This is the start of a project I began ages ago then forgot about. What do you think?
|‘So are they any good?’
The tall man with the monocle shifted uneasily.
‘Good? They’re … astounding,’ he lied through his teeth. ‘Utterly… different.’ The slightly shorter man did not look immensely impressed.
‘And what do they call themselves, again?’
‘Not Quite Talented.’
* * *
‘Why is there a hole in my Ford Transit van?’
This was the angriest of all the thoughts currently circulating with increasing menace inside the sore head of Matt Pavement.
‘Because I’ve recently hit it with a wheelbarrow’ was the next.
Matt fell over in a way which he sincerely hoped looked as if he’d meant to. He hadn’t. He looked at the broken toaster attached to his arm and moaned. Then he got kicked in the head.
‘Hey! This is the last stop. You can’t lay there all day.’ It seemed to Matt that the bus conductor was issuing a challenge, so he stayed put. This earned him another kick in the head. ‘I said, this is the last stop and you can’t lay there all day!’
‘Are you sure?’ moaned Matt, dazed.
‘Can you stop kicking my head?’
‘Sorry,’ the bus conductor said quietly.
The toaster was an old, heavy steel contraption which was about four thousand years old, from Matt’s less than educated guess. It was well made, but this didn’t alter the fact that it was tied to his arm. It was tied with, as Matt shortly found out when he tried to bite it, a kind of thick steel wire or string which had an annoying tendency of breaking your teeth if you tried biting it.
‘Urrrrgh,’ stated Matt to nobody in particular, then tripped over a frog. He landed face-first in the mud and the rest of him duly followed, as it often did. A small boy marched up to Matt and offered him a hand – or, to be a little more precise, he offered him a glove. Or, to be even more precise than that, he slapped Matt with a glove then ran away.
‘Tee hee hee,’ said the small boy, and Matt sincerely hoped that the child got hit by the next bus.
Elsewhere, there was an angry man throwing sticks at a besieged guitarist.
* * *
Another stick bounced off the body of a heavy, black and reasonably badly scratched electric guitar which had once been rather expensive.
They were definitely getting larger, and several of them had been covered in something not unlike mud, but which Gonzo somehow suspected wasn’t.
It was becoming very windy, twelve feet up a tree as he was, but he didn’t dare climb down because he valued the not-getting-killed aspect of his life quite highly.
The farmer didn’t.
The farmer was an angry farmer, and to prove this, he said ‘Grr’.
‘Grr,’ said the farmer, who was angry.
Gonzo sat and considered his situation. Here was a tree, with him (and his guitar) in it. Here was a farmer. Careful analysis revealed the farmer to be the cause of his problems, although extra analysis revealed him to be the cause of the farmer’s problems. The farmer had moved up to stones. One arced through the air like a flying stone, which is precisely what it was, and struck the guitar.
‘Hey man, watch the g-,’ Gonzo ducked another well-judged shot. It seemed to Gonzo at this point that since there were such a lot of stones and sticks in this field, the farmer was clearly not a very good one. He pondered this for a while, and then fell out of the tree.
Matt trudged home, dragging his toaster sullenly. Having reached his front door, he opened it and sat down in the driving seat. There was a knock at the window.
‘Still living in the Transit, are we?’
‘Yes,’ he said. There was no point in prolonging the experience. ‘I am.’
‘Mind if I come in?’
‘Yes,’ he said again, ‘I do.’
‘Fair enough. How about opening a window?’
‘No – is there anything in particular that you want from me, or are you actually enjoying my pain?’
‘There’s a hole in your van.’
‘Is there really.’ It was not a question. 'Remind me why you're here?'
'Well, I just came to see if you had recovered. Yesterday was pretty crazy, you know.'
* * *
13 hours previously...
'Ladies and gentlemen, please don't run away in pain ... it's N...Q...T...!!!'
The huge crowd of people gathered in the equally huge stadium utterly failed to respond to the announcer's build-up.
The overhead spotlights shut off and the arena was cloaked in darkness. Precision lights picked out a platform descending from the roof of the elaborate stage, two guitarists flanking an impressive drumkit facing away from the crowd.
The platform turned slowly, and as the band faced their unimpressed audience a thunderous burst of distorted guitar and droning bass flooded the arena.
The bassist, a short man with bizarre hair, stepped forward as a microphone dropped in from above.
'Zero One Zero, Zero One Zero One' he chanted and the crowd were amazed.