving out a basic existence in hostile environments you may need to fend off the odd marauding polar bear, tiger or merekat; but as any David Attenborough will tell you, pinch the nose of the offending beasty and it will simply lay down and play dead rather than risk coming to blows with an inebriated goat-man.
It’s probably also worth noting that water freezes. Warm water is foul and not hydratative (if that’s a word). But we’re British and damn it, we can drink good ale at any temperature and find it revitalizing and rejuvenating (to those observant types I realise those last two verbs mean the same thing but I love them both equally. What are you going to do?).
Ale is like liquid bread. A meal in its self- wheat (possibly) hops, malts, yeast, butter, jam, cheese and onion crisps and alcohol-all the main food groups any growing goat-boy needs to survive adverse heat or cold conditions.
Beer is thicker than water and is so dense and so frothy that its foamy head can be used as a crude sun cream. Beer and water freeze before alcohol does. Try leaving your foamy beverage outside your igloo for an hour or two with a stick in it. Before you know it you will have a clean, tasty, semi hydrating beer-cicle and an easily separable source of raw alcohol.
But of course, woe betide anyone who imbibes alcohol whilst freezing to death. Apparently it restricts the blood flow around body…And your blood flow isn’t already restricted due the onset of hypothermia? All this means is that your heart has less extremities to pump blood to. And what ho? Alcohol thins the blood? Well blow me down with a penguin in pita bread, all of a sudden I’ve got twice as much claret to go around a smaller area. Happy daze.
Drinking water alone gets very, very boring…Good ale will never become boring. Fact! That I base on very little evidence. And it’s not like you’ll be operating any heavy machinery whilst marooned or going out for a nice drive any time soon. And it’s not like you will be able to inadvertently make a drunken phone call to your ex-partner.
So, I put it to you: If it were you, what would you do? Good Ale or clean water?
Suggestions and actual fact based opinions in the comments section below.
Incidentally if there are any real ale companies out there who fancy a spot of sponsorship, hit me up…
Dedicated to Sallyann, Brian and their favoured getaway destination.
MICRO FICTION: SNATCH & RUN
Like all good thieves, no-one saw this one coming. Not even me-the erstwhile protector and keeper of the ‘precious’. That which is most sacred.
Like with all good thieves, it took its target right from under my very nose. Just a slash of monochrome and my charge, my reason, my insurance for the near future, was gone.
Like all good thieves, he made his livelihood in the tourist destinations. That’s where the bounty’s at. It’s where victims are at their most vulnerable, relaxed; carefree enough to demonstrate their wealth- flaunting it openly. Not a care in the world.
The ‘Precious’ in question was typically traditional. A national treasure. The epitome of the British Isles. Sought by countless thousands, from abroad and at home. Coveted by those in the know, those ‘in the business’; Indeed, independents and corporations alike have pursued its secrets for at least a century. Tried to duplicate its simplistic but perfect quality. Dreaming alchemists aren’t we all.
And like all good thieves this one left its calling card: Something simple. An unmistakable black and white slash…
And like all good fortune-it can disappear in the blink of an eye…
Merry Christmas one and all! A modern retelling of a classic seasonal verse, with additional silliness. Originally posted a year ago…funnily enough.
And of course, once again, the biggest things at Christmas time are the littlest people. So this is for Jack, Martha, Ethan, Conrad, Kobe, Harrison, Albert and Grace.
The Night Before Christmas-Revisited
T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…
Well, except for two villains, a’ prowling the night
Creeping round Old Mrs Palins’ house, led by torchlight.
Gary and Jordan, were a veritable pair
United in crime, clad in counterfeit sportswear
T’was that time of year again, when they must provide for their kin
All the luxuries expected, to welcome the New Year in.
Neither had had, a real job up to date
Preferring to sponge, off of the welfare state.
So over to the rich side, of their town every year
To pilfer some presents and other assorted gear.
But what the pair didn’t know, was that Grandma Palin was a witch
A peaceable respectable one, homely but not kitsch.
Indeed the seasonal bunting, was all but for show.
Being a pagan she cared little, for reindeer’s and snow.
But she played along every Christmas, for it was both happy and wry;
And she baked breads and cakes, for the elderly nearby.
But the men bound her to a chair, then set her aside
And carried on pillaging, without breaking stride.
Quite rightly Grandma Palin, became quite hotly vexed
To teach these thieves a lesson, she would have them both hexed
So the old dear did mumble and an incantation she did weave
Jinxing the villains and all they touched and perceived.
Lo all of the plunder did significantly alter,
Into big lumps of coal causing both rogues to falter.
The burglars were enraged and turned on the old crow,
‘Turn it all back, we need gifts to bestow!’
Said Mrs Palin, ‘Well Mr Burglars, I would if I could.
But first I need you both, to do something good.
To atone for your crimes and lift off your curse:
Make an honest festive gesture: Open your hearts not your purse.’
‘To dispel my magic’s, all you need do
Is give something back, to the community you eschew.
It need not be pennies or Frankincense or gold
Merely show a little love for all to behold.’
But the chums would have none of it and both curtly said
‘To hell with you woman, we’d rather be dead.’
To this the witch rounded, ‘So be it, it is done!
Not a gift you will enjoy ‘til the spells’ course is run’.
‘Now be off with you both, for I’m a busy gel
And you and your new coal, can go burn in hell!’
The two thugs did huff, then threw down the fuel
Ridiculing the old woman and humbugging the yule.
So off into the night, they went in search of more stock
But alas every gift unwrapped, turned out nothing more than black rock.
The duo began to quaver, as they considered their plight
A change in plan was required, at least for this night.
Gary knew a charlatan who liked to prey on the Ebayer,
And Jordan went to his local, to pick up a hot DVD player.
But the pub had just closed and the hacker was asleep,
So both men moaned wretchedly and into their palms did weep.
Whined Jordan, ‘There’s nothing else for it, we’ll just have to submit;
Do the witches bidding, or our families will fit!’
Cried Gary, ‘Let’s do some good, for the people we’ve done wrong.
And hope to god it works or we’ll have no household to belong’.
So the thieves turned to thinking, a somewhat dubious notion
How to repay the town, and prove to their kin their devotion.
Hence they made a plan, both brilliant and bright
Then ran back to old Grandma Palins to set everything right.
Sang the Witch, ‘that’s the way lads, I knew you’d come through;
Now up and dashing both, you’ve got lots to do.’
So the pair spent the dawn, diligent on their plan
And soon it was finished with a little help from the old gran.
A carefully worded contract, up the witches enchanted chimney flew,
Promising their hard labour once the night’s dilemma was through;
They solemnly promised Santa, they would help him this year and the next
If he could possibly help them, what with them being both destitute and hexed.
High above the land, a familiar sleigh did soar,
Carrying a rosy cheeked fat man and presents galore;
Pulled by eight little reindeer, galloping on through the black,
When an unopened letter arrived, top the bearded man’s sack.
‘Ho, ho, ho, what be this?’ said the jolly old man.
‘A late letter to Santa? Well, I always do what do what I can.’
But then he read more closely and immediately understood
Then hastily changed course for Gary and Jordan’s neighbourhood.
The pair were most shocked, when Santa’s sleigh came to land
Their mouths did drop open as he proffered his hand
Their plan had worked! Who could have wondered?
Santa shook both their palms and smiled as he thundered:
‘Come on then lads you’d best climb aboard,
And let’s get to delivering this yule tide hoard.
There’s something for everyone, ho, ho, even your kin;
Now let’s all hustle, before they realise the trouble you’re in.’
So in jumped the pair and the sleigh took off at speed
So high and so fast that Gary almost wee’ed.
Back on with Santa’s rounds and the duo worked as hard as they might
Depositing gifts in stockings, throughout the rest of the night.
No one was left out, and some households were even repaid
To make up for the previous year’s seasonal raid.
Santa made quite sure, the pair’s homes were both filled
With everything their kin wished for, just as the contract had billed.
Returning to Grandma Palin, the sleigh finally empty of toys
Jolly St. Nick boomed, ‘well done, same again next year boys?’
‘Of course Mr Claus’ they replied full of cheer;
‘We can’t thank you enough, we’ll start work in the New Year.’
Grandma Palin was gleeful and said with a grin,
‘Glad to see you’ve learnt your lesson, now get home to you kin.’
‘We thank you too Grandma Palin, for teaching us right.’
Now Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!’
photo credit: Jutta M. Jenning Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes Neues Jahr – Merry Christmas and a happy new Year via photopin (license)