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CHAIN MIND MELD
Being the collected works of a game played on Ed's World

It starts so easily -- Write a work from Author A in the style of Author B. Then the next contributor takes a work from Author B and writes it in the style of Author C, so forth and so on, until we get ... this.

Here is the table of contents. The name in parentheses is the Ed's World poster who contributed the copy. Expect some dysfractionation in some of the links due to simultaneous writing or "I just had to add this"; it all works out in the end anyway.

Wuthering Heights, by Raymond Chandler (nebulous menace)
The Big Sleep, by A.A. Milne (Toon)
Winnie-The-Pooh, by Chuck Palahniuk (Urseo)
The Hundred-Acre Horror, by HP Lovecraft (Spatch)
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, by Damon Runyon (Unmodified Onion)
Fight Club, by Damon Runyon (nebulous menace)
The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Spatch)
Paul Revere's Ride, by Dave Barry (annenayne)
To Shovel a Driveway, by Jack London (nebulous menace)
The Call of the Wild, by Douglas Adams (Beth)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Anne Rice (Urseo)
The Vampire Lestat, by Mark Twain (Toon)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Ernest Hemingway (Spatch)
The Song of the Old Fisherman, by JRR Tolkien (nebulous menace)
Isengard Lost, by John Milton (Toon)
Paradise Lost, by Anthony Burgess (Angel Fish)
A Clockwork Orange, by Ayn Rand (Beth)
The Fountainhead, by Carl Sandburg (Chuk)
A Clockwork Orange, by Helen Fielding (zzzbeauty)
Bridget Jones' Diary, by H.H. Munro (Saki) (nebulous menace)
The Pillow Book of Bridget Jones, after Sei Shonagon (Fernanda)
Books and Pillows, words and music by S. Sondheim (nebulous menace)
Into the Woods, by Lewis Carroll (Toon)
Wonderland, by Thomas Harris (nebulous menace)
Silence of the Lambs, by Salman Rushdie (Angel Fish)
Callahan's Children, by Spider Robinson (nebulous menace)
The Lord of the Rings, by Kurt Vonnegut (Ex)
Slaughterhouse-5, A Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure Somewhat in the Telegraphic Schizophrenic Manner of Tales of The Planet Tralfamadore, Where Flying Saucers Come From, by William Goldman (Toon)
The Good, the Bad, and the Mostly Dead, part two of the "Pirate With No Name" trilogy, by Terry Pratchett (nebulous menace)



Wuthering Heights
by Raymond Chandler

It was all about a dame, they said, but like always they got half of it wrong and lied about the rest. I was new in town, resting up from a nasty bit of business, listening to an old biddy ramble on. The moors were cold as a woman's heart and harsh as truth, and I'd gone out alone like a sap. I was sick, now, and stuck with nothing to do but hear Grandma yap about her landlord and wish for wolves.

"Heathcliff. He's got a mouth like a sawblade and a nasty history. The old man brought him home one night, devil knows where from, and now he's running the place. He was born to kill angels and the beatings just made him meaner. "


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The Big Sleep
by A.A. Milne

The very old man lived in a great big house at the edge of a grassy field under the name of Sternwood, which meant that he had the name STERNWOOD in gold letters over the door, and he lived under it.

"Eleven o'clock," he said when Marlowe came to visit; "just time for a little smackerel of something." He opened the pantry and took down a big jar labeled BRANDY, and for a few minutes they were both very busy with drinking.


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Winnie-The-Pooh
by Chuck Palahniuk

"Fuck." muttered Pooh.

He hung precariously outside of the Hunny Tree, grasping his pithy balloon for all the worth in his miserable little gluttonous paws.

The problem with being a Bear of Little Brain, he decided, was not thinking of the potentially dire consequences of a plan in motion. Take, for instance, his current scenario. He liked honey. he knew honey came from the Hunny Tree. He'd worked out the details to the point of getting his yellow, stuffed ass up the tree, and thought himself quite clever. But he hadn't quite taken into consideration the fact that a hive of angry, territorial bees could potentially kill a small, stuffed bear.

"Royally Screwed" may not be the right phrase, but it's the one that comes to mind.


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The Hundred-Acre Horror
by Howard Phillips Lovecraft

On and on we trudged through the blinding snowfall, minute after minute of blistering cold numbing our bones and sapping our strength. Finally we could go no further. Mr. Piglet and I, exhausted from our day's travel, set a base-camp near the base of a large tree. I was not particularly sure how much further we had before we met the rest of the North Pole expotition, and as the hours passed and my chilled frame body grew colder I began to suffer from the most terrible of delusions. Alternately beautiful and horrible, I experienced visions of hunny pots being consumed by shadowy figures, their features too dim to be properly discerned from their formless mass; skulking presences existed just beyond my peripheral senses, boldly advancing as the meager sunlight dimmed and the pitch-black darkness of the foul Arctic night loomed. I cursed my eyes, I cursed my frozen appendages, I cursed my head full of fluff. I knew that Morpheus' sweet sleep would not find me this evening, instead we might be cruelly visited by the deceptive lull of hypothermic slumber. I had no recourse; all hope lost, I knew I had to accept what each of the Fates had planned for this cursed expotition all along.

Mr. Piglet shuddered nearby, his pitiful frame wrapped in the thin muslin he had so naively chosen to pack upon our departure from the Hundred Acre Wood; it felt like aeons had passed since we had set off from the University. I only hoped that some record of our journey would find its way back to old Owl, that our findings and markers and measurements would not have all been made in vain, that somehow science could be advanced, however small or picayune. For science! I murmured to myself, adding a hasty Ave Maria to sufficiently appease all that I worshipped, all that I knew was right and proper with the world.

Earlier that day, while we were still confident of our progress, Mr. Piglet had climbed on a snowdrift and surveyed the desolate wasteland ahead. I confess I had no thought that we might fail until Mr. Piglet scrambled back through the snow to my position, his eyes wide with horror, betraying the confidence he had set out with no less than a few minutes before.

"Tracks!" he exclaimed, nearly choking back a fearful sob. "I cannot tell whose they are. They do not look real -- they do not look human to me."

"Well, let us both look," I ventured, lacing my snow-shoe tightly. "It could very well be Christopher Robin and the rest of the expotition." I ambled along after Mr. Piglet until I found the tracks he had discovered--fresh tracks, newly formed in the soft crust of the snowy layer. Mr. Piglet was right; the tracks we viewed were not human.

"This cannot possibly be the expotition," Mr. Piglet moaned. "There's too many tracks. They weren't made by any human form -- and look!" he cried with a piercing shriek, pointing behind us. "They're following us!"

"Calm yourself, sir!" I replied. "This kind of fear will get us no further to the expotition than we already are. Do you realize there is nobody around us for miles? And even if there were," I gestured to the empty wasteland around us, "Where would they hide? I assure you we are perfectly alone out here. Now let us move on towards the North Pole, for we have far to go and not enough daylight left to reach it." But I admit only now, in the depths of my despair, that as we trudged on, my doubts began to grow at my very words. They seemed bent to betray me, just as thoughts and words had betrayed my grandfather Trespassers W. those many years ago upon his incarceration in the asylum. Would I be the one to inherit my grandfather's curse of madness? Would it manifest itself on this very trip? Could I trust my own mind much longer, to keep us both alive until we reached the others? My doubts only worsened as the snow set in, forcing us to camp early.

And now, in the flickering light of the waning fire, I found myself alone again with my thoughts. Yet suddenly I knew that I was not alone. I felt them--I felt ancient presences, more instinct and feeling now than corporeal forms, crawling out of my mind's shadows and surrounding the camp. I could hear them, their voices echoing in my ears with a guttural symbolic language I could never understand; they surrounded our camp with their madness, lurching forward for the kill, knife-sharp tones ringing out long-forgotten syllables of power, of fear, of evil:

TIDDLY POM
TIDDLY POM

And then I snapped bolt upright, wild-eyed, frantic in my motions, and shook Mr. Piglet awake.

"Piglet!" I cried. "You fool! I've figured it out!" Mr. Piglet came to with a shock, glancing at my wild eyes so close to his face, and found no words to express his surprise.

"Squeak?" he said.

"Piglet! Don't you see? We've been going around in circles! We've been following our own tracks!"

Right away I expected relief from Mr. Piglet, a return of confidence and bravery, but none came. Instead, Mr. Piglet stared straight forward, past me, his eyes frozen with a glaze of terror, his body rigid with the shock and fear. For a moment I was confused, still thinking my rousing him from slumber had affected him deeply. But then I saw It -- reflected in Mr. Piglet's bead eye. I saw the gaping maw, I saw the deathless visage, the horrible ancient claws shakily reaching out to grasp and clutch, and I found my own voice rising from my throat without my urging or control, reciting for the first time in an eternity the sounds that gave name to the apparition about to consume us both as it awoke from slumber...

Woozle.

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The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
by Damon Runyon

"Charles", says Ward, "This chanting that you are doing is causing me not to sleep. And while some guys may not mind being caused not to sleep, I am such a guy as likes to sleep and so is greatly put out by this."

"Well, I am sorry that I cause you to not sleep, but I cannot stop chanting. It is for my researches," says Charles. "And they are important researches, at that."

And at this, nothing will do but that Ward will sigh and look at his ever-loving wife, but here he experiences a great disappointment, for his ever-loving wife often goes out to chew the fat with her friends, and Ward is such a guy as likes to have his ever-loving wife be somewhere to look at when he looks at her. So he sighs another sigh, such a sigh as to make a guy think that his heart has been hit with a lead pipe and is broken in three places, and then looks at Charles in such a way as to make Charles think about not sleeping in case Ward should appear in the middle of the night with a dagger and make Charles dead as a pile of blue-grey dust, and maybe deader. But Ward only opens his mouth and says to him, in a mournful tone such as guys are liable to use in a time like this, and says:

"Charles, I do not mind you doing your researches. I am sure that they are fine researches and very important. However, I am greatly put out by not sleeping. You must be more quiet."

And then nothing would do but for Charles to promise him that he would be more quiet, for he is not a heartless guy, and then run upstairs to his books.

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Fight Club
by Damon Runyon

So I am riding with Bedbug Tyler in a car which belongs to some citizen who decides to leave it in the tender mercies of long-term parking. Of course I do not call Bedbug Bedbug, as that is not a name he wishes to be known by, and he is a man who makes his own dynamite, so naturally I refer to him as Tyler, or sometimes Mr. Durden.

Bedbug is famous in some circles for his secret boxing clubs, which are strictly amateur. I once ask Bedbug who runs book on these, as I wish to get some action on him, Tyler, and it turns out that he is insulted by the very thought of betting on these fights, and in fact he offers to turn my face into hamburger, such as any butcher will sell you for five dollars a pound. He also conducts pranks, such as this one time I see him shove a Roscoe in the face of a register jockey while he requests that this clerk should get some ambition and improve his, the clerk's, life.

So in this car which Tyler drives, we have a discussion of philosophy, and Tyler gets excited and takes his hands off the wheel to talk better. Tyler's friends affix their seatbelts, and Tyler notices this and affixes his seatbelt, and I notice this and affix my seatbelt, and there is a brisk discussion of the meaning of life for a few seconds after which the car flies through the air.


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The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On the isle of Mannahatta
By the river Hudson's waters
On a street low in the forties
Near the wide path known as Broad-way
Never grew the grass upon it
There a brave named Obadiah,
Who is known as Sky to locals,
Sky by name and Sky by nature
Often schemes to obtain riches
From the placement of large wagers
On such mundane daily matters
As the sales of Mindy's cheesecake
Or the tie style of another;
There the brave named Sky first sees her,
Pretty mission doll named Sarah
Who has travelled to the city
With the word of righteous gospel
She denounces sins of gambling
For to save the souls of lost men
It was here that Sky does wager
He could woo most any darling,
But then much to his discomfort
He is told he must woo Sarah
Who abhors the flesh temptations
And resists all worldly pleasures...

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Paul Revere's Ride
by Dave Barry

Recently I have come across the story of a man who called himself Paul Revere. It seems that Paul made a ride at midnight a long time ago, in April of seventy-five of another century.

I am not making this up. Everyone who personally remembers the day and year that Paul made this midnight trip is dead.

“Dude, if some English guys come tonight, hang a lantern in the Belfry over there, you know, like we did back in college when one of us had a girl” Paul said to his old frat buddy, pointing to the north toward a church which was, as many churches of the era were, very religious. It also had a tower.

“Dude, we never got chicks in college,” said Paul’s friend, who I have it on great authority was named Merle.

“Whatever. Listen. One lantern if they’re coming across the land and two lanterns if they’re coming across the ocean. I’ll be over there on the other shore.” He then went on to detail that he’d be ready to ride out on his horse to inform everyone around that their right to bear arms, which they didn’t have yet, was about to be exercised.

“GOOD NIGHT,” he then said, and rowed over to the Charlestown shore which was, as many shores of the era were, covered in sand. Then, reportedly, the moon came out.

Because the moon was out, the British must have known that it was night. So it was at that time that they brought their ship, which was called the Somerset, across the moon like a prison bar. I am not making this up. It was so prison bar like that it made a big, black reflection on the water.

Meanwhile, Merle is wandering around the town, up and down all of the alleys and streets. History is murky here. I’m betting he was looking for a snack, or maybe some aspirin. Or some really good pot. Or all three. Anyway, he didn’t see the boat on the water yet, which is unbelievable what with the Somerset casting a huge reflection on the water. But that’s okay, Merle comes through in the end.

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To Shovel A Driveway
by Jack London

Dave looked out over the crisp snow . He was wise in the ways of snow, and of the shovel. He looked back at the house, the place of soft weak people with coffee and doughnuts, then looked back no more. He tensed his sinews, and with a snarl threw himself on his ancient enemy, carving a path deep and wide from the house to the mailbox. He drove through the snow like some great prehistoric beast. The work was his pride, and his hard lonely labor drove the thoughts of bitterness from his mind, the scorn for his sluglike teenage son, the hatred of Mr. Jones and his coward's snowblower. The shovel was a man's way. . . a Guy's way.

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The Call of the Wild
by Douglas Adams

"Buck, you're turning into a penguin. Stop it."

The Heart Of Alaskan Gold was a beautiful ship, resembling nothing so much as a giant white sneaker. It was the first ship to be built using the Husky Improbabilty Drive, which was a great leap forward in space travel, without all that tedious mucking about in hyper space. It was designed on the improbability of huskey dogs actually surviving in space, and being able to haul a ship across interstellar distances. As this was extraordinarily improbable, the ship was a rousing success.

On it's first launch, the two headed, three armed head honcho of the Galaxy, Manuel Beeblebrox, decided that he wanted to steal it. So he did. The reasons that he gave himself were vague, at the very least, and not fully explained until three books later. He had zipped off, his girl Trillian at his side, and along the way, picked up two men that just happened to be floating in space after being ejected out of an airlock by Vogons.

(Vogons were a nasty race, inclined to brutal violence and poetry. A really good day for Vogons would be to shout at somebody, hit them over the head with a half brick, and then read them their poetry. Critics of Vogon poetry, those that survived anyhow, preferred the half brick.)

Buck came to after an eternity of lung busting unconsciousness, and found himself staring at an improbable landscape, where the buildings were upside down, and dogs ran through the air, tethered to old fashioned bobsleds. He heard a female voice reading out numbers.

"100 degrees minus celcius to 1 and rising."

What this had to do with penguins was beyond him.

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Anne Rice

Ford took Arthur's hand with utter gentleness, and led him away from Marvin.

"Come, my fledgeling space explorer," he whispered. "Come, for I shall show you something truly magnificent!" The light danced on Ford's feral eyes, across his gleaming teeth, and played in the folds of his magnificent garment.

Ford eagerly pulled the bewildered Arthur through the Heart of Gold, sometimes laughing, sometimes teasing as he illustrated this feature or that. Arthur was too bewildered, his heart dancing and fluttering inside his ribcage, his breath coming in short gasps, and his blood singing in his ears, to take in most of what Ford was saying.

Ahead, a light, reflected on countless corridor walls, pulsed and throbbed. As they drew nearer. Arthur could hear a faint humming, throbbing. It grew gradually louder, until Arthur knew no other sound, felt no other existance, except for the hum. His entire being filled with the delicious throb that lingered on the edge between pleasure and pain, eternity and oblivion.

From an adjoining corridor, a figure appeared. He seemed so beautiful, so natural. he seemed to be the source of the strange humming throb. A gleaming, two-headed Adonis filled Arthur's vision.

Arthur fell to his knees. He didn't realize until the pain jarred him to his senses that he had been screaming, and weeping.

"This..." breathed Ford, "this, my friend, is Zaphod."

Arthur opened his mouth, but no coherent sound came. he tasted the salt of his sweat and tears as they trickled down his face. Zaphod extended a hand- O! Such a magnificent, gleaming, beautiful hand! And assisted Arthur to his feet. A devilish grin played across both of Zaphod's faces. One licked its lips.

Arthur's heart was in his throat, as he tried to breathe, tried to speak, tried to believe that he was in the arms of this mocking angel, this beautiful demon. Zaphod placed a finger across his lips. Without thinking, Arthur gently kissed it...

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The Vampire Lestat

by Mark Twain

You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of Interview With the Vampire, but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Louis, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, whether it was Armand, or Claudia, or even Marius. Claudia -- mine and Louis's daughter, she was -- and Armand, and Louis is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before.

Now the way that the book winds up is this: Louis and me wound up in New Orleans around the end of the nineteenth century. It was rough living in the city around then, considering how dismal gray and noisy it had became; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer I dug down into the ground, and slept a while. But by and by I started hearing the music from the world up above...

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Ernest Hemingway

Tom and Huck were in the back of the church. The other people were in the front of the church. The people in front knew Tom and Huck and knew they were dead. The people were sad. They were filled with sadness. The minister talked about Tom and Huck. He described how they were angels now. He talked about how God giveth and how God taketh away. The people began to cry. They remembered Tom and Huck. They remembered the good parts, because that is what you remember when someone is dead. Becky Thatcher remembered Tom. Becky Thatcher was crying. She was sad. Becky Thatcher and Tom were to have been married, some day. He would take her in his arms, she soft and he manly, and he would take her for his wife. But that day was not to come. Becky Thatcher would be alone. In the rain.

Presently Tom and Huck decided to move. They decided to go to the front of the church. Tom took a step forward and then Huck took a step. Together they took more steps until they were at the front of the church. Then the people noticed them. The people held their breath. They realized Tom and Huck were not dead. They had not drowned. They were alive. The minister raised his hands and implored the people to sing, and they sang a jubilant song, for now they were happy. They were filled with joy.

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The Song of the Old Fisherman
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Erno Hemming got up on the table at the Prancing Pony and started shouting, for the Hemmings were related to the Bucks and had a history of being involved with water and other such troubles. At first he was shouted down, until he threatened to punch some noses, but in the end he had quiet- or enough quiet, anyway, to launch into his new song:

"There was an old a-fisherman a-boating
Floating! Gloating!
And he was having little luck a-fishing
Wishing! Dishing!

A giant fish came swimming 'round
He hooked it and he nearly drowned
It dragged him far from land and ground
With splashing and a-splishing!

He battled with the giant fish until he fin'ly caught it
Fought it! Got it!
And then he turned his boat for home a seeking
Creaking! Tweaking!

The sharks came in and ate his fish
Regardless of his fondest wish
His only hope for dinner dish
And he went home withaught it!

The other hobbits, who had been pounding the tables along with the jolly tune, fell silent, considering the unexpected gastronomic tragedy. Finally, young Rollo Boffin spoke up: "I think the ending needs work."

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Isengard Lost
by John Milton

Then came Saruman from within; with grave
Aspect he came, and in his coming seemed
A pillar of state; deep on his face engraven
Aggrieved kindness sat, and public care,
And princely patience in his face yet shone,
Majestic, though besieged; like, yet unlike,
To Mithrandir he seemed. All his mien
Drew audience and attention still as night
Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake:
'Offspring of Eorl, worthy Thengel's son
The thrice-renowned; by your devices here,
And still more by your noble countenance,
I know you, Theoden King of Rohan's Mark;
Why have you never come this way before,
And as a friend? For much have I desired
To see you, mightiest king of western lands,
And more so in these evil latter years,
To save you from the counsels most unwise
That so beset you. Is it yet too late?
Despite the injuries that have been done
To me -- alas! in which the men of Rohan,
No doubt well-meaning, yet have had some part --
Yet I would save you, and deliver you,
Noble descendant of the house of Eorl,
You and your noble people, from the ruin
That yet draws nigh; the inevitable doom
That waits upon the road on which you ride.
For indeed I alone can aid you now.'
This said, he stood; and expectation held
His look suspense, awaiting who might stand
To second or oppose his word; but all stood mute,
As standing stones upon the mountainside,
Unstirred by raucous cry of crow; for like a crow
Seemed Gandalf's voice unto the men of Rohan
Beside the honeyed tones of Saruman.
Never, it seemed, so fair and fittingly
Had Gandalf ever spoken to their lord,
But rough and proud. And thus did Saruman
Put forth his devilish counsel -- first devised
By Sauron, and in part proposed; for whence
But from the author of it all, could spring
So deep a malice, to confound the race
Of Men? A heavy silence hovered then,
And over all their hearts there crept a shadow,
Until there spoke the doughty son of Gloin,
Gimli the Dwarf, one hand upon his axe:
'This wizard's words do stand upon their heads!
In Orthanc's language slaughter means salvation,
And help means doom -- so much at least is plain...'

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Paradise Lost
by Anthony Burgess

“what’s it going to be then, eh?”

There was me, that is Satan, and my three fallen droogs, that is Beelz, Bel, Mam, Mul and Mol, and we sat in the Burning Lake milkbar making up our rassoodocka what to do with the rest of eternity, a flip hot dry bastard of a time. And there’s us O my brothers all skorry like and chained, but dressed in the very heights of fashion, horned Gullivers and fanged litsos, all horrorshow like.

“what’s it going to be then, eh?”

I could feel the knives in the old rot so I yelped “out out out out!” like a doggie and we scattered out into the big nochy our flip malchick wings gooliing up the sky.

Well, we fillied round the old backtown for a bit, ending up around Hell, where for smecks we filed up our pockets with dreg and made a real PANDEMONIUM. But what we were after was a surprise visit, for lashings of the ultra-violent, and we vizzied a small sort of a garden with an old Malchick and his sharp. I zoomed up with Death and Sin giggling like bezoomny, and we could viddy the name on the gate of this garden veshch was EDEN, a gloomy sort of a name.

And I went in, and O my brothers, what did I viddy there? None but this veck giving it the old one two with this devotchka. So I come up in the toady maskie, and whisper these solvos, but the rozzo came in and I was sirening off to the wastlands hemmed in by this millicent Gab who was getting in the odd thump and malenky tolchock, and as I go Bog, the old moog, putts up this starry like scale in the old sky, the stinking vonny bully.

It was roundabout the wastelands that we had come across Gab’s four droogs, Uriel, Ab, Raf and Mike, and you may have forgotten the ultra-violence, with things changing so skorry these days and everybody very quick to forget. There were six of us to five of them, and I had this fine starry horrorshow cut-throat brista which I could shire beautiful in the glazzies, and the vino flowed. But Bog, sent his top rozz down on us and we scattered.

So, I go back to this old malenky garden and knocked nice and gentle. Nobody came so I went in, and there’s this young devotchka, her plott all open like and real horrorshow groodies on her. I softened her up with my gent’s goloss and she kept looking at me like we should go off for a bit of pol, but with my cutter, my brothers, I did purchase an apple which I peeted with synthemesc and she had a real horrorshow fifteen minutes talking with old Bog before coming back here and whimpering her rot all up with the boohoohoo. Then her moodge comes back all starry with flowers and he looked a bit poogly when he vidded her groodies, and slooshied her malenky creeches. But then, O my brothers! He untrussed and got ready for the plunge, and I could viddy his litso all purple and malenky, and the bit of sharp all yes oh yes like a filthy minded skitebird.

Bog viddied all this thanks to world casts on the gloopy TV and in his pride and great radosty he sends Gab and his droog to the garden and the moodge and his sharp were creeching and going woe woe woe and they were like punchipunching each other with their tiny fists. But they put their platties on and went out into the night all horrorshow like, nonetheless.

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A Clockwork Orange
by Ayn Rand

John Galt stood over Dagney, his shirt partially open, his copper hair trembling softly under his bowler hat as he looked down at her with his green eyes. In that glance, he spoke silently of his love of life, his passion for her, and how much the violence in this act meant to him. She was sprawled on the floor, her tight, body hugging excercize suit torn in three places, revealing her body, but not obcenely. Her body was an instrument of pleasure, capable of translating the energy that moved all the choices in her life into immediate sensory perception.

Hank Rearden and Francisco D'Anconia were nearby, viciously kicking and beating Jim Taggert to a bloody pulp. Jim was a horrid moocher, and deserved no less than that. John Galt approved of this ultra-violence, as it was the men of the mind answering the code of altruisim on it's own terms. The moochers and second-handers had preached a morality of violence, and when they finally got what they deserved, brother, did they deserve it.

Dagney's glance fell on the remnants of a motor, a motor designed by John Galt and kept under glass in her modern apartment. Seeing John and seeing the motor at the same time gave her a serene sense of satisfaction, a sense that all was right with the world. The strains of a Richard Halley song were floating over the scene, and as John Galt bent over Dagney to violate her, he sang along...

"Singin' in the rain, just singin' in the rain..."

Then he talked for 300 pages.

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The Fountainhead
by Carl Sandburg

One afternoon, Roark sat down to do drawing. Roark lived in a little apartment at the top of a little building the color of gravel when the moon is shining. For drawing, he had three pencils, one short and sharp like a tack, one neat and straight, and one long and crooked. He was drawing with the neat, straight one. The long crooked one, he kept in his pocket for singing to in the twilight, and the short one he kept on a long string tied to hit coat pocket, so that if ever he got lost he could find the pencil and follow the string until he found where he was.

Roark sang all kinds of songs to the long, crooked pencil he kept in his pocket for singing to, and for today he sang productive ability is the highest virtue of man, productive ability is the highest virtue of man, productive ability is the highest virtue of man, on and on until the crooked pencil made a polite excuse and went away.

So Roark sat in his little apartment at the top of the little building the color of gravel when the moon is shining, and with the neat, straight pencil for drawing he drew a capitalist house, with little capitalist doors to open and little capitalist windows to look out of...

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A Clockwork Orange
by Helen Fielding

January 5, Monday No. Symphonies listened to: 0, No. plennies in jail cell: 7, including my humble self, No. beds in cell: 3, Calories: probably lots but feels like 0 due to lack of nutritional value in prison food

Well, this is just lovely, O my brothers. I have been thrown in prison merely for tolchocking an old ptitsa who happens to have more cats than God. There are far too many plennies in the cell, which was obviously designed with no attention to Feng Shui, and the food is very heavy and oily, and consistently gives me spots.

There were five plennies besides my humble self inhabiting this sorry excuse for a living quarters when I first came here two years ago, and although it was a struggle I felt it my duty to buck up under the pressure and prove myself to be calm, placid, and above all, thin. Although my fellow prisoners were and still are dirty chellovecks, I have tried my best to bring them understanding and enlightenment through the reading of such works as How to Love Others by Loving Yourself and Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. They do not seem to have gotten the point.

So this morning, after two long years of prison with no healing energies or bath salts (not to mention the lack of chocolate croissants, which is disgraceful), your humble author and his dirty chelloveck companions were graced by the presence of a new prestoopnick, who was obviously not in touch with his inner zen. All he did was snivel and cry, and of course this was done on MY bunk.

Well, I wasn’t having it at first, but then I remembered that anger is a choice, and one that healthy, well-adjusted people do not make. So I let that snotty prestoopnick just cower and snivel where he was, and said grciously, “I don’t want that bunk anyway, since you seem to need it for the purposes of wailing your big red rot out,” and was going to leave him to it, but the chellovecks did not like this snotty prestoopnick either, oh no, and said that I ought to take the bunk back, as I had earned it by right of being around a while.

Well, such a show of empowerment should not be ignored, and I thought that positive reinforcement is the best encouragement for someone who is trying to move forward on the wheel of life. So when the chellovecks thought that the snotty prestoopnick needed to be taught a lesson, I helpfully cooperated with them in bashing his head in. It was a remarkably empowering experience. I let the emotion flow through me, and released my aggressions on this bloody snotty prestoonick’s litso, which is meaning face, O my brothers, and I felt that I had finally managed to find a common ground with my cellmates, and soon would be able to talk them into taking our wastebasket out of the wealth corner of the cell. Very optimistic ending to the day.

January 6, Tuesday No. calories: 0, as have not even eaten prison food due to stress, No. dead bodies in cell: 1 (v.b.)

Ohshitohshitohshitohshit.

Prestoopnick is dead. Now what?

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Bridget Jones' Diary
by H.H. Munro (Saki)

July 23.
Had dinner with Mrs. H. Dessert tray came. She said she couldn't eat dessert, as her stomach was delicate. I replied that her stomach had clearly disagreed with her at some point . About thirty seconds later her mouth pinched up. I ate my mousse in a lovely silence.


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The Pillow Book of Bridget Jones
by Sei Shonagon

In London, it is surely the summer that is the most beautiful. Nothing can be compared to the refreshing torrential rain, and the merry chatter of the international tourists that throng the streets. How peaceful it is in the office when everybody else slips off to the pub or to get ice-creams, leaving oneself to man the phones alone! On the rare days when the sun shines, we hear the traditional sound of sirens and gunshots, and at weekends the soft thwack of side-arm baton on peace-protester. How delightful the riot police look in their shining uniforms!

* * *

On the first day of the Fourth Month, Daniel came to the office and said 'But Miss Jones, why is your skirt so short?'
At this audacity, I was shocked but strangely excited.
'Mr Daniel!' I replied. 'I find my skirt perfectly adequate for the conditions, considering that it is spring already, as you would be able to see from the cherry blossoms that would be outside the window if we lived in medieval Japan instead of central London.'
'Indeed Miss Jones,' he said most charmingly. 'But while the cherry tree is completely covered with blossoms, I cannot say the same for you and your skirt.'

At the eleventh hour of the shining morning, I returned from my cigarette break (3 Silk Cut, v.bad) and as I sat at my desk, observed that Daniel had indeed been watching me ever since I walked through the door. I worked hard to suppress my blushes, and did not dare meet his imperious eye.

Later in the day, he delivered to my desk a Starbucks gingerbread latte and the following poem, printed in the most elegant Impact font on splendid white copier paper:

Roses are red
Buttercups are gold
Your skirt is so short
That your bum must be cold!

I felt a glow of delight that he should take the time and effort to write such a beautiful poem for me, and confess that I have secreted it in my most hidden file.

* * *

Things That Give A Shameful Feeling (v. bad)

Smoking 20 Silk Cut in one day.
A family-sized Toblerone.
The second bottle of Chardonnay.
My v. pointless job.
Eating two chocolate croissants on the way home from the gym.

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Books and Pillows
Words and music by S. Sondheim

Sei: Each day I write of what I see
   Ladies: Nomi's pregnant, have you heard?
Sei: How the world appears to me
   Ladies: Don't repeat a single word!
Sei:As the dew lifts from the grass
   Ladies: Over here and let me tell you
Sei: And the silly ladies pass
   Ladies: Gather near-this shall compel you

Sei stands; stage darkens except for spots on her and on the inaudible ladies

Sei:
There
is more shine in a web in the moonlight
Than ever they'll see

There
is more love in the eyes of a child
Then they dream can beeeeeeeeee

etc, etc, etc.

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Into the Woods
by Lewis Carroll

Jack walked on through the little wood, still holding tight to Milky White's lead. "It's gotten dreadfully quiet, Milky White," he said aloud. "Suppose we've come to a place where there's no sound at all! Oh, I shouldn't like that. Though I suppose it might come in handy, you know -- when Nurse calls me to come indoors for lessons, I shan't have to answer. What's that, Nurse?" (Pretending to listen for a voice.) "If you want me to come in, Nurse, you shall have to call louder than that! That might be pleasant after all --"

It was at this moment that a most peculiar voice spoke behind Jack, startling him so that he gave a little jump and turned round. It was a crooked little old man who had spoken, quite extraordinarily dressed in rags and leaves, and he had said: "Hello, Jack!"

"I beg your pardon," said Jack, "how did you know my name?"

The little man's eyes sparkled. "When first I appear, I seem mysterious," he said, "but when explained I'm nothing serious."

Jack considered this gravely. "I don't think I quite understand that," he said as politely as he could; "would you please repeat it?"

"On your way to market?" asked the little man, without answering Jack's question. "You might have been there long ago. Are you taking your time, Jack?"

"No, sir," said Jack honestly.

The little man gave him a piercing look (and his eyes were very, very bright and piercing indeed). "Is that the truth?"

"Well," Jack tried to explain, "it was certainly the truth before, sir, but I can't say if it's the truth now; I hardly know just at present -- at least I know what it was this morning, but I think it must have changed several times since then."


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Wonderland
by Thomas Harris

The Caterpillar, a larval Acherontia Atropos, blew smoke rings at Lidell. From this distance she catalogued atypical mouth formations and clear forelimb mutations, permitting language use and smoking; she concentrated on its speech, looking for characteristic rhythms, stress patterns, hints as to its thought processes. She reminded herself that it was not human, and thinking of it as such was a sure path to failure. Crawford's much-imitated "ASS-U-ME" blackboard sketch flashed across her mind.

"Whoo-oooo-oooo are you?"

"Lidell, A." She wished for a weapon, that she'd had time to change from her childish pinafore, that she had a clearer understanding of the maze of shifting procedures and policies in place down here. "Student," she added after a minute.


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The Silence of the Lambs
by Salman Rushdie

Clarice did not stride as an Uzbeck conqueror would, entering the Maygar cities in the dirty, passionate fifteenth century, nor did she stroll like a small child, still lost in the wonderment and open-eyed adoration of early years, untouched by the bitter patina of time and loss and love and fear and age. Instead she walked, eyes unflinchingly and irrevocably forward.
She could not see the inmates of each cell, but she could feel them.
A red headed woman lay with her head on the desk weeping, like Medea; a pile of spilling fan mail, pleading, begging, entreating, insisting, demanding POTTER POTTER POTTER.
In the next a wild-eyed man, like Crusoe, if only he had failed to find his succour and his strength through the spiritual guidance of Friday, so coolly named after the rest day of the week, the reaching out and anticipation of the weekend, the promise of rest and fruition, of break and the space to find the meaning which is so inevitably defined by the duties of work and of striving and not the breathing out and the space of Saturday, ran to the bars and giggled pitifully and yet aggressively screaming “I can smell your split infinitive”

A bare wooden chair, like the ones in the Ashmoleum museum in shape, but resembling those in the Smithsonian in colour; a chair which spoke of vaulted learning, of wisdom and the sheer magical joy of the written word and all that it can cast into our brain, the alchemy of the imagination, stood before her.

The cell wall was glass; yes, glass that near mystical and yet so banal of the elemental forms which make up civilisation. Clarice mentally threw herself back to a brightly lit lecture room in the most prestigious seat of learning, to a group of eager minds yearning, to the date 1657, for that was when it had first become an integral part of our day, the glass that viewed, for the first time, the moon, and more prosaically, the glass in which the drunk, another consequence of our restless civilisation, procures his alcohol, martini or methanol, and dreams of fleshy moons of his own.

Before her.

He stood.

Behind her

He also stood. His work embraced the world and was yet a part of it.

She felt her heart skip a beat. Ever since Harvey had ripped apart the human frame and drawn out the prosaic circumlocution of the blood, the human mind had strived to return to the heart it’s stolen glory; the right to control and create our love, cut away by the scalpel.

Hamurabi Merchant was waiting for her, exactly as if she were a train; her breath steam beautiful and polluting, her sides metal encasing the fragility of a humanity which was yet as strong as the hammer of Thor.
He was not, certainly, a conventional man, not the muscles of a 2d Hollywood action hero, not the looks of a petit bourgeois English soap star, not the friendly demeanour of a waiter at Le sage on West 24th, Manhattan, where one can purchase the most exquisite martinis only by exercising fame and adulation; a taste so unfamiliar to the hoi poli, so unattainable to all but the most razor sharp of brains and beautiful of wits, and yet his aura; yes, aura, that most sacred and human part of us, that part that is initiated in the barbaric and seminal dances of the earliest African Utt-utu dances, the glory and the Passion of Quetzacotl’s blood rich ceremonies in Macchu Pichu, the feeling of the Gangees, yet his aura suggested that, no matter who, or where, or what, he would still be the hero of any novel written near him.

He coolly spoke; “what did Amis say to you?”

Clarice’s eyes flared; she thanked a God she did not believe in, had not believed in since her father was taken from her almost twenty years ago, had not believed in since that clashing moment of teenage passion and adult fear had caused her to cry out to an unloving and unlistening sky, a moment which had torn from under her the very ground upon which she walked, leaving her like Euridice, ungrounded, like Calypso, all at sea, like Lucretia, violated for her purity; if it had not been for the fragile glass, she would have thrown herself at the feet of this disdainful middle-aged Indian man, slightly balding, small paunch, and begged him to Love her. No, no she’d have begged him to fuck her. Saying the word in her head made her feel good. fuck, fuck fuck A liberation.
Now Clarice’s mind was like Caermathon Castle, the day after the storming was over, she could answer “He said he could smell my split infinitives”

Merchant looked inflamed. “I cannot abide, nor bear, nor endorse, nor commend, nor justify nor allow, unnecessary rudeness….”


…cont 1375874357 pages.

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Callahan's Children
by Spider Robinson

"When Bond's boss gets replaced, with-a Canadian face , that's M or eh". . .

The Spin Sinatra competition had gotten to a new low with this one. The entire population of Callahan's booed. . .except for one. A shower of broken glass filled the fireplace. Callahan moved over to the newcomer, who leaned forward as if trying to duck the stink of Mike's everpresent cigar.

"It is not the moon which hit my grandfather's eye, or rather his nose, but the continent of India. An abuse which has continued to this day."

"If you've got his nose, seems like India'd lose."

"Truly, India has chosen other means to injure me. I speak of Fate, and telepathy-"

And just like that, the bar went silent and still. From Fast Eddie's hands at the piano, to the whizzing of the cluracaun in the gent's, everything just . . .stopped.

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The Lord of the Rings
by Kurt Vonnegut

Sam Gamgee time travelled again. He found himself in his bedroom, alone and hungry on the night of his daughter's wedding. There was an empty cup on the floor by the bed. Sam picked it up and padded down the hall on his fur and leather feet. He went into the kitchen where the moonlight called his attention to a half bottle of champagne on the kitchen table, all that was left from the reception in the Party Field.

So Sam uncorked it with his thumbs. It didn't make a pop. The champagne was dead. So it goes.

Sam looked out at the height of the moon. He had an hour to kill before the Elves came to take him to the Grey Havens, and then over the sea. He went into the den, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, opened one of Bilbo's big old books of lore. He became slightly unstuck in time, saw the tale of Middle-Earth unfold backwards, then forwards again. Seen backwards by Sam, it went like this:

Rows of men full of gaps like missing teeth ran backwards from the Black Gate while armies of orcs wiped the blood off them and picked up their fallen comrades with their spearpoints as they went, closing their wounds. They did the same for the Riders of Rohan, wiping the blood from their faces and closing up their wounds as the great swarm seperated into orcs and men, running backwards from one another and forming ranks.

The ranks of men rode and walked backwards down the road to Minas Tirith, their fatigue and dread vanishing as they went. As they reached the city their hopes and bodies were restored. Soon orcs came with machines that exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires behind the walls of the city and drew out the severed heads of men, restoring them to their bodies and sending them back to their families alive and well again.

The orcs broke up camp and drew back over the river, leaving the fields around Minas Tirith green and lovely and full of flowers, and everybody as good as new. The dark clouds receeded and the people grew more at ease, sometimes laughing and singing, feeling the threat drawing farther and farther away. Gandalf rode backwards out of the city and over the plains somewhere to visit old friends in Rohan.

Sam skipped ahead beyond the war and saw himself and Frodo and all his friends content and secure in the Shire, growing younger and happier and more at ease. He skipped even further forward in the book and saw Gollum leave his cave and slowly become a Hobbit, returning to his homeland with the Ring in tow, finally waking his friend Deagol from death and giving him the Ring as a birthday present. Deagol took the Ring and put it in the riverbed, where it stayed for a very long time. The Ring finally saw Isildor and drifted up to him, who then got revived by orcs and sent back on the road to Mount Doom, where he gave the Ring to Sauron. After releasing the Rings of Power from his control, Sauron turned the One Ring into a lump of molten metal and put many spells on it to remove its threat so it could never hurt anyone ever again. Sauron returned to his master Morgoth, who came down out of the Void and undid all the damage and discord he'd caused Middle-Earth. Sauron became a loyal Maiar and aided the Ainur in the unmaking of Middle-Earth, putting all the warring, unhappy Elves and Men and Dwarves back to sleep. When all was done they returned to Iluvatar and abandoned destruction for music, and as they began to play the music was grand and loud, but slowly became quieter and less ferocious. Soon the Ainur sang alone, and then not at all, and all was silence. The Ainur shrank into nothing one by one, even Melkor, Sam supposed. That wasn't in the story. Sam was extrapolating. Iluvatar was alone with his thoughts, and he looked out into the Void at last without any desire to mar its perfection, he supposed.

...

Sam read Bilbo's stories backwards then forwards -- and then it was time to go out into his garden to meet the departing Elves. Out he went, his fur and leather feet crushing the wet salad of the lawn. He stopped, took a swig of the dead champagne. It was like an old orc draught. He would not shift his eyes to the road beyond gate, though he knew there was a party of cloaked and hooded Elves there, shimmering like the pale moonlight. He would see the party soon enough from within the procession, and he would see, too, where it was going -- soon enough.

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Slaughterhouse-5, A Classic Tale Of True Love and High Adventure Somewhat in the Telegraphic Schizophrenic Manner of Tales of the Planet Tralfamadore, Where The Flying Saucers Come From
by William Goldman

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it....

...It was my first night home from the hospital. Drained; still one sick cookie. My father came in, I thought to say good night. He sat on the end of my bed. "Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time," he said.

It was only then that I looked up and saw he was holding a book. That alone was surprising; my father was next to illiterate....

Anyway, I said "Huh? What? I didn't hear." I was so weak, so terribly tired.

"Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time." He held up the book then. "I'm reading it to you for relax. Slaughterhouse-Five. By Kilgore Trout. Great Florinese science fiction writer. He too came to America. Saw the firebombing of Florin City. Dead now in New York. (So it goes.) The English is his own.... Great man in Florin City. Not so much in America."

"Has it got any sports in it?"

"Fencing. Fighting. Firebombing. Torture. Revenge. Flying saucers. Wars. Pain. Death. (So it goes.) Brave men. Coward men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."

"Sounds okay," I said, and I kind of closed my eyes. "I'll do my best to stay awake...."

...Anyway, here's the "good parts" version. Kilgore Trout wrote it. And my father read it to me. And now I give it to you. It begins:
Listen:
Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

It ends:
Poo-tee-weet?

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The Good, the Bad, and the Mostly Dead: Part Two of the "Pirate With No Name" Trilogy
by Terry Pratchett

The sun beat down like the LAPD in the mid-'80s. The three men moved up to the small, isolated hut: the spaniard, the giant, and the masked corpse, stalking, lumbering, and being dragged, according to their nature.

"Don't come any closer, or I'll blow you right out of space-time!" The speaker was barely visible: a squint, a glint, and the barrel of some device which looked like it might just rip a hole that big.

Fezzig looked at his companion. "I never heard of space-time. "

"Issa four-dimensional model of the universe- Let me explain. Iss too complicated. Let me sum up," said the spaniard.

"Could you pay a little attention here! Am I talking to myself? There's a weapon involved!"

Meanwhile, the spaniard had continued: "He's going to blow us into next week. " *

The inhabitant of the hut raised his head a little, revealing a tattered hat labelled "WIZZARD". "Do you know what happened to this hat's previous owner? Do you?"

"He ran away?" Fezzig responded, ponderously.

HURRY IT UP, I HAVEN'T GOT ALL DAY TO DO RETURNS, YOU KNOW.

 

 

* While it is true that everyone gets to next week, eventually, some people get there much faster than others.

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