That’s all Folks

The post below is the end of the CYOA and this blog. Thanks for reading and participating; my little grammatically and drammatically challenged piece of fiction has received far more attention than it deserved. Furthermore* I’ve enjoyed myself immensely and let other things go to waste. Or I would’ve if my life were exciting enough to contain other things.

I’m off to watch a stack of movies and read a pile of books.

*Sorry I’m still in essay mode.

Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 10:25 pm  Comments (2)  

(B) Rant and Rave

You stare at him for a moment.

“You think I’m lying?”

He nods.

“You think I’m LYING?! I haven’t got so much as an egg-loving piece of earwax to munch on, so much as a piece of camel’s snot to fling at you, so much as a pre-loved shoe to munch on.”

You tear off your shirt and brandish it wildly while alternately scratching around in your ear and picking your nose.

“I’ve had the worst day of my miserable, misanthropic life, not excluding an April fool’s day spent with sixteen hyperactive four-year-old cousins.  I really should have seen it coming from the encounter with a hideous ape of an avaricious antiques dealer and but strangely it’s only in encountering a cellar crawling cretin of a chimpanzee…”

“I’m not a…”

“I’M NOT FINISHED!” You rip of your trousers to underscore the point and hurl them back towards the goo before continuing, “In-between dumping my sister’s dowry for a lousy broken down foghorn and meeting the only drummer capable of participating in a pub quiz I’ve been staring over my shoulder lest my overbearing parent appear with her instruments of torture which probably explains why yet another group of zoo absconders would wish to turn my face into a rough approximation of a smashed watermelon but doesn’t account for having had my face pressed in the most disturbing place it’s been since I fell asleep in sago pudding.

“And then I had the pleasure of narrowly avoiding becoming a human Molotov cocktail.” You turn to face Dreadlocks, “I don’t know if you ever went to school or if you just sat around growing your hair out but most people realise that matches are dangerous.”

You drop your shirt, pull off your underpants, grab a match from Dreadlocks and set them on fire.

“You play with fire,” You grin maniacally…

The band members shake their heads. You grin and let loose a howl.  You wind up and throw your pants into the goo.

The sewer explodes.

You wake up packed in a close huddle with the Hotspots. Around you are the massive arms of Harry; now blackened and peeling. He opens one massive eye, “Is it over?”

“I think so,” you say and he sits up allowing you to crawl out from underneath him. The others are comatose but you don’t rush to check their vital signs; instead you’re casting around for your instrument.

“Looking for something?”  He holds up the accordion. You look at it, its faded paint now cracked and peeling, its straps now well and truly destroyed. You wonder what you saw in it; whether it has really been worth all the trouble.

“No,” you say, and walk away.

But twenty seconds later you’re rushing back to claim it.

Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

(C) Slobber a Bit

You sigh anxiously and slosh your way towards the imposing figure. As you get closer you start to make out a rather frog-like creature, except that mucus flows in rivers from its pores and an extra pair of arms is absentmindedly tapping out a funk beat. How in a rabid dog’s nightmare did you miss this thing? Drummer syndrome sure, but still; it’s massive.

Hesitantly you begin to moisten your mouth, making involuntary sucking noises as you do so. Dreadlocks looks over at you quizzically and you begin to feel a little foolish but this isn’t just a drummer; it’s a giant frog drummer, so you let the spit dribble down your cheek and persevere, “haysh maman wats dah del wot ya twiple ratemacuus?”

The frog looks down at you, blinking slowly, “Are you suffering from some sort of ailment young sir?”

Okay, clearly an atypical drummer.

Exchanging concerned looks the two hustle you into what appears to be the current headquarters of the Hotspots. It’s not a pretty sight; goo stained carpet fragments fail to cover the concrete floor and the other two members present do not look at all well. Malpywebb; the singing goldfish, is swimming in a bowl so covered in algae as to render her all but invisible and Jack “I’m Definitely not a Chimpanzee” Marchella isn’t so much as smirking – although he is playing a certain red shiny accordion.

You start forward but dreadlocks puts a hand on your shoulder. “I think you want to sit back and hear what Jack’s got to say.” The only thing you want to do is walk over and take that accordion from the non-chimp’s hands but you’re outnumbered four to one so you just nod and pull up the only available chair.

“It’s like this,” Jack says with that trademark yelp, “we always knew we weren’t that world’s best band.”

You snort involuntarily.

“Oh we were good sure, we were even great, but not quite the best. We were never quite as good as Yellow Jim and what’s worse is that they knew it too. So when they decided to do an album without instruments after the Lightless Luna cycle we had to go one better.

“We had to do a cycle of the greatest classics played on something even more nonsensical than no instruments what-so-ever.”

“You’re telling me you couldn’t find a melodeon?” You ask.

They blanch.

“Anyways,” continues Jack, “after we self destructed we decided that all we had to do was to maintain the patronage of one wealthy gent and we could survive and maybe someday prosper.’

“That gent,” Dreadlocks interjects, “is your sister’s husband to be.”

“And she’s not so bad at the old reeds so if she gets her hands on an accordion…”

“…And shows that gent that the problem wasn’t just our choice of instrument…”

“…We’d be sunk,” says the goldfish.

You sigh and rub your eyes. “I paid for that instrument with the dowry; the wedding isn’t going to happen.”

Jack squints up at you and replies, “I think you’re lying.”

(a) Grab the accordion and get out of here.

(b) Rant, rave and strip naked to prove you haven’t got a cent.

(c) Pretend to be a mental invalid to gain sympathy

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 10:40 am  Comments (7)  

(A) Go on down but…

“Sure,” you say, “I’ve been trying to talk to someone about that all day.” He grins at your show of bravado and motions towards the trapdoor. “But you’ve got to go down first,” you add.

He shrugs his shoulders, pops the hatch and swings onto the ladder in three muscular movements. You follow him a little less energetically and when you close the hatch you can’t help but gasp at the world’s sudden emptiness.

“Yeah,” he says, “I forgot about the matches.”

Ten minutes later finds you and the dreadlocked man wading through what appears to be the remains of your mother’s vegetable purée. Though it doesn’t seem quite as flammable, which is relief because your guide was speaking precisely when he talked about matches – he’s lighting them one by one, waiting until they singe his finger tips and then throwing them into the surrounding goo. You flinch at every potential firebomb.

You flinch even more when a flickering discard picks out an unearthly silhouette. The dreadlocked man hears you splashing about and looks back at you with a puzzled expression, “Didn’t you come to any live shows…”

Sure you did but you never saw anything like that – maybe that’s because…

“…it’s just Harry the drummer; treat him like any other stickman.”

(a) Grab the latest dropped match and throw it at the beast.

(b) Give it an almighty hug.

(c) Slobber a bit and gargle incoherently.

Published in: on November 19, 2008 at 1:50 am  Comments (5)  

(C) He’s not so Sprightly

But it’s just a faint which enables you to twist out from underneath his paw and start running towards the end of the alley. A glance to make sure he’s following reveals an awesome sight; akin to the rhinos at the zoo except that this one’s barrelling straight at you. Panicked you swerve to your right and slide underneath a merchant’s table; pulling the tablecloth down behind you and shooting between the proprietor’s legs, your face ploughing into his crotch. Apologising profusely you get to your feet in time to avoid a wild swipe from the rhino and execute a balletic leap onto the nearest table to the alley mouth. Unluckily it’s that of a rug merchant and you shoot straight off the end; landing on your back.

When the dust clears the first thing you see is the rhino’s ugly face and there’s little you can do as he and the two offended salesmen proceed to beat you senseless.

By the time you come to you find yourself staring at the stars behind one of the stalls in the alley. Its owner, a man with impressive dreadlocks, hears you sit up and turns around giving you the shock of your day. You know this man; his heavily pierced features bring back a host of images from your salad days. Images of poorly light bars and smoke filled theatres where you once went to see The Hotspots play. This was, of course, a long time ago – before, in the aftermath of their most successful song cycle, they self destructed with a collection of covers played on accordions.

So you’re still feeling a little out of it when he bends down and says, “I think you and the boys need to have a little chat about an accordion,” and points towards a trapdoor under his table.

(a) Go on down but make sure he goes first.

(b) Go on down but latch the trapdoor so he can’t follow you.

(c) Go home and come back in the morning.

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 9:32 am  Comments (5)  

Excuses, Excuses

“I left my homework in the launderette                                                                                                           I’ve got a letter from my mamma which my stoopid dog has ate” – Stuart Murdoch

I was just finishing the music for Sunday’s entry when a rather impressive storm sideswiped Brisbane. We’re talking hail, fallen trees and most critically (at least in my case) a power outage. I believe you can get fancy modems with batteries but ours isn’t one of them so internet access was lost for thirty hours. I imagine it’s a bit like a regular coffee drinker going cold turkey. Fortunately my mind was prevented from worrying this twenty-first century injury by having to make burgers in one of the few fast food joints with power. Thousand dollar hours were the norm.

In any case I (thankfully) don’t live in the Gap so the house still has a roof and this thing can resume its semi-regular schedule.

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 9:32 am  Leave a Comment  

(A) Collar the Crook!

You start running towards him; pushing your way through the press of people and ducking around those fleeing the commotion. Soon you’re choking on the dust thrown up by your sandals and you can feel the tightness in your throat that precedes an asthma attack. In the distance you see the thief drop his hooded cloak and duck into an alley. You speed up in response, your arms flailing wildly…

And then you hear a loud tearing noise. Uh oh.

You turn to see coins cascading from the ripped pocket of a rather distinguished gentleman. A swift glance at his face reveals an ugly scowl so you suddenly remember that you’re chasing someone and plunge back into the crowd.

A few seconds later you stumble wearily to a halt beside the thief’s cloak. Looking into the alley reveals the tables of several dealers – none of which displays an accordion. Thinking quickly you bend down, pull on the cloak and stride across to one of the tables. Or you would’ve if there wasn’t a hand gripping your shoulder, “Got you yer little would-be pick pocket.”

You begin to turn around.

(a)    Does he really recognise you in the cloak, without seeing your face? And doesn’t that kid over there look a little bit like you? Bluff your way out of it.

(b)   You could take this buffoon with both hands tied behind your back. Beat him up.

(c)    He’s not so sprightly – lead him in a merry dance around the tables.

NB: If you play this through headphones it would be wise to use a low volume.

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 9:04 pm  Comments (6)  

(A) Meat Hooks? Schmeat hooks.

You push your coins into the man’s greasy hands and heft the accordion into your arms. Your thoughts turn to meat hooks but as you trudge away you can’t help but hear the saleman’s happy laughter and feel his grin forcing its way into your thoughts.

And then you’re lying on the ground with the breath knocked out of you, nothing but dirt in your arms and your ears ringing with shouts of, “Thief!” You get to your feet by grabbing the cloak of a passerby and rub the grit out of your eyes in time to see a hooded man shoving his way through the crowd with your accordion in his hands and a pistol in his belt.

(a) What are you waiting for?! Collar the crook.

(b) He’s packing a pistol! Organise a posse before you tackle the miserable bastard.

(c) Get your money back from that uppity salesman and see if you can’t find another instrument.

Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 6:13 pm  Comments (4)  

At the Market

You’re just drifting through the markets when you see it, just soaking up the funhouse atmosphere of vicious horses, sweaty salesmen and overpriced trash before its bright red shell catches your eye. An accordion. Virtually impossible to find after Yowlin’ Mickey and the Hotspots gave the instrument such a bad name but you always knew better than the musical fashionistas and their eye-blink attention spans.

So when you see it sitting there you stop, the crowds pushing their way around you, and stare. Big mistake. Its salesman, a short man with black hairs crawling up his neck, might have let it go cheap but now he’s seeing visions of golden fountains.

Cursing your lack of self control you push your way towards the table and the haggling begins:

“102 for such an artfully carved instrument”

“39. The shell’s plastic”

“98. That’s merely the artful application of paint.”

“57. Then your carver must have been a genius with the joins.”

“96.50 – he was the equal of Rossini.”

“67. The leather straps will need replacing.”

“95. Who would replace any part of such a fine antique?”

“70. Who could play an accordion without straps?”

“Who would play an accordion? 95 is my final price.”

You sigh. Your money weighs heavily in your pocket. The trouble is that half of it is your contribution to your sister’s dowry. While she has no wish to spend the rest of her days cooking spinach, her mother has other dreams – dreams of social connections and a day when her daughter has less time to spend in wild jam sessions with drunken youths. Her mother will not be distressed by the prospect of hanging you up on meat hooks.

“My final offer. I can’t go any lower or all thirty-seven of my daughters will starve.”

(a) Meat hooks? Schmeat hooks. Buy that shining accordion and weddings be damned.

(b) Tell the man to hold on for a while. You know a money lender who only charges a 75% interest rate.

(c) Your back’s a little tender, the accordion isn’t that new and last week your sister returned your favourite sheet music with brand new stains. Give up on it.

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 10:15 am  Comments (6)  

The Pitch

Role up, role up! This is it; the future of the choose your own adventure! It’s much like those paperbacks you read as a wee young thing except that its author is somewhat more loquacious and lacks an editor. Being a precocious brat there’s also the small matter of originally annoying midi accordion music composed on the fly for each day’s entry. This is a true world first in literature (unless you count millions of unfinished Starcraft pages) and will be much more satisfying than the long winded descriptions of tunes usually found in fantastic writings. I’m looking at you Janny Wurts.

Furthermore it shall, as per its innovative forerunners, be run on a majority rules basis. The author was considering doing one for the anarchists and writing a separate entry for each choice selected but quickly decided that anarchy is overrated.

If you’re looking for someone to blame that would be Sir Tessa who demanded that someone else write one to give her a turn. If you’re looking for someone to pay that would be me.

Arthur Miller @ OUSalesperson

PS: First entry goes live tomorrow after my last exam. This site will get prettier and more detailed.

PPS: If Kirsten is reading this then I have to say sorry; it’s not exactly for adults. I really couldn’t do that kind of thing justice.

Published in: on November 11, 2008 at 11:15 am  Comments (2)