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All posts for the month September, 2013

5. Sal Oberon Wakes Up and Smells the Coffee (after a Long Sojourn Away)

Published September 2, 2013 by saloberon

Sal Oberon woke up with a root beer hangover and an unhealthily fungal eleven-year stubble on his chin. He scratched places he couldn’t remember having, thinking what had happened to time, what was the point of quadratic equations (inexplicably), and was the thing that had seemingly evolved from the half a pizza he’d left, pre-hibernation, still edible? He checked his watch: half past Monday — or something.

Sal Oberon, Master Storyteller and Part-Time Shyster Magnet, fixed coffee. He stared at the eight feet high pile of junk mail on his doormat, wondering absent-mindedly if his landlord had died and forgotten to tell him. He picked up a random envelope and opened it: ‘Congratulations, Mr Obiwank (Sal Oberon rooted around behind his ear for a red biro with which to wearily spell-check the moronic mass illiteracy, the memory of which lumbered back up on him like a large toad squeezed into the dream of a pretty nymph princess), ‘congratulations on being selected to receive A LIFETIME’S SUPPLY of non-returnable BADLY SPELLD JUNKMAIL! Oh yes. Your liff is complete. Fret no more, Mr. Obiwank: you’re [sic] blood pressure is our pleasure! FREE fore liff!’

The pot on the stove hissed. Sal Oberon made coffee, not yet sufficiently stirred in himself to care greatly at the largely squeezed toad of mass illiteracy. It belched in a metaphorical manner and hopped off into a dark recess of his mind: ready to pop out with a small amphibian fanfare at some point in the not-too-distant future, its pretty nymph princess costume popping a few stitches at the edges instead and in the meantime.

The doorbell rang and Sal Oberon moaned wearily before levering open the front appendage to his formerly rented abode (landlord status pending), blinking in the light.

‘Sign this.’

Our hero stared with heroic grace, one index finger holding up an eyebrow, also holding in the mush of his root-beer-deranged brain. ‘What?’

‘Sign.’

‘What is it?’

The shadowy disembodiment of a voice that lurked beyond the proffered, held aloft and slightly aubergine paper managed to express its discombobulation without further recourse to actual words. Sal Oberon spoke in a slower tone, as was customary, he found, when dealing with the more flexibility-challenged: ‘What is it that you’re asking me to sign?’

There was a pause, and then: ‘This paper.’

‘Yes, but what is it?’

‘It’s a slightly aubergine form. Sign it.’

‘Why?’

‘It needs your signature?’

Sal Oberon stood on his doorstep and a blinding flash of epiphany flushed down on him from a great height, delivering unto him the purpose for hibernations, lobotomies and voluntarily overly-deep enemas: you don’t get out of life without the pink form of bureaucracy giving you the right to take your last breath and the pasty maroon form to say you can start mulching into the undergrowth. Sal Oberon sighed.

‘What do I get in return for my signature?’

There was another pause. ‘You get this slightly aubergine form with your signature on it, which says you’ve signed the form, which is slightly aubergine. Sign here.’

Sal Oberon gave in and signed the form. The shadowy disembodiment of delivery thanked him from the very depths of his tick box and disappeared up his own slightly diminished agenda. Sal Oberon clicked the door closed quietly and filed the slightly aubergine form on his eight feet high ‘to do’ list. Our hero dragged his sorry arse off towards the toaster, wondering if re-hibernation might be a crime punishable by death and whether that might come under ‘irony’.

When the second doorbell chimed, Sal Oberon through [sic] his red biro at the door. It shattered into a bloody mess of ink and abject apathy.

‘Bugger off.’

‘Delivery for Mr. Obiwank.’

‘He’s dead. He slipped on the toast of the eternally buttered side down. He accidentally impaled a lung on a plastic fork.’

The doorbell chimed. Sal Oberon regretted the purchasing of bloody Greensleeves, Ad Infinitum. The doorbell continued to chime and showed no signs of ever not chiming again. Sal Oberon answered the door.

‘What?’

‘Sign here.’

‘Why . . .? No. Don’t bother . . .’

Sal Oberon signed the mustard form, the indigo form, the puce and magenta form, and the off-beige form that stated that he’d signed the mustard, indigo, puce and magenta, and off-beige forms. He took delivery of the proffered appendage to his life, slammed the door and sat down with it before the delivery drone had had time to even think of disappearing up his own agenda.

The package sat in Sal Oberon’s lap like a turd might. He unpeeled it, carefully, as you might. The folder was municipally non-coloured, though it had a catchy logo: Council of the Forest of the Congenitally Be-Dwarfed, De-Hibernation Policy and Procedures (a Guide for Breathing, Shitting and Quadratic Equations), Volume 1 of 64 (pages 1-1684). Compulsory Reading (on mauve-form-actioned threat of eviction, excommunication, or any other order of the Council’s spontaneous choosing). Read by Tuesday, and sign (every page). Twice. In turquoise ink. In the right-hand margin. Countersign your own signatures for proof of identity. Twice. Re-read for accuracy. Proceed to start of list.

Sal Oberon added the policy document to his ‘to do’ list. A largely squeezed toad of a metaphorical nature and moronic mass illiteracy croaked brightly for a second, mistaking the ‘to do’ list with itself, before retiring to the crack between the floorboards. Our hero’s foot came down, missing it by a pretty nymph princess’s split seam.

Sal Oberon reached for his rudimentary Tale Weaving equipment, blowing the dust from its cavernous innards. ‘Right,’ he said. ‘Right . . .’ (though he wasn’t entirely sure what would be next, and right seemed to fit the bill right enough).

Dear the Council

Fuck off.

Regards

S. Oberon
 
Sal Oberon, Master Storyteller and Part-Time Shyster Magnet, was a little rusty at his game, coming out of hibernation as he was.
 
 

4. Sal Oberon Seeks a Mate

Published September 2, 2013 by saloberon

‘WLTM: Pretty, sweet fairy with slightly damaged wings; access to own Tale Weaving equipment and ability to drink like a trout in a puddle of shallow sorrow under a dripping wet sky laden with existential angst; GSOH; no Melodramatics need apply. Failing all of the above: strange freak/weirdo from wrong side of the bracken, of no fixed lineage or state of wing disrepair (however, must have at least rudimentary access to Tale Weaving equipment — even if it’s somebody else’s and used in the middle of the night by excessive creeping around following breaking and entering and without prior permission). Apply to: PO Box 3333, 63rd Knobbly Stump on the Left, East 98th Mole Furrow, Forest of the Hopelessly Lost . . .’

‘Nah,’ said Sal Oberon, screwing up the paper he’d just scribbled on and breaking the first Golden Rule of the Guild of Master Storytellers: never, ever throw away any story, no matter how crap. Sal Oberon threw it out of the window.

‘What’s this?’ came a haggard old voice from outside, and after a few moments of concentrated consideration, the voice shouted out, ‘Bloody hippies. Sitting on your arses all day writing bollocks. Get out of the house and meet people, Loser Boy . . . Get a life!!’

With that the little old and mentally unstable fairy, with her tightly buttoned-up overcoat on, shuffled off to hassle a couple of homeless goblins who were obviously up to no good, lying around pretending to be apathetic and waiting to be verbally abused by someone.
 
 

3. Sal Oberon Practises Zen Meditation Breathing Techniques on the Wing

Published September 2, 2013 by saloberon

Sal Oberon is surrounded by morons . . .

‘What’s a moron?’ one of the children sitting at his feet asked.

Sal Oberon sighed.

‘A moron,’ he began at length, ‘is only marginally higher up the food chain than your common or garden cretin . . .’

‘Uh?’ grunted the child.

Sal Oberon pursed his lips irritably.

‘Which, in turn,’ he went on, ‘is slightly higher than an idiot. Then come the illiterates, the throwbacks, the nobodies, those who aspire to be nobodies, and the complete wastes of DNA . . .’

The children sat with question-marks screwed across their faces.

‘Look,’ said Sal Oberon a little tetchily, ‘do you want to hear this story, or what?’

The children all brightened up at the essential keyword and looked forward, no doubt, to some happy tale involving fluffy bunnies, lots of cuddly cute rhyming, and an over-abundance of patronising repetition designed in anticipation of exceptionally limited attention spans.

Sal Oberon shuffled his wings into a complex arrangement of greater comfort and drew in a deep breath. ‘Good,’ he said, and started again . . .

. . . Sal Oberon is surrounded by morons. He was winging through the Forest, fairly zipping along, a good percentage over the speed limit, when, with some alarm, he noted yet another moron precisely three and a half nano-millimetres behind him and travelling at the same ‘minimal-life-expectancy’ velocity. So, with calculated risk, and, overloading on irrationally vexed chemicals recently discharged with some rapidity into his brain, due to the crass invasion of his personal body space by the moron so close behind that he was almost actually inside him . . . he slammed on the brakes . . .

‘Wow, Sal Oberon,’ squealed the brightest of the children at the Gathering (the others merely sat and stared, dribbling and wondering when the bunnies might make their entrance). ‘Wow. Did you crash and mangle up the moron and die yourself too? Did you?’

Sal Oberon narrowed his eyes at the mound of excited dribble in front of him.

‘Ye-eeeess,’ he ventured slowly, and ‘Does your mother know you’re out? Hmm?’

He carried on with his tale. ‘Anyway . . .’

. . . there he was, slapping on his brakes and making some rather choice and tasty obscene gestures, I can tell you, with one hand behind him and half an eye on the way ahead, and the cretin behind only decided that . . .

‘Sal Oberon?’ the bright one piped up, quizzically. ‘Where did the moron go?’

‘What?’ Sal Oberon replied.

‘The moron, Sal Oberon,’ the child repeated. ‘Is there a moron and a cretin chasing now? Or did the moron have to go home for his dinner?’

Sal Oberon thought carefully, and after several seconds of careful cogitation, he said, ‘Yes. Both of the above.’ (Which didn’t help the bearer of the question much but did serve the storyteller’s intended purpose). ‘So,’ he went on, quickly. ‘Anyway . . .’

. . . the cretin behind only decided to speed up even more!! I mean, what an imbecile!! What a demented, moronic, plainly brainless act of wanton stupidity, at several wingflaps past the speed limit, in the outside lane of the Forest ring-road expressway. There are no words, no Venn diagrams, no bar-graphs with helpfully pretty colour-coding, no usefully user-friendly Help-Me-Quick-I’m-A-Dumbass-Can’t-Even-Find-The-On-Switch-Click-On-Me-NOW-Big-Red-Fat-Flashing-Stupid-Button to rightly describe how low down on the evolutionary scale of mind-numbing futile inanity that moronic, cretinous mound of puerile sap-for-brains actually rated out there . . .

‘Cool, Sal Oberon,’ the loquacious one said (though, it may be truthful to say he didn’t altogether get the entirety of the storyteller’s finest turns of phrase and carefully wordcrafted nuances). ‘Did you get squished and die though?’

Sal Oberon squeezed the bridge of his nose wearily and wondered why he sometimes bothered.

‘Noooooo,’ he uttered apathetically. ‘I practised the art of breathing and meditated on beautiful thoughts of serenity and inner peace.’

‘Like what, Sal Oberon?’

The storyteller leant forwards on his log. ‘Well . . .’ he concluded . . .

. . . Sal Oberon dropped into a haven of inner peace and tranquillity. He breathed . . . in and out; in, out; in, out. Peace . . . and then he slammed on the brakes again and thought beautiful thoughts of the moron behind pulling a full-lock skid at warp factor 27, snapping his wings off in the process in an extremely high velocity head-on collision with a rather hard tree, breaking his face, neck, legs and both funny bones in nine and half million assorted and painfully different places . . .

‘Whoa,’ exclaimed the child with a certain degree of respect, whilst all his assorted brethren dribbled profusely, still hanging on gamely to the hopefully imminent arrival of Mr. Fluffybunnykins and his irritatingly cheerful little rhyming-couplet narrator friend.
 
 

2. Sal Oberon Seeks Gainful Employment

Published September 2, 2013 by saloberon

Sal Oberon sat and surveyed the Forest before him, chewing on a lump of toxic by-product of indeterminable origin, found recently floating in the stream. The Forest of the Knobbly Goblin; the Forest of the Crippled Fairy; the Forest of the Sexually Depraved Sprite: all of these names. The proprietors of Yore (three and a half generations after the Ancients had moved up the property ladder, upping sticks to an, as yet, unpolluted Woody Glade), had failed to fill in the required application forms for ‘permanent name status’ (at least, not on the pink, maroon, turquoise or ever-so-slightly beige copies) and had therefore foregone their rights to such. Sal Oberon sat and contemplated the shithole simply known as a Forest (downgraded from Enchanted Wood, and a long way short of being a Woody Glade), pondering its position as the official dumping ground for all sorts of toxic magic by-products with no bureaucratic course of redress.

Suffice is to say that with all that magic shit clogging up the sanitary system, it’s no wonder the fairies’ wings started dropping off from acidic erosion, the elves started getting high just by sitting on the mushrooms and the pixies all went bad. It was only natural then that the place kept changing name, all by itself, without the aid of bureaucratic intervention, mauve balloting papers, planning meetings, steering groups, or formal written constitutions. Strange shit can happen when you live in a toxic magic dump.

Sal Oberon sat and surveyed the Forest of the Neurotic Nymph, desperately trying to avoid seeking gainful employment. He sighed. It was all very well telling stories but no landlord would take a nice little yarn in lieu of a month’s rent, and particularly not his landlord (who owned several hundred properties in and around the Forest, ranging from fairly respectable ex-tree stumps to the average little puddle of mould with its one room and en suite outside door). The evening edition of Jobs for the Hopeless Cretins Who Don’t Work in Local Government laid open nearby:

Undergrowth De-Viscosity Technician: Must have own gloves. No brain required (certificate of authenticity essential). 5 Groats per year. Apply on mauve, watermarked paper, cut into a perfect equilateral triangle and carefully folded into exactly 27 smaller and equally perfectly equal triangles.

Snail Speed Research Assistant: Must have qualifications. Any qualifications appropriate (though not yours).

Tree Officer: Required immediately. Must be able to count. Apply in lemon or aubergine ink, in some vague language format of forgotten antiquity. PhD essential. No idiots need apply. You are an idiot. Sod off.

Toxic Magic Forest Denial Officer: Qualification in Basic Lying essential (preferably educated to Advanced Deceit). Salary: 2.6 Million Groats. (Maybe).

Trout Licker: You won’t be qualified. Go away now.
 
Sal Oberon sighed the heavy-hearted sigh of the pitifully hard-done-by. A gang of marauding pixies staggered past with cans of beer in hand, aerosol-spraying the toads and spitting at little old fairies with arthritic wings who wore overcoats, despite it being the height of summer.

‘Oi,’ shouted one of the yobs, ‘get a job, you waster.’ They all laughed together in that demented cackle of cretins-in-arms. Sal Oberon couldn’t even muster the energy to make it to abject apathy.

‘Fucking hippies,’ the pixie with the brain today shouted out.
 
 

1. Sal Oberon: Master Storyteller and Part-Time Shyster Magnet

Published September 2, 2013 by saloberon

In the beginning, there was Light. But it only lasted a few days before it sputtered into a feeble death and blinked out. The celestial light salesman had done God up like a kipper.

‘Oh yes, er, Lord,’ he’d said (he’d only just been created himself and so was a little green at this game), ‘oh yes, this new forty umpsquillion watt bulb is all the rage in, er, um . . . some parallel Universe which may or not have been created yet, somewhere . . . um . . .’

God narrowed His eyes a little.

‘Go on,’ He uttered.

‘Well,’ went on the shifty one, ‘it’s your lucky day, Guv’nor, er, Lord. Just so happens that I’ve come into possession of, um,’ [quick mental and imaginary calculation], ‘sixty two billion of these little beauties, er, units. Yours for, er, let’s see . . . what units of currency have you created to date?’

God pondered.

‘Truth, Integrity, Love, Honour . . . maybe funny money on Credit Cards by Tuesday . . . if I can work out the logistics of those damn little metallic strips . . .’

There was a moment of apparent brow-beating.

‘Tell you what,’ said the salesman, ‘tell you what, Guv’nor, Lord, you can have the lot. Every last one of them. All for the price of Eternal Salvation. Can’t be fairer than that, now can I?’

God pondered more . . .

‘C’mon, your Lordness Guv,’ the salesman plied, sniffing out the weakness beginning to trickle in (just like they showed in the training videos). ‘Look at the lovely pretty colours. They come in mauve too, y’know. Think what Christmas’ll be like with all these bulbs up all over the place . . . and you only get the one Big Bang now, don’t you? Not your every day scenario . . .’

The patter was starting to flow.

‘Think of the little baby Jesus. You’re going to need something a bit special to get those strange blokes from ZZ Top out there to the middle of nowhere. Look!! A lovely new plastic star to light the way!!’

He held up one of the bulbs for inspection.

‘Use them again and again . . .’

God wavered. ‘Welllllll,’ He began: ‘How long will they last?’

The salesman looked visibly pained.

‘Last? Last, your Guv’norliness? They’ll LAST for EVER. And a day. Give or take a millennia or two because of improper wear and tear.’

He whipped out his contract and proffered God the pen with which to sign away His rights under Sections 1a) to 9,437e).

And God said: ‘Hmm, welllllll, OK,’ and signed His name on the contract (which immediately fizzed through the paper as the Name of God cannot truly be known — Creator’s Clause 46(b) (iii)-(vii) inclusive in ‘Contract to Build Universal System of Harmony and Life’ issued by CelestialSoft VirtualPlanets UnLimited: though that’s another story) and technically rendered the whole thing null and void (though neither party were to realise this episode until the whole sordid affair was dragged through the courts some millennia later). Anyway, it came to pass that God bought sixty two billion units, the shifty salesman earned himself an Eternal Salvation (and scarpered quickly for a new life in some celestial tax haven at the back end of beyond Beyond), and, one morning, a few days later, just as God had got up and gone to the bathroom to attend to his daily ablutions, he pulled on the lightcord and . . . BINK!!
 
Sal Oberon sat in the middle of the hugest tree trunk in the forest, surrounded by his fellow Little People and told his tale: ‘ . . . BINK!!’ he concluded, and there was a respectful silence (except for the hissings of the fire in the stone hearth, the rain outside and the smoke being spat on high up above them).

‘So,’ came a voice from the shadows, ‘what does it all mean?’

Sal Oberon pondered, chewed on a fern root which he’d pulled up, spat it out and stood up, stretching deliberately.

‘It means, my friend,’ he replied, ‘that the bastard who charged me forty five groats for five minutes so-called work JUST to tell me my fridge motor’s screwed had better watch his back because if I ever find out where he lives . . .’

Sal Oberon left the Gathering of the Little People, stepping into the pouring rain, moaning to himself something about how every bastard’s on the make these days . . .