Monday, May 21, 2012

Mr Stanthorpe and the High-Speed Newspaper Perforator

James swung himself down next to a wispy-haired old man and closed his eyes. He would have preferred to sit alone, but this was the last free seat on the bus.

“Good evening young man,” the old man said.

James pretended not to notice.

“Allow me to introduce myself: I am Mr Stanthorpe, inventor of the world’s only high-speed newspaper perforator.”

James looked up and nodded at the old man.

“James,” he said.

James was about to close his eyes again when Mr Stanthorpe picked up a newspaper and began waving it in the air.

“My invention allows its user to remove the main fold of any newspaper,” said Mr Stanthorpe.

“Individual pages are far easier to manage, don’t you agree?”

“Hmmm,” James replied.

“Thanks to my invention, people can read their newspaper on the bus without disturbing the person next to them,” said Mr Stanthorpe.

“I read the newspaper on the Internet,” replied James sardonically.

“Oh,” said Mr Stanthorpe.

Right at that moment there was a tremendous bang. A truck had smashed into the back of the bus. The passengers were thrown forward but luckily no one was badly hurt.

The bus began to fill with smoke. The driver tried to open the buses doors, but it was no use, nothing was working.

People began to panic.

“We’re trapped!” someone screamed.

Mr Stanthorpe reached into his bag and pulled out a black box that looked like an overgrown hole-punch. He pulled the base off the box and held it up to the window.

“Cover your eyes,” he warned James.

James heard the window smash and felt a rush of cool air.

“How did you do that?” he asked Mr Stanthorpe as they climbed out the window.

“I used my high-speed newspaper perforator,” said Mr Stanthorpe proudly. “It also breaks glass.”

The bus crash was headline news the following day. James decided to buy the morning paper as a memento.

“Would you like me to perforate the fold for you, sir?” the vendor offered.

“Yes thanks,” said James.

Monday, May 07, 2012

The Leviathan Sea

A ragged cliff marks the place where Land concedes defeat to Ocean. The cliff stands stoically, a monument to the effects of time: crumbling; weather beaten; eroded. Overhead, iron clouds hang heavy and foreboding. The light that passes through them is pale and insipid. Nearby, a family of seagulls drifts on a strong breeze; beaks and beady eyes turned towards a grey and turgid sea.

There, on the rocky foreshore, a man stands alone.

The chill of the day, the movement of the sea, the keening cry of the seagulls, fills him, envelops him, wraps around him, and gives him peace. There, in the midst of the world at its work, he stands and meditates.

He feels his blood pumping through him; the warmth inside his gloves; the chill on the tips of his ears, his nose, his cheeks. He feels alive.

The sea is wild that day. It is a mighty leviathan beneath an enormous grey net. The man feels this, feels the movement of it hypnotising him, bending his will to its unyielding purpose. The man feels the sea’s anger. It is the kind that brings calm and focus. He feels its hunger. It is the kind that fills a man with force and purpose.

He feels the line of the sea extending beyond its natural boundary. It passes through him where his nose meets his forehead, permeating him and becoming one with his mind and thoughts.

He feels the wildness of it, the aliveness of it, the freedom of it. The force that keeps the sea moving is the same force that keeps the blood flowing in his veins.

The bracing breeze that comes from the ocean winds around him. It winds around his muscles, binding him and holding him. It makes him stronger, squeezes the miasma from his lungs and fills them with fresh air: cool, salty, and alive.

He has come to this place in search of these things. It was these things, the essence of life that he is here to fill up on. He will lock these memories away, ready for the joyless days ahead of him. He will store these feelings in his heart, and, one day, he will close his eyes and return to this foreshore, to this land, and he will remember. He will remember.