Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Noir Christmas - Dec 1

It all started with a dame.

 In my profession, cases should start with dames. It's only proper. She would sashay in, gams up to her eyeballs, with soulful eyes containing a hint of mystery and danger. When smoking, she would use one of those cigarette holders in bakelite or ivory. Red dress or mourning veil optional, but a plus.

My maid Sally fills few of these criteria, standing all but 5 feet in her socks and doe-like eyes containing little in ways of mystery or danger. Cute as a button though. She makes the best out of the headscarf-and-duster look. But my bank account was all but dry and my rent was late, so one takes what one can. Hopefully this was actually about a case, or my current line of thought would be rather silly.

“Letter for you, sir.” she says, brandishing said letter in her tiny hand.

A letter, then? Cases could start with letters, for sure. Usually from some associate from long ago or an anonymous plea for help, setting the yarn a-rolling. Possibly some combination of the two.

 “Thank you, Sally. Anything else?” I ask as she hands it over.

“Looking at the state of this pigsty, I would sure say so!” she proclaims, looking around with her hands on her hips. “Goodness, these piles of dishes are almost as tall as me! And dust everywhere!” She immediately starts bustling about my office, brandishing duster like a sword at my bookshelves.

 “Aren't you my maid? Shouldn't it be your job to keep it clean?” I murmur to her as I tear open the letter. “I would if you hadn't me to come in here. What's the big idea?” Oh right, I did. Well, a P.I.'s office isn't a place for maids. It's for dames and cops and mobsters and rumrunners. Didn't want to disturb her gentle sensibilities, y'know? Also, after having been dragged to her apartment to have dinner regularly shoved down my throat, I know that she's not one to do the dishes herself. So there!

 I merely grunt to assert my masculine right to live in whatever pigsty I want and start reading the letter.

 Hey bro,


 I regretfully have to inform you that I'm totally dead.


Yep, totally bereft of life! 


Anyway, that's not important. What's important is that at the time you are reading this I've been murdered in an extremely grisly fashion. Actually me being dead would be pretty important considering it wouldn't be a murder without it and ANYWAY I'm super-dead now and that's not right, so I need you to find my killer and mete out justice and whatnot. I've enclosed a number of the dollars to buy your services, and you'll be recompensed even greater in the event of you solving my case.

 Best of luck, 


Peeking into the envelope, I do indeed see a considerable amount of “the dollars” (is this guy a foreigner?), just enough to pay my rent if I relinquished eating for the rest of the month.

“A case, sir?” Sally asks me when seeing the dough, mountain of dishes in her arms.

 “Yeah, but not much to go on...” I answer as I stand up, shrugging on my trenchcoat.

“Well, I'm sure you'll solve it anyway, sir. You got a lot of imagination. Hope it's a quick one, what with christmas coming up.”

Exit Sally, distinct lack of sashay in her steps. Ah well, can't have everyting. Time to go to work. Strangest opening for a case I've ever seen, but I know where to start. I lock the office door behind me, sign stating “MOONLANDER INVESTIGATIONS” glaring at me as I do. No-one gets the name – but it pops, which is what's important.

Walking out on the snowy streets, I light the requisite gumshoe cigarette.

Girl's got it right. Hell of a way to spend a christmas...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Ache

I ache.

It's physical. A burning need behind my solar plexus, coiling tightly, sending heat radiating up my chest and down to my groin.

What do I ache for?

We live, we love, we fight wars, we grant lives and we take them away (how people fail to realize how enormous that concept is, I'll never understand). We orbit and oscillate around and into each other like an infinitely vast kaleidoscope, turned towards the blazing sun.

So complex, so wondrous...

So utterly, horribly mundane...


That's my ache, my need, I think. For more...

More life, more experiences. More everything.

Perhaps I'm too young, to inexperienced to be permitted this desire. I shouldn't have it - not when there's a whole world to be explored, a vast planet teeming with life to taste, see and touch. There's more to see here than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done (as Elton John so quaintly put it).

The paradox is unbearable. My life offers me more than I can ever handle, but it's still not enough...

I am the Wandering Jew – but without God, without redemption and, worst of all, without immortality. One day I'll grow old. My bones will become brittle like so much petrifying fossil. My voice will grow feeble and my eyes murky. And on my deathbed, I fear (I know), unless I've despaired so much over my failing body that death will come as a relief, that my final words will be ”Not enough...”

It will never be enough. Not this world, this reality.

Magic, perhaps...

I think that's what I ache for...

I ache for more than what this reality can offer. My imagination isn't so much a prison as it is imprisoned, bound and gagged by the limits of my consciousness. I want dragons and witches and things lurking in the corners. I want Batman soaring overhead and aliens landing in my backyard. I want new frontiers to press, impossibilities to make possible. I want the fantastic, the unimaginable - and I want it real. My dreams are only a temporary and inadequate fix. Then maybe, just maybe, I will become satisfied.

I know that there are wonders in this world. There are sights that take your breath away, challenges that, once faced, can sustain one's pride for the rest of one's life. Maybe I'm just deluding myself. After all, what do I know. I certainly haven't experienced much of these things yet. They could be more than satisfactory.

But there is still that ache in my gut, and I don't feel it nearly as much when I picture the mountaintops of Himalaya, forbidding in their purity, or the uncharted jungles of the Amazonas as when I hear a song telling of other worlds, or hear tales of exploits and adventures whose greatness I will never be able to touch except in my dreams. This mundane reality will only provide me with the mundane wonders it is capable of creating. I fear that I will always seek the next high, and always find it lacking to the ideal my imagination so cruelly presents behind my eyes.

And I realize this is in no way new. I have absolutely no doubt that comments on this text would be confessions of similar thoughts (I'm almost as sure that these comments will now not appear, just so that you, my friends, can be contrary and prove me wrong. But you will think it, and that's what matters).

Although I cannot lie. Sometimes I'm content. When I play make-believe with my friends or see how my love for them and my family is returned, I'm happy. I can profess my dreams and ambitions to them, grand delusions all, and feel a semblance of peace. I know that I look forward to everything that my life has to offer, good and bad.

Still, I believe that one lifetime is not nearly enough for me to sate the need for, well, everything that can be offered or taken for me to experience. There will always be that nagging feeling that I'll always tread on walked paths, see sights already seen, sate hungers already provided for. I don't want worlds tempered by ignorance, believe me. Traveling back to the dark ages hold no appeal to me. I just want...more.

I guess I'm greedy like that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Temporary Improvements

I am sitting in my bed in the basement of a hostel that serves as the cheap and convenient dwelling during my current stay in Stockholm City, the "Venice of the North". The Slovenian man in the bunk above mine shifts ever so often, making the whole structure creak. He's not particularly heavy, it just does at the slightest movement. It worries me, because my cell phone is set to wake me at 7 o'clock sharp, and I don't want to disturb him needlessly, nor his girlfriend. She sleeps in the adjacent two-level bed above the Irish chemist who has claimed the last remaining bunk in this tiny room. He speaks with an Irish rumble that makes me automatically slip into my own Scottish brogue, and with his carrot-red hair, freckled face and love for soccer and rugby he is a lovable stereotype of his nation. He's never seen snow before, and has confessed he spent the entire day walking around enjoying it. I consider him my friend, and now I no longer mind the snow so much.

But the purpose of my post wasn't to tell everyone about all the new friends I've made, but rather an intriguing observation on a certain behaviour that I find particularly interesting: my own. Usually, as many of my friends and family can attest, I am rather lazy and sloppy - I might even constitute as a slob at times. But here and now (and, looking back, also in the past) I find myself working and organizing myself with an almost militaristic rigour. My pack is neatly shoved under my bed, its content compartmentalized. My jacket hangs on a hook instead of being slung over a chair as it usually is, and I ingeniously used a coathanger to hang my wet bath towel to dry. Even before I had finished my revision course of the day (which is my reason for being here, by the way. I'm doing fine, it is very rewarding) I had already scheduled to visit the budo & fitness store I saw heading to my classes this morning, as well as scoping out the immediate area to find fitting stores for food and other necessisties. My cell phone/alarm clock, my watch and my glasses are all geometrically lined up beside my pillow, and I have already planned out an Order of Doing Things when I wake up tomorrow morning, which starts with immediately going up by the bell (and I do it too. I know, I shock myself!). I have even folded my clothes! The only exception is me staying up way too late to write this post...

This uncharacteristic reversal of my usual unstructured behaviour seems to occur whenever I am alone for a longer period of time, generally in a strange place. Same thing happens in me and my mom's apartment when she's gone for more than two days: doing the dishes? No problem. A list of tasks to be done before she comes home? Nicely ticked off and proudly presented to her at her return. Apparently I rise to the (not-particularily-challenging) challenge of getting a hold of the structuring part of my life only when I absolutely have to.

It's kind of a downer, since it suggests that I'm lazy and unhelpful unless I really need to be - I know that I'll regress into my usual pattern of strewing my things around me as soon as I come home. But it also gives me hope because I know that I won't be helpless if I ever find myself on my own, wherever and however I may be.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


As I was walking to the bus station earlier this night, I was struck by the profound sense of eeriness that seemed to permeate the rainy night. Whether it was a consequence of lack of sleep or weariness from the ninjutsu practice I was going from – or a combination of the two – was irrelevant. What mattered was that the batteries of my iPod had just died, and that I looked up from the wet and gum-covered street and noticed how reality had shifted just a little. The noises, smells and sights of a medium-sized town that had been my home for 7 years greeted me, and it all felt new and extraordinary. Every face I passed was starkly in focus, burning into my retinas, snippets of conversations and the sound of the rain (which had that indistinct, wavy quality, like water from a hose pointed straight up) kissing the pavements drummed in my ears. I was a camera, recording a panorama of extraordinary mundanities in high-definition.

It felt introduction, of sorts. It was like an introductory shot to some gritty, urban drama movie – ironically, the simile was formed in my thoughts as I walked by the local cinema. The sense of heightened perception I was currently revelling in had only befallen me once before, when I wrote my first short story. Then as now, I was struck by a certainty: it was time. Simple as that. A compulsion, irresistible in its pull, had me once again in its grip, and I had no other choice but to heed it.

An introduction was laid before me tonight, and it would have been sacrilege not to follow up on it. I had intended to make a blog for myself for a long time now, and tonight it was time. The choice, by providence or personal dispositions, left my hands and made itself.

I have now cast my voice into the ether, for anyone to listen to if they so choose. Hello.