Short Story

A Polite Request. 

by Alex rieneck 9C) Alex Rieneck 2018 All Rights reserved

by a“Stop that!” I hate it when you people do that!”
My immediate reaction was that I had developed Schizophrenia and that the voice that seemed to come from the top left hand corner of my bathroom had in fact come from some hitherto neglected but now raucously nutty corner of my brain.
The voice said “Stop that too, you aren’t getting out of this that easily, you aren’t schizophrenic.” Which instantly led me to think that my disease must be more advanced than I’d feared. It was one thing to hear disembodied voices, quite another to have conversations with them.
“Well, if you aren’t a symptom of brain rot, what the hell are you then?” I’d been in the toilet too long, I’d already shit and the toilet seat was starting to hurt my bum. I needed to clean up and go back outside to start getting ready to go out for dinner. This was interesting but it was threatening to take too long.
“I’m sorry, I should have introduced myself but you interrupted me and I snapped. My name in the old Hebrew, is Yahweh. You probably know me as God.”
Oh God
“Thats exactly it.”
What is?
“You called me, you were squeezing that huge torpedo out and you called me; Well you didn’t *call* me, you *howled* me – you know your haemorroids are your own responsibility don’t you? General upkeep is the responsibility of the body occupant; not mine.
*And* you’re still smoking- are you an idiot?”
“So there I was going through some paperwork, and you howl at me to come and watch you scrape out a big shit with too much chilli in it.”
I didn’t mean that!
“Shuttup! You people are always doing that, calling me, or my son down to watch you orgasm into your ugly bloody wives … or children, or altar boys or livestock or whoever. Honestly, some of the things I’ve seen at orgasm has made me sorry I bloody invented it! The Holy Ghost has it easy, no-one ever interrupts him when he’s playing video games to watch them banging away at a glory-hole.”
“Now its too late for today, you’ve already interrupted me, but the next time you do a big poopie, could you please, please, leave me out of it?”

I didn’t need to speak.

Journey’s End.(2018) review

Journey’s End

I admitI have never seen or read the original play “Journey’s End” and, given my life history I feel almost embarrassed to admit it. But when I thought about it I realised that as far as modern audiences go – specifically audiences for this film, practically nobody else would have either, 1. remembered that productions of productions of the play are very rare, 2. it had never been on any reading list I’d ever met and 3. though very successful when it opened right after the First World War, it had very quickly vanished in the worldwide PTSD that had the world trying very hard to forget that the war had ever happened. So I decided that seeing the film with the same ignorance that the average viewer would have could well be seen as an asset, rather than a disadvantage, and so I went.

The film is set in Flanders in Northern France in 1918, in the fourth year of world war one. The “Great War” was fought all over world but Flanders was a mincing machine from the very first to the very last. By the time the film starts nobody involved has any illusion left about anything, at all. They hole up in a bunker or dugout some feet below the floor level of their front-line trench and bicker like the contestants of a “Big Brother” house who know that going outside may be very likely to kill them in nasty ways while staying inside is no guarantee of safety either. While a cynic might argue that this would be a better way to run future series’ of Big Brother, it made for good drama in reality, in the original play (Which was a smash hit) and in this film made on the centenary anniversary of the idiocy it depicts.

All-in-all my reactions to the film were mixed. While the original play provided something of a tectonic upheaval to British Drama, the plays of the period were of the “frightfully rightfully” genre of drawing room entertainments. And it didn’t take much to stir up audiences of the time. This resulted in a very well made modern film with excellent photography by Charles Sturridge, where the bones of a rather dated script ghost through the action like, well, a ghost. I kept finding myself thinking that I was glad I wasn’t seeing a stage production, because the whole “box set / blocked action” paradigm coupled with the dated melodrama would’ve probably have had me evacuating the theatre at interval. As it was the tight direction and camerawork, coupled with the occasional gory excursions outside kept me happy(ish) and awake for the entire running length. The other aspect of the production that demands a mention is the historical accuracy and art direction, which is well above reproach and into at least BAFTA territory.  I studied WW1, toured the battlefields of Flanders, and I’ve never seen it done better. Indeed for this reason alone “Journey’s End” should be high on your watch list, because the whole nightmare could happen again at any time for the same disgraceful reasons. (Ask me sometime)

Free ShortStory

Payday Prescription

by Alex Rieneck

Copyright (C) Alex Rieneck 2018 All Rights reserved

<BNote; This story is free to you, the reader to read and hopefully enjoy. You may not repost this story anywhere else, in any form, without the prior written consent of the author No other evil shit is allowed either; If you are in any doubt send me an email and I’ll try to set your mind at rest. Within reason, of course

It was a gift. Looked at another way, it was Christmas. Either way, it was payday. I watched the ambulance grow smaller as it made its way down the driveway. By the time it got to the gates it looked like a highly detailed toy. The kind I had grown up with. When it got to the road and turned towards town it put on a impressive display of needlepoint lights. Its siren was the tiny hysterical scream of a distant old lady. After awhile I noticed I was breathing again.

It was probably her heart again – she’d looked pretty grey on the stretcher; not a panic attack, they don’t take you to hospital for a panic attack, no matter how rich you are. I’d find out soon enough. And it didn’t matter much. But I had to maintain a certain demeanour on the way back to my room. Servants do talk. One way or the other, even robot ones do. Three, the Butler, was fussing with the knick-knacks on the dresser just down the hall when I came out of the library. The yellow shaded wall lights reflected on his smooth cream enamel head. I was struck by how good it looked silhouetted against the Burgundy brocade wallpaper. It turned and regarded me blandly with its round black eyes. I felt a momentary flush of guilt, even though I hadn’t actually done anything.Yet.

“How is my Grandmother?” Three held my gaze for almost long enough for me to feel it was being insolent.

“Your grandmother is on the way to hospital in an ambulance Master Praester.”

“I know that Three, I asked *how* she was, not where. Did the Ambulance people say what the matter was?”

“No, young Master, the Ambulance officers were not forthcoming on the subject, but I have the direct contact numbers for the ambulance and the hospital if you’d like.” With a faint whirr a small card protruded from the slot in the centre of its chest; I pulled the card away fro the slight grip of the rubber rollers and examined it. Standard blank white plastic. A faintly embossed flower pattern that was slightly more gloss than the surrounds. A gold reader chip.

“Thank you Three, I will ring directly.” I could see convex images of the yellow shaded lamp reflected in Three’s black button eyes.

“Master” with a faint complexity of servo motors Three turned away from me, to continue to dust knick-knacks on a table no-one ever looked at. 

My room is tiny and has only one window looking out over the overgrown wasteland that was once farmland, then a bomber airfield in World War Two and which was now under enforceable reclamation by nature. The rotting control tower showed up as a black smudge against the pale moonlit fields of weeds. Two skeletal hangars hulked against the deep purple of the sky, black-and silver in the competing light sources. I liked moonless nights best, when the stars were so bright it seemed you could grab them by the handful.

I dragged myself away from my window and engaged with my machine. First I activated the cloaking applications to their maximum power; now it would appear to outside watchers that I didn’t exist – or if they knew contrary to that, and they certainly wouldn’t see my face pressed into the visor-bowl lit in the strange corpse light of the reader lenses – if they tried that, their best efforts would just bounce off, and I would be notified by a discreet message. My cloaking is based on freely available warez, but I have substantially re-written and strengthened it. I knew I could rely on it. I had to be sure of that. I was entrusting it with my life. 

In a matter of moments it appeared that “I” was a Point-of-sale terminal at a small privately-owned paint-shop in Helsinki, Finland. The foundations laid, I started to build my Byzantine  edifice. I became a public access terminal in a book-library in Bremen, in the process bouncing one of the librarians, a sandy-blonde woman on the brink of menopause out of her search for erotic Graffitti in Pompeii” into an apparent system crash due to an ethics oversight intervention. She was terrified. Still, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. It was a pity about her though, the sight of her face remained burnt into my mind, an afterimage caused by emotion rather than by light. I, too, sat back from my face reader, my eyes popping slightly as they left the slight suction of the socket cups. At some time in the future I’d probably look her up, see what I could find out about her. If she proved promising I might even pay a visit.(**) But first things first; first I became an Admin machine in a largely derelict air-base that formed a remnant of the military posturing of the old Russian republic. The machine was seriously obsolete, packed with payroll and assignment information from January through October, 2049 – information that might have been of interest to some historian type – I don’t know; I wasn’t as soon as I realised that the machine was also the main controller for the flight simulator system. I was lost, well, not literately, but I performed several airstrikes on some place called Syria, at mach 3 and zero height. It was a very good system, on one pass I even heard rubble bouncing off the airframe as I flew through a debris cloud.

It was hard to stop. By the time I dragged myself away and jumped to an old quantum machine in Pasadena and from there to the St Maddenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, they’d already stabilised her and she was prepped for surgery.The Maddenbrooke system was quite new, only a matter of two years, but the security wall was old and its placement was badly conceived. Using a chunk of code from the Russian flight simulator was easy enough; to me it appeared that I’d flown through a tunnel into an irridescent city but to the security ware I appeared as “Huh?Whazzat?”. The system itself, once I was in, was simple enough, a standard Meditech Surgical Physician with full licensing to registrar level. She’d already been diagnosed as having suffered a mild heart attack, with mid to severe blockage in one artery. The DocBot was going to sedate her, slow her heart and insert a stent via the best availableartery in her groin. Perfect. One quick glom over her medical records changed her from”allergic to procaine [yes]”to allergic to procaine [no]”. In short order the DocBot anaesthetised the stent insertion point with procaine – and thendidn’t react quickly enough when her heart went into spasm and stopped, ten seconds later. The human re-sus team happened to be busy with another coronary in the geriatric wing,  and were unable to run the length of the hospital to get to her in time. 

She was vegetative by the time they arrived, and all I had left to do was decide whether I wanted to change bedrooms now that I owned the house, and was very, very much richer, even if nobody knew it yet. I pulled my face out of the reader mask with a slight wet pop and the thousands of pinpoint scanning L.E.Ds went out in a pattern that has never made sense to me. In the silence, far off downstairs, someone was knocking at the front door. 

Report From Interzone

By Agent Alice Dee

What a week it”s been! Or has it? well, if you follow the normal media, it’s been just about the most pants-shittingly important week in history. But stripped of all the hyperbole and the poetic sentimentalising by journalists far overestimating the extent of their talents; what has actually happened? Well, shorn of all the crap, the story went that the rather odd leader of a peculiar little country miles from anywhere developed an edema that rendered his shoes far too small, and smiled all like, evil when his minions built a knewkular bomb. It was a knewkular bomb bigger than the one dropped on Hiroshima in World War Two (cue grainy black-and-white footage of  America’s one undeniable  wartime success). Show maps, cities with superimposed circles of theoretical damage if such a bomb was set of in said city. Finish by calming the peasantry with the announcement that (at present anyway) the bad man had no way of “delivering” such an unwelcome gift.

After a few days announce that the said bad man has his minions were experimenting with rockets (cue shot of rocket whooshing up in some foreign, presumably evil sky). Calm the more hysterical among the viewers by saying that the said rocket has a range capable of reaching only other foreign slant-eyed yellow devils (and not us). Turn heat back up a notch by saying that the bad man undoubtedly regrets this shortcoming and is probably devoting his evil to remedying it by extending the range of his evil rockets; and anyway, he probably can’t put his bombs on his puny rockets anyway (like we have – yay us).

After a short break – announce that the evil man has now been upgraded to nemesis level. He *can* put his bombs on his rockets! and his bombs just got bigger! And biggerer! (Cue more maps and circles for the believers to dutifully pore over). Calm the masses by segueing the news to some theoretically important sporting fixture that keeps the Neanderthals off the street and in the arenas where they belong. After said fixture is over, release more film of rockets, more maps, more circles and an army of experts who know everything about the small far-away country and its lambently evil leader.

Ignore the fact that a good percentage of these experts have apparently never learned to comb their own hair but bombard the dutiful media consumer with so many conflicting opinions that they simultaneously feel “informed” and inclined to spend long periods deep in basement carparks sitting on a box of tins of beans. Then, when all appears beyond saving, announce a super-top-level summit with the American President and the evil head of the secretive nation. Have saturation coverage of every aspect of preparations for the meeting. Try to imbue this momentous event with the same sort of suspense usually reserved for Royal Weddings. Pretend that the President of the U.S.A. does not look like 140 kilos of condemned veal in a shiny suit topped off with a wig fashioned from an orangutang’s pubic hair and somehow profanely imbued with sufficient intelligence to at least sit for the entrance exam for the village idiot’s guild.

Have the paid shills show shock when the condemned veal and the mystery meat shake hands and (peacefully) display their fangs. Announce singing and dancing in the streets instruct the girls of marriageable age that they should don such clothes as are normally reserved for festivals of great rejoicing. Let the bells of the halls of pederasty ring forth with great joy.

That, at least, approximates the public story. But like all big stories, closer examination and clear (ahem) thought can deliver dividends which in turn lead to productive trains of thought of their own, so if you’ll stay with me a little longer consider this; contrary to the opinion of one “expert”, the condemned veal was far from “democratically” elected – in fact that election was subverted in about as many ways as there were individual votes cast (somewhere between five and ten at a guess). Putin definitely saw an advantage in playing geopolitics against 140 kilos of condemned veal as opposed to either of the alternatives; (at least probably believing that his bear sodomising masculinity would be vitiated by arguing with a woman). As for Bernie Sanders, well, there was an awful possibility that he might have lost sometimes.

But of course all of this is just ink in the water, produced by some irritated octopus. Only those who live deep under the largest rocks still truly believe that heads of state in so called democratic societies are anything more than than figureheads of the consortiums that use them as puppets. In Australia the “Liberal” party accuses the Labor party of being a wholly owned puppet of the labour unions while keeping quiet about its own relationship with big business and the predatory banking system. To some extent, it is the same in every country the world over; an uneasy truce exists between those who enjoy telling people what to do, and those who “have” to do as they are told. One camp apparently cannot exist without the other  since an army consisting of no-one but officers is nothing but a gang of shouting fools and an army without officers usually becomes a large party. Both sides always take great pleasure in reminding the other of this.

So-? let’s look a little deeper while staying with the ‘army’ example a little longer. Armies do not exist in a vacuum, they are one aspect of society. In a monarchy, they fight at the whim of the king – though of course the king is subject to the blandishments and blackmails of his closest power-brokers and courtiers – people who most directly affect his mind and opinions. The same of course goes for queens and never let it be said that women in positions of great power aren’t almost as bloody awful as men. Though Catherine the Great and Queen Victoria lacked the overtly genocidal tendencies of Stalin, Mao and Hitler they did their best with expansionism and economic strangulation. Hitler worked hand-in-glove with the big German corporations. The entire Nazi state was Capitalism, in its purest form, run riot. The concentration camps and the SS itself were run as profit-making arms of government, not unlike a successful state owned railway, post office or phone company. The SS would tender for large government contracts, for example the digging of a road tunnel through a mountain from Germany to France. Their tender would win because it was by far the lowest since they would not have to pay (or even feed) their workers. The same went for armaments manufacture. All for the bottom line. If, as Lenin had it, “imperialism is the highest stage of Capitalism, in order to become imperialist a state must first enter a state very like Nazism”. During the recent U.S invasion and occupation of Iraq, the U.S government operated hand-in glove with the “Halliburton” and “Blackwater” corporations which, being private “security” contractors and not soldiers, were not subject to the “rules” of war, the Geneva Convention or any other legal constraint on their activities  exactly like the SS they lived up to this status, with enthusiasm.

Nothing changes. The same largely invisible powers that manoeuvred Donald Trump into power by ignoring the popular vote and using the Electoral Colleges to project their puppet into power have done it before – both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush arrived in the Oval Office the same way – by  subterfuge. Their methods of consolidation of power look to be similar too. It may have slipped the popular memory but George W. Bush was a very unpopular president – until 9-11. Then America was “under attack” – it became so unfashionable as to be almost illegal to criticise the man. Almost overnight the country flowered with an ocean of “I Support our Troops” flags. 9-11 was not only a sea change in geopolitics, it was also a political gift from heaven for the Republican incumbent.

Can I be forgiven for rolling my eyes When another “long shot” Republican incumbent barely surviving in office is rewarded with another “attack” – one that he can apparently solve single-handedly? Especially when this said incumbent shows every sign of being approximately as intelligent as the average beaver?

The simple truth is that America is not a democracy as per the common pretence. It is a Plutocracy, with figureheads being guided into place at the whim of powerful and very secretive cadres, call them the “Skull and Bones Society” the “Builderburg Group” or the “Illuminati”, they’re getting sloppy enough to pull the same trick on the same peasants only ten years apart, and its common knowledge what happens when the peasants lose patience with their masters – look at what happened to Gaddafi, though of course he was thrown to the wolves by the same powers I’m talking about here.

Fiction: “The cruiser”

The Cruiser 

I could tell as soon as the door was open just a crack, by the smell. the doorstopped against the full extent of the security chain and bounced back against the master key. The manager darted a complicated look at me and said

“See! I told you, they’re in there”

I swallowed the keys back into my fist and nodded at him.They usually were. As I’ve said, I could tell. Shidhur went to get the bolt cutters from the cruiser. Shidhur isn’t much to look at, and he’s not really much to talk to either, what with having only been here from Bangladesh about five months; but he understands simple things like “get the bolt cutters from the cruiser please,” and more to the point he could be trusted to perform such simple tasks and be absent from the story while the manager bellowed threats and inducements through the crack in the door. I let him. Shidhur left without a backwards glance; not big on curiosity is Shidhur. I leant back against the far wall of the corridor and let the manager exercise his throat. It didn’t matter. the show in 411 was long over; I was sure of that.

The “Belgenny” might lay some sort of claim to being the oldest block of flats in Sydney. I certainly don’t know, its not my area of expertise, but what I do know is that the place looks really damn old. I’d guess that it was built in about 1920, which would make it 120 years old or about 40 years older than me. I can retire next year, and I feel every year like a lead  weight; even though paramedic is a protected occupation and I don’t look any older than fifty – and a young fifty at that if I do say so myself, but since I turned 65 it’s like gravity got just that bit stronger, and at the end of the day, the soles of my feet seem to hurt just that little bit more. ‘Be 80, look 40, feel Grumpy’ that’s my motto.

The manager kept shouting into the crack of the door; he was trying conversational gambits now. Silly to think that Carlsen would suddenly come to his senses and decide to come out because “tom is worried about you, he misses you. I’ve got him on the phone right here.”I took it that somewhere down the line this “Tom” was probably the source of the original enquiry that had gotten us here on this “Welfare call.”

That started me thinking. my phone was in the cruiser. If I had it I could have rung up Shidur and found out why he was taking so long to come back with the bolt cutters; It was a simple enough job and I was seriously sick of this corridor, the dingy green paint, the faint tang of aged carpet, and the rasping noise of the manager.The place smelled of tired sunlight.

The manager jumped when I touched his shoulder

“I’m going down to get the bolt cutters.” He looked up at me, confused
“No. your -the other guy-”
“He’s been gone a long time, I’ll go and see whats holding him up”
I cut him off; no point in letting him think he had a vote.
“I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”

I patted him on the shoulder, reassuringly, turned on my heel and walked to the bend in the corridor that led to the lift foyer on this floor.

Shidur was standing in the gutter behind the cruiser’s open rear door, staring into the dim interior; he held the bolt-cutters in his limp hand and was obviously deep in thought; so deeply that I almost felt guilty in disturbing him. He jumped awake at the sound of his name, regarding the bolt-cutters with incomprehension, and then me, in the door of the building with almost comical shock.

“Shidhur stop fucking around and bring the damn things upstairs, there’s no way we’re getting into that room without them!”

I watched Shidhur’s wheels spin up to his definition of ‘speed’ and  for understanding to kick in.

“Sharon! What’s up?” As usual he mispronounces the “Sh as an almost guttural “Ch”

He gave a kind of shrug that better expressed a range of emotions from ‘failure to understand’ through to ‘Couldn’t give a much of a fuck anyway’. I put a handle on some of the catty things I was moved to say, and remained safely on the subject.

“I just want the fucking door open, my curiosity is aroused.” This was only partially true, but the tone and the smile I tacked on the end of it was intended to reassure Shidhur that I was not going to put in a negative report on his performance and thereby fuck up his standing with the vampires at the department of immigration. He smiled back at me, nervously, whatever it was that he had been thinking about, I knew, had not been pleasant.

the bolt cutters slammed around the chain the way my first son used to bite at my nipples; the image came unexpectedly as a slight jostling of the door brought the smell to my nostrils again: the chain flipped inside the jaws, presenting its narrowest profile to the cutters, and merely allowing the notched blades to only slightly dimple the cheap chrome surface of the link. I swore, held the cutters in my left hand, fiddled the chain with my right, Shidhur took the bottom arm of the cutters, pushed up, I took the upper, slammed down. The chain parted with a noise like a pistol shot, the door popped open inwards into the room, Shidhur fell forward, mostly on his face. My fall was a slightly more controlled. I took a long ungainly step forward, mostly over my erstwhile partner. and Even as I entered the room I knew somehow to look left and I saw them both on the bed.

It’s only ever the details that are different, and as somebody once said, (and no; I won’t look it up for you;) “The Devil’s in the details.” It’s true; it’s the details that make horrible things horrible. It’s the details that you can never forget and which come back unasked for, into your dreams, years later, to roll you out of bed into the cold, into a different version of the same nightmare. Lord knows I’ve seen enough details to tide me over in this life; the cheap Jute twine too tight around the old lady’s wrists, behind her back; the dead guy, open mouth full of busy silver flies, the anal leakage on his designer jeans wriggling with silver, his eyes black with flies eyes looking back at me. The little black boy, raped to death, his anus un-shrunk by post-mortem lack of interest, lying in the garbage, pissed on; somebody’s shat in the corner on the carpet, maybe before, maybe during the maybe three days the body’s been here since it happened; the flies prefer the shit to the dry black blood spray up the wall.

Place is silent.

They’re both on the bed, their heads almost touching the wall to the corridor. They’re both dead, of course. He’s lying spread-leg on the bare mattress wearing baggy khaki street pants, his head propped on a pillow resting against the headboard which appears to be sealed to the wall. he has the usual rictus of a smile on his face, showing all of his teeth and the trademark pale gums caused by catastrophic liver malfunction. She’s lying with her head in his armpit, where they were cuddling when they died. Her head is at a really unpleasant angle, and I guess that at the end, in his galvanic response to the drug, his arm has contracted really tight and broken her neck. In the disturbance her dress has ridden up very high, and I find myself staring at the crotch of her panties and several stray, red pubic hairs that peek out. The crotch of his pants are saturated with a large wet stain that the flies adore. He came first so the outer ring of the patch is simple wet khaki colour. When the semen turned to blood the stains blended and the colour changed. It seems that his heart stopped beating before the blood could overwhelm the semen.

Such is life, the idea and the sight before me seems to hypnotise me. my heart is loud in my ears. I can understand that people have no desire to go on living. that is easy, but the official kits are softer, painless, wafting the- passer away neatly, politely, continently. If you want a centre assistant will counsel you and keep you company as you take your dose, in the location of your choice.

On the other hand, a simple  dose of OrgX will give you the most powerful orgasm you have ever had. It will seem to last for an eternity, because you will die while it’s underway.It’s Guaranteed 100percent fatal And the newest craze to take an old planet by storm – already far more popular than the clinics or the combat clubs; Soon the planet will be empty; just like the pill bottle beside Carlsen – his last testament. The flies seem very loud.