Sunday, March 29, 2009

Still swirling in a maelstrom of pus

Ah, a post title worthy of Whirlochre. Still on medical leave here. Keep writing over there.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Computer ban!

I have an eye infection, and right after the doctor had looked at it and said 'oh my god' (high on my list of things you never want your doctor to say) and prescribed eye drops, rest and sunglasses, he said the following:

No computer
No reading
No tv

Doesn't he realise that's all I do?

See you in a day or so...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Koala challengees

I haven't had time to cruise the blogs this week, so please report in here with your wordcounts for last week and I will dole out appropriate rewards and punishments.

Thank you for your honesty (at least I hope I can thank you for that...)

Monday, March 23, 2009

The winner is...

My, this judging thing is so exhausting. Four entries, all hilarious, one only vaguely comprehensible, one actually featuring a cow, three verging on smut (surprise), two cleverly mimicking Robin and Whirl's tones of voice (no, not theirs)...all impressive. I had to read them several times to choose my winner...but I can now's Sylvia! Mostly thanks to the hilarious ending. FH was a close second, for clarity and use of cow.

Congratulations; when the zombie cow starts its World Travels, it's coming to you. Having a few cow sourcing issues at the moment, but watch this space and I'll update asap. Sylvia's winning entry is followed by the other three, in no particular order.

Sylvia's story

His fingers tapped on the old oak table as he looked around the pub. Dodgy foreign lager swirled through his stomach; he had stumbled into this dump and downed a few pints to try to neutralise the rat Madras he'd swallowed half-chewed at The Raj next door. He should have gone to the chippy rather than poisoning himself at the Indian. He should have stayed in but lately the walls had been closing in on him and even the zombie-ridden local was better than suffocating in the dingy semi he called home.

A sharp crash from the street ricocheted into the pub, startling the surrounding conversations to a halt. He walked up to the bar to take advantage of the lull and order a quick pint without having to shout but then something made him turn to look at the battered doorway with the photocopied fivers stapled to the top of the frame, just out of reach. That's when he saw her walk in, the woman of his dreams. The spitting image of today's Page 3.


I hesitated for just a second, trying to look into the dark gloom of this dive, everything silhouetted from the bright fluorescent lights of the parking lot. I didn't need to see to know that every eye in that damn place was focused right on me, thinking this little lady looks like she might be lost and I might be just the man to save her. I put on my best steel magnolia face and looked around the joint for a pay phone. Some asshole had rear-ended my car and bitchin‚ about the size of my rental like it was my fault for being stopped there. Then the bastard had the nerve to mistake me for a damn yankee and I just blew. No way was I leaving this hell-hole without getting the cops to put down their donuts and write the idiot up. I had my dead cell in one hand and his car keys in the other: if he tried to disappear while I found a phone so help me god I'd keep his car.

Then like something out of a movie, everything changed. That was when my blue eyes adjusted to the light and locked onto the big brown ones of a hunk holding up the bar. He looked like the poster-boy for British cool, a combination of Paul McCartney and Dudley Moore with just a touch of Peter Sellers at the temples. And like a chill creeping up my back, I could feel the future surrounding us, the cheap and dirty motel room that we'd check into, the crazy night discovering each other, the afternoon sun peeking through the window to spotlight the two of us tangled together in sheets stained with blood and sweat and rum. I stood there in the doorway, like there was no one else in the world, just me drowning in those chocolate brown eyes of his.


He gulped a breath and his fingers clutched the bar as if it were going to save him from drowning in the pale curves of cleavage highlighted by the flickering bare bulb swinging from the ceiling.

Time solidified like the tin of syrup stuck to the back of the larder. After a century he remembered to breathe and a few decades later he managed to let go of the bar that he was clutching onto as if it were going to save him from falling into that Irish-Eyes-Are-Smiling face of hers. He patted his pockets looking for his fags and then remembered he'd given them up for Lent and put his hands back onto the bar, never looking away from the blonde-haired angel in the doorway who might or might not be his redemption.


I watched him, tall, handsome, a half-smile on his face as if he knew something special, as if he'd seen the same vision I had, sweaty limbs entwined together. He moved his hands around his body, as if reassuring himself that he was really there in the flesh and not just dreaming this moment of the two of us alone in the world together. I forgot all about that asshole with the Range Rover standing outside waiting for me to give him his keys. I forgot about every other lecherous jerk in the bar staring at me like my clothes might fall off any minute. I just started walking towards him, too far gone to play hard to get, to try to pretend like I hadn't noticed him.


He felt his feet start to shuffle him forward, almost against his will, as if he'd landed in an episode of the Thunderbirds and her eyes were the puppet strings, dragging him across the room towards her: his own personal Lady Penelope here to invite him into her pink Roller and drive away. The forces pulling them towards each other were so strong that they almost collided.

"Ayup chuck," he spluttered.

"Lord have mercy," she said at the same moment.


I stood there batting my eyes like a frog in a west Texas hail storm. "Say what, sugar?" He flashed me a hundred watt smile and said something that sounded like, "You've pulled."

"Pulled what, honey?" I was beginning to realize that we maybe didn't have a language in common but it wasn't like talking was what I had in mind.

I smiled all friendly like to put him at his ease.

He smiled back. „Wanna shag?‰

I figured he must from the Middle East or somewhere like that where it‚s polite to trade carpets although I declare I have never saw anyone from those parts looking quite so much like they belonged on an episode of the Monkees. "Hey, your English is pretty frigging good," I told him trying to build his confidence up.

That‚s when he broke my heart. „Christ,‰ he said, „I need a fag.‰


As soon as he said it, he knew he‚d made a mistake. Her words knocked against his skull like a Steve Davis break. He had no idea how a quiet night at the boozer had ended up with this nutter carping on at him about three dollar bills and such a goddamn waste and how freaking unfair it was. She must be one of those rabid morality types who wouldn't let a bloke have a ciggie in peace.

"Bloody yanks," he muttered and turned away to walk back to the bar.

He lurched forward as something hard and heavy caught the back of his head. He landed on the edge of one of the sticky, low tables and then slipped and rolled into a puddle of lager or worse. He crawled forward to the gents and not until he was under cover of the doorway, did he finally dare to look back at the daft tart with the perfect tits. He watched her pick her phone up off the floor, where it had landed after bouncing off of his skull, and storm out into the night.

He should have gone to the chippy.

Fairyhedgehog's story

"Are you sure this is what you want to do?" Robin asked. She was standing next to Whirl in the muddy field with a lasso in her hand, looking uncertainly at the cow that was circling in front of them.

"Actually --" Whirl said.

"Okay then, here goes." Robin flung the lasso and it caught the cow's horns. "Now you all give this a frickin good pull." She pulled hard on the rope, leaning back into Whirl's body as she did so. "Hey, you all have some pretty good muscles going on there," she said. He reached around her to grab the rope and she leaned more heavily on him. His feet went out from under him and he landed on his back in a cow pat with Robin on top of him.

Robin wriggled round so that she was lying face down on him, their lips almost touching, his breath warm on her face, his toffee coloured eyes drawing her gaze. Whirl looked over her shoulder and tried to back away. He managed to slide through the dung for a few inches before coming to a stop. Robin craned her neck to see what he was looking at and saw a giant tongue dripping in front of her. Above the tongue were bovine nostrils puffing steam which misted the ring that hung there.

"Holy crap!" she said. "It isn't a zombie cow after all."

As soon as my eyes glommed on those kilted up gams of his, I knew who he was; knew what was hidden behind that dark ducky of a codpiece. I'd been in there before, or really, it had been into me.

(Not the ducky...)

It was the 80's and I was in Europe for the first time. I'd been wanting and wanting a taste of something exotic, and, well, you wouldn't think only an English accent would've qualified the boy, but with his particular version, it sure as hell did. That and he had the most exquisite eyes. In a certain slant of light, they were ochre cat's eyes, intelligent and tricky, and given to...well, I'm getting ahead of myself again. (It could fairly be said - I might be prone to such things.)

So there we were in this London bar, him with his wild messy hair and me with my bra locked away in my luggage, with me fairly saying with whatever I had going on, and that may have included words, that I was interested.

We lounged against the smooth wood of the bar, listening to the music inside, and we drank; me my white wine, him his nasty room temp brown beer. I hated that stuff at first, until I tasted it on his tongue on our first date, which happened to coincide with us leaving the bar and walking down Picadilly Circus into the wee hours. Then I loved it.

When dawn threatened to invade our eye sockets and the rain started in on us, we got serious about shelter, found a cab and wound up at his place, and onto his sofa, the scene of: Second Act - First Date.


One look up at those eyes of his and we both decided it was time for the rest.

I didn't see him after that week was over. I mean, it wasn't like I had the money to pop over whenever I wanted, or to stay either, not for very long, or even to talk on the phone much.

But the intensity of those days stayed with me, and they flooded back full bore when I caught a glance of those naked legs again.Not sure he knows yet it's me he's been talkin' to, not before today, anyway. But he was my first taste of exotic, and for that, I thank him.

Whirl and Robin flopped together till the beads of sweat on their noses blended as one.

‘Never thought this would happen,’ said Robin.

‘Me neither,’ sighed Whirl.

With nods of weary resignation, they both drew the deepest of breaths and got stuck back in, nibbling hard on the flesh at the base of one another’s necks. For a full half an hour they chomped, until finally Whirl broke off.

‘It’s no good,’ he said, looking flushed. ‘I can’t keep it up.’

‘Me neither,’ added Robin, her lips swollen redder than a KO-ed boxer’s face. Wriggling in her bacon rind cocoon, she rolled back against a heap of boiled cabbage. ‘If I could just reach inside my pants...’ she gasped.

Whirl sniggered. Even in a dire emergency such as this, the scope for puerile humour afforded by the transatlantic gulf in meaning between pants (as in pants) and pants (as in pants) was too much to bear.

‘What’s so funny?’ said Robin, popping a shoulder from the flaps of fat.

Whirl made to shrug, but he was similarly pinned fast. Composing himself, as befitted the grim reality of the situation, he said, ‘so, what’s in your pants?’

‘In my pocket,’ Robin continued, ‘I have a laminated photograph of Evil Editor. If that can’t cut us loose, nothing will.’

Whirl smiled. Of all the people to find yourself trussed in strips of knotted pig flesh with, on a giant dinner plate piled almost to the ceiling with overboiled vegetables, on the occasion of His Obnoxious Wartiness, the Ogre Lord Buttpusoozysquirt’s thousand and thousandth birthday (this is a date, remember?), who better to have as a companion than Robin?

With a look of determination not witnessed since Billy “The Hoss King” McTossenae rode a freshly castrated buffalo into submission at the 1905 San Antonio rodeo, Robin tore open her bonds.

‘Listen, babycakes,’ she said, ‘We better get the hell outta here before the chef sends us up in the dumb—’

Darkness consumed the crescent moon of the potato roulade, and with a rumble, the dinner plate began its slow ascent. With the deftest of strokes, Robin slid the tip of her idol up along Whirl’s inside leg — round under his buttocks, in a wiggly line across his back, to finish with a wing-like flourish above his collar bone.

‘Hey,’ she said, ‘when the creative urge strikes, you gotta go with it, sweetie.’

The hatch of the dumb waiter swang open. At the end of a large wooden dining table, His Obnoxious Wartiness sat with his knife and fork held aloft in readiness, and a paper hat nestled atop the dandruff bloom of his mullet.


As the scabrous butler bore the dinner plate across the chamber, Robin peered over the edge. ‘No way in hell we can jump off. We’ll have to take our chances on the table.’

‘Look,’ cried Whirl, cupping two heavy balls to his groin. ‘These peas are like boulders. Maybe we can fight our way out.’

‘Great idea,’ said Robin, ‘ let’s tool up.’ Crouching low, she slid a sausage between her legs from beneath a fluff of pureed swede and hoisted it onto her shoulder. ‘Did I ever tellya I once coached my neighbourhood little league?’

With a clunk of porcelain on wood, the dinner plate landed at the foot of the giant’s bib.

Whirl rubbed the biggest of his peas hard against the leg of his trousers. ‘Hope you’re Ok with cricket style, Rob.’

‘Hey, ‘ she snarled, ‘just throw it straight at me and I’ll have his freakin’ eye out...’

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Circumstances give a competition extension

I've just realised I won't be at my computer today, other than about ten minutes now, so no results until tomorrow, probably late Monday your time. Late entries OK if anyone wants.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Competition Entries and back to Brazilian

Get 'em in. Boys, it's looking like an all-girl affair right now. I know that either lures or offends you, either way, if you want to defend your honour, get going. Deadline approaching! The Koala Awaits.

Re. Brazilians - check out this (very brief) article. Actually my question to you is not about Brazilians. I would like to know the details of your latest neck wax. Please. Spill all. Particularly why.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why I'm not posting...

Too much work, and so many good things going on around the blogs this week, including my very own inaugural competition (see below), so there's no time, no time!

Here are some cool places to go, though:

A secret agent 250 word review at Miss Snark's First Victim - I'm number #14 and Chris is #25. This blog is a new discovery for me, check it out.

Um SS@Starbucks is posting some great stuff on voice etc, and Paca's basketball tournament is ready for entering. Sorry, no more links, in serious time crush here, must gooooo...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

You are in my dreams. Also, zombies.

I had a dream last night in which Whirl and Robin were dating. Weird.

I'll leave you to imagine the rest. But then you have to tell me, because this bizarre mind spasm has inspired the first ever 'The Travels of the Zombie Cow' competition. Yes, the nascent Zombie Cow has expressed an interest in seeing the world and may shortly be visiting a mailbox near you.

While I am assembling the raw meat, sorry parts, necessary to birth Zombie Cow, I want you to tell me what happened on Whirl and Robin's first date. The funniest entry will suffer, sorry, win the first bloodsucking, sorry, visit, from Zombie Cow. Who may have to have a name, but that might be a whole other competition...

Meanwhile - Whirl and Robin - where's the date? What are they saying to one another? What's going on in their little beating hearts? Tell all...

*Edited to add* If you're not sure who Whirl and Robin are, here's a crash course:

Whirl: Male. Brit. Has a cat called Geoff. Makes friends with mules and flies. Has a Girl of Whirl and together they have produced Son of Whirl. A paragraph or two away from finishing first novel. May once have been an actor. Now he calls it 'education'.

Robin: Female. American. Has a cat called Maddison. Married to a Brit. Four daughters between them. Sassy. Stalks Evil Editor. Likes all things Welsh, wine and hot tubs. Just finished first novel.

Make the rest up!

Deadline is Friday, end of day US time! Email your fabulosity to: mckoala at optusnet dot com dot au. Entries and winner will be posted next Monday.

No entry=no cow!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What to do about the Zombie Cow?

I think there may have to be a competition. Hm?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why writing is like baking Bat Fingernail Pie

It's a piecemeal process of patience and persistance. First, you need bats. Then you need to feed them right and look after them while their fingernails (which are, as everyone knows, the truly tasty part of the bat) grow. Mostly you're doing that at night, of course. You also have to fend off the Walkers Chips tasting department, who are currently very interested in Bat Fingernail as a new chip flavour.* Then, once the bats' fingernails have grown, you have must trim them, down to the quick but no further, while avoiding the cross bat's remaining (very sharp) fingernails, not to mention its teeth. Repeat 76,581 times, because that's how many fingernails you will need to make your pie. And that's the easy bit.

You see, the success of a Bat Fingernail Pie depends on the way in which the fingernails are arranged. You cannot simply dump them all into a pie dish. Oh, no. You must arrange one on top of the other, in a meticulously constructed tower of fingernails. A single error might cause the whole thing to come crashing down, and that's pretty frustrating when it's fingernail #76,000 or later. And don't forget the Puffin Tail Pastry on top, but that recipe is a whole other post in itself.

Then we have the cooking of your pie. A truly great Bat Fingernail Pie is not solely about arrangement, but about how you treat your arrangement afterwards. The oven must be hot, but not too hot. The room must be silent. The wind must be an easterly and you must gag your agapanthuses, because the whispering of their leaves is so loud that it will invariably cause your pie to sink.

And if you get it all right, every single bit of it, you will give your Bat Fingernail Pie to somebody else to tear apart. Did you make the mistake of thinking it might be for you? No, no! The best Bat Fingernail Pies are those that are intended for others; built with love, cooked with care and then, we hope, consumed with thought.

I did have a reason for writing this post, but I'm afraid I got so carried away with my recipe I forgot what it was. I think it was that the 100 words a day of the Koala PHC challenge will build up in time to the most delicious Bat Fingernail Pie.

*See Whirl

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I'm revolting myself

I'm writing one of the most difficult scenes I've ever written. I should be doing it right now, not lollygagging round here, but I need a mental break. And I feel sick. Actually sick.

I've upset myself before, usually by killing off characters I've got to like, but this is a whole other league. Such a tiny scene, too. Although big in its impact on my character, and the book too. And me. The things I've just had to research to write this were horrific. The way I am combining them is even worse. This is only going to be a few hundred words, but jeez. It's not sex, it's not violence, well not in any traditional sense - but it's awful. And it happens too, that's the worst thing, it's not fantasy or paranormal, it's reality.

I don't think I'm writing a horror story, but much more of this and I will be.

Ever disgusted yourself with your own writing?

*updated to add - finally finished and I think I'm going to be eating vegetarian for a few days now*

Friday, March 06, 2009

Who wants a zombie cow?

I know I'm going to regret this.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Koala Challenge. And Whirlochre.

The Koala is delighted with most of her challengees and momentarily retracts her claws for some team head patting...excellent...fine're getting the hang of it...

Now. Enough with the nicey-nicey. Claws halfway out. Aerin and Janey, time for updates my friends.



Feast your eyes on my last victim (note that this is the post-surgery appearance):

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Let's talk about writing

Handwriting, that is. In my few turns around the block I've established a few things, hey let's agree to call them 'facts' heh heh, that I believe are related:

1. Writers have dreadful handwriting, but designers have beautiful handwriting.

2. When writers were kids they hated colouring in, but when designers were kids, they loved colouring in.

Sweeping generalisations? Me? Allow me to continue with a few more, um, facts:

1. Designers want things to look good, therefore they care about what their handwriting looks like.

2. Designers have some innate artistic ability, therefore they are able to make their handwriting look good.

3. Writers couldn't care less what things look like, as long as they have time to write.

4. Writers couldn't care less what things look like, it's the contents that matter.

5. Taking three and four together, ergo writers don't care what their handwriting looks like.

6. Most writers have zero physical artistic ability. Apart from the ones that are artists as well, and you, my friends are a whole other group of talented beasties, of whom I am merely jealous. Anyway, for the rest of we mere mortal writers, our hands just don't cooperate.

Remember the colouring?

1. The future designer kids wanted things to look good, therefore they cared about keeping things between the lines.

2. The future writer kids got bored. Couldn't care less about the lines. Just wanted to get the darn things finished so we could go and do something else. Honestly, could anything be more boring than filling in a blank space with a blunt crayon? Yes, filling in two blank spaces with a blunt crayon.

3. Hours of devoted colouring strengthened the designers hands. Add in the natural ability, plus the caring - it's the perfect combo for beautiful writing.

4. The writers' hands remained weak and wibbly wobbly. Not only is our writing not beautiful, it's a wild scrawl.

I sooooo qualify to be a writer.

PS If you are a writer with beautiful handwriting who loved colouring in as a child, are you sure you're in the right profession?