by Deek Brodie
Jake had never used anything that did the job nearly as well as the Japanese knife. A birthday present from a friend a couple years ago, it had soon become the only knife Jake used. It seemed to glide through the vegetables rather than chop them.
Using the knife made food preparation enjoyable, which was good, because since Jake lived alone now it would be easy to fall out of the habit of cooking and just heat up processed food.
Jake lived in a block of high flats in the Wyndford housing scheme. A lot of people were afraid to live there, but Jake liked it for its sense of community. Recently, though, it had been hard because of the lockdown in response to COVID-19. It wasn’t a lack of people to talk with — Jake had plenty of friends to text or video chat with — it was a lack of other people’s physical presence. You couldn’t even have a wee banter with a neighbour in the lift, now that the rule was only one person in the lift at a time. Same at Tesco, since everyone had to stand six feet apart.
So Jake was pleased to hear someone at the front door, first knocking, then rattling the letterbox, and then there was the scraping sound of something being shoved through the letterbox. Then the same sound again. And again.
Jake had been chopping an onion to put in an omelette, but now stopped and, knife in hand, went out to the hallway.
A man had stuck his hand through the letterbox as far as it would reach, almost to his elbow, and was now groping around, fingers wiggling, but not finding anything.
Jake remembered reading an article on Glasgow Live saying thieves had been pushing open letterboxes and grabbing car keys or any other valuables within reach. This guy must have been desperate to be trying it when everyone was supposed to be at home. Desperate, or just daft. But, either one, the guy was out of luck, because the wee table near the door wasn’t near enough for him to reach, and there was nothing on it but an empty shopping bag.
The hand kept twisting and turning. Jake waited till the inside of the wrist was facing upwards, then drew the knife across the wrist.
It would have been easier to grab the hand for leverage while cutting, but better to let the man think he’d cut himself on some sharp surface he couldn’t see. And the Japanese knife was so sharp, no leverage was needed.
At first, the man didn’t feel anything. It was only after his wound had gone from trickle to spray that he felt the wetness and pulled his hand back. Jake heard him crying, swearing, stumbling.
A look through the peephole showed the man pressing the lift button while his other hand was clamped around his wrist. He fell, but when the lift door slid open he was able to crawl inside, leaving a wet trail. Jake watched as the door slid shut.
Jake went back to the kitchen. She was washing the knife when her phone beeped. There was a text from her nephew. “Hiya, Auntie Jacqueline, I’m at Tesco. Do you need anything?”
She texted back, “No, thanks, I’ve got everything I need. Be careful out there!”
Jake melted butter in the pan, then tossed in the eggs and onion, put a lid on it, turned the heat down low. While the omelette cooked, she used a cloth to clean the blood off the laminate floor of the hallway.
Later, as she ate, she hoped the man hadn’t died. She’d enjoyed his company.
by daishin stephenson
a hut at the edge of a forest. it had no door and was dark on the inside.
i stepped into the hut to get out of the elements.
inside, i sat down on the floor, the entrance on my right.
something in the corner to my left had a halo glow. a staff with a three-pronged headpiece moved in the illuminated shadow.
it asked what dirt i brought inside.
"arrogance and impatience," i answered.
the clangor of bells and gongs filled the space.
something hot yet cold touched my forehead.
it said if i kept walking the dirt would wash away, that anger was water.
Also posted on angry, tattooed monk.
by Greum Maol Stevenson
Looking west from Maryhill, Glasgow, these days is like seeing the view for the first time. Or like seeing a high-resolution image instead of a faded photograph. You can see farther, and in more detail, and there are colours that were previously invisible.
It only took a couple weeks of reduced pollution because of the lockdown for us to be able to see — and breathe — so clearly. Of course, the polluters are receiving billions in financial bailouts. When the pandemic ends — which will not be soon, according to a professor of the evolution and epidemiology of infectious disease at Harvard — a more common sickness will likely return. Our view of the distance, near and far, will fade, and we will once again be breathing in the chemicals that blur our vision.
If we saw as clearly with our hearts and minds as we now get to see with our eyes, we would ban all private cars from our cities.
Also posted on Notes From the Northern Colony
by Lisa MoonCat Stormler
The 4th Industrial Revolution
will not be televised.
It will be archived.
Brought to life in a montage of snapshots
and 3 second videos.
We are suddenly aware of our numbers.
Aware of our unsustainable needs.
Nature dies off before it expands.
Growth is as inevitable as death.
Exponential increase eventually trips
and falls off a cliff.
Hard work gratifies with quality,
when quantity is no longer the goal.
by Greum Maol Stevenson
As discussed here previously, Scottish mainstream media made no mention of Craig Murray’s being removed by police from the High Court in Edinburgh during Alex Salmond’s trial. Since then, Murray has published a J'accuse that, in forensic detail, makes a compelling case that there is a conspiracy against Salmond.
And apparently not just Salmond.
Paul Hutcheon, political editor at the Daily Record, has investigated Murray’s home and his personal finances and published a misleading article, without addressing any of his concerns. The paper also published a photo of Murray’s home.
In his article in response, Murray writes:
The key point is not one mainstream media journalist has even attempted to refute the facts of my article J’accuse. It is packed with facts. Might not the political editor of the Daily Record better spend his time researching the conspiracy against Alex Salmond, rather than threatening an independent journalist for the crime of doing journalism? ...What I am now waiting for is all these people to step in and condemn the publishing of my home and the subsequent risk to the security of my wife and family, with as much vigour as they today defended the privacy of the Edinburgh third house of the Head of MI6.
Also posted on Notes From the Northern Colony
Ho, the Quartermaster’s $hoppe is open. We fooled you and opened a day before April 1st!
Have you noticed the shopping cart sign at the top of the page? Maybe you’ve even clicked on it. If you did, nothing happened. But something will be happening soon — our online bookshop, selling DRM-free ebooks in every e-reader format, will be open on April 1. No fooling.
by Greum Maol Stevenson
It didn’t take the jury long to decide whether Alex Salmond was guilty of rape, attempted rape, and the other sex crimes he was on trial for at Edinburgh High Court. Deliberations began last Friday, and on Monday Salmond was acquitted of all 13 charges.
Since then, there has been talk of a conspiracy against Salmond. But, in all the news reports and opinion pieces, one thing has been glaringly absent: any mention of Craig Murray, and his being removed from the courtroom the day before the trial ended.
Murray is a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, turned whistleblower and columnist. He is also a friend of Alex Salmond’s. While Murray is a fine journalist, he tends to embarrass himself when writing in defence of his friends. He covered Julian Assange’s recent extradition hearing, and his portrait of Assange was such cringe-inducing hagiography that anyone who had read Andrew O'Hagan's reporting on Assange’s incompetence, grandiosity and dishonesty would be inclined to question anything else Murray wrote.
It got worse when Murray wrote about Salmond’s trial. In his fervour to praise Salmond’s record as First Minister, and trash Nicola Sturgeon’s, he praised Huawei, and, without offering evidence, cast doubt on Russia’s poisoning a former spy and his daughter in the UK.
But he wrote respectfully about the judge, Lady Dorrian, and had to admit his friend was getting a fair trial.
And then, the day before the trial ended, police removed Murray from the courtroom and told him he was banned for the duration of the trial. The prosecution had asked the judge to remove him because of a “possible contempt of court.” No further explanation was given.
To be excluded from a public trial on the basis of something I have “possibly” done, when nobody will even specify what it is I have “possibly” done, seems to me a very strange proceeding. I can only assume that it is something I have written on this blog as there has been no incident or disturbance of any kind inside the courtroom. But if the judge is genuinely concerned that something I have written is so wrong as to necessitate my exclusion, you would expect there would be a real desire for the court to ask me to amend or remove that wrong thing. But as nobody will even tell me what that wrong thing might “possibly” be, it seems only reasonable to conclude that they are not genuinely concerned, in a legal sense, about something I have written.
It was clear from the start that someone wanted to keep Murray out of the courtroom. First, it was announced that only “accredited media” (i.e. corporate and state media) would be allowed in — no independent or “citizen” journalists. Even though Murray’s blog has a bigger readership than some newspapers, and he has been praised by such journalists as John Pilger and Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, this criteria excluded him. When the prosecution had finished making its case and it was time for the defence to begin, the public gallery was opened, and Murray sat there.
Until the police came for him.
Sources say Murray was so depressed by his banning — and the threat of a charge of contempt of court, which can get you two years in prison — that, during the weekend Salmond spent waiting to find out his fate, he was so worried about Murray that he called him to see if he was all right.
When the verdicts came in, Murray was so happy he got too drunk to write about it in any depth. So… not an impartial reporter, and not pretending to be. But, whether you think he’s a truth-teller, a friend blinded by loyalty, or a conspiracy theorist, why has there been nothing about his banning in any mainstream media? Both The Herald and The National have given copious space to theories that there was an SNP conspiracy against Salmond, but Murray’s existence hasn’t been acknowledged.
It’s enough to make you wonder if there’s a conspiracy.
Also posted on Notes From the Northern Colony.
by Johnny Shaw
“That motherfucker right there.”
“He cover his mouth?”
“What do you think?”
“Does he look Chinese to you?”
“Are there blond Chinese?”
“He coughed though.”
“What should we do about it?”
“We should be heroes.”
“Did you get any on you?”
“I don’t think so.”
“That was messier than I thought it would be.”
“A stuck pig.”
“Was that the right thing to do?”
“You sure you didn’t get nothing on you. It was messy.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Don’t matter. Clean up.”
“Remember to wash your hands for twenty seconds.”
“I don’t think I got nothing on me.”
“Twenty seconds. Flirting With Disaster until ‘I choose my destiny’.”
“I know the song.”
“Just wash them. Better safe than sorry.”
“Twenty seconds. Molly Hatchet.”
“I need to clear my throat.”
“The fuck do I care?”
“It’s going to sound like a cough.”
“You don’t think I can tell the difference?”
“I don’t know if you can. Better safe than sorry, right?”
“Right. Why do you need to clear your throat?”
“I just do.”
“You getting sick?”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t feel sick.”
“I don’t like it. Sounds fishy to me.”
“Fishy? What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Nothing. Don’t clear your throat until I’m in the next room.”
“Should we do a jigsaw puzzle?”
“I’ve been thinking.”
“Yeah? About what?”
“How we decided to ride this out together.”
“What about it?”
“It was a mistake.”
“But we bought all that beer.”
“That wasn’t a mistake.”
“We got all the TP before anyone else.”
“Essential, man. I need a thorough wipe.”
“We bought nineteen pounds of cheddar for nachos.”
“Then what was the mistake?”
“Not doing this alone.”
“What do you mean?”
“There ain’t enough for both of us.”
“Nineteen pounds is a lot of cheddar.”
“Yeah, but nineteen is better than nine and a half.”
“You know I suck at math.”
“Hey, what’s that over there?”
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