© 2011 David Jasmin-Green
I was sitting on a ridiculously low seat in a poorly illuminated bar, that much was clear, but it was like no bar I had ever been in before. The décor was rather weird to say the least. It was based on nineteen sixties public lavatories judging from the toilet shaped seats, white tiled walls and porcelain urinal ice dispensers, but no matter – odder still were the clientèle, who were all very small and very strange indeed. A pterodactyl about the size of a heron flew in through the open window, grabbed a well endowed, sub-Barbie sized woman in a nylon leopard skin dress in its wicked talons and flew out of the door – judging by the size of her thruppenies in comparison to her tiny frame I assume she was a vertically challenged Rachel Welch.
Sitting opposite me was a tiny elephant wearing a pair of huge, star shaped pink sunglasses and a tiny silver thong. He was chatting up a couple of white, fluffy guinea pig type things that were perched precariously on high, spindly stools delicately sipping a lurid pthalo green liquid from tall, poncey glasses crammed with ice and all the trimmings, fruit and umbrellas and all that shit, you know the sort of thing. To my right was a cluster of drastically reduced anteaters in business suits. They were drinking cappuccinos, reading the Financial Times and chatting to a Jack Russell sized beluga whale lying in a hammock suspended from the bar while the barmaid fed him with pork scratchings. The barmaid was, I believe, a pygmy hippopotamus, and when I heard her say “Open wide, you fat white fucker” to the little whale I realised it was her voice that Jane's had transformed into in mid sentence.....
On the dance floor just in front of me I saw a gang of laughable six inch long skin-hedgehogs threatening to stick the boot in the DJ for refusing to play the ska record they requested – I think they asked for 'Lip Up Fatty,' but I couldn't be sure over the background noise. The tiny insectivores were making a big mistake, because though the mountain gorilla DJ was only about the size of a baboon he was obviously more than a match for them. The gorilla politely ignored the threats of the troublesome gang, he just sat there impassively, supping his Guinness and playing Abba's 'Dancing Queen' over and over again, which enraged the hedgehogs even more.
I idly anticipated the shit hitting the fan when the remarkably well controlled ape eventually lost his cool when I became aware that the floor was covered in raisins, and, I suddenly realised, the midget giraffe with the twisted neck was sitting right beside me in his disabled buggy. He was smoking a pungent cigarillo and drinking a poisonous looking orange and blue cocktail through one of those stupid spiral straws, and until he realised I was watching him he was picking his nose with the pointy tip of one fore-hoof, expertly rolling the bogeys and covertly wiping them under the table. He had a second world war Luger on his lap beside his raisin bag, I noticed – whether he could proficiently use that without fingers was anybody's guess, but I reckoned if he could pick his nose he could probably fire a pistol.
“You!” I yelled.
“Yeah, me!” the giraffe replied, twisting his gammy neck as far as he could within the confines of his surgical collar and looking me straight in the left eye (considering the little tart's disability it was too much to expect for him to look me in both at once). “An' whatcha gonna do about it, scrotum features? How'd you track me down here, anyhow? Oh, I get it - you've cunningly followed my trail of absent mindedly dropped amazing raisins through the gloaming, ain't you, you sly tit.....
Clarence is the name, Clarence Peculiar Goatsucker at your service - no relation to the Chupacabras, the mysterious Latin American swine. Pleased to meet you, I'm sure. Well, not pleased exactly, I'm a bit irritated to tell the truth. I was hoping we'd never meet in person because I've heard you're a bit of a penis, but my dear departed mum taught me to say 'pleased to meet you' whatever low-down, dick-loving ball-bag I come across, 'cos it's fucking polite.
Will you kindly stop looking at me like that? You're giving me the bleeding creeps. What is it, do I look freaky or something? Have I got egg on my chin, is my Destroy t shirt on inside out, or have I inadvertently put my slippers on the wrong hooves? I know what it is, you're taking the tongue-in-cheek message on my kiss-me-quick hat a bit too literally, aren't you? You think I'm anybody's, you think I'm an easy lay. I might get myself one of them burkha thingies, 'cos I've got a sneaking suspicion that weirdos in general and you in particular find me sexually attractive.....
Oooh! Me 'ip joints are killing, and me neck's bloody murdering me. Fucking arthritis. These painkillers are shit. Bloody incompetent quacks.....” As an afterthought, apparently, the giraffe extended a grubby hoof that I guess he expected me to shake like you shake the hand of a gentleman, but he was clearly no gentleman, and as a large bogey precariously hung on to the proffered hoof I declined.
“I assume you're the nauseating little git off Facebook,” I said, “the drunken bastard that spat on the young fruit bat, dissed the old codger and happy-slapped those poor whelks and shrimps. Or was it prawns and lobsters? Cuttlefish and woodlice? No, wait..... Gnats and basking sharks? Anchovies and dormice? Rats and Tories? Oh no, they're more or less the same species, aren't they? Oh, fuck it, I can't remember. Anyway, what the hell's going on, you absolute bounder? I was locked in a bloody prison cell with a particularly attractive walrus a while ago, then I was at home in bed with my just as attractive other half, and now I'm..... And now I'm I don't know where.”
“You're in the Fur Cup, you scabby, abhorrent prick, a cocktail bar frequented by small and usually but by no means always disgruntled beasties,” Clarence replied. “Fuck me, what you been eating, anus breath? I predict that you're about to bore me to tears with questions to which there are no safe, clear cut answers - that's what folk unexpectedly finding themselves in your predicament usually do, but you're a bit of a weird bugger, so you might well surprise me.”
“Right - why am I here, and where is here?” I said. “And what exactly is going on? It's the middle of the bloody night, I'm supposed to be in my big, crisp bed with my big, crisp missus fast asleep, dreaming about proper goers going like the clappers, preferably a particularly delightful specimen best known for her role in Most Haunted, and beautiful koi carp and shubunkins lazily gobbling midges from the surface of a placid pond – I'm supposed to be emitting a symphony of soft, relaxed snoring noises and an occasional nocturnal fart, not talking crap with a crippled midget bastard of a giraffe!”
“You're Elsewhere, you flabby, bingo wing shaking, moob sporting nonce,” Clarence said. “You're where people and other sentient beings go for a few transient moments when they're not paying full attention to the situation they're supposed to be monitoring - it's as simple as that. The only difference between you and the rest of the flock is that you've suddenly learned to pay attention, or God has given you the ability to pay attention more like, but only when you slip off Elsewhere..... If you'd paid attention in the first place you'd be snoring beside your missus, covered in jam and fresh cream from your late night snack and smelling of pussy, and you wouldn't be in this confounding mess, you bantam's bottie botherer.”
“Why do you and your scaly master insult me so venomously?” I said. “And why were the Facebook entries under my name given such blatantly offensive subtitles? Honestly, a weaker individual would have been reduced to tears by such abuse. I'm not a train spotter, a stamp collector or a failed cheese manufacturer, and I'm certainly not a male prostitute (part-time or otherwise), a closet trannie, an Olympic standard knob jockey or a skilled player of the pink oboe, whatever that is. And despite popular opinion, as far as I recall I've never been attracted to walrus, seals, dugongs, manatees or even humble otters.....”
“Not in Earth mode, no,” Clarence smiled. “But apparently you're much more adventurous in some of your other manifestations. I shouldn't worry about all that stuff though, chuck. To tell you the truth it's mostly Fractal P. Buffalo, or Doctor Evil if you prefer, trying to upset you - he gets what some would call an unhealthy kick out of badmouthing folk.
Why, only the other day he insinuated that I was an ugly-buggly cheerleader and grocery packer called Nigella Craplet Dung with braces, a lisp, an irreversibly stagnant pussy and a gigantic glass didlo fetish, when everyone knows that I'm just a lowly refuse bin designer and sepulchre architect with a partiality for aqueducts, thimbles and trumpet stands and a culinary craving for severed limbs (preferably gangrenous), banana and toffee flavoured blancmange, prawn cocktail crisps and malignant tumours – lightly sautéed or raw, I'm not fussy. Oh, I forgot to mention meths and raisins..... The master's strangeness and wickedness rubs off on all of us, unfortunately. I used to be quite a nice boy, but now I guess I'm a bit of a cunt. I actually enjoy calling insignificant lowlife twats like you bum boy or shit eater, cocksucker or walrus molester.”
“This is insane,” I grumbled. “If I'm going to have paranormal experiences, why can't they be meaningful ones? Why can't they have some value in the grand scheme of things? And how the fuck am I supposed to truthfully record all this crap in my personal journal, which I update every single evening, without worrying what my descendants will think of me? What's the point of waking up in an alternative world as a transvestite, Beyonce obsessed half walrus locked in a cell with his stinking, full-blooded walrus girlfriend waiting to be buggered silly by an Austrian pervert gaoler who's convinced that I'm his daughter? What's the point of talking to an inebriated midget arthritic giraffe in a public lavvy-cum-bar full of weirdos about nothing in particular when I should be experiencing wonderful things, when I should be embracing my no doubt golden destiny? As far as I can see, none of the stuff I've experienced so far has the slightest..... I don't know, importance.”
“You ungrateful bastard,” Clarence said. “What, you're saying we're not important? You're saying we're of absolutely no consequence? I don't know where you find the bloody cheek. The Architect of the universe chose you from billions to remember, to experience a choice sample of the wonders of the Mystery with a capital 'm', and what thanks do you give Him? Hmmm? None. None whatsoever, you donkey's dick gobbling cumdumpster.
What did you expect - to jump into Neil Armstrong's boots and feel what it's like being the first man to walk on a gigantic film set cunningly made to look like the surface of the moon? To be George Bush when he secretly blew up the World Trade Centre and blamed fictitious Muslim terrorists to provide an excuse to invade Iraq and take control of its rich oil fields? To slip into Jim Morrison's skin when he was the cock of the walk before the drugs ate him alive, or to wear Mike Tyson's gloves when he was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the frigging world? Did you fancy an afternoon as Mother Theresa or Mahatma Gandhi, or maybe a chance to try Sophia Loren's underwear for size when she was in her, ooh, I dunno, late twenties, early thirties? Naah, that would probably have given you a heart attack.
It could have been a damned sight worse, you know. You didn't actually get rogered by Joseph Frietzl, did you? Not that you remember, anyway. You could have been a Christian in the hands of some psychotic Roman emperor; you could have been a lowly Whitechapel prostitute towards the end of the nineteenth century when Jack the Ripper was on the prowl; you could have been a wart on Mary Millington's piss-flaps or a haemorrhoid just inside Quentin Crisp's ring-piece. You don't know you're bloody born, you diseased looking knob.....”
“What the f-fuck are you yapping on about? I groaned, more tired than ever – I only stutter when I'm dangerously knackered. “I don't know what the crack is here, chummy. I don't understand what you're getting at, and I really don't know what I'm b-being puh-puh-punished for.”
“Perhaps you're not being punished,” Clarence said calmly. “Perhaps the Head Honcho initially planned to let you sample just a few wild, weird experiences to enrich your pitiful existence, to make you a more rounded human being and give you something to tell your grand-kids about – or not, as the case may be. Perhaps he wanted you to appreciate the absurdity of life, maybe your little diversions were simply a reference to the nonsensical side of the human condition, which is patently the most powerful aspect of the your species' extravagant, mostly ridiculous carnival.....
Or maybe I'm just toying with you, twisting you around my little finger a millimetre at a time to satisfy my perverse sense of humour, or maybe I'm lying through my teeth and feeding on your confusion. Consider the possibility that you were damned as soon as we snatched you from your humdrum little world. The sad thing is that you'll never know..... We intended to allow you to toddle off home to your lard-arse wife relatively unharmed once your curiosity was satisfied – honestly we did - but as a senior acolyte of Fractal P. Buffalo I have the authority to keep you confined to the nether regions indefinitely. The 'p' doesn't stand for 'Pandora' by the way; it stands for 'pooftah', but don't tell him I told you that or I'll deny it - and guess which one of us he'll believe? I'll teach you a bloody lesson, m'boy. You is finished; you is through; your ass is dog meat..... You is the crappiest link, Will Schreiber. Goodbye.”
“Nooooooooo!” I roared.
“No what?” Yvette said as she sat astride me, vigorously riding my aching tool. “I thought you liked my tight walrus kitty. What's up, do I need a squirt of deodorant? Grandpa Fritzy is just startin' the grub rounds, love, so I thought you and I ought to work up a bit of an appetite. We 'ave a choice of raw mackerel, turbot and cuttlefish (which is what I'm 'aving), or steak pie, roast tatties and Yorkshire pud, followed by apple strudel with Angel Delight, hundreds and thousands and strawberry ice-cream. Yum-yum!”
“Erm, I love your kitty, my blubbery angel,” I replied breathlessly, “and no, you don't need deodorant, you smell absolutely divine - but I'm in a bit of a tizzy at the moment and I have a lot on my mind, so I'd prefer it if you'd stop.....”
“Not a-fucking-gain!” Jane groaned, kicking me hard in the back of my legs, and then I was on my way Elsewhere for the umpteenth time.
Something unexpected happened between location A and location B or C or Z, and I say that even though I had begun to expect the unexpected. I was treated to a flurry of fleeting visions. I saw a wombat in an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini sitting astride a daft looking bisexual mule called Kevin, and the wombat was firing sharpened vulture beaks at passing pensioners with a crossbow. I saw an obscenely obese bandaged figure whistling Dixie in a hospital bed with a photo of Monica Lewinsky taped to his face, a large, buzzing vibrator nestled in his severely burned hands and a tangle of tubes coming out of his corpulent belly. I saw a large marine turtle with a swastika on its shell playing the theme from Bonanza on a harpsichord (rather poorly, I thought). I saw the Teletubbies machine gunning a cute little baa-lamb in a straw hat and a blue and pink flowery frock – and then, instead of ending up in the cell next to my beloved Yvette or in a familiar big, crisp bed beside my more or less beloved Jane (I'm not sure which one I love the most, you see) or even ending up back in the Fur Cup with the exasperatingly twattish giraffe I was cast into a bright, painfully turgid place.
My body was jigging up and down vigorously. I was sitting on a white horse behind another man, a large, hairy, extremely sweaty one. The horse was galloping at full speed across a sun scorched plain; I had my arms wrapped tightly around the rider's waist, or I would have fallen off and probably broken my back on the reddish rock of the high chapparal, if that's what it was – it might have been the low chapparal or some place else entirely for all I knew.
“Slow down!” I yelled. “I can't hang on.....” The rider wore classic cowboy gear, a wide brimmed hat, a dusty greatcoat and loose-fitting leather trousers. Well, classic except for the fact that the gear was a lurid Barbara Cartland pink and the pearl handled six shooter hanging at the rider's side was studded with rhinestones. “What's going on, Earl?” I said. “What is this, a fucking peyote vision? Where are we going, and what's the bloody rush?”
“I already explained that last night, honey,” the heavily moustached cowboy replied. “Maybe you were too drunk or too sleepy to take it in, but you certainly weren't too sleepy to take in the other subject of conversation. You're an intensely beautiful man, Miguel - you sure is a purdy thing, and I'm so glad I picked you up at the tavern.” A knot of fear tightened in my stomach.....
“And as for what the hurry is, well, it's injuns, as per usual. Apaches, a dozen or more, and by the look of them they're not openly camp – if they were it would have been a different story - so I hope to God they didn't see us. I minced around to the far side of the mesa and then coaxed my faithful old hoss into galloping across the plain full pelt. We should catch up with the other boys pretty soon, so even if those injuns did spot us and they're playin' it sneaky they'll slink off into the shadows as soon as they realise there are more than two of us. We'll be in the foothills before very long, and then we'll be pretty close to our destination and the wild party that my buddies have promised to throw in your honour. I sure hope you enjoy threesomes, foursomes and moresomes as much as you promised you did last night when you had a skin-full of whisky and a mouth full of you-know-what, you naughty little minx.”
“What exactly are you referring to?” I half mumbled, half shouted, struggling to be heard over the wind and trying to recall what I might have had a mouthful of – my stomach was rumbling violently, and I couldn't remember eating anything. “What party? And what do you mean, threesomes, foursomes and moresomes? I'll have you know that I'm a happily married man, and I never, ever hang out with loose women – never. I'm a tenor in the choir at my local Pentecostal church, and I have no wish to canoodle with cheap fucking strumpets.”
“Women?” Earl grunted. “Who the hell said anything about women? Ugh! Women're dirty creatures, excepting of course my mother – they talk too much, their hind parts remind me of cows' rears, and I can't abide them. There sure won't be any damned women at the party at Brokeback mountain, pardner, only rhinestone gay-boys like you and me. So you're a chubby faced little choirboy. That's fine by me..... I'm a Mormon minister myself, and many of my friends are bishops, archbishops and fallen angels from various denominations. We even have a Pope in our little circle, Pope Fractal Ubermensch Pooftah Buffalo the three hundred and thirty third of the Church of the Cataclysmic Cockamamie Catharsis, he calls himself. He's a mighty powerful man, a demigod, some say, and his name matches his nature - he's hung like a prize fucking steed. Our little get together is gonna be a real humdinger, Tinkerbell. Me and the boys are gonna kebab you and bust your sweet ass good an' proper. Yeeeee-haaaaar!”
“Aargh!” I squealed, but the audible echo of my immeasurable inner terror was lost beneath Earl's incredibly loud cry of triumph. I silently forgave the midget giraffe for his innumerable sins and I hoped that either he or his dark master (or both of them) would be merciful in return. I prayed that I would be whisked away Elsewhere before the party at Brokeback mountain got cracking. Any Elsewhere would do – any place at all.