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Just call me Putrakettleon.

I got up early this morning as the sun had me from my slumber at the devilishly early hour of 6am. By 6:30am I was washed, dressed and downstairs warming up the Vespa for a drive in Edinburgh and its surroundings.

Nine and a half hours later I returned home and pulled my helmet off to discover that I've got sunburn. Not normal sunburn. Oh no. I've got what should be termed Biker-Burn or something similar to allow you all to picture the kind of sunburn you'd get if the only part of you exposed to the suns rays is the part of your face that is behind the visor of your helmet.

There's a bright red oval stretching from the top of my eyebrows to the bottom of my nose and from one temple to the other. I look like some kind of albino Aztec Indian. All I need now is a bone through my nose, a hat that would make Carmen Miranda shit a brick and a CD wedged in my bottom lip and the look would be complete.

While searching my bookshelf yesterday,,,

I stumbled across a book I thought I'd lost.

If my memory serves me correctly, which it usually does, I'm sure I was given it by a woman named Kari who drank in the same pub I did many years ago as she thought I should read it. The book is called The Mentor Book of Major British Poets and contains a veritable cornucopia of works by major British poets. (You probably guessed that from the title. You lot are clever like that.)

Anyhoo... I stumbled across this book while looking for something to read in the bath last night and was absolutely over the moon when I saw it's tattered and frayed cover poking out from behind a copy of Ten Thousand Sorrows by Elizabeth Kim.

Is it just me or does that last paragraph make me sound a bit gay? If it does please ignore it. Or I'll come round to your house and punch you in the head. (Unless you're a woman, in which case I'll use my amazing powers of seduction and have your pants off and be swinging from your light fixings in a heartbeat. Goatboy rises...)

As I was saying. I found this book last night and turned to the only poem in the whole damned thing that I like. The poem itself is named Down by the Salley Gardens and was written by William Butler Yeats.

It was down by the Sally Gardens my love and I did meet
She crossed the Sally Gardens with little snow-white feet
She bid me take love easy as the leaves grow on the tree
But I was young and foolish and with her did not agree

In a field down by the river my love and I did stand
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand
She bid me take life easy as the grass grows on the weirs
But I was young and foolish and now am full of tears.

Reading this poem, after many years of it being nothing more than a fragmented memory in my mind, had a strange effect on me. It was either that or the very strong joint I'd chonged just previous to getting in the bath. (I'm leaning towards a combination of both.)

As I read the words memories of happy times in my past floated to the surface and I found myself smiling. Smiling? Yes, dear reader, smiling. I smiled as I remembered the great loves of my life. Claire, Katy, Karen and Jen.

Talk about surprised? I nearly dropped my joint...

The usual state of affairs for me when I think of any of these four women is that it sends me into a deep funk and I'm fucked for a few days/weeks/months until the blues pass and I'm back to normal. But not this time. This time I was uplifted and buoyed by my memories.

After laying in the bath for an hour or so I got out and headed into the living room where I hopped onto the Internet to find some of my poetry I posted a long time ago. To compare, you understand.

Hold it. Hang on. Back up a tad... That last sentence could lead you to think I was comparing my poetry with William Butler Yeats. I wasn't. I was comparing my memories triggered by Salley Gardens to memories triggered by my own poetry.

And what did I find? Were the memories pleasant? Did I sink into a deep funk? A surprise; Yes & No; In that order. I found that my memories of past loves and the associated heartache is no longer. Mostly I wondered what the fuck I'd been on when I had written them. *

Should you like to read them (And try to guess what drink/drug I'd been on at the time**) do the clicky linky thing here.

*This is not meant to detract from anything these four women gave me in the love game. I loved you all more than a poem could say and I know it wasn't easy for you.

**No prizes, just bragging rights.



Here it is folks, the picture you've all been waiting for...

My Vespa.


Heads up USA...

It's that time of the year when you guys get to see what motor racing is all about.

The Moto GP race is being run at Laguna Seca this weekend and I highly recommend that you tune in to see it. And tomorrow you had better tune into WOKQ radio to hear Bigstar tell the world about her Chasing Chesney adventure.

For Moto GP information click here.

For Live streaming of WOKQ and Bigstar click here.

I don't know if he knows it...

But there are times that I love my brother.

Times like today when he kindly loaned me (roughly) 200 DVD's.

I was up early this morning...

9:45 to be precise. Which, believe me, is very early for me.

And why was I up at this ungodly hour? Well, mainly because my friend was working and I was popping up to his work clean my scooter. Steff works as a car valet for a large car company here in Edinburgh and he kindly offered me the use of their facilities, chemicals and jet wash to do the deed.

So just before 10am I whipped on my skid lid and headed up to Sighthill. I'd cleaned all the junk out of the glove box (My scooter has a glove box, how cool is that?) and sorted out all the rubbish contained within before setting off so I'd have less to do when I got there. (For the reason that if the big bosses turned up I'd be less likely to get caught nicking their gear to do my scoot.)

It took just under an hour to have the Vespa shining like a new pin. I've never actually seen a new pin so that comparison is based purely on rumour, which as we all know can be a dangerous thing... (I once heard a rumour that the head cheese of a former workplace of mine liked to masturbate over pictures of dogs humping midgets but wouldn't like to state categorically that it was true.)

So, there I am on my shiny (and sexy if I do say so myself) scooter all ready for a nice drive to somewhere picturesque to snap a couple of pictures to post on here and what happens? That's right, I get to where I had planned (Overlooking the Forth Bridge) and it started tipping it down with rain.

But, dear readers, rest assured that as soon as it is possible I'll whip a couple of pictures onto here for you all to drool over. (With the obvious exception of my former boss who'd much rather be drooling over a daschund dorking a dwarf.)


Attention New Hampshirians...

New Hampshiristas, New Hampshireburghers... Whatever the hell you lot from New Hampshire call yourselves... May I have your attention please.

Everyday next week your local airwaves are to be graced, and I do mean graced, by the presence of none other than my friend Bigstar who will be on in the morning covering her road trip to see Kenny Chesney in concert for the WOKQ radio station.

So if you're stuck for something to do early next week why not have a listen by clicking here.

(If you'd like to know how much Bigstar loves Mr Kenny Chesney click here and take a look into the mind of his number one fan.)

There was a strange knocking sound...

Emitting from the cupboard at the end of the hall.

I tried to open the door and realised that it was locked so I went to the kitchen and retrieved the key from the drawer. Slipping the key into the lock I discovered that there was some kind of force trying to prevent me opening the door.

Whenever I tried to turn the key the force worked against me with a strength that caused me to think that there was something inside the cupboard that was as determined to keep me out as I was to get in. "What the fuck?" I thought.

I went back into the kitchen and got my toolbox from the cupboard underneath the sink and carried it to the hall cupboard door. Popping open the toolbox I spotted what I needed, a pair of mole grips and a can of motorcycle chain lubricant. I removed the key from the lock and slid the small plastic tube applicator of the lubricant can into the lock and gave it a squirt.

Sliding the key back into the lock and gripping it with the mole grips I used all my strength and managed to get it to turn. The cupboard was no longer locked. I pulled open the door and was greeted with a sight I never expected to see in my lifetime. There was what appeared to be a forest of Scots Pine trees in my cupboard.

I stepped into the cupboard and walked into the forest. Pine cones and the general detritus of a forest crunched beneath my feet and I heard birds twittering and tweeting in the branches above me. As I looked up at the clear blue sky above me I caught sight of movement. My eyes quickly darted to where I had seen movement and to my amazement I saw a faun.

Holy shit! I must have found a gateway into the Kingdom of Narnia. I thought to myself as I took cover behind a Scots pine so that the faun didn't see me. After a few minutes I risked poking my head around the tree to see where the faun had went.

"Fucking Hell!" I yelled.

The faun had snuck up behind the tree I was hiding behind and had obviously thought it was quite the lark to sneak up on me and scare the bejesus out of me. As I leaped backwards my foot caught an exposed tree root and I fell flat on my backside.

The faun gave out a hearty laugh as I lay on the ground in front of it. "Hehehehe, silly human." It said. "Thinking you could sneak up on a faun... Don't you know that we are the most evolved of creatures here in the forest? It would take a God to sneak up on a faun and even then we'd hear it coming." The faun continued.

"Fuck you Tumnus." I said standing up and dusting the pine needles and dirt off of my jeans.
"I am not the faun you think I am." Said the faun.
"Of course you are, I've read C.S Lewis, you're name is Tumnus and you're a faun."
"I have not heard of this See Ess Lewis of which you speak human, but I do know of the legend of Tumnus the faun, my mother told me of his bravery when I was young." The faun said.
"So, what's your name then?" I asked.

The faun straightened itself to its full height and spoke as though it was a king revealing himself to the peasant masses.

"My name is Lebowitz." It said proudly.
"And how should I address you?" I asked.
"It is traditional to name the creature after you name its species." The faun said.
"Ok then. Faun Lebowitz it is." I said, beginning to laugh.
"Why do you laugh human?"
"Never mind... I always thought you were killed in a kiln accident."
"What is your name human?" The faun questioned.
"Ross Douglas." I said.
"The Ross Douglas? Brave warrior of the earth plain? Vanquisher of General Itsy? Slayer of the Easter Bunny?"
"Yup, that's me." I said, slightly embarrassed.
"You are known in our kingdom. Your legend tells of a man ten feet tall with arms like the branches of an oak tree... I see legends are not strictly true." Faun Lebowitz said, looking me up and down.

"Where am I?" I asked, looking around at the vast landscape before me. I knew for damn sure that I was no longer in the cupboard at the end of my hallway. I'm sure I'd remember if I had planted an entire forest of pine trees in my cupboard at some point during my residence.

"You do not know where you are Brave warrior?" The faun enquired.
"As far as I know I'm in my hall cupboard." I said.
"The kingdom of Myhall Cup Bored is not known to me. Have you travelled far?" Faun asked.
"About a hundred yards." I said.
"A yard must be a great distance. This kingdom stretches as far as you can see and further." The faun said, indicating the vast landscape with its front hoof. I looked around and saw that the door to my hall was no longer visible. "Oh fuck." I said. "I've lost the door. I could end up stuck here." I continued.

A sense of dread passed over me. What if I had lost the way back into my hallway? I'd be stuck here in a land where my friends and family couldn't get in touch, a land where talking fauns and god only knows what other creatures lived.

The feeling passed when I realised that I wouldn't have to pay the £100 electric bill and the £50 phone bill that were sitting on my mantle.

"You must be tired after your journey of one hundred yards human, please come with me and I shall take you to my home where you can rest and regain your strength." The faun said.
The faun told me to jump onto its back so I climbed on and held tight as it sped off into the tree lined valley ahead of us.

We arrived at the fauns house, a small cottage type arrangement at the bottom of a glen, and I dismounted feeling the same way I did the first time I was a pillion passenger on a superbike. Shaking, scared and eager to do it again straight away.

Faun Lebowitz welcomed me into his home by doing a strange little dance which involved pawing the earth in front of the doorway and bellowing loudly. I stepped over the threshold and was greeted with the sight of another faun and two smaller fauns that I figured to be Lebowitz's wife and children.

"This is my wife and children." He said, confirming what I thought. The female faun strode over and bowed to me by lowering itself onto its front legs. "Welcome to our humble home human, I am Faun Dell and these are our children Faun Dov and Faun Dayadrink." It said.

"Hi." I said. "I'm Ross."
"Wife..." Said Lebowitz. "This is the brave warrior of the earth realm Ross Douglas."
"The Ross Douglas? Slayer of General Itsy? Dispatcher of the Easter Bunny?" Faun Dell asked, with a tone of disbelief in her voice.

"Indeed wife." Faun Lebowitz replied, as he beckoned to his children. "Come little ones, meet the brave warrior Ross Douglas, Slayer of General Itsy, dispatcher of the Easter Bunny." He said.

The two small fauns timidly walked over to where I stood and bowed their heads. As one they spoke, "We welcome you into our home brave warrior Ross Douglas, Slayer of General Itsy, dispatcher of the Easter Bunny."

"Thanks. But please, just call me Ross. This "Slayer of General Itsy, dispatcher of the Easter Bunny" thing is wearing a bit thin." I told them and patted them on their heads.

Without warning Faun Lebowitz snorted and squared up to me. "You insult my children by patting them on the head!" He bellowed. "We are not common animals! We are Faun and Fauns are regal creatures, you shall show respect or you will be banished from our home!"

"Steady on Tumnus." I said. "I was only saying hello. There's no need to go all skitzo on me."
Faun Dov spoke. "Lebowitz, I am certain that the brave warrior, slayer of..." She paused. "Ross meant no insult. He is a stranger to our land and to our customs." She continued.

"Exactly." I said. "I didn't mean to offend your family faun Lebowitz. I was merely showing affection."

Lebowitz calmed down and the tension dropped from the room. "Come." He said. "I shall show you to where you can sleep. Your hundred yard journey must have sapped your great strength and you will require rest."

"Thank you faun Lebowitz, your hospitality is kind beyond words." I said as he lead me from the main living area of the cottage to a smaller, but still ample sized, room off to the side. A large wooden bed was situated in the centre of the room and I sat down and felt the softness of the matting.

"This is the visitors quarters, I trust you will be comfortable." He said. With this faun Lebowitz left me. I pulled my legs up onto the bed and was asleep in a few seconds.

I awoke early the next day and heard Faun Lebowitz and his wife arguing in the other room.
"Why did you bring him here? You know the punishment for harbouring a human is punishable by death." Faun Dell was saying.

"But he is Ross Douglas, brave warrior of the earthly realm, slayer of General Itsy, dispatcher of the Easter Bunny, he will protect us." Faun Lebowitz replied. "Now hush woman I hear him stirring. He must not know the danger he has placed us in."

I coughed loudly as I hadn't had my morning cigarette and the door to the guest room swung open. Faun Dell stood in the doorway. "Good morrow brave warrior, I trust your rest was satisfying." She said.

"I slept like a kid." I said, stretching my arms above my head.
"You slept like a young goat?" Faun Dell asked confused.
"Never mind." I said. "Yes, I slept well." I answered.
"Come and have something to eat." Faun Dell said.

I followed faun Dell to the main part of the house and saw that the table was covered in a large assortment of fruits and vegetables. The faun children were nowhere to be seen so I enquired where they were. Faun Dell looked at her husband with a sad look in her eye and Lebowitz spoke.

"The children are gone now." He said.
"Outside playing are they?" I asked.
Faun Dell began to make strange noises and asked to be excused.
"Please do not speak of the children again brave warrior Ross. They are gone now." Faun Lebowitz said and gestured to the food on the table. "Please, eat."

"I overheard you and your wife speaking earlier, you have put yourself in danger by having me here." I said as I took an apple from the table and bit into it.
"My wife and I are in no danger." Faun Lebowitz said.

I put two and two together and worked out where the children had gone. "Faun Lebowitz, where are the children?" I asked.
"Do not speak of the children brave warrior Ross they are beyond our reach now." He said.
Faun Dell came back into the room and spoke.
"The children have been taken by the black hoarde. It is the punishment for us looking after you." She said.

I almost choked on the apple I was eating. "Excuse me?" I spluttered.

Faun Dell told me how the punishment for harbouring a human was normally death to the host family but in order not to arouse suspicion the black hoarde had been instructed to take only the children. "The black hoarde will be returning for my husband and I when he has seen you safely back to your homeland." Faun Dell said, visibly upset.

"Not while I'm here they won't." I said. I turned to Lebowitz and asked if there was anywhere that faun Dell could hide while he and I went and got the children back. "There is nowhere safe from the black hoarde. My wife must wait here until you are taken to your lands and I return. Then the black hoarde will come for us." He said.

"Hang on a second... didn't you say that it would take a god to sneak up on a faun when I first saw you?" I asked.
"Yes. We are the most sensitive creatures in this kingdom but this matters not." He replied.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because it is the law." Faun Lebowitz replied.

"Well Tumnus my friend we have a saying in my land... Fuck the law." I said. "Faun Dell, run and hide from the black hoarde, your husband and I are going to get your children back."
"This is not possible. The black hoarde cannot be overcome." Lebowitz replied.
"Hey, remember me? Brave warrior of the earthly plain, slayer of General Itsy, dispatcher of the Easter Bunny?" I said. "I think it's about time I added kicker of the black hoardes arse to that list."

Faun Lebowitz's eyes sparkled and I saw the rage of someone I'd rather have with me than against. "Wife, take flight and hide. Find the resistance and tell them that the time has come to overthrow the black hoarde."

Faun Dell rubbed noses with her husband and we left the cottage and watched as she sped across the landscape at the same breakneck speed with which Lebowitz had carried me to his home the previous night.

"Right then Lebowitz, where do the black hoarde hold camp?" I asked.
"The black castle." He replied.
"Then let's go and have a butchers." I said climbing onto lebowitz's back.

We sped across the valley in the opposite direction to that which faun Dell had gone. Trees whizzed past us at a blur and I clung on for fear of falling. Faun Lebowitz told me the story of the black hoarde as we travelled.

"The black hoarde were borne of the black times when this kingdom lost its royal line. The great and good Kings used to hold the warring factions in check with diplomacy and appeasement but when the last king died without heir the ancient tribes went to war to decide who was to be the new ruler. The black hoarde killed all of their enemies in a war that lasted more than the lifetime of a dozen fauns and very few of the original clans survived. The only reason that the black hoarde did not kill everyone not of their kin was that the ancient tales foretold that if a race ceased to be then the land would be swallowed by the seas and all would die."

Faun Lebowitz continued his tale and I was brought up to speed on how the black hoarde had killed all but two families of each race.

We slowed to a walking pace and stopped a few hundred yards from the entrance to a dark cavern that looked like it had been ripped out of the side of the hill by the claws of some giant beast. Ragged rocks hung precariously around the entrance and the ground in front of the cave was littered with bones and skulls of animals I didn't recognise.

"This is the entrance to the black hoardes lair." Faun Lebowitz told me in a hushed voice.
"Then let's go see if anyone is in shall we?" I said as I began walking towards the cave entrance.

Faun Lebowitz grabbed my collar with his teeth and held me back. "Hey..." I said but then I noticed why he had stopped me. Just visible in the darkness of the cave entrance a pair of red eyes glowed menacingly.

"The black hoarde cannot travel in the light. As soon as you step into the darkness you would be torn limb from limb." He told me and I stopped attempting to loosen his grip on me.
"In that case I think I'll stay in the light." I said and strode forwards a few yards.

"Hey, bright eyes!" I shouted in the direction of the cave. "Go and get the head hoarde, I want to talk." I continued.

The red glowing eyes blinked out and disappeared.

"So what now?" I asked Lebowitz.
"The guardian will be back soon... And it will not be alone." Lebowitz said.
"So we just wait?" I asked.
"There is nothing else to do." Lebowitz replied.

I sat down on the grass just at the edge of the bone strewn ground and absentmindedly picked at a loose thread on the bottom of my jeans.

I pondered how a seemingly normal day had lead to where I was now. I thought back to the day when General Itsy had came into my life. What started off as an ordinary night watching TV had turned into a fight for my life. Then the Easter Bunny episode happened. And now here I was deep in an unknown land that existed in the cupboard at the end of my hallway.

"Maybe they were all psychotic episodes and they're becoming more regular." I thought. "Maybe I'm just having a very lucid dream but haven't realised I'm dreaming." I thought.
"Maybe I've finally snapped and have went totally and irrevocably insane." I thought.
"Maybe I've had an accident of some kind and I'm really lying in hospital somewhere in a coma." I thought. Then dismissed that as it all seemed a bit too Life on Mars.

Faun Lebowitz snapped me out of my introspective thoughts when he announced that the Guardian had returned. In the mouth of the cave the red eyes of the guardian glowed menacingly. A second pair of eyes blinked into view. Then a third. Then a fourth. Then a fifth. A sixth. A seventh. An eighth and final set of eyes opened revealing themselves to be a deeper red than the rest.

I figured that this was the head honcho of the hoarde and knew that this was whom I was about to try to reason with. I whispered to Lebowitz. "You said they can't travel in light, how are they with shadow?" I asked.

"No one knows. The hoarde are not known for leaving witnesses to their barbarity." He said.
"Well, it looks like we're about to find out. Or you are at least." I said, stepping forwards into the shadow of the cave.

"I seek audience with the leader of the black hoarde." I said, doing my best to sound brave, warriorish and dispatchery. The deepest red eyes emerged from the impenetrable blackness of the cave and stepped into the shadow.

The beast in front of me was something that would give a child nightmares so bad it would need many hours of expensive therapy with the worlds leading psychologists. It stood around seven feet tall on hind legs with large wings that ended in sharp, vicious and no doubt lethal talons. Leathery skin that was wrinkled and covered in some kind of thick gel covered its body and its skull had the look of a goat. Horns protruded from the its forehead and curled around in the same way as a goats horns do.

It spoke in a voice that shook the ground I was standing on. "I am the King of the hoarde and the ruler of this land. Who are you that you think you may seek an audience and stay alive." It said.
"I am the brave warrior of the earthly plain Ross Douglas, slayer of General Itsy, Dispatcher of the Easter Bunny." I said.

The beast emitted what I took to be a laugh. If Satan himself ever found reason to laugh, this was exactly how I would imagine it to sound. "You claim to be a great warrior and yet all you have done is kill children's fairy stories. You are no brave warrior, you are but a pest and I shall dispose of you before this day is through." The beast said.

"Yeah, well, you ain't so big yourself." I said and stepped towards the beast. The beast stepped forwards also and I looked up into its eyes. "Give Faun Lebowitz and Faun Dell their children back now and I might let you live." I said.

"And if I do not?" The beast asked, its foul breath tainting the air around me so much that I could barely breathe. "Then I'll do to you what I used to do to daddy long legs." I said. "I'll pull your FUCKING WINGS OFF AND STAND ON YOU!" I shouted.

"Brave words indeed. But words mean nothing human. It is actions that count." The beast said.

"Then why don't you and I step into the clearing over there and we'll see who's the bitch?" I asked, in the hope that the beast was stupid enough to walk into the light.
"You think me unintelligent human? I will not fall into your trap." The beast said.
I smiled. "Worth a try though?" I said.
"Indeed. Many of my brethren would have fallen for such a trick." The beast replied. "However I am not as senseless as they." It continued.
"So what now?" I asked.
"Now I wait until the setting of the sun and you wait to die." The beast said, turning away and walking back into the darkness of the cave mouth.

I walked back to where faun Lebowitz stood and smiled. "I think I've got him worried." I said.
"You fool no-one human, we are as good as dead come nightfall." Lebowitz said.
"Then we better get started." I said and jumped onto Lebowitz's back. "Let's go and see this resistance you mentioned."

We sped back towards Lebowitz's house but instead of stopping at it we hurtled past and onwards into the distance. The sun was almost at its highest point and I figured there to be about nine hours until the black hoarde could come out to play.

We finally stopped in a small wooded glade and came to a halt next to a large stone altar that looked like it had been used for sacrificial purposes at some point in its history. Gathered around it were animals of all kinds, faun Dell and small, human shaped... People.

I climbed off faun Lebowitz's back and stood on the altar. Faces in the crowd looked at me expectantly. For a few seconds I didn't know what to do. Then the idea occured to me that I had better try to organise this rag-tag bunch in front of me into some kind of fighting force.

"Sargeant Lebowitz!" I yelled. "Get these erm... Men... Bears... Stags... Otters... Badgers and Orangutans? Into order."

Faun Lebowitz stared at me with a confused look. "Yes, you." I said.
"But I am not a sargeant." Lebowitz replied.
"Call it a field promotion." I said.

"Yes brave warrior of the earthly plain Ross Douglas, slayer of General Itsy, dispatcher of the Easter Bunny, sir!" Faun Lebowitz shouted, reveling in his new found position of power. "Step lively troops I want four rows and I want them NOW!" Lebowitz bellowed.

The assembled animals and human shaped people bumped into each other as they all attempted to stand in the front row just in case there were more field promotions about to be handed out. The scene before me looked like a convention of Marx Brothers impersonators dressed as creatures of the forest and munchkins doing a mass impression of messrs Larry, Curly and Moe.

As the creatures spun and tumbled over one another I looked at Lebowitz and rolled my eyes.

"This is the resistance?" I asked as the creatures continued to fall over each other.
"They are not very good with orders." Lebowitz said. "They consider each other to be equal to the other. There has been no commander as such since the black hoarde killed their last leader. They figured that way if any of them were captured they could say that someone else was the leader and they would be spared the death penalty." He explained.

I shook my head slowly from side to side and wondered what I'd managed to get myself involved in.

I lost my head. "Ok you lot, stand still before I come down there and give you all a slap." I bellowed. Some kind of order was regained and I pointed at the nearest animal to me. It was an Orangutan. "You are now in charge of formation duty. Now line these troops up before I lose my patience."

The Orangutan Saluted with three of its hands and said "OOK!"

The Orangutan took one look at the assembled chaos before it and decided the best plan of action was to slap the first being it laid eyes on. The palm of the Orangutan slapped against the head of a large brown bear and made a noise like someone being slapped with a fish. The brown bear slumped in a heap, knocked out cold.

"OOK!" It yelled.

The rest of the crowd took this to be a pretty good sign that they had better get it together or there would be more slapping and rapidly fell into order. Within a couple of seconds four perfect rows stood before me.

The Orangutan smiled a smile so wide it looked like the front grille of a Bugatti Veyron. The only difference being that the Bugatti Veyron didn't have bits of banana stuck in the gaps or give off a smell that could melt steel at fifteen paces.

"Well done that monkey!" I said, looking down at the slightly more organised, but still as rough looking, bunch of creatures in front of me.
"Ook?" Said the Orangutan.
"What's it saying?" I whispered to Lebowitz who was standing next to the altar.
"It says it is not a monkey, it is a great ape." Said Lebowitz.
"What's the difference?" I asked.
"A monkey will not rip your arms off and beat you to death with them." Lebowitz replied.
"In that case... Well done that great ape!" I said.

I faced the troop of creatures and spoke. "Troop... We are facing an enemy that knows no fear, that outnumbers us and will take no prisoners. But we have the upper hand. And why?" I began.

A raised hand appeared out of the crowd. "Because we've got a slap happy Orangutan?" The owner of the hand said.

"No, we have the upper hand because the enemy does not know what tactic I will be using. They may come among us slaughtering us at will but they do not have the element of surprise." I said, hoping to god I could think of some kind of tactic in the next eight hours to save us all from being slaughtered. "Now troop we must prepare for battle so I tell you now to go and find arms to fight with." I said.

Faun Lebowitz barked an order to the troop and they all went off in search of things to fight the black hoarde with. The only creatures that stayed were faun Lebowitz, his wife faun Dell and the Orangutan.

"Lebowitz." I said. "Why is the Orangutan still here?" I asked.
"Ook..." Said the Orangutan.
"He says he has enough arms sir." Lebowitz translated.
"Point taken." I said.

An hour or so later the rest of the troop had returned carrying an assortment of crude weapons.

While the Orangutan gave out the arms to the creature who most suited the various armaments faun Lebowitz and I studied the surrounding terrain and formulated our plan off attack. Traps were made and planted in the surrounding forest and well armed sentries were placed at strategic places.

With less than an hour until sunset Lebowitz called the troops to order and made a speech.

"Fellow fighters!" He began, "Today we fight for our land, for our children and for our right to live as free animals! We shall not go without a fight! We have the Gods on our side and the great warrior Ross Douglas, slayer of General Itsy, dispatcher of the Easter Bunny and kicker of the black hoardes arse!"

I looked at faun Lebowitz and raised an eyebrow in a questioning gesture. He just smiled and continued rousing the troops into a frenzy. "This human may not be of our land but he fights with us so that we may defeat the enemy of us all and we shall walk in OUR kingdom on OUR terms as Free men, Free Badgers, Free Bears..."

I heard a small voice in the crowd say, "Did he just say free beers?"

Faun Lebowitz repeated his self. Louder. "Free Bears, Free Otters and Free Stags! Now the time draws near when we must stand as one, joined in revolution against the common enemy!"

I looked around at the creatures before me and wondered how many would end the night by giving their lives. A sense of dread passed over me as I looked at Faun Lebowitz and knew then and there that he would be one of the ones not to see the next day.

"The sun sets over the horizon but it will rise again in the morrow, yet it will not shine on the same land, NO! IT WILL SHINE ON A FREE LAND... OUR LAND!"

The gathering of creatures roared and yelled their battle cries. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I felt the adrenalin pumping through my veins. As the sun dipped below the horizon and darkness descended I gave the battle call. "Positions!"

Creatures scattered to their pre-arranged positions and waited for the black hoarde to attack.

I had figured that the leader of the black hoarde would have singled me out as his to kill so I positioned myself beside Faun Lebowitz where I could keep an eye on him and help him if he got into trouble. Little did I know that Lebowitz would give his life to save mine.

Within minutes of the sun setting the hoarde arrived. As one they attacked. Creatures fought bravely and died where they stood. The hoarde had made it through our first line of defense.

Some of the hoarde died by falling into the traps we had set in the most likely places of attack but still they came. The traps we had set dispatched more than a dozen of the hoarde and still they came. As the creatures retreated into the clearing around the altar as they had been instructed a call went up.


All around the clearing a trench had been dug and filled with the most flamable material available to us. There was no equivalent of petrol in this land but one of the dwarf humans grandfater had a history in alchemy and he had the foresight to store enough blackpowder to level a mountain.

The edges of the clearing erupted in flame and the trees around the edge were soon ablaze.

The fire took many of the hoarde to the next life and the light kept them back for a while. But not long. The fires had burned brightly for only a few minutes but now it was sufficiently dark enough to allow them to enter the clearing.

The hoarde leader was last to enter the clearing. As forest creatures and the hoarde battled around the altar I spotted it approaching. Its skin was dripping with the blood of the forest creatures it had slain during the early stages of the battle. The look in its eyes was one of pure hatred.

With very little effort it sliced and slashed its way towards the altar. "Human! I come for you!" It yelled. " Fuck it, I thought and leapt from the altar. Lebowitz and Dell took flanking positions and the Orangutan defended my rear. Once in a while I would hear a loud slap like a fish hitting concrete and a gleeful "OOK!" from behind me.

The hoarde leader stood about ten feet from me. It didn't attack me though. It stood its ground and killed anything that took what they thought was a chance to dispatch it to the next world.

"Your army dwindles human, see how they die at the hands of my brethren." The hoarde learde said with a palpable venom in its voice.

"Not for long they don't." I said, dropping to the ground and shouting "NOW!" as I covered my head. The forest creatures all dropped to the ground when the call went up and the second, and much larger, fires were lit. The black hoarde died as soon as the firelight hit them.

When the noise of the hoarde screaming in their death throws had stooped I stood up and looked around. My plan had worked. There was no black hoarde left in the clearing.

Faun Lebowitz stood up and gave the all clear. We had done it. We had defeated the black hoarde.

From behind me I heard a proud "OOK OOK OOK!" and turned to see the Orangutan standing on the altar with its arms above its head.
"What's he saying?" I asked Faun Lebowitz.
"We kicked arse." Lebowitz translated.
I smiled at Lebowitz and said "We certainly did. We certainly did."

Just then there was a scream. I looked to where the scream had emmited and saw a bloodstained otter pointing upwards. The leader of the black hoarde dropped onto the altar, knocking the Orangutab off its temporary victory perch and then it threw itself at me.

As the hoarde leader flew towards me faun Lebowitz threw himself at the hoarde leader and deflected it from its trajectory. The hoarde leader and faun Lebowitz rolled along the ground fighting as they went. I watched helplessly as the killing blow of the hoarde leaders talons sank into the torso of faun Lebowitz and let out a small involuntary cry.

As the life drained from faun lebowitz's eyes the faun seemed to realise that his time was done.

With the last ounce of strength in his body faun lebowitz sank his teeth into the neck of the hoarde leader and ripped a hunk out of its throat. Green blood spurted into the air like a loose hosepipe as the hoarde leader died.

And so it ended. The battle was won but no one was celebrating. Too many friends and comrades had died. Too much blood had been spilt and too many creatures had been injured and permanently scarred. Both in mind and body.

The sun rose the next day over a free land where faun Lebowitz's children were safely back with their mother and the black hoarde no longer roamed spreading fear and terror wherever they went.

And Me? I was escorted to a shaded valley by the Orangutan where a large scots pine stood alone in the glade. The Orangutan pushed a knothole in the trunk of the tree and a door sprung open. On the other side I could see my hallway.

"Ook." The orangutan said.
"That's goodbye then?" I asked.
"Ook ook." It replied.

The orangutan took my hand and lead me through the doorway. We stepped into my hallway and the orangutan closed the cupboard door behind us. The orangutan took the doorkey out of the keyhole, tasted it apprehensively and bent it double.

"And how do you plan on getting back to your land?" I asked, not really wanting to have to explain to my neighbours why I had suddenly aquired a very hairy and rather smelly flatmate.

"Ook." It replied, pointing at the cupboard door.
"You just locked it and bent the key. I don't have another one." I said.
The orangutan smiled its singular smile turned the handle of the cupboard door.

The cupboard door swung open to my amazement and inside my cupboard I saw a long passageway filled with large dusty books. "Ook." Said the orangutan and stepped inside.

The orangutan extended its hand and shook mine. "Ook ook ook ook, ook ook ook." It said, releasing my hand and closing the door.

I immediatly turned the door handle and found that the door was locked. Possibly forever.

The End.

* The carachter of the Orangutan was borrowed from Terry Pratchett's Diskworld novels and can be found living the life of a librarian in the city of Ankh Morpork. (Where he spends his time wondering just how humans can be so clever and so stupid at the same time and eating bananas.)


That'll do nicely...

Hair gel - £1.50

Time spent ironing my shirt - 10 Minutes.

Getting told I can't attend my Sister in Laws birthday party - A bit of a bummer.

Googling the words Peter Ramsey Bainfield Bowling club and reading the second result - Priceless


With hindsight...

I should have bought the mixed leaves salad and the garlic bread thang when I popped into ASDA late last night.

And why? Well, because for the last 5 hours and seven minutes I've lay in my bed with a stomach ache. On the plus side though I spent the time reading Peter Kay's autobiography "The Sound of Laughter."


Once in a while...

I get a hankering for something different to munch on. (My usual diet consists of enough fast food to give a rhinoceros a heart attack.) So tonight I hied up to the local ASDA (Walmart to my American readers) and went food shopping.

I strolled through the deli aisle where my eye was caught by a rather scrummy looking mixed leaves salad with feta cheese and walnuts. That's the bugger for me I thought and deposited it in the basket. Into the bread/cake aisle I went where I got a Garlic and herb topped twisty loaf thing that you bake in the oven.

Then I made the fatal mistake of walking through the frozen dessert aisle. Right in front of my eyes were six packs of cornetto ice creams on special offer. Two boxes for £3. (Quick question; If ASDA keeps rolling back prices as they claim in their ad's how come nothing is free?)

Needless to say the healthy option went south quicker than a hooker during the Catholic seminaries visit to town, and the salad and garlicky bread were dumped into the freezer and were rapidly replaced by two boxes of mint cornettos and a gallon of Carte D'or Greek yoghurt and honey ice cream.

So tonight instead of sitting in the livingroom chowing down on a healthy mixed leaves salad and garlic bread I'm up to my eyes in ice cream.

Just call me a fat cunt. I deserve it.


Following the debacle...

On Saturday night.

My nephew has posted this about the man who has so little spine he wouldn't answer an eight year old's question and instead told him to "Go away you silly wee bugger."

That's low in my opinion. And, if I might add, hardly the actions of a man suited for the presidency of anywhere.

And to think I got sacked for labelling the committee a bunch of power mad fuckwits... Oh the irony.

* Stuart also posted this.


I wish I lived in a city that never sleeps.

A city where sparks of life can be found at all times of the day or night. You know the kind of place I mean no doubt. A place like New York, Rio or Tokyo. But I don't. I live in Edinburgh. But that's not to say that you can't experience international cuisine at a relatively late time of night.

At 10:30 tonight I had a hankering for something different. Something new(ish), something exotic, something off the normal beaten path for me. So I jumped onto the scooter and headed into Haymarket to the Sushiya Sushi Bar.

Sushiya wouldn't look out of place on a New York side street and I wouldn't have been surprised if a group of New Yorkers had walked in and announced that they were off to Studio 54 and wanted to sample the finest sushi in the city beforehand.

Sushiya may not be the biggest restaurant in Edinburgh but if style and substance counted for anything this place would be off the map of coolness.

I sat with my back to the window so I could ignore the fact I was less that 100 yards from the Haymarket train station and imagined instead that I was in one of the aforementioned cities. On the wall a TV set showed a Japanese cooking show that somehow still managed to have that familiar look of Endurance.

As I couldn't understand the language of the TV show I popped my ipod into my ears and ate my Seafood Special raman soup while I imagined that just outside the door of the sushi bar a whole other city went about it's evening.

Should you ever have the hankering for sushi in Edinburgh I'd highly recommend popping your head through the door of Sushiya.

Sushiya directions. (Google map link)

Pulling on your helmet...

Is a great way to get rid of stress.

Whoops, hang on, that doesn't sound quite right... That sounds like I'm advocating jerking off as a way to rid yourself of tension. It does, but that's not the point I'm trying to make here so we'll drop it here before it gets out of hand...

What I mean to say is that pulling on a crash helmet and going for a drive along familiar roads is a good way to blow the cobwebs out of your mind. And this is exactly what I did yesterday when I hopped onto my Vespa and headed out of Edinburgh towards Dunbar.

As I left the outskirts of Edinburgh and approached my old haunting grounds of Musselburgh I gave a thought to the many happy times I'd spent in and around Musselburgh with friends and lovers long lost in the mists of time.

I've some very happy memories of days spent in Musselburgh with my ex girlfriend Katy and her family but I didn't dwell on them too long as I passed the bench where Katy and I went our separate ways many moons ago.

This night was not the time for sad thoughts and regret so I kept on moving. I left Musselburgh and headed along the coast road towards places not visited in many a year. (Though I will admit that my heart skipped a beat or two when I drove past where Katy used to live.)

Onto the coast road I opened the gas, felt the wind blow the sadness out of my mind and concentrated only on the ribbon of road ahead of me. The sun was dropping low in the sky and as I scooted along I'd take the occasional glance to my left to see the orange hues of the late evening sun paint the sky like Monet could only fantasise about.

Dunbar came into view a half an hour later and I drove along the High Street towards the harbour where I parked. In the distance the Bass Rock sat giving off a strange cream coloured glow in the setting sun, kids fished from the end of the harbour and I sat and watched the sunset with a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of water in the other.

A few people were walking on the sands and I pondered who they were. What did they do for a living? Were they happy? Was life being good to them? Did they have kids and a family or were they alone in the world with only friends for company? Many questions whizzed through my mind and I had no answers to any of them. As is so often the case.

"Nice night." Said a voice behind me.
I turned around and saw who was speaking. "Beautiful." I said. But not in reply to her statement. A blonde haired woman with green eyes stood there. She was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt that had the initials LSU across the front.

"Tis ain't it." She said. I noticed a southern twang in her accent.
"Sorry, I was thinking out loud." I said, flicking my cigarette into the harbour behind me.
"Pardon?" She asked, unsure of what I had meant.
"That was the first thing I thought when I saw you standing there." I said.
"Aww, that's sweet." She said, blushing slightly.
"Nice bike." She said. The sun reflected off her hair and it shone with a golden glint.
"Huh?" I asked. Having totally forgotten that I was sitting on one.
"Your bike?" She said, pointing to the bike beneath me.
"Oh, right, sorry. I was miles away." I said.
"I'll leave you alone, looks like y'all're deep in thought." She said.

The realisation that if I didn't snap out of it this beauty would walk away and I'd never see her again struck me. "No!" I snapped. "I mean, no, it's fine. I was just taken aback by you." She smiled a million dollar smile and I got off the bike and offered her my hand. "I'm Duke." I said, not quite knowing why I had chosen this moment in time to road test a new name.

"Penny." She said, taking my hand and shaking it. Her skin was silken and soft and I shivered at her touch. "Nice to meet you." She continued.
"Do you live around here? Or are you just on a visit from the states?" I asked.
"I'm here with work." She said.
"What do you do?" I asked.
"Conservation studies." She replied.
"Birds and shit?" I said, letting my default language pack take over.
She laughed and said "Quite literally. Most days all I see is birds and shit."
"How about you? What do you do?" She enquired.
"I don't really know." I answered.
"Isn't that a problem when it comes to payday?" She joked.
"It would be if I got paid. I guess you could say I'm a struggling artist." I said.
"Wow, do you paint?" She asked.
"No, I write. Sometimes. I'm kinda going through a blank phase right now." I replied.
"Have you ever been published?" She enquired.
"Only if you count a letter to a newspaper." I said.

She glanced at her watch and I took this to mean that the conversation was about to come to an end. "Well Duke it was a pleasure meeting you. Good luck with the writing." She said, which I figured meant that we were about to part.

"I don't suppose you'd like to take a walk along the beach with me?" I asked.
"Yeah, why not. I'm out for a walk anyway." She replied.

I chained my helmet to my bike and we set off to the beach. The sun was dropping towards the horizon and the sky was an orange and red tinted canvas above us. We strolled along the beach chatting about this and that... Where she was from, how she ended up in Dunbar, whether she was married or single, where I came from and what it was like.

We must have walked about a mile or so when she said that she really should be thinking about getting back. I offered to walk her home but she said it wasn't far and in the opposite direction to my bike. I smiled and thanked her for her company and the conversation and watched as she headed up the beach and back into the streets of Dunbar.

I walked back to my bike and drove home with a smile on my face. Which strangely had nothing to do with the fact I was on my bike on familiar roads.


Last Night...

Was the night of a party to celebrate my Sister in Law's 40th birthday.

So you'd think that this morning I'd be suffering from a massive hangover (as is the usual state of affairs when I go to a party. For examples see this post, this post or this post) but this time this is not the case.

"Holy shit!" I hear you exclaim. "Has Ross finally defeated his demons and gave up boozing and drugging?" Well, not really. Allow me to explain...

At 7:30 I arrived on Hutchinson Crossway and headed towards my former workplace. I walked along the car park and strolled past the bowling green where a game was being watched by about a dozen members of the club. The members sat at the side of the green said hi to me and I passed a couple of minutes talking to them and catching up on how life was treating them.

After chewing the fat for a wee while I headed into the club via the backdoor, as I'm technically banned from the club but know that this doesn't effect private functions as the same situation occurred during the time I worked behind the bar, so as not to cause too much fuss from the more simian members of the club.

I pulled open the back door and strolled up to the bar. I was spotted by the barmaid, smiled and asked for a large skippers and coke in a tall glass with no ice. The barmaid shook her head and informed me that I wasn't allowed a drink.

"You're kidding?" I asked.
"No. We've been told by management that you aren't to get served." The barmaid told me.
"What management?" I asked.
"Management." She said, "You know I'd give you a drink if I could Ross." She continued, with a look on her face that I knew to be apologetic in nature.
"In that case can I speak to the manager?" I asked, just as my dad wandered up next to me.

"What you having?" My Dad asked.
"Nothing apparently, I'm not allowed a drink." I told him.
"Huh?" He said.
"I'm not allowed a drink." I said.
"Who says?" He enquired.
"Management." I told him.

My Dad immediately turned around and headed for the door I'd just recently entered through. I followed him out and stood at the backdoor, where I lit a cigarette and chatted with one of the junior members who knew me, while my Dad walked along the side of the green to speak to the president.

After a couple of minutes my Dad came back and told me there was nothing he could do. About half a minute later the president of the club approached and said "You're not welcome at the club." Which, at the time, I thought was a bit strange as he was one of the people who had said hi to me as I sat chatting to the members at the side of the green a few minutes ago.

"Why?" I asked.
"Because of the comments you made about the club." He said, trying his best to sound authoritative and in command. (In my opinion, he failed spectacularly and only came across as a fool who was out of his depth.)

"Even though this is a private function and I know for a fact that people who have been banned have attended parties in the past?" I asked.
"Yes." He said.
"And I take it that means the grounds as well?" I enquired.
"Yes." He replied.
"And are you going to escort me off the premises?" I asked.
"If necessary." He said.
"All the way out into the street? So we're off club premises?" I asked.
"Is that a threat?" He asked.
"Why don't we go and find out." I said, walking down the three or four steps that he had stopped at the bottom of.

I walked past him and headed back the way I came in. The members at the side of the green laughed and made humorous comments as I smiled and said I'd see them later.

I walked along the car park and looked behind to see if I was being escorted off the premises. I wasn't. As I stepped out the gates I turned and saw the friendly face of Heather, Jenny's mum, standing at the front door having a cigarette."I'd come over and say hello but I'm not allowed." I shouted to her.

"I cannae hear you." She yelled back.
"Fuck it." I said, as I walked back onto the club grounds and went to talk to Heather.
I told Heather and another couple of people what had just happened and they all said that it was ridiculous that I wasn't allowed to attend my Sister in Laws birthday party.

I told Heather and the other smokers I'd see them another time and headed back to my house. Where I spent the evening watching Dr Who on DVD.

And that's the reason I don't have a hangover to scare the Gods from their slumber.


How Very Strange...

Today I watched the strangest movie I've ever seen.

Bad Boy Bubby. (Imdb link)

If you are easily offended please, in the name of the Grand Whazoo, never watch this movie.


There's nothing like...

Putting yourself into debt to force you to get off your arse and get a job.

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what I did about an hour ago when I borrowed £800 off my dad to buy a Vespa.