Them Apples

So the weather eh? We’ve been having so much of it haven’t we? All that vast and oppressive heat thundering across the void of space to bathe our fair globe in its radiance and brown our pale and pallid man flesh (or is that just me?) And interspersed with the assault from our parent star there has been rain, great torrents of it being vomited forth from clouds heavy and gravid with sky juice. Oh and this week I deemed the weather pleasant enough to start wearing shorts again. You have been warned. Gather your loved ones, say goodbye to your friends and flee immediately.

But that’s enough preamble for today, I have no doubt that you grow weary of inane chatter and insufferable small-talk. So I should probably get onto the stories.

34 - June 2014 - Them Apples

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June’s Pictonaut Challenge

There was a time when I hated summer. Summer meant be forced outside to participate in “sports.” Things which I neither understood or enjoyed. In my mind the two things began inseparable from one another. So I came to loathe summer. The heavy, stifling heat became and the bright, lustre of the day-star became harbingers for prolonged periods of not-fun. But things change. When the last spell of good weather visited us I found myself looking out of an open window and a clear, bright world that seemed so very inviting. Thoughts came into my mind. Thoughts like: “I really feel like going for a bit of a cycle today” and “walking six miles seems like an entirely sane and rational thing to do right now.” Perhaps it is because living alone and a general absence of commitments mean that for the first time in my life, I am truly my own master. Free to do what I want to do and be what I want to be. Perhaps my blind stumblings through life are finally beginning to bear fruit. If so it is a fruit I intend to savour. A fruit with crisp skin that yields easily to teeth; a fruit with sharp, yet sweet flesh and juice that runs freely. Perhaps this fruit is an apple. And we all love Them Apples.

34 - June 2014 - Them Apples

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Yogic

Yet another month evaporates away like mist on a late spring morning. The great and titanic majesty of summer begins to stir itself from its slumber, serpentine coils sliding and uncoiling. It readies itself to strike, be it with sun-fire or unending rain, Summer is a fickle beast and we are never sure with which weapon it will strike. Let’s face it, summer’s a bit of a dick. But on this day, the last before summer awakens I bring you stories. Tales of derring-do, of wonder and sorrow, tales of a place which is not here. Tales of a girl, standing on a mountain.

33 - May 2014 - Yogic

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May’s Pictonaut Challenge

The astute and observant amongst you (by law of averages there’s bound to be at least some) will be aware that since January I have been suffering from vague and mysterious pains and generalised agonies, in and around my hip. This has led to thoughts of DIY amputations or the acquisition of slightly lethal quantities of painkillers. In the last month my strange and nebulous bodily torments have fallen under the purview of a physiotherapist, who now valiantly quests to sort out my gammy hip once and for all. He has, however, been extremely reluctant to use advanced military cybernetics as a solution. (What can I say? He’s a traditionalist.)

So as you read this I will be, in all likelihood, barely clothed, sprawled out on a massage table being subjected to the eye-watering agony of “treatment.” Last time, when I asked what he was doing his response could be summarised as “Oh, I’m just poking your tendons so hard that the connective tissue starts to dissolve.” I shall count myself lucky if I can stand once he is finished, and doubly lucky if I can manage walk properly afterwards. But as the old saying goes: “You can’t make an omelette without pain so intense that it makes your nerves melt and your bones howl.” (This is a lie, that is not how the old saying goes.)

This (as always) tenuous segue leads us to this month’s Pictonaut Challenge and the grotesque flexibility of Yogic.

33 - May 2014 - Yogic

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Relay

Somehow April seems to have passed me by in a haze of bank holidays and getting considerably less done than I rightly should. Another month lost to the ages with the grand total of naff all to show for my continuing and ignoble quest to valiantly not die. This month has not been about achievement or meeting goals and targets, it has largely been about subsisting, maintaining the holding pattern that allows me to pay my rent and buy the inordinate amounts of tea I pour into my face in order to dull the horrors of existence. In all honestly, it hasn’t been a terrible month but then again it hasn’t been amazing. it has been a litany of average. And I’m okay with that. Average is acceptable. I can live with average. Average is a month when you’re not stressed out by the minutia of adult life. Average is a quiet weekend on the sofa watching television. Average is something we don’t appreciate enough. The lofty highs and glorious days of our lives are transient and fleeting, but average? Average is here to stay. It’s the average days that ultimately keep us going. And if that’s not enough for you, here are some short stories.

32 - Apr 2014 - Relay - Steve Renn

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April’s Pictonaut Challenge

I sit here in a shattered throne of synthetic leather. The inside of my mouth tastes like something has recently died in it, only to be brought back from beyond the veil that hides that undiscovered country, only to then die again. Judging by taste alone this has probably happened many, many times. I sit here in a shattered throne of grey foam. My hip is still assailed by a strange and nebulous pain that remains undiagnosed, my supply of prescription pain killers has now run out and I contemplating the feasibility of using a plastic ruler to perform an impromptu amputation. So I sit upon my shattered throne. The haunting strains of Mike Oldfield’s Hergest Ridge are the only thing separating me from the deep, syrupy seas of madness. My hayfever has started drawing up some very intricate plans to kill my by drowning me in my own mucus. This all puts paid to my ingenious April Fool’s day plan to pretend to be a robot sent from the future to post poor quality fiction on some dark and forgotten corner of cyberspace. So instead here is a picture of something futuristic and vaguely robot like. It’s called Relay. Beep-boop you bastards, beep-fucking-boop.

32 - Apr 2014 - Relay - Steve Renn

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Another Walk

For the first time in a very long while I awoke into the realm of BST without feeling like someone had removed the top of my skull in the depths of night and taken a particularly large and particularly foul shit right on top of my brain. This is a novelty beyond words. Ordinarily my body reacts to this slight disruption of its diurnal rhythms throwing what back home they call “a massive wobbly.” First think on Sunday morning I woke up as hale and hearty as I have ever been and promptly wrote eight hundred words in less than an hour. This has filled me with a dark and brooding suspicion. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. To drop like an asteroid thundering out of high orbit. Like an asteroid who’s been hitting the booze a bit too much and now, in the throes of an alcoholic stupor, thinks that Earth isn’t so great, that it could probably take that smug bastard. Swanning about with its “atmosphere” like it owns the whole solar system. I fully expect to wake up in a few days and no longer feel human. To feel more like a crude and badly constructed simulacrum of a man-shaped thing. Admittedly I am a crude and badly constructed simulacrum of a man-shaped thing, but I don’t like to be reminded about it.

Anyway, short stories…

31 - Mar 2014 - Another Walk

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March’s Pictonaut Challenge

March has finally rolled around and with it comes the first month of spring. We find ourselves with winter at our backs (at least in theory) and move onward into the promise of warm breezes and clear skies, or at the very least, slightly warmer rain. Spring is a time of new beginnings as the world awakens from its slumber, flowers spring into bloom, trees throw on a new coat of leaves and bird song fills the air. With daylight growing ever longer with each passing day there world seems so much more vital and real, as if everything we knew and saw in winter was a slightly fuzzy photograph; a slideshow of frozen moments in time. It makes you want to go outside and just be.

Last March we went for a walk. It’s good to get outside and feel the world beneath your feet, to stretch your legs and set out to see just where the road will take you. I think we should all go for Another Walk.

31 - Mar 2014 - Another Walk Continue reading


Barrow Door

When last we met dear readers it was on a pleasantly sunny day. Being the suspicious sort that I am, I suspect that February was plotting something most heinous and most foul. Which as chance would have it, it was. As heinous and foul most assuredly describe the weather of the last month. Large portions of the country have been transformed so that they are no more a green and sceptred land. Now they’re more of a muddy brown and sort of squelchy. The boffins at the MET office claim that it is the wettest winter on record and I’m certainly not going to disagree. It is times such as this that I am glad to live nowhere near a body of water and be on the 1st floor. But as much as my genetic heritage compells me to talk at length about the weather I should probably get down to the business of short stories and tall tales.

30 - Feb 2014 - Barrow Door

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February’s Pictonaut Challenge

“Why hello there February, aren’t you looking uncharacteristically sunny and pleasant today, what are you up to? WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED YOU GREGORIAN RUNT!? I’M ON TO YOU!”

After the rain yesterday’s rain which could have been described with adjectives like biblical or apocalyptic, the shortest and most excellent of months has begun with a sky of clear and brilliant duck egg blue. A brief respite from the fickle throes of the British winter, or a karmic reward for enduring that which has passed? Who can say? Other than perhaps the Met Office, that is after all, their job. I for one doubt that the rains have deigned to relinquish their grasp on the world, not yet. But for now we can sit back and enjoy what good fortune we have and relish in the knowledge that so far we remain resolutely “not dead.” That day will come, the day where will finally be ensconced behind the Barrow Door.

30 - Feb 2014 - Barrow Door

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