Showing posts with label Gonzo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gonzo. Show all posts

Saturday 21 June 2014

Episode 15: When the lights go out

from under dark clouds

From Under Dark Clouds

From Under Dark Clouds

'From Under Dark Clouds...' is a Gonzo fictionalisation of current events in Greece as seen through the eyes of our unnamed hero as he fumbles from paranoia to public office, under the mentorage of the shady Socrates.

I set about my duties at my makeshift mayoral desk full of ideas but without a clue, dear blogees. What on earth does a mayor do, I googled it. After reading Wikipedia and how stuff works dot com, I slumped back in my chair totally discombobulated.  I called Socrates and put the question to him, his answer was thorough, included some choice vocabulary and I’m pretty sure included bullet points, he asked if I understood, I said no. He told me to call a meeting. Two minutes later, I called him back. A meeting with whom?

I managed to get representatives from the police, fire service, the education authority, a handful of utilities and Tasos, the janitor. 

bored meeting
Bored meeting
The electricity people said that since the central government had decided to collect a new tax hike through the electricity bills, people had stopped paying at such a rate that they couldn't keep up with the disconnection procedures. I asked him what the procedures were and how zealously he had been pursuing them.

“I assure you, Mr. Mayor, that we are doing everything in our power,” he paused and his chest puffed a little. “We have even shut down the power to some schools and citizens advice bureaus.”

 I enquired as to how successful this strategy had been.

“Over 80% of householders in arrears are now on remedial repayment plans,” he announced.

“And the schools?”

His reply was by way of pursed lips and a downward look, “a harder nut to crack.”
I asked who was liable for these arrears and he found a piece of dirt under his pinky nail. Tasos, the janitor was the only to speak, “You are, sir.”   

“Great, then reconnect immediately! We’ll settle up,” the accountant chap, who had remained quiet in the corner with his laptop, coughed, looked at the screen and gently swung his head, the well-assembled secretary looked over the accountants shoulder and made another gesture but I got briefly distracted.     

I told him to reconnect all public services and I would be over within the week to make arrangements. The electric man said he would be able to reconnect after terms had been arranged. Socrates, who had slipped in unnoticed and kept his silence, broke it, “The mayor said he would make arrangements within the week.” He looked at the electric man the way he had looked at me when I was in prison. The electric man made a note in a book and Socrates repeated himself. He pulled out his phone, said “within the week” emphatically and excused himself.

The lady from the education authority asked if the teachers, who had been unpaid for some months now could expect the same attention. I assured her that everyone would be dealt with in due course and Socrates smiled, almost.   

The water board man was predicting another summer of cuts due to the pre-crisis building boom in the area and the lack of funds to update the network. I asked why the network had not been upgraded in accordance with the building permission applications before the building boom. His reply was something about not having access to such information and went quiet.

The fire brigade had been forced to let a number of buildings burn due to a broken down engine and some dry hydrants. The boys down the station had managed to botch up the engine with some spares from a decommissioned engine but they had come across a number of hydrants with no supply. The water board man fiddled with his phone while the fire chief spat this last comment in his direction.      

I called the meeting to a close citing a very busy afternoon and everyone gladly left.
“We are so fucked!”

“We too must endure and persevere, and then courage will not laugh at our faintheartedness in searching for courage; which after all may, very likely, be endurance,” was Socrates' reply.

I looked back at him and repeated, “We are so fucked!”

I needed to clear my head so I headed into the streets to get some air. It was market day and the streets were closed to traffic, replaced with stalls full of produce and old women with wheely baskets. A group of shaven-head heavies were talking to a stall holder. As I approached I could see that they were performing some kind of check, the stall-holder had handed over his licence and the pit-bulls were examining it. They nodded and moved on. It occurred to me to confront them but my face still hurt too much. At the end of the row of stalls I found an Asian looking man picking broken plastic toys from the floor, his make-shift stall in crumbs around him. I asked what he was doing and he answered, without turning round, that he was picking up and leaving. When he did turn I recognised the face; it was like the face that had greeted me in the mirror the previous day. He was shaking with fear, grabbed what he could and ran.
It was late in the day when I arrived back at the town hall. Many had left for the day but I managed to find Tasos, the janitor. I called him and broached the subject of our infestation. He looked confused. In the basement, I reminded him and he shuffled uneasily. I asked to take a look down there to see what could be done. He told me that it wasn't very pleasant down there and maybe I should just let him deal with it.  

If I was to have any hope of dealing with the prefecture, I would first have to get my own house in order. What I found in the basement would take more than Rentokill to solve; my house would need some serious order. 

Some bedrooms would be a start.

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Saturday 2 March 2013

Episode 14: Anyone home?

from under dark clouds

From Under Dark Clouds

From Under Dark Clouds

'From Under Dark Clouds...' is a Gonzo fictionalisation of current events in Greece as seen through the eyes of our unnamed hero as he fumbles from paranoia to public office, under the mentorage of the shady Socrates.

Each episode is based on real events. Readers are invited to share their experiences for the Under Dark Clouds treatment. Many have been included in cameo roles, can you spot them?

See link below for contributions

findus face
Wear's the beef?
I was still licking my wounds, dear Blogees after the pasting from the peoples' pitbulls. I had a face like a findus lasagne. The police had not wanted to know and if the truth be told there did seem to be a new fashion of minimalist haircuts down the station house. The people were, mostly, quite horrified about the incident but it had blown over a damn sight quicker than the pain in my noggin and anyway, these guys were actually doing something rather than banging their gums about it down at the city hall. They were, of course, quite right about that but banging someone else's gums is not really the best way to deal with the problem either. 

Since that day their presence in the town had been marked but as they hadn't bounced anyone around since then, since me, I was willing to give them a wide birth and at least let the people get the benefits of their provisions. This was a decision I would live to regret.

We had managed to recover a good amount of my predecessor, Mr. Mayor's embezzled funds but it wasn't going to keep us going for long. Central government had promised to help us out but so far all they had sent was a promise.

I had to clear my head so I kicked the Vespa into life and let it take me on a tour of my kingdom. It took me down streets I barely knew existed and on a number of occasions very nearly bucked me off while swinging into a narrow passage. Apart from the boarded up shops I noted all the unfinished and empty flats and houses. The winter air was cold and my swollen face was beginning to throb, I pulled over to put a bit of liquid warmer into my veins. There, opposite was a block of apartments maybe 6 or 7, completely unoccupied with a big sign outside advertising them being for sale. The name of the developer was familiar but I couldn't place it at all. I noted in my newly acquired filofax, took another nip of Irish and set off. The Vespa seemed to have decided on an early shower that day because next thing I knew I was pulling up outside my house.

penguin's pants
Penguin's pants
The wife was as cold as a Penguin's pants but I knew that she cared. The kids assaulted my head with questions and irrelevancies but their sublime sanity was soothing. I read them a story at bedtime and had a glass of red stuff, maybe wine, in front of the telly with the wife. She made one comment about keeping my trap shut and another time she winced and asked me if it hurt; she did care.

The empty properties occupied my dreams. The name I couldn't place came out in a song, it was the mayor, at least the previous mayor, it was his name but more importantly he hadn't embezzled it all, some was in bricks and mortar in the middle of town.

When I woke it was still dark so I crept around gathering my clothes and brushing my teeth in stealth mode. I needn't have bothered. Nothing short of putting a bus stop by the wardrobe would stir this sleeping beauty.

The morning air was icy and my face was a map of numbness and pain. By the time I reached the town hall and realised I didn't have the keys again, I was mute. I did, however have my trusty Swiss army knife so it wasn't long before I was in the building.

The birds were in a bit of a fluster but there was still little sign of the sun making an appearance. What I could hear was a shuffling from somewhere below the entrance level. I had never explored the building so had little idea of its layout but it occurred to me now that not only did it have a basement but that it also had rats. I picked up a plastic leaflet rack that had long since given its last information and made my way to the door by the stairs. The handle twisted in my hand and the door punched me in the nose.

On the other side was Mike, the IT guy looking profoundly pre-corn flakes. “Good morning, Sir.”

I asked him what the hell he was doing here at such an ungodly hour. He offered that he was putting in some overtime; I laughed out loud.

“Overtime?” we weren't liquid enough to cover the undertime! I asked him what IT we had down there but he closed the door and offered me a cup of coffee.

I heard another shuffling from behind the door, “ Mike, do we have rats?”


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Friday 7 September 2012

Episode 13:...and the cupboards were bare.

from under dark clouds

From Under Dark Clouds

From Under Dark Clouds

After a scandalous legal battle with the Vatican and a very public breakdown, a British media celebrity seeks asylum in a sleepy Greek village. But can he keep his head low? Can he fuck! 

Driven by his own narcissism and under the mentorage of the shady Socrates our anonymous hero goes from paranoia to public office.

I need a dollar
The constituency was broke, the coffers empty. I looked through the various accounts and ledgers then got somebody who knew what they were looking at but even though some had enough for a bloody good night on the sauce, it wasn’t nearly enough to run a small town and a bunch or provincial villages. My staff, including the well-assembled secretary had been labouring on hope for well over six months now and my wife was not going to be best pleased with my own chances of bringing in a good salary. The cupboards were bare, dear Blogees and a bone was most definitely out of the question. 

According to some crackpot quack I once saw if I continued to drink everything under the sink I would eventually have no memory at all. Now, memory had never been one of my strong points but realising that from time to time I would need to remember at least some key facts, kids’ names, wife’s birthday, change my underwear, I had devised a little method of retaining information. I sang. By singing the things I wanted to remember I'd be able to recall them later on with incredible accuracy and it must have been my joy at winning the election but I was singing for Europe the night I had first taken my place in this now spartan office. More importantly, I had sung my way through all the usernames and passcodes. Humming a tune, the well-assembled secretary took my arm as she realised the relevance of the series of secure international banking sites. Site after site I effortlessly gained access to the previous mayor's transactions and my secretary leaned over me to press the PrtSc key to file all the dirt we may need to sling at those who might have objections to our actions.  

By the end we had enough to cover some of the municipal wage arrears and a new coffee percolator but we weren’t nearly out of the woods yet. 

I had a flash! We would go public, appeal to the goodwill of the people. No. Fuck. They would eat us alive, there would be a run on the bank. No, we had to keep this schtum, no-one must know. I swore everyone to complete and utter silence.

the cat is out of the bag
Somehow the cat had got out of the bag
The next day I arrived at the town hall to find the usual nook for the Vespa occupied by a huge van with a dish on the roof and it wasn’t alone there were at least another three, some with unfamiliar, foreign lettering on the side, and the entrance to the town hall was infested with paparazzi. We had a mole. 

“Mr. Mayor, what do you have to say about the bankruptcy of the prefecture,” a microphone was shoved in my face. 

I chose the fifth amendment and told them to fuck off and that by the way we had plenty of money to run the prefecture.

One of the paparazzi shouted a figure, the others scribbled and I went cross-eyed in thought; it was exactly the amount we had in the bank. We had a numerate mole. 

Within the halls of government a cup of instant coffee sat on a pile of IKEA remnants passing itself of as a desk, my desk. 

The rest of the day continued as badly, until it got worse.

There parked in the middle of the main street was a big black Mercedes van. Its back doors were open and three or four men hewn from dubious stone with minimalist haircuts giving out food parcels. They had created quite a stir and an impatient crowd had gathered but did not dare to push or shove. I walked through the crowd up to the most generous chaps. I asked what they were doing and one turned his attention to me.

“S’fer tha pipple,” he belched then paused but it was his collegue that made the distinction.

“Where are you from, eh?” my accent maybe more obvious than I remembered.

I replied that I was from the Town hall.

“You ain’t one of tha pipple!” he pointed out and turned his head looking for recognition from  ‘tha pipple’.

“I’m not getting you, young man,” I raised my self out of a slouch which belied my slightly above average height. 

“You some kinda ponce foreigner then?” his enunciation started to become a spray. “You not like the good pipple of this country,” he flashed a pitbull smile at them and they murmured in response.  

“No, young man, I may not be but they did choose me to represent them around here,” I realised I was sounding more foreign by the moment and I could not expect any support from those around me, who ever defended a politician? “Just finish oiling the good people and get the fuck out of here, you’re blocking the road, if nothing else.”

With that he began raining blows about my head yelling incomprehensible gibberish. 

I was later lucky enough to be able to nurse my wounds in the relative safety of my office, the well-assembled secretary dabbing my head with something that stung like hell.

Beating an elected official in broad daylight, what had we come to?   


close to credits...

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From Under Dark Clouds

The Century of DIY