TEN TALL STORIES Theyâ€™re Unbelievable
By Howard Juno and Justin Case
Ten Tall Stories__________________________________________
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE DEMON OF DUSTRY DOWNS
CHIPPLETON Vs CHIPPLETON
DESMOND DUKE P.I.
THE SHORT-LIVED FAME OF BUSHWALK WALL
THE YEAR DOT
THE TIMMINGS CHILD
Copyright ÂŠ 2011 Nicholas Santashell. All rights reserved worldwide under the Berne Convention.
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HUME MOUNTAIN-ISLE PUBLISHING SYDNEY AUSTRALIA
THE DEMON OF DUSTRY DOWNS
There were some very very strange happenings happening at the Old Campbell Inn. No-one was moving. No-one was dancing anymore. Sixty dozen sets of eyes, ranging from blue to orangeypurple were beaming down on the clumsy cockroach-style human being who had just been thrown through the front door. The Great Texan, Longworth Calhoun had found him swallowing his horse's lunch and just about to gobble from his water trough. By God, there was going to be some hell to pay. The bloodsucking crowd of merciless and sickening hypocrites were poised for another destructionizing onslaught by the towering Texan, whose vocal cords were revving up to eighty decibels and rising as he charged in backwards through the clattery swing doors in his famous, "What are you going to do about it?" style. Seated down and smoking the most fabulous and mellow Havana cigar, and contemplating the roast he had set on automatic pilot just an hour earlier was Gabriel Pompour, a slick and thoroughly nasty lawyer from uptown New York City. He raised a sigh and a kind of disgruntled huff and lent upwards in a lazy lunge to further his rather awkward view of the whole shemozzle. Down on the ground and exhibiting several levels and stratas of fear of the inexplicable kind was our victim, well known in these parts as a guy of no perceptible origin, and no apparent worth. His mind was chasing scraps of hope and prayer and his body was cursing his mind for enabling this kind of shit to happen. The man-mountain from Texas was now hovering above, and his beard seemed like a thorny hedge from the victim's paling childhood. He looked up and sort of smiled at Longworth and he saw an old toothpick balancing in the crazy bastard's beard. If something was going to happen, good or bad, it would have to happen now. Longworth was salivating and dripping down onto the poor wretch's forehead, wondering which part of his body to excommunicate. He stood momentarily and peered out into the crowd of dirty and smelly cow-folk. The bar-room was filling with the tension of a sick and cruel anticipation; one which they hadn't seen here in at least a dozen or more hours. Four foot seven and a half and theoretically growing each year was the boy/man they called "Gab the Gab". He was Gabriel Pompour, French and German, bold and uncompromising. His basic courage was spawned from knowledge; knowledge that his father was the President of the United States. Up he rose from his custom-made bar stool, making a mental note to dust the under half when this minor annoyance was over with and gone. His smallish frame grew on a sliding scale as he stood to front the man, the Demon of Dustry Downs, the Horror of Hawtry Hollow, the Great Texan, Longworth Calhoun the Third. 4
END OF SAMPLE PAGES OF THE DEMON OF DUSTRY DOWNS
My day had been planned. I was going to do all the things I had not been able to up until now. I was looking forward to this day since April 16th, when I had come for my first interview and landed the job in a matter of minutes. I was given a rucksack and an airline ticket and told to meet a Mr Harrington at the local airstrip. He flew me to Chicago and suddenly realized we were expected at Philadelphia. So back we went, zooming through the clouds and weaving in and out of the prohibited airfields. I was beginning to almost like Mr Harrington even though he wobbled like an overloaded turtle with those two parachutes welded onto his underwear. He was kind of a pioneer, he felt. No one had ever flown me to Philadelphia before and this gave him a feeling of accomplishment. When we eventually got there, he would have to go to the Antarctican Embassy and apply for a kind of visa that would allow us to set up our drilling equipment almost anywhere on the icy continent that our little hearts felt like. I was raring to go. Our boss said that if we worked over and above the sixteen hour day we could keep a percentage of the spoils. We even had little envelopes that were not to be opened till we got to the first drilling site. The boss really knew how to make it interesting. The two-seater plane was rocking in the wailing winds and I couldn't hold my coffee cup straight. Mr Harrington was having a great time making bomber noises and World War One fighting manoeuvres. He was a very very very silly old man, I came to conclude. Soon we were there. Philadelphia was magnificent. It was a bit like London except for all the things that were so obviously different. Anyway, I had a marvellous time busking in the promenade and earning some good spending money for later on. There I was, singing and playing a host of classic Beatle songs while poor Mr Harrington stood in a queue at the embassy. On I went, Hey Jude, Penny Lane, Long and Winding Road. I was treated like a little Prince of Pop and photographers had started to gather round. I looked down at some of their luggage and I saw things like, TIME MAGAZINE, ROLLING STONE and BILLBOARD. My little bowler hat was filling with money faster than I could empty it, so I hired a little girl to do the emptying. She was such a character, yelling and screaming about an impoverished childhood and a mean old childbashing step father. You would have thought there was something in it for her the way she was carrying on.
END OF SAMPLE PAGES OF MR HARRINGTON
Barry Mundy was sick of fish jokes, verbal and otherwise. His locker reeked with the stench of scaly surprises that were dumped there with a regimental-like regularity. The foreman was the most regular of the 'gift-bearers', but one Nelson Spearfellow, the shop-stupid was a dangerously close second. Barry was the head honcho and scrabble-champ 'deluxe', so he wasn't about to up and leave the place, although he was constantly being asked to, according to the messages that lined the washroom walls. What kind of mentality did these people have that they were constantly amused by the very same jokes? It almost ceased to matter, really, because Barry Mundy was onto a brainstorm that would clear the factory floor faster than a raging rhino with his foot on fire. He was going to get these idiots to resign and replace them, one by one, with nice polite Japanese workers who would kill for the company. It was Monday morning, a perfect time to start his plan. He had arrived at work at five a.m. and was all set to make sure that come five p.m. a resignation with the name Nelson Spearfellow would be sitting, all typed and signed, teardrop in left hand corner, on his desk. Barry had come across this idea late last Tuesday evening when he was visiting his favourite little coffee shop, Coffee and Comics, where it was often his practice to grab the nearest comic with the most delightful cover and look inside for hidden truths that somehow pertained to his current dilemma. Last Tuesday was the first time that he had been able to pinpoint precisely what it was that the comic was trying to tell him and armed with this esoteric knowledge he would quickly set about ridding himself of a problem that was undeniably shortening his life. The shop floor was clean as a whistle. Every greasy file and hammer was stacked neatly away ready for the first of the grubby mongrels to grab and mistreat and generally show no respect for whatsoever. Barry was walking around thinking and planning, his wrinkled brow moving up and down like a concertina. It was a great day for him. If he could pull this off he was headed for many a grand coup and that Coffee and Comic shop would be seeing him a little more often still. He roamed the factory floor and washrooms, danced through the corridors and skipped around the side passage like a silly school boy. A trap had now been set and Barry went off to his tearoom, where he sat in wait for the first signs of daylight and the sound of an engaging Bundy clock that would be music to his little ears. Wasn't it sad that it had come to this? Barry would very much have preferred to just say, "Look fellers, enough is enough, how about a permanent truce?" Nothing would have pleased him more but it was just impossible to get through to their better halves, they just didn't have any. So it was going down; a master plan of master plans. If it 7
didn't work it was the end of the fishing line for poor Barry and poor Barry would be throwing the comic idea out of the nearest porthole. Still, it was worth trying and today was 'D' Day for Nelson Spearfellow or Barry Bream Mundy, God help him if they ever got wind of his middle name.
END OF SAMPLE PAGES OF BARRY MUNDY
CHIPPLETON VERSUS CHIPPLETON
The cruel cruel winds from the eastern-most peninsula and down along the Tuggerah Jaw Range were tearing through the remains of the last two kilometres of recorded bitumen that still endured. The savage sea storm had reached out and over the mainland and commenced to rip into the shoreline with an unrepentant ferocity. The only home that had ever stood here, had stood about ten minutes ago and was now awash with environmental debris and crawling along the beach in waves of staggered motion. It had been built in long and lonely stages; a weekend here and there and through a never-ending trail of Bank and public holidays. "The Horace Chippleton home for the Epileptic Blind", was now a vision that was blurred to say the least and Horace was far from happy. He was four thousand miles away basking in the Himalayan snowtops. His main source of grief was coming at him from all sides and angles and wild boar were not the friendliest of foe. Horace's leg felt a kind of grinding, bone-splitting sensation and he was sent soaring over a makeshift net that someone or something had set up just to irk him. Shuttlecock was the name of the game and wild boar were the playful participants. Over he went, two points here, one point there, and a rather interesting game plan was coming into focus. The Hoof and Hair Brothers were clear leaders at this very early stage but the Supertusks were only playing with their opponents' minds; toying with their hairy backs and legs. Horace was ready for the "pin cushion of the year" award. His pain was just now surfacing into his mental arena. Up until only a minute or so ago he was too enthralled in the game and his concentration was all taken up with the complex points system the Wild Boar were using. How could two points and another two add up to only three unless there was a ridiculous penalty point deduction for something or other. This was shaping up to be a hell of a holiday for poor Horace. It was meant to be a very quiet, "get away from it all" experience, not a demeaning and horrifying experiment on the vastness of human resistance and stamina. Perhaps it was just a wrong choice in locale. Perhaps Horace was not of the correct persona to launch himself into the foggy depths of the Himalayan Alps and hope for the best. It may well be time, he thought, to break away from these mindless fourleggers and find a pastime with a touch more grace.
END OF SAMPLE PAGES OF CHIPPLETON VS CHIPPLETON 9
Waha Kiki Beach: South Bahama Bay. "Euni, Euni, come up here Euni, I'm in heaven. It's like a sea of everything man, I can't believe it!" Euni was eager but he didn't want to leave his own 'peep-hole pleasures' down in the "sando'scope" he had no way of squeezing out of anyway. What he had crafted for himself was a seeming sand castle thingo but hugely big-enough to take his eighteen stone carcass and the fiddly bits of extremity that extended embarrassingly from somewhere way within. "Deex, forget it bro, I'm like, inside of this here sand-o'scope man, it's like double-wow inside o'here. Meetcha later, and bring all them memories with ya, over and out Deex, byesy!"
The line went dead. DeKhromio 'Deex' Davenport most profoundly had the shits. His six foot nine cacophony of a lard-laced expanse that hid within the glove-tight trap of twigs that was his 'peephole palace', well it was wobbling slightly and the walkie talkie he was not going to use no more was shoved away to die a snub-led death.
The telescopically observed splendour that was coming into view had red and blue little buttonheld apparel-like things that paraded as 'clothing' and threw the Oxford Dictionary's so-called definition into a fragile state of wispy unknowingness, such was its 'unsubstantiality.' Deex was fossil-still. His lens was silent in its stealthful leering poise and the 'target area' was leaning down and settling to a face down, head turned, 'no-fair' kind of positioning that had Deex's eyes pronouncing a state of ocular emergency; this was no good, no damn good at all!! "Come in Euni, you have to experience the totality of this subtle turnaround of events and tell me everything's still okay. Come in, come in you German no-goodnik!"
The line was dead for two good reasons; the first cancelling out the other and deeming it plainly unnecessary, well just a bit irrelevant anyway. Euni's little Taiwanese toy-shop walkie talkie was ground and possibly 'glued' into an undeniable 'off position, and Euni was thinking things in his own undeveloped kind of way.
END OF SAMPLE PAGES OF INSECT MEN
DESMOND DUKE: P.I.
It was the nineteenth of March and the calendar was showing about ten days and ten years earlier. The dust was a thick grey and heavily spread canopy of undisturbed debris from the air. A tall and winsome looking chappy was running his fingers along the cabinet and showing the old familiar body-struts that made him P.I. of the Year; the smartest, most innovative crookcatching private eye in the world. His newly earned medallion was pinned proudly to his chest and poking out at all the 'fools' that cried with envy and disgust. Desmond Duke looked calm and steady and his brain was stuck in several modes from deepest concentration to a 'sort and sift' number that was crying for a break. The guy that lay upon the mat, all battered up and dead, was covered in a blanket-film of dirt and grit that had rattled loose from up above, the ceiling under floor sixteen, where all the dancing 'used to be'. There weren't that many clues that spoke of 'foul play' as such, but just the blatant facts of someone falling through the ceiling, landing in a crinkled mess below. Desmond wondered what this guy was even doing here, roaming through this unused, derelict of a site, and finding his way to this frightful floor where rats and spiders had the squatters' 'rights' all signed and sealed. The phone call he'd received had been somewhat strange and now it was all coming together, stroke by lucky stroke. The time was two a.m. Desmond Duke shoved off some cobweb crap that landed on his chin. His torchlight landed here and there and 'things' and 'bits of clues' were slowly coming to the fore. A mobile phone lay busted, just a length and breadth away. Its pouch was over somewhere east and covered in a ceiling plaster pulp. What had happened here was plainly more than just a 'fall' and 'Dessie' wasn't 'bout to leave the 'scene' till every bit and scrap of relevant 'tale telling' fodder was all packaged up in that little scrambled head of his. He scanned the dusty floorboards for another slow and careful hour, reaching far and wide and probing till his 'probes' could probe no more. His Canon 216 had clicked its hundredth clack and Mr Duke was stretching out his legs and pounding down those fifteen floors of fire escape to reach the cold and empty streets below. He landed, brushed his bum and took a long hard look at himself. The sun was creeping up behind him and he saw its spark of light deliver up a scene that was pure delight. Rows of little lamps had just popped off and Desmond saw a sudden moving shape that took him by surprise. Down below, at the foot of a wrecked and ravaged Cruiserhawk, a car they had stopped manufacturing from the lack of available sub-standard 12
steel, there sat a couple of legs, pushing up against themselves and 'hiding' in the breeze. Des was searching his mind for reasons not to let loose with a couple of stinging kicks. He'd had a lacklustre night and then this phone call, and he was looking for a bit of biff. "Come on out from there, Squire. And don't make me have to repeat myself!" The legs drew out. They flipped and flapped around and formed into a guy, a really very large and smelly guy without a hint of a smile or a shine of a tooth. His crinkly balaclava with the two big eye-sockets was a bluish-black number from the shelves of Harrod's Autumn Sale, and his coat was more than unidentifiable, if it was in fact a coat.
END OF SAMPLE PAGES OF DESMOND DUKE P.I.
THE SHORT-LIVED FAME OF BUSHWALK WALL
A great urgency had begun to manifest. Several of the country's leading surgeons had come to this small forgotten town just to see if there was in fact any truth at all, no matter how insignificant, to those well worn rumours that had found their way to the ears of the big big city. All heads were turned and all faces long and almost crazy with anger. The small stooped specimen was hunched in a chair and peering from side to side, getting a good old gander at the harem of ten or fifteen white-clad nurses. Doctor Fulham pushed his way through the crowd of local onlookers, managing a smile and a grunt for whoever was paying him the attention. He bent down slowly, his knees cracking and his artificial hip pivoting in a concave circle as he crouched before the startled envoy. It didn't seem real. It never actually occurred to anyone that the story was even remotely factual. They had come for the ride, just to big-note themselves to the press that they were not above this kind of open minded investigation. The subject was starting to feel the gist of it all. He was being observed from every angle and now his unease was becoming apparent. One of his heads was tiring and he let it rest on his shoulder and its left eye blinked and flickered in the spotlight. At this stage a kind of crowd hum had developed and the doctors' vocal moan could be heard half way 'cross the countryside. Victor the two-headed plumber was dropping off to sleep and one of the nurses stepped in to administer the last of the nightly serums, "ONE-HEAD". It was such a farce. There was no known remedy and even the British Medical Journal had published a paper on the "ABSOLUTE INEFFECTIVENESS OF 'ONE-HEAD'", having been successful only once in a score of failure-ridden experiments that were nothing short of heartbreaking. Victor San-Francisco happily scoffed down the medicos' new-found wonder drug, and waited for the usual ten minutes "digesting period" before the other half-teaspoon could be had. Down it went, into the second mouth, slithering jelly-like through the gurgly passages of his upper half. He closed his eyes and stuck out his big green tongue, a signal for one of the nurses to come hither and wipe it clean.
END OF SAMPLE PAGES OF THE SHORT-LIVED FAME OF BUSHWALK WALL
Pete and Glen Cawley were seated and standing. Pete was the taller; so tall in fact that he was like a struggling skyscraper, monstrously edging upwards, his neck spindling out like a shortish pretzel that was trying to fit amongst the biggies. Glen was a brother of his. There were so many of these Cawley brothers and sisters that they had literally lost hope of ever remembering who was who and which was which. The family was headed by Big Graham Cawley, hopelessly large and bothersome, a nuisance to the elements and the seas. Big Graham had fathered the incredible outburst of dregs and losers and then shipped himself off to sunnier places and tried to forget and forgive. So it was that Frankerella Pop-Cawley was left husbandless and hopeful, destined perhaps to meet and marry one of Graham's two dopey brothers, Will and Wal. Pete and Glen were Graham's favourite sons by far. They were slapped around the ears and told to "take a hike" a whole lot later than the rest of the tribe and Frankerella had pinned all her three and a half hopes on these two strong and rugged boys. Glen Cawley was always on the look-out, absolutely always, for a new husband for his mom and Pete was looking also. They would sit and talk with Mumsy for hours and hours, trying to get a total picture of the man she was looking for. Sometimes it was a Golden Greek with a limousine and dark green suit and sometimes it was a good hearted garbo with an old beat-up truck. Still, Pete and Glen were seemingly getting closer. It wouldn't be too long now till some kind of pseudo-father could be found, and then he would have to be persuaded to move in, and 'test the waters', as they say. Frankerella was not as gruesome as the name might suggest. She was quite a reasonably attractive woman but her mind was screaming out for a sanity that just didn't seem to be her rightful 'heritage'. All she'd do all day was cook and clean and fry and freeze these stringy sausages that the boys were so in love with, and when she'd finished for the day it was time to 'get right back in there' and rustle up some more. Now, one might think that these domestic types of tasks would be gleefully embarked upon by the 'Cawley women', those six to eight big fat things that sat throughout the living room in pudgy little groups and belched the days away. Their mom was just relieved that they were home and not way out there somewhere hooked on drugs and men. END OF SAMPLE PAGES OF POP GIRLS
THE YEAR DOT
Nothing was funny, nor was it not funny, nor mildly interesting, nor was it uninteresting. Nothing was particularly good, and neither was it bad........to Herman Newman. Herman was far too "above it all", to feel it all. His expressionless face was as constant as the consistency of water, and this was something Herman knew quite a lot about. Science had everything that Herman was somehow attracted to, but if science would disappear tomorrow, Herman would go and find something else to "study". Herman was born in the period of time known as "YEAR DOT", and whenever he told anyone exactly that, they would laugh or get angry or do some other non-Herman thing that he just couldn't cope with. So he would walk away, go dwell on a notion, a solid, scientific, indisputable notion that had stability…... undeniability. When he had had his fill of these beautiful notions he would allow himself to slide back into the real world for just as long as need be, to perhaps buy some bread and milk or pay the phone bill or something just as silly. Herman couldn't understand one thing, and only one. Why was everyone denying some very basic and quite well known facts about "Year Dot?" It was definitely written about and also spoken about to a very large extent, but people were treating it like some sort of joke……..WHY? It was not hurtful or anything like that, for Herman was beyond those sorts of feelings, but it was a mystery to him none the less. He had decided that if people were going to play this kind of joke on him, he may as well play along and eventually he would get to hear the punch-line. The extent to which they had collaborated to enforce this joke was unbelievable. It was even decided, apparently, that all mention of the "Year Dot" would be left out of dictionaries and encyclopedias and any kind of official publication. There must have existed a very wellstructured network of people, who were prepared to carry on with this hoax for an indefinite period, to the exclusion of all other activities. Perhaps they were taking turns following Herman, and making sure he didn't somehow learn that it was in fact very common knowledge that the "Year Dot" was that strange year between B.C. and A.D. that really should have been called 'zero', or 'The year of Christ'.
END OF SAMPLE PAGES OF THE YEAR DOT 16
THE TIMMINGS CHILD
Something told 'Her Highness' that she had made a mistake, a very grave and bad mistake. She had been 'out with', and 'in bed with'â€Ś a moron. Oh well, it wasn't the end the world, she supposed. Had she been a real and true 'Your highness', this would have been majorly catastrophic, but she was only a wretched fruitcake living in a one-room kitchen with a bed. Not to worry, she would give this bum the slip and go find someone of a nicer 'order'. That was all an O.K. kind of theory, but things didn't ever really 'work out' for this woman, even so far as a simple brushing of the teeth or a trip down to anywhere to do or get the simplest things. Dotry Timmings was not 'lucky' enough to put the television on and not cop some kind of terrible backlash from it all. She knew and 'felt' she had done wrong by 'intimizing' with Mr Malone, Mr Seth Malone, but it was so 'too late' it wasn't funny. She would have to live with God's inevitable Karma-bomb and that was that. Well months went by, lots and lots of themâ€Śand nothing. Well, not nothing. There were heaps of burns and rashes and scalds and stings and falls and bruises and migraines, but nothing specific she could attribute to her Mad-May dalliance with busted old Seth. So she was at least relieved a bit. It hadn't dawned on her that her stomach was kind of big, kind of baby-shaped and bulging with a ridiculousness that she was frightfully unready for. And it was all poised to come to a head, a big fairly unlikeable head with a scrunched up nose. Another couple of weeks-and-a-half slipped by and Dotry came to know that she was getting really wobbly-looking and would have to stay indoors and on a hunger strike till it all shrunk back to normalcy. But Dotry wasn't well versed in anything, let alone anything that made any sense. And so it was that when that fateful moment came, D.T.Timmings was alone and climbing up a pipe. There was a God damn tile that needed re-adjusting up there on that slippy slidy roof and well, she was going to give it a go, wasn't she. It wasn't going to be known if Dotry would have made it up there, had all this 'baby arrival' stuff not intervened. Anyway, she could get back up there soon enough, and without the burden of a strangely exploding stomach to come to grips with. END OF SAMPLE PAGES TEN TALL STORIES by Howard Juno & Justin Case is available from our website tentallstories.com 17
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