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Mickey Apples…and the dead pop stars

Alright everybody?  It’s been a long day. My friend, Ashleigh, is in hospital…she had her appendix removed. It was causing trouble. It’s a bit like someone causing trouble in a nightclub…you have to have them removed…but I think the doctors are better qualified than the bouncers.  Poor old Ash….with the classic presentation of acute appendicitis. Sounds like a line from a Gilbert & Sullivan opera.

‘The classic presentation of acute appendicitis…is of major apprehension worse than gastroenteritis…though it’s not as bad as other stuff like pallid meningitis…and a little part of Ashleigh is no more’

Poor little Ash. The last time she was in Casualty she played the part of a little girl with a saucepan stuck on her head.  As if that ever happens in real life. Maybe someone once got their head stuck in a 3,600-year old Sumerian pot? Perhaps not?

People get into all sorts of scrapes…often due to alcohol. Alcohol and Love. A lethal combination. Well…I  must settle down for the night. I tip-toed past the medicine cabinet…cos I didn’t want to wake the sleeping tablets up…and now I’m in my bed. Peppa Pig quilt. Sid Vicious poster on wall. Small bottle of vodka…to help me relax…and the world on hold. I guess I should hand over to the Scruffy Duck…for an account of another mission of mine. S’later xx

TRAVELODGE…GREENHITHE…KENT 2006
Italix clouted her knuckles against the door of room 342 of the Travelodge Hotel…down by the south side of the Dartford River Crossing. The man who opened the door was rather drunk. His name was Mickey. The name of the monitor lizard in the perspex case on the kitchen work-top was Savannha…but it didn’t matter.  Lizards are very intelligent…some can even count…but it doesn’t matter. What use is that…as a function…to a lizard? Yes…they can count the number of worms, crickets or boiled eggs they have eaten in any given period…but it still serves no real purpose. It doesn’t matter.

‘Who are you then?’ asked Mickey

‘I’m called Italix…cos I always talk in italics’

‘Cool…and what are you here for?’

Well…I read the song you wrote…Baby Don’t Break Up With Me …and I know you’re just about to kill yourself’

‘Ha ha…how moving…and you want to stop me?’

Well…yes…what’s wrong with that?’

Savannha watched them as they talked. Lizards are very intelligent. Italix is super-intelligent. Monitors need a large water dish in which they can soak their entire bodies.  Italix needs a large pool of deep emotional trauma in which she can immerse her ‘catch-all liberation of victim’ policy.  Lizards have long necks, powerful tails and claws, and well-developed limbs.  Italix has a long history of Interactive Remote Viewing, powerful persausion skills, and well-developed ethics.

‘Look Mickey’ said Italix ‘Here’s a write-up about your time with UFK….it’s up to you now…if you want to change history…and just live…and you can still go on to do solo stuff. You just won’t die…and I’ll be your friend’

Italix whipped out her iphone and showed her new friend the press article

“DEAD POP STARS”
1. The Book That Broke My Heart (for Kurt Cobain)
2. The Man With The Terracotta Eyes (for Syd Barrett)
3. I.C.U. (for Ian Curtis)
4. The Elvis Elevator (for Elvis Presley)
5. One Black Eye (for Ian Dury)
6, Hello Richie (for Richie Edwards)
7. All The Heroes (for Jimi Hendrix)
8. Shadows All Around Me (for Layne Staley)
9. Nancy Boy (for Sid Vicious)
10. Electric Fingers (for Jimi Hendrix)
11. Strummer Holiday (for Joe Strummer)
12. Stormy Waters (for Johnny Thunders)
13. Joey Is A Punk (for Joey Ramone)

The track-listing has been decided for the posthumous Mickey Apples album, Dead Pop Stars.

Mickey Apples was bass player for Indo-European Pop-Punk band, Unlucky Fried Kitten. When he left the band he released a solo E.P. called Black Sheep…and then he began work on his notorious album, Dead Pop Stars. Each of the 13 tracks pertained to a dead rock or pop musician.

a brief history of Mickey’s time with UFK

Andy and Kingsley relocated to London and placed an ad in the Melody Maker. They got three responses. One from a 55 year old golfer who played bass in a covers band doing Jim Reeves/Marty Robbins songs. Another from a leather rocker girl into Suzi Quatro and Mud. A third from Michael Shufflebotham who lived on a farm on the south coast. They chose Michael due to his unswerving natural ability on the fret board…(and cos they had a barn they could practice in for free:) Michael was the black sheep of the family…his two brothers followed their father into farming…not like Michael who chose the “wicked path of rock and roll” So, the basic line-up of UFK were out of the traps. In a UFK interview Andy explains how they changed Mickey’s name to the one we all know him by now…’Ah! He was funny in those days…we’d roll up at the barn with our amps and our crates of booze…and he’d pitch in with a box of apples! We just had to christen him “Mickey Apples”
Mickey continued the tradition on the UFK, Kitten On your Doorstep tour, insisting that a pallet of apples be loaded into the dressing room.
Mickey was a good bass player, but he constantly badgered Andy..trying to get UFK to play his songs, which were mostly atrocious! They argued a lot. In a fit of pique Mickey stormed out of a YMCA gig…on the “Perishing Robots” tour and he never played with UFK again.
He made a single, “Black Sheep”. It sank without a trace. His last roll of the dice was his mini-LP Dead Pop Stars…finalizing his place in low-rent pop punk history by astonishingly killing himself on the release date. In tribute to Mr. Apples…we have created a shrine to him in
The Doll’s House where you can hear his “Black Sheep” song and his subsequent DPS songs.

Monitor lizards differ greatly from other lizards in several ways, possessing a relatively high metabolic rate…for reptiles

Mickey Apples…bassist…differs greatly from other bassists in several ways, possessing a relatively high predilection for suicide…for bassists

Italix…the modern super-intelligent super-hero for the modern day…differs greatly from other modern super-heroes, possessing a relatively high don’t-give-a-fuck attitude…for super-heroes

‘Ah’ said Mickey ‘Then I am gonna be famous if I do slide out of life?’

No…not at all…you’ll just be a random line or two here and there on the huge interweb. The controversial reality of suicide does not guarantee broad acclaim. Some beautiful people have died…some exquisite singers have died…some exceptionally talented song-writers have died….and most of those have gone largely unnoticed.  Some are saved…and  go on to achieve greatness. Some are saved…and go on to amount to nothing. Nobody can help you…apart from yourself…but I am trying.’

‘Yeah…well…thanks for that….but when you have had your heart broken like I have…maybe you will understand?’

‘I have had my heart broken…but fuck that….Mickey…sing your song to me’

‘Which one?’

‘Baby Don’t Break Up With Me’

Lizards are eaten in parts of southern India and Malaysia, where their meat is considered an aphrodisiac. The lizard looked on. If it had had some kind of thought-process ability it would have thought  ‘Fuck this…I hope they don’t eat me’  It’s okay though. Lizards don’t think like we do.  If they did…they would probably just be thinking about how they would like to be laying eggs in a hollow tree-stump ….starting a family.  Savannha was just bored…battle-topping her way around the perspex box…existing…a function.

Mickey picked up his guitar. He sang his song…struggling a bit on the high notes.

I’m looking for a way to make you see that you should not break up with me

I never wanted you to go…although you have the right to do so

Every time we fall apart  it leaves me with a broken heart

I’m not always at my best…but I would never let you down babe

Baby don’t break up with me…I don’t need this possibility

Don’t take your love away from me

Oh baby don’t break up with me, girl

Words can never really say how much I miss you every day

I never wanted you to cry…not if they are tears of sadness

Every time we reunite I try my best to get it right

I whisper gently in your ear…and tell you that I really love you

So baby don’t break up with me…I don’t want this eventuality

Don’t take your love away from me

Oh baby don’t break up….with me

Italix smiled

‘That’s a beautiful song….but you do have a shit voice, Mickey’

‘A compliment with a condemnation…huh…I like your style’

‘It’s up to you now, Mickey. Do what you feel is right. If you die you will never see the afore-mentioned write-ups. If you live you won’t see them either. You have a choice. If you die you will not be remembered as a legend…but you will be remembered by a very small handful of UFK fans. If you live…you will be quite bored with life…for a while…but there will always be a chance that you can make some kind of impact later on’

Italix left Mickey with his Savannha…and with his guitar…and with his desires. Pedal-powered cyclists were using the nearby Dartford River Crossing for free.  A girl called Danielle checked in at room 341…but she didn’t know what was occurring in room 342.  Mickey didn’t know that the man in the  novel by Nabakov met Lolita at 342 Lawn Street. Danielle didn’t know that the man in the novel seduced Lolita in room 342 of The Enchanted Hunters motel. The monitor lizard didn’t know that in one year on the road the two of them…Humbert Humbert and Lolita… checked into 342 motels. It doesn’t matter.  Italix approached what is quite possibly the worst McDonalds franchise in Kent…certainly in North Kent…and as she pushed her skinny little fingers against the tubular steel of the door handle….she thought she heard a pop. It could have been a car back-firing. It might have been the burst of a shit song from the over-zealous speaker in a BMW…playing  rubbish rap music. It may well have been the sound of a spring-loaded Webley…from room 342 of the Travelodge…Greenhithe….Kent.  Danielle flicked a switch to make a coffee. Savannha existed….but didn’t know it. Mickey bled all over the carpet…..£23.99 a square metre from CarpetRight.

Ah well…there’s your story of Mickey Apples. I tried….I definitely tried. For now I just think of Ashleigh….she might have been better than myself…at saving Mickey. I am quite embarrassed. I seem to be losing more people than I save. To be fair to myself, though, I am not sure that Mickey wanted to be saved. His song is great…and I hope that someone with a great voice will cover it some day. Hold on…what am I saying?  I know that it WILL be covered…and it will be a big hit…but not until 2019. Night people. Thanks for being my friend. xxx

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Somebody Called Me Sebastian

Crikey….tv is rubbish tonight. I’m hungry…and an Indian takeaway would go down nice…but…of course…I’m not eating. It’s not a case of dieting….it’s a case of starving myself. It’s good. I’m not saying it’s good for anyone else…but it’s good for me. It’s been a long day. Why does college have so many stairs? What is it about Medway? Hills and steps. What is it about the legend of Medway? All those tiny little houses as seen when you look over the vista of the Darland Banks. If you’re ready for another account of my IRV….then read on. IRV is Interactive Remote Viewing btw. God…do I have to keep reminding you? Ha ha…only joking. So yeah….here’s a strange one. Before I go on….I’d like to point one thing out. This ain’t no Life On Mars shit…the tv programme, I mean. I’m not saying that’s jank….but if you have been following my escapades since the start you’ll know that I actually went back with IRV in 1991. A fucking long time before them charlatans wrote Life On Mars. So suck on this…John Simm….Sam Tyler….whatever your name is….cos I went to 1991….way before you went to 1973.
Ah….I had to get that off my anorexia-depleted chest. I’m gonna hand you over to the Scruffy Duck now…to tell you about another mission of mine….and yes…Scruffy Duck is an alter-ego of mine….but I can’t write in first-person…apart from the intros….and in 2026 the Order of the English Literature Society (don’t google it yet…it doesn’t exist) decreed that ‘separated third and first person literature with convoluted subtext and para-intro-concentric first-hand narration of experience becomes a valid medium of expression’

I don’t know…I might be super-intelligent…but even I have a low grasp-factor now and then.
I’ll let the Scruffy Duck grab the reins. See ya soon darlings. We’ll have a drink sometime. Mine’s a vodka. Xxx

Somebody Called Me Sebastian.
May….1974
‘Sugar Baby Love….Sugar Baby Love….I Never Meant To Hurt You’
‘You have a fine voice, Sebastian. You can use it well…if you listen to me…you can be a little star of the Medway Scene’
Sebastian tipped his head towards the intruder….wondering…of course…who she was…and why she was making such an odd introductory remark.
‘Thanks girl’ he said
‘Do I know you?’
‘Nah’ replied Italix
‘I just come from the future and your story interested me…I have decided to come back and save you’
‘Save me? Shit…from what? And I can’t believe you caught me singing the bloody RUBETTES song’
‘You don’t like the RUBETTES then?’
‘Nope….catchy enough song…but they are keeping my second-favourite band off the number one spot….though I am sure that Sparks will usurp them…and hit number one…next week’
Oops…I’m afraid they won’t’
‘And how do you know that?’

Cos…like I said….I am from
The future….and I am super-intelligent’
‘Yeah…right’
Italix looked directly into Sebastian’s eyes. He had lovely deep brown eyes…every inch the heart-melting beautiful big brown-eyed rock star. She smiled….she would have fallen for him in HER time….much in the same way she would have fallen for Syd Barrett.
It wasn’t HER time though…so she resisted the instant adulation.
‘No really’ she said
‘ I know that your favourite band is Mott The Hoople’
‘I fucking love them…and I am going to see them on 2nd December’
No…please don’t go
‘I am seeing them at the Granada…East Ham….my uncle lives in Dagenham and I am going with him’
Italix shook her head…as a carrier-bag blew past them…billowing like a half-formed ghost…as they sat on the grass at The Great Lines park…Gillingham.
What do you think was in that carrier-bag?’ said Italix
‘How the fuck would I know?’
‘Obviously nothing heavy…or it would not have sailed by us…like a ghost’
‘You confuse me’
I confuse myself…but I need to tell you that you CAN’T go to that Mott The Hoople show’
‘Okay…cards on the table…what ARE you on about?’
‘Right…cards on the grass….if you go to that Mott The Hoople show…you will be stabbed by a drug-dealer…in the car-park…and it will be BEFORE the show…so you won’t even get to see your heroes’
‘You are obviously mad…but I do like you…and what’s this shit about you being from the future?’
‘No shit…I really am…don’t freak…but look at this’
Italix whipped out her iPhone.
‘I have some pictures here’
‘What the fuck is that?’
‘Technology from the future….come on…you heard Bowie singing about video-films and shit…on Drive-In-Saturday. You accepted that. It’s a progression. Here…pictures of you. You form a band called The Bolans…in 1978′
‘Well…I do love Bolan’
‘Yeah….and you called your band The Bolans…as a tribute to Marc…cos he died in 1977′
‘Jesus’
‘No…Bolan…but if you go to that show…you forfeit all of that…and look…here’s a photo…The Bolans supporting The Milkshakes at the MIC Club…Chatham…and another one…sharing the bill with Gash…at Newington Village Hall. Here’s a pic of the record sleeve of your single ‘V2086′ It’s a punk cracker’
‘What does V2086 mean?’
‘It’s the catalogue number of one of the greatest albums ever released. If you go to that show…you will NEVER hear the album’
Sebastian…..Seb…to his friends…but it doesn’t matter…laughed. The carrier-bag flew back and hit him in the face. He pushed it away.
‘So….if you ARE super-intelligent…and if  there is a great album with that catalogue number…what’s the worst album’s catalogue number?’
‘Easy….828 182-1 FYCF1′
‘And why is it the worst?’
‘Because the last track on the album is the WORST cover in recorded history’
‘Fuck…who are you? What is this about? I’ve not even had any puff?’
‘Look….just trust me…you can be a darling of the Medway Scene…you JUST have to promise not to go to that Mott The Hoople show…please…I actually like you’
‘The Bolans? I like that….let me think about this’
Yeah….and although you are called The Bolans…you model yourself on The Ramones…leather jackets…jeans…but you have spiked hair instead of curled bowls’
‘Ramones?’
Yeah…don’t go to the show…and you’ll hear them too?’

Sebastian…as taken in by Italix  as he was…still had reservations.

Italix had had enough. She slapped him across the face…not because she wanted to hurt him…but because she was frustrated at his refusal to recognise the danger.

‘See ya later…but don’t go to that Mott The Hoople show’

The carrier-bag was ripped away…almost majestically…maybe supernaturally….and Italix walked off towards the centre of town. She didn’t really head for town…that would be ludicrous….she evaporated….not in a haze of paranormal evanescence…more cos she was fucking pissed off.

So there ya go….I have had my food…4 cigarettes..and a grab of vodka….and I’m afraid it all ended up in chaos and disaster. You are Medway people. You know that The Bolans failed to substantialise their place on the Medway scene.  You know that Sebastian never did get his chance to grab his role under the spotlight of the Medway Estuary. Dennis Pearce never got to write about him…it doesn’t matter. Mike Sanders never got to break Evening Postian bread with him…it doesn’t matter. Judith Mullarky never got to hear his name…or to look into his deep brown swimming-pool eyes….it doesn’t matter.

He didn’t go to a Mott The Hoople show on the 2nd December 1974….not just  because the show was cancelled due to Ian Hunter’s hospitalisation. That doesn’t matter. He wouldn’t have been able to go anyway.

Another fate took Sebastian…and I guess you can chalk this up as a failure for me. I should have known it was coming. As another singer sloped out of this world…on 25th November…1974…pooched up on amitriptyline and depression…Sebastian….Seb to his friends…crashed into a lorry in the control…or miscontrol…of his yellow Yamaha FS1E….a fizzy end….the lorry delivering a consignment of carrier-bags to a well-known grocery store…which I am not at liberty to name.

I often think back to the day on the grass..at The Great Lines…when that carrier-bag zephyred into our conversation…..filled with leaves…and I wonder if it is significant that…after all the billowing bluster…there were only five leaves left

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How To Change History

Here I am…it’s me again…watching Brett Anderson shake his stuff on the Metal Mickey video. I’d marry that man…even though his band were having hits before I was born. Only JUST before I was born…granted…but you know?  To be honest…I’m feeling a bit low today. I think that I have an inferiority complex. I guess that MY inferiority complex is not as good as YOUR inferiority complex? However….my SUPERIORITY  complex is definitely better than YOUR  superiority complex .  So….I was bored today….and I started reading about McCartney and Lennon. I found out that their very first recording was in 1958….July 19th…to be precise.  They were called The Quarrymen then…and it cost them 17 shillings and sixpence.  Whatever a fucking ‘shilling’ is. Yeah…so they recorded That’ll Be The Day…the Buds Holly song. I wish I could have saved Buddy Holly really….but some things don’t come together…even for me…as I would want them to. I’m far from perfect…by the way…I break people’s hearts….and maybe that’s why I try to align that with the desire to save people. I’m a nightmare….but I try to be nice. 1958 then…I shall let the Scruffy Duck talk you through it.

Cigarettes. Cats that walk across the bar. Parrots that squawk in nicotine-stained corners. A public house. 1958. Italix sat in the bar…by the jukebox…she knew who was coming in soon. The girl… called Linda walked in. Italix rose to meet her.

‘Come and sit with me’

‘Why should I do that?’

Trust me…you are wise for your age…cos I know your future…and I know you are not stupid’

They sat down…Linda and Italix. Linda was cool…reserved…but not too taken aback by this new strange friend.

They sat at the table….not ON the table….that would be silly….fending off the slobbery jaws of the pub dog. The pub dog’s eyes said ‘get me out of here’  A man at the bar fell off his stool backwards. His name was Frank. It doesn’t matter. The dog’s name was Prince. It doesn’t matter.

Linda….you are probably more in tune with me than anyone else I have ever saved’

‘Right….and who are you? And who have you saved?  To be quite frank and earnest…I am bordering between confused and non-plussed’

‘Ah’ said Italix. ‘I am called Italix….cos I always talk in italics. I know that you are too clever to just dismiss me…..so let me tell you about what’s in store for you. I just want to give you a chance to be happy…and not mired…forever…in trauma’

‘I am ready to listen’

Italix watched a man at the bar…he laughed and joked…but she knew he was sad…a typical pub person. She knew that as soon as the laughter and the joking stopped…he would light up a cigarette….just to show that he had a purpose…being a drinker…and a smoker. A mixer. Another man was gay…she knew that…she could see it…but this was 1958…so the man could never throw his true emotions open to the pub world. Shallow water…pub life.

‘I just want the chance to change your mind about something, Linda. I am from the future…but don’t freak’

‘I won’t freak’

I know you won’t….you are almost as intelligent as I am…though not quite…cos I am the one over-seeing all of this’

‘Get on with it’

Okay….I am from your future… as it stands in MY world…the outcome you really need….you married a guy called Barry Kendall…in 1968….you had two children…David and Rosie. David was named after David Cassidy….not sure about Rosie. David went on to marry a Scottish girl called Sheena. They had kids….your grandchildren. Rosie was murdered by her jealous boyfriend.  You moved on…grew stronger after the trauma. You set up a trust. You became a brilliant…respected person. If you meet this guy tonight…the one who has turned your pretty little blond head…all forms of despair will win the day’

The pub was ringing with chaotic conversation. Italix and Linda sat in slience…for a while. Men discussed the Munich Air Disaster. They talked about a film…The Bridge On The River Kwai. A baby was born in  Gary, Indiana, but Italix and Linda didn’t know.

‘So’…asked Linda…’If you are from the future…why do you want to help me?  ‘What’s it to you?’

‘I just don’t want you to have to give birth to an unwanted baby…who will go on to murder his step-sister….think about it’

The big married man walked into the bar and progressed to the girls’ table.

‘Babycham?’  he asked….’Cherry on a stick?’

Italix leapt up from her seat and booted him…exuberantly…in the groin. She slashed him across the face with a vicious swipe of her unforgiving back-fingers. The man fell to the ground.

‘I’m the fucking daddy’ she said and if you are still alive in 20 years time…you might understand that remark’

 

‘Watch this…Linda’  said Italix…as she bid her pal farewell

‘This is the reason I came to find you. It was a true story…but together…we have changed history. I’ll see you in 2011…when you are 64.  Funnily enough…that song that was playing on the jukebox…That’ll Be The Day…was covered by The Quarrymen. In MY time…they went on to be The Beatles. I’ll see you in 2011…when you ARE 64’

To The Girl With The Mousy Hair

Phew…today was a long day…people. My first day at college….Gillingham…psychology. It’s a hoot. There are lots of hills in Medway. I don’t know if my peers are gonna know what’s hit them…with my super-intelligence…and bearing in mind the psychological adventures my small mind has been on so far….in my short life. So…I’m tucked up in bed…with a pot of Bombay Potatoes…and a book about serial-killers. Bombay Pots….my favourite meal. The only food capable of breaking the cycle of my blatant anorexia. Settle down again…Mr and Mrs Medway. Grab a yoghurt from the ‘fridge and I’ll tell you about another of my humble little missions. Well….I’ll hand you over to Scruffy Duck for the narration:

1981…..England

A small girl with mousy hair sat on a wall at Gillingham Green….outside the the historic parish church of St. Mary Magdalene….The Church on the Green….in Gillingham. The girl was 12 years old. The wall was a few hundred years old. The church was the oldest building in Gillingham. The caterpillar beside the girl…on the wall…was 2 days old. The girl was sitting on her hair…she had long hair…on the wall…watching the traffic. The caterpillar could see the traffic…in shapes and forms…but it didn’t know what ‘traffic’ was…of course…that would be silly. The girl didn’t know that the caterpillar was there.

The podgy driver of a Mother’s Pride bread lorry hooted at a kid who ran into the road. Busy junction…this one. The girl chuckled as the little boy flicked the V’s…with both hands….that’s why we have an apostrophe.

Italix approached the girl

‘Is your name Dawn?’

‘Dawnie….but yeah….how did you guess? Do I know you?’

‘To be perfectly honest…no…you don’t….but I know you…I know that you play silly games…like Robin Hood…and stuff like that…around these trees’

‘Is that a crime?’

‘No….just trying to get to know you’

‘Well….I shouldn’t be talking to people I don’t know….so…don’t talk to me…my mum would go ape’

‘Where’s your mum now?’

‘At home…watching some programme called Tenko…she’s not been so engrossed in a show since Ken and Deirdre married on Coronation Street’

Hah… I preferred the royal wedding….but it won’t last’

‘Do you think that Ken and Deirdre will last?’

‘In an on-off way….yes’

They sat in silence for a few minutes….it seemed like hours…but it wasn’t. Let’s get rid of that cliche.

‘Look…you seem nice enough’ said Dawn  ‘but I still shouldn’t be talking to you’

‘You’re quite right…but you have to trust people in life….not everyone…but you have to trust your own inherent judgement’

‘What’s your name then’?’

‘Well…don’t let this freak you…but…I’m from the future…and I’m here to help you…and my name is Italix’

Dawn fell about…laughing

Don’t laugh…please…I really want to help you…trust me. You will see…soon…that I am genuine…and your laughter will turn to tears

‘Really?’

Yeah…and about the trust issue….people drive around in cars…all day long…on motorways and dual-carriageways…and they have to trust other people. They have to trust that another driver won’t plough into them. They have to trust that another driver won’t meet them head-first. In a relationship…you have to trust that the other person won’t break your fucking heart’

Dawn smiled again. She liked this girl. She was funny.

‘So…how are you going to help me?’

You are gonna let me walk you home…now…home to your mum….and to Tenko…and Coronation Street’

‘What?’

Come with me now, Dawnie….hold my hand’

‘No…I’m staying here’

Italix pulled out her iPhone

Watch this…don’t get freaked…but this is YOU…in MY time…let me walk you home…now…or this WON’T be you…it will be erased…it will be fiction. Sort it out NOW kid…cos I am super-intelligent…and I won’t be around to help you forever’

‘I’m staying here’

Sorry girl…this is gonna hurt you…more than it hurts me’

Italix grabbed dawn’s torso…shook her by the waist…and dragged her to the floor.

‘What are you doing? You are hurting me. STOP IT’

A life ended…as Dawn’s elbow smashed down…onto the caterpillar

‘What are you doing…you crazy bitch?’

You’ll see’ yelled Italix…as she dragged Dawn down to the ground…by her long hair…from the wall…away from the crushed caterpillar.

Dawn was crying.  Italix yanked her arm…almost pulled it out of the socket. A copy of Smash Hits fell to the ground…landing front-cover down….Simon le Bon’s face meeting the puddle. Simon le Bon didn’t know. It was just a magazine cover. The caterpillar didn’t know. It was dead. The driver of the Vauxhall Astra didn’t know…as he smashed into the wall…and demolished the precise section where Dawn and Italix had been sitting.

Italix held her new friend…tight.

I’m going now, kid. Play your guitar…write some songs…you’ll get there. You’ll be a name in the Medway towns…you just gotta wait. I’ll see you in MY time. I’ve done my part now…so sorry I hurt you.It was justifiable. I’m going back…well…forward…to 2011. Might see you there/ You won’t remember this. See you one day..when I can have a drink with you…me…Italix…with you…Didi’

Italix vanished…almost into thin air. Dawn walked home….in a daze….the lace undone on the right foot of her black and yellow pumps.

‘DIDI?’ she thought

‘Why the Hell did she call me Didi?’



The Church of the Electric Street Lamp

So..there it is….you know how I work now. I saved Andy. We are friends. He has no idea it was my sweet self who saved him. How was the Ben and Jerry’s?  I forgot to tell you that I am prone to the odd piece of bad language….but it’s only when I’m angry. I do so heartily apologise if I made you splutter on your ice-cream. 

Now…my second case was perhaps a little more complex…because I had TWO people to rescue. Two lovers. Love is the strongest of emotions….I doubt that anyone with any sense would argue with that….and because of my intelligence I learned this from an early age.

Come hither…come and see what I had to do 168 years ago….1843. Medway. Kent

At this stage…though…I hand you over to my trusted overseer and chronicler…the Scruffy Duck. Aha…I bet you were wondering where the Scruffy Duck came in? xxx

They were seated on a pile of boxes not far from the water’s edge. The young girl was crying. The well-dressed man held her hands and looked into her eyes. They were in earnest conversation. A cricket ‘sang’  in the long grass behind them. It was June.  The girl’s tears trickled over her man’s clasping hands

‘Excuse me’  came the  interrupting voice from behind them…startling the pair of lovers enough to drag them from their serious conversation. They stared at the new arrival. ..this strange thing…person…resembling a girl…a strange-looking girl indeed.

‘Please listen to me’  the new girl said

‘Now…I know you’re going to wonder what’s happening here…and I know it will be pretty damn hard for you to understand…so let me just kick in…and try to explain’

The man…William…raised himself up to ask a question.

‘Who in God’s name are you?’  he asked…waving a roll of white tape in his wet hands

‘I’m Italix the Scruffy Duck….I know what you are going through and I would like to help’

‘Italix the Scruffy Duck? What kind of name is that?’

It’s a long story…but I am here to rescue you’

‘From what?’ asked William

‘From yourselves….I’m from the future’

‘Like a ghost?’ asked the girl

‘No Ann…a ghost is from the past…I am from the future…and I know what you want to do. I’m here to convince you it’s not what you want to do’

‘How could you possibly know what we are going through? asked William

‘Just bear with me…both of you…I am trying to help…to be a friend’

‘We will listen to you…but we won’t be fooled by whatever is happening here. I’m confused….I know that Ann is confused. Just say your piece’

‘Thank you….I’m called Italix…and I’m definitely from the future….trust me on that. I found out about your plight through a poem by a man who lives in MY time.Listen…and I will tell you about the first person I saved like this. His name was Andy. I saved Andy and he went on to be my friend. I could show you pictures…but I don’t have my iPhone’
‘Your eye phone?’
‘It doesn’t matter….Andy went on to have a long life. He’s still living now…in 2011. I had to save him twice. Once in 1991 and once in 2010. His wife…Rio…died in 2010…very young. She was my friend too. Andy almost went the same way. The thing is…we have all lost people who are close to us and we have to make our decisions based on fact….and on what we know has to happen. When a grandparent dies it is very sad…of course…but you kind of accept it because they have lived long and they are close to rest. You know that they would be angry at you for morphing into an ever-lasting mourner.’
‘How old are you?’ asked the man
‘Sixteen’
‘You are very wise’
I am super-intelligent’
They sat in silence for a while
Italix was happy for them to sit and think.

The man was happy to do the talking…when they did talk
His girlfriend was happy to listen
‘Do you both like music? asked Italix
‘Well….yes….we both do’ said the man. ‘The compositions of Mendelssohn and Chopin are particular favourites of ours…and when Mozart died last year I had to take a week off work’

‘That’s lovely. Let me tell you how things are in MY time. Music is done rather differently. Local youth create local bands of musicians….maybe 2,3,4,5 people in a band. They play different instruments and they play in pubs around the Medway Towns of Rochester, Gillingham, Chatham and Strood’
‘Ann’s father has a pub in Rochester’
‘Which one?’
‘The Silver Oare Inn….Rochester High Street’
‘Ah…it’s called The Bull…in my time….18 High Street, Rochester’

‘How do you know that…so instantly?’

‘I’m super- intelligent…and what does YOUR father do?’
‘Oh….he’s a carpenter’
‘Richard or Karen?’
‘What?’
‘Nothing….a modern joke’
‘So….how did you find out about us…if you really have come back to save us.?’
‘Ah….as I told you earlier… I read a poem by a Medway writer called Andrew Day.
Here….let me read it to you.’

The Tide

You’ll never know how they rowed on the water
A widower and the innkeeper’s daughter
A bad match to make, a harsh cross to bear
His kissed her cold lips, his hands in her hair

He got so tired, fighting the tide
Weighed down with shame, trapped by his pride
Her ivory skin, her bright hazel eyes
He opened his mouth and he let in the tide

You’ll never know how the river, it held them
Like babes in arms, like love’s drowning children
Her mother, she said if you see him again
Don’t you darken my door with your face again

She got so tired, fighting the tide
Love turned to pain, a thorn in her side
Her vale of tears filled the sea and the sky
She opened her mouth and she let the tide

You’ll never know how the priest he heard
Their soft marriage vows, their last parting words
Til death did they part, their fingers entwined
United in death by the pull of the tide

They got so tired, fighting the tide
They both took their vows, they both took their lives
For better or worse til the day that they died
They opened their mouths and they let in the tide

The girl looked at the ground
The man looked at the girl
The girl looked scared….she was still crying.
The man looked confused
‘It’s nice to know we are remembered…even all those years later’
‘Well…don’t die now…and Andrew Day’s poem will never exist’
‘Ah…so we’ll die another day and nobody will remember us? Maybe we need to be synonymous with suicide-Medway.?’
‘That’s crazy. Think of your family’
‘They are all against us’
‘Look…..don’t be such an arsehole….maybe you wanna take your life. Does she?’
The girl looked up….almost begging for a non-suicidal resolution
The man pulled her close and screwed his eyes up.
‘ Whatever will be will be….now leave us alone’
Italix turned and walked away. She stood on the cricket. It didn’t kill it….it just pushed it into the soil a bit. She kicked the roll of white tape towards the man.
‘Do what you feel you need to, man. Just rot in fucking Hell if you take that girl with you’
Italix hoped she had said enough to save them

Hiya people. It’s me….Italix…back in my own time. Oh…look…here’s an item from The Times in 1843. No fucking phone-hacking in those days. Have a read

Yesterday morning some considerable sensation was created in Rochester, owing to a young man and a young girl of respectable appearance, having been found drowned about 6 o’clock this morning, clasped in each others arms, lying on the mud of the River Medway, opposite a place called Phillips Wall. It appears that the bodies were picked up by a fisherman, and upon his examination of them, he found that they were tied together with tape round their arms. The bodies were immediatly conveyed to an out-house at Ladbury’s Quay. The names of the unfortunate couple are William Edward Henderey, aged about 30 years, and Ann Hannah Saneto, about 16 years old. The former, it is reported, is a widower with two children, and the latter is a daughter of a Publican living in Strood. It appears that the two persons had been asked in church, and were to have been married at St. Margaret’s Church on Sunday last, but owing to some cause it was put off. Last night a couple, answering the description of the deceased persons, were seen walking together and going towards the river about 10 o’clock and it is supposed that they took a boat belonging to Mr Weekenden, that had been moored at the stage of the floating bathing establishment, and having unfastened it, they rowed to the place where the bodies were picked up. The parents of the parties are very respectable: The young man’s father is a Master Carpenter, residing in Troy Town. An inquest is to be held at the Silver Oar Inn, High Street, Rochester, before Mr James Lewis, the city Coroner, and a respectable Jury.

So…there you have it. I failed
I am happy to have tried my best…but sometimes our best is just not good enough. These towns will live on. Medway….Maidstone….Gravesend.  A lot of the buildings will live on. The people will change….that’s all.

ITALIX the SCRUFFY DUCK

2011
Well…I definitely saved Andy’s life….ya ya ya…a result. That’s one that I can chalk up as a victory. I saw him a few days ago…with his Unlucky Fried Kitten band. He has no idea it was me who saved him…all those years ago. It’s 2011…I’m still super-intelligent…lol…and I can do magic. well…it’s not actually magic…I guess. I  call it IRV…which is ‘Interactive Remote Viewing’  I’ll explain more  in a minute…but my main goal is to save people’s lives…to stop them from doing silly things that might kill them….and to divert them from suicide…stuff like that. It’s not a moral crusade. It just makes me feel lush. Oh yeah…my name is Italix the Scruffy Duck. Well…it is when I am in life-saving mode. In reality I’m just plain old Bretta…though I guess Bretta isn’t that plain…compared to Jane…or Mary…or June…or Muriel. It is plain compared to Italix though. Andy’s case was a special mission for me… because it was my very first case and it was the first time that I realised   I could carry out IRV….that’s  ‘Interactive Remote Viewing’….come on…keep up. It was also special because I know Andy as a personal friend. I saved him…and decided to carry on saving others…because it buzzed me up. I saved him in 1991….but I wasn’t born until 1995. Gosh…this all sounds so awfully complicated. It’s not. Here…let me show you how it happened in 1991…with an extract from the novel The Tragedian…word for word…as it was scribed in 1991. It’ll show you all you need to know….and all will be clear…and then I’ll show you some of my other missions. Curl up on the sofa with that gorgeous cat….indulge yourself with some Ben & Jerry’s…New York Super Fudge Chunk is Heavenesque…and drop STRAIGHT into the action.

ITALIX the SCRUFFY DUCK

He knew that he wasn’t mad

Just very tired

Very tired

Tired

His light was going out

Andy…..Andy…wake up

He wasn’t sure if it was the surf rolling across his feet that woke him up…or the urgent vocal of the new arrival.He awoke anyway. He saw a girl in a red and black stripey jumper. She had a quiff…with a red band holding it back. She was bent over him…shouting…some rips in her black tights.

Who the fuck are you, then? Are you my Guardian Angel or something?

I am your Guardian Astronaut

From where? Where do you come from? Who are you? What the Hell is a Guardian Astronaut?

I come from your future…and I can’t let you die here..now…on the beach…cos I need to be your friend..in the future. I call myself Italix…the Scruffy Duck

Why?

Because I talk in Italix…and if I told you my real name it would ruin everything…and you would know too much. You won’t remember me as Italix when you meet me in years to come

Please…explain what this is about. You seem nice..but what is this astronaut shit?

I am an astronaut because…very simply…angels do not exist…but astronauts do. I have travelled in time to meet you…to stop your death. I can’t let you go just yet

What about all the biblical pictures of angels…men and women with huge white wings…people saw them in biblical times…or they would not have painted them in those beautiful pictures…strong feathered white wings sprouting from angels in the sky?

Andy was very confused now. He didn’t believe in time-travel..and he didn’t believe in angels..not really. She was probably some local girl…just messing around on the beach…having a laugh. He wondered if he HAD died…it was a bizarre situation

Angels have never existed. Take it from me. Those beautiful angels…depicted in biblical images…were astronauts. It’s all about perception

Huh?

Well…see it this way. Let’s go back to the biblical days. There were no photographers then…no paparazzi…everything was hearsay and first-hand explanation

I am still confused

OK…let’s say a man or a woman saw someone up there in the sky. They had no concept of space-travel….or of mechanical travel…jet-packs…not even parachutes…not in those times. They saw a spaceman…someone travelling from another time…and their account of the sighting was limited. It was someone flying. That’s all it could be…to their un-educated perception

Still don’t get it

Let’s say a farmer called Jacob…yes…let’s give him a name…sees an astronaut. He has no concept of space-travel…of astronauticism…so he sees it as a bit of a miracle…a fantasy..in fact. So…he tells his friend…let’s call him Jeramiah

Why Jeremiah?

I don’t fucking know. Just a name

Yeah…well …carry on

He tells Jeremiah..over a drink or two…that he saw this human flying across the gospel sky. Jeremiah is an artist..a painter…

Hold on…one minute he’s a made-up person…as is Jacob…now he’s got a fucking profession

Andy…shut up…let me continue or I will leave you to die…you obstinate prick

Jesus….I don’t even know you…this might be my imagination…I’m being beaten down by a figment of my imagination

Trust me….I am part of your future…if I let you die now…I might not exist myself…so fucking help me out here.

So…Jacob tells Jeremiah that he saw an angel?

No…he tells Jeremiah that he saw a person in the sky. Jeremiah…as a painter…wants to create a picture of it…so he paints a picture of a human flying through the sky. It’s a time when they know nothing of technology…so the obvious supposition is that if a person can fly…that person MUST have wings. So he paints a person…man or woman…with wings.

Who’s idea is this? I’ve never heard such a strategy. I have never heard an opinion like this

It is all my own thoughts

I am not sure you are right…but you are a very clever girl

I am super-intelligent…ha ha. Seriously…if I had the intellectual power to stop you dying it would be the most remarkable aspect of my very short life. You can’t die yet…not until I’ve met you

Jesus girl….what if this is a dream? What if I never see you again?

If you have the guts…the determination…the strength…to live now…then we will meet…I promise you that. If not…then fuck you

So….Jeremiah paints a guy or girl…with wings. Where does the halo come into it? Angels had wings and halos.

That’s easy…well…it is if you are super-intellectual like me

Go on

An astronaut has a space-helmet….it has a built-in light. It glows. Jeremiah….or any number of biblical piss-head painters of bygone biblical times…have no concept of illumination by artificial light….so…bang…the halo is invented

I think you have an imagination that knows no limit

Well…trust me then…I need you to stay alive…for me…for your future and for mine

And if I die?

Then I will not exist…ever

A swirl of foam washed over his confused mind. He saw some jellyfish slowly drifting towards his face. He wanted to sleep…he had a death-wish…but he also saw a glimmer of hope. What if this really was a friend from his future? What if this was just a girl who lived down the road? What if she was playing some stupid game? If it was his imagination…then…why did he make this figment so incredibly intelligent?

I promise you…Andy…that if you live…I will be the best friend you ever had…but if you die…you have let me down…and you have let your family down. Don’t let me down…don’t let your family down. I can only save you with my words…I can’t physically lift you out of the surf. As smart as I am I can only use my words. If you die you have killed me. Do you want that? Can you live with that?

Well…that’s irrelevant…if I’m dead anyway

Don’t fuck with me Andy. You wanna play the fucking hopeless romantic suicidee then go ahead…but just thanks a fucking lot. If I could make physical contact here I’d drag you from that surf with my bare hands…and you know what? I’d beat the fucking shit out of you for playing with MY life and MY feelings. I’d smash you to within an inch of your life…then I’d take you in my arms and make you better. Die now and I curse your lifeless pathetic sea-water-filled body. Live now and I see you in the future

She was right…he was selfish. As he closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable passing…he tortured himself with the notion that she might JUST be right. She might just truly want to see him in later times

Who are you, angel? he asked And where do you come from?

I was born in 1995

But this is 1991

Yes…I know…I am super-intelligent

I am confused

I am your friend…just live…you cunt

*********