Feed the Birds

Bastard reached a claw towards the switch, eyes averted from the monstrous creation that lay next to it. It was best not to dwell on that bit really It wasn’t pleasant but it was, in the grand scheme of things, necessary. Next to him Diseased was coo’ing gentley to himself, feathers fluttering a little with excitement but darting eyes not showing a sign of doubt.

“Look” Bastard drew his claw back and took a few quick steps backwards “are we really sure about this? I mean, it can’t really be right can it?”

Diseased fixed him with a beady, judgemental stare.

“Of course it’s right, we all agreed didn’t we? We won’t make a habit of it, we’ll just create enough of them to get things back to how they used to be.”

It was never easy to argue with the scabrous looking grey pigeon, Bastard had tried before although in fairness he’d been in full agreement too when they first came up with the idea. Somehow though the steps between idle, rooftop speculation and grizzly reality had made it all seem a bit wrong.

“I’m not sure just you can just play around with necromancy, can you? Once you start you’re kind of in it for the duration right? And I know you don’t remember the old days, I don’t either, so how do we know they were so good? Maybe they were really crap, and it’s not so bad now is it? I found half a sausage roll yesterday, can’t get much better than that can you?”

“Typical. I knew you were spineless, living on their rubbish like they’re doing you a favour. I don’t need to remember the old days, I know the stories, I know our history. They used to worship us. They used to pay to give us food and I know you’ve seen the temple they built for us. How can that not be better than raking through bins with those manky foxes you’re so fond of?”

Bastard didn’t have an answer for that, or at least the one he did have had been aired before and never gone down well. Yes, there was a temple, anyone could see that, all you had to do was fly over. But why would a temple to pigeon-kind consist of a bloke standing on a big stick and a few excessively hairy cats? Cats hated them didn’t they? Bit of a dodgy choice for reverential worship. The foxes had agreed that it was nonsense too but there was no point bringing them into the discussion, Diseased would never listen to anything that came from creatures with four legs and fur.

“Now, are you going to flick the switch or am I?”

There was no point trying to argue, what was going to happen was going to happen whether he objected or not. It was still a bad idea though, a really bad idea. Pushing his doubts down though Bastard skipped forward again and laid his claw on the switch again, wishing he’d never helped steal it from that human flat in the first place.

It took all of his weight to push it down and even then he had to do a bit of jumping up and down to make it click into place. A sign probably, a warning from the universe not to start dabbling with this sort of madness but when it was done it was done. A buzzing echoed around the ledge, a metallic tang filling the air as the cars passing underneath their bridge drove by blindly indifferent.

For a moment nothing happened, just long enough for Bastard to hope to himself that it wasn’t going to work anyway and that they’d been saved from themselves. Before long though it started to twitch, first just a curling claw, one amongst the fifty or so they’d stitched onto it, but then came a real spasm of movement. One which shook the thing’s entire body and sent both pigeons jumping back, wings half opened to take flight.

Then their creation sat up.

“Fuck” said Bastard.

“Coo” said Diseased.

The creature looked confused, which was understandable. The parts had been eclectically gathered from wherever they could be found. There was a fair bit of pigeon about it, limbs and feathery patches culled from the unfortunate victims of traffic accidents and culinary mishaps with bleach. They’d wanted it to be too big though, too big for the frail bones of one of their own to support so they’d started shopping around. A human leg here, a foxes tail there, the skin of an elephant they’d pecked to death at London Zoo, the liver of a badger. Things had started to get out of control and what they had now was an unrecognisable hybrid the size of a car, barely fitting onto the arch of the bridge and perilously close to collapsing it, or at least falling to land on a passing bus.

“What do we do now then?”

Bastard was speaking from the edge, eager to fly off as soon as it seemed polite.

“Well we… erm… we send it to the temple, that sounds right, yeah. It goes there, reminds them they’re supposed to serve us, we all fly in for some seed and worship, job’s a good’un. Simple.”

“You really think it can get there? I mean, we did give it a lot of wings but they don’t really look like they’re going to work do they?”

The creature, flailing around now making pitiable moaning sounds, tried to pull itself into what might conceivably have passed for a sitting position but for the excess of potential arses.

“It can walk then, even better, it’ll really make an impact. Now, just go over there and tell it what to do. Flying Rat’s brain is in there somewhere, you two were friends.”

Flying Rat’s was one of the brains in there it was true, but it wasn’t exactly alone.

“No, you’re alright, you can do it, you’ve got a way with words. Commanding voice you know.”

“Coward” Diseased mumbled unconvincingly “fine, I’ll do it, we created it after all, I’m sure it looks up to us.”

Of the dozen or so eyes the creature had it was, in fact, simultaniously managing to look up, down and sideways at them but it didn’t seem like the time to get pedantic. True to his word Diseased did edge towards the monstrous creation and with as stern a tone as he could manage through the evident terror began to speak to their new friend.

“Now, we created you, we’re your gods, in a way. Us pigeons and no one else so you’ll do what your told won’t you?”


Taking the scream of anguish from one of the more human looking mouths as a yes he pushed on.

“Good… good… Now, just over there” Diseased gestured with a wing “there’s a, er, holy place. Our holy place. Now you be a good little… creature, make your way there and tell them they need to start worshipping the pigeons again. Use one of your human mouths, they’ll understand that.”

The thing’s eyes showed a glimmer of understanding of the pigeon’s words, at least three or four of them did, the rest seemed to be silently screaming more than anything. Although they weren’t alone for long as, with a sudden blur of movement, it spasmodically and much to it’s own surprise managed to roll sideways sending both birds flying and bringing up a chorus of shouts and terror from a bus passing below as it slammed through the roof.

The last thing Bastard saw of the beast was a crowd of shocked and confused commuters desperately trying to clamber around, through and over it in a rush for the stairs. Doing their best to ignore both the monstrous obstacle in their way and the handful of people it had managed to crush beneath it. On the plus side though the bus was going in the right direction at least.

Crashed America – Dark Comedy

Crashed America by Dylan Malik Orchard

I’m crap at marketing so Crashed America – my first, biggest and baddest book seldom gets the love it deserves. Especially now that we’re hurtling towards the point where ‘Crashed America’ may become a meaningless title once the entire country sinks into the sea under the weight of Donald Trump’s mighty, throbbing ego. If/when that happens I may just re-write the whole thing, change everyone’s name to ‘Yuri’ and see if I can get myself assassinated by Putin for slighting Russia. I’ve given up on Obama drone striking me after all.

Televangelist 2Until then though this is my heavy handed sales pitch because if you want to be the person your momma always hoped you’d be then you need to buy yourself a copy of Crashed AmericaIt’s a rollercoaster ride from beginning to… ah shucks, I’m no salesman – but if you like your comedy dark, your world surreal and if Neil Gaiman, Robert Anton Wilson, Jasper Fforde, Robert Rankin, Warren Ellis or Terry Gilliam* are names that arouse curiosity in your jaded, internet fatigued mind then you could do far worse than giving it a look.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, you can have a brand new, exclusive, limited edition, early access, ultra rare, black market only, previously not-much-seen synopsis for free too. But don’t go telling anyone about this, or everyone will be wanting one – and then I’d have to kill you.

Crashed America Web CoverWhen Joe sets off for those United States of America he has a whole list of plans, dreams, schemes and delusions to be lived out against an idealised Americana backdrop. Killing Jesus isn’t exactly among them but, as ever, life does its own thing.

After crashing in Alabama Joe finds himself caught up in the prelude to the End of Days, with the Devil on one side, a Hillbilly clan on the other and the whole spectrum of crazy in between – from a Satanic Reagan to good old boys Waco and ET. None of which makes any sense to him, or his new found companion the born again atheist Father Fitzpatrick but with enough moonshine, guns, nuns, demons and backwoods mysticism he might just make it through. Although the rest of the world might not.

Crashed America is available as an ebook or paperback, so you can respectively hide it or show it off depending on how clever you think it makes you look and for every copy sold a small amount of money will go directly to me. And I will spend it. Unwisely.

Now, go and read a book. This book, not any of the other books, they’re all terrible, mine is the best book, everybody says so – because I have really great books and my words are the best. I know lots of them. MAKE ME GREAT AGAIN! #VoteCrashedAmerica2016

*Nothing is worse, or less meaningful than having to list names of writers who might write a bit like you – especially because you always nurse a nagging suspicion that you’re either far better, or far worse than they are. The bastards.

Tamsin’s Day Out

Tamsin rammed her fist against the wall and immediately regretted it. The wall was made of bricks, her fist was not and she was fairly sure she’d broken a bone or two in the unequal contest between the two. But for all the Cocaine and PCP coursing through her system it would probably have hurt like hell, as it was though the only damage she could feel was to her pride. She knew it didn’t made sense but, beneath her still burning anger, she couldn’t help but feel that the wall should have lost. Or at least shown some sign of submission to the blow. More importantly though, beneath even that thought, lay her real regret – that she had chosen an inanimate object for her rage rather than it’s real cause, her spineless fuck of a boss.

He was the one who’d set this whole binge off, he was the one who’d sent her spiralling off on the path from the Diamond Shopping Channel studios in gently anonymous suburban Croydon to a back alley in Hull. Where a person with a will to could pick up a large bag of Crystal Meth from a small man with a bad attitude and even worse teeth. A chore she detested but when that comedown came it was good to be able to take the edge off.

It was him, her boss, a timid man made for accountancy and somehow jumped up to the level of minor corporate player, who really deserved a smack for his petty and blinkered lack of vision and business sense. And yet here she was, somehow transported far from work, home and her idea of civilization, slowly starting to feel the ebbing of her chemical buzz as she terrified the locals and fought walls. It was an injustice, pure and simple.

Letting out a weary sigh that descended into a heavy growl Tamsin made a token effort to straighten herself out, studiously ignoring the dimly throbbing sensation in her knuckles. Her pastel pink skirt suit, a pricey designer job from Harvey Nichols, was a mess. The committed efforts of the wardrobe team at the studio had gone to waste over the course of her adventure, defeated by the forceful chaos of her blurry exploration of society’s underbelly. A few rips and a lot of grime only half drew the eye when compared to the blood stains which, she assumed, weren’t hers. Although whose they were she had no idea. Tamsin could dimly recall passing a mirror a few hours back, in a bathroom somewhere. She’d just had an argument with… someone and had made a hazy attempt to re-apply her lipstick as her defeated nemesis lay gently groaning in the background. She’d not looked her best then and she felt certain things hadn’t improved since.

No matter, by the time she went back to work tomorrow she’d be back at her best, sporting a perfect blonde bob familiar to all her many fans, spray tan evenly applied once more and make up layered on to present a model of perfection. Tamsin always came through when she needed to and even after her abrupt, and not entirely polite, exit from a meeting with her boss they’d never fire her – she made them too much money. Hell, she could have made them a lot more if the stuffed suits and emasculated middle managers had the balls they were born with. Instead though they were stuck in their ways, blind to potential and happy plodding dutifully along, flogging tat and plastic jewellery to little old ladies, shut ins and the mentally uneven, and what sort of job was that? An easy one, really, to her at least, which was why Tamsin was indispensable to them. She had a natural flair for sales which almost matched her supreme tolerance for narcotics. With a friendly smile and soft voice she could sell plastic surgery to Brad Pitt. A talent which only became contentious when she, in her own view, really tried to use it. She had no regrets though, she’d made the company a fortune and they did nothing but bawl and whine in return, a piss poor reward for some unique and inventive marketing nous.

It was all blame though, all accusations, ‘Oh Tamsin, you can’t do that’, ‘Oh we’ll get in trouble’, ‘On no, you can’t sell assault rifles live on air during the Super Special Countdown Deal’. Well fuck that and fuck them, she could and she had and the margin had been a damn sight better on illegal firearms than it was on novelty Santa Claus cheese graters. Not to mention the fortune they’d raked in off the back of that home made Anthrax promotion, and that stuff hadn’t even worked. A fact which had made life very hard indeed for the man who’d sold it to her out of a garage in Chigwell. Another injustice in itself, unlike most of the shopping channel’s suppliers Tamsin stood behind what she sold and got no thanks for the severe repercussions she visited on those who sent her sub-standard goods. Although, in fairness, they had paid her court fees for the assault charge.

Her thoughts were swirling now, playing through her personal litany of grievances and it took a polite cough from the real world to draw her back to it.

“Excuse me dear”

Tamsin spun around, stumbling in the attempt and vaguely noticing that she’d lost a Manolo Blahnik pump at some point. The drugs were messing with her equilibrium but, with her good hand on the wall, she didn’t let herself spiral out of control.

At the end of the alleyway, where she’d been stood in variously violent and silent contemplation ever since the dealer had scuttled off, there was a figure framed by the intrusive mid-day sun. It was a little old lady, arms outstretched and rheumy gaze fixed on Tamsin. Trying to muster some dignity, or at least pretend she hadn’t noticed her lack of it, Tamsin hobbled towards the stranger, confused thoughts trying to foment a reaction to the unexpected interruption.

“I knew it was you, you’re that nice young lady from the telly”

The pensioner’s voice was shrill with excitement.

“Oh dear, have you had a fall? You’re all dirty”

Concern, mixed in with the standard enthusiasm Tamsin heard from those who recognised her – a semi-awestruck surprise at meeting, as far as the little people were concerned, a real life celebrity.

As her eyes came into focus she could see the wrinkled and delicate features of the old woman and, for no reason at all, she took an immediate dislike to her. Her arms were still outstretched and looking warily at them she slowly figured out why. It was a presentation, she was holding them out with a gaudy offering as an attempt at familiarity. On each wrist the aged stranger was wearing Aurora diamonte paste and artisan gold bracelets, catalogue number 90343, recommended retail price £200, Diamond Shopping Channel special price – £ 19.95. A line discontinued after a consumer body found that they were 99% lead and asbestos.

It wasn’t much of a trigger, but it did the job. Within an instant Tamsin had driven her unscathed hand, balled up as a fist, into the pensioner’s face. A blow that sent the unfortunate interferer straight to the ground where the attack continued with a flurry of kicks. It wasn’t much of a fight, in fact it wasn’t one at all and before long Tamsin eased up. She wasn’t one for cruelty and her victim was oddly unsatisfying in their lack of resistance. A situation that could easily have been rectified if, instead of splashing out on crap jewellery, they’d opted instead for one of the many small arms or melee weapons that could be brought for very reasonable prices during the Happy Hour Super Sale Rush.

The police report, which featured prominently in the local rag the next day, made no mention of the attacker’s identity and by then Tamsin was safely back in London anyway, straightened out and above suspicion.

A few weeks later the pensioner, still more surprised than upset by her ordeal and well on the mend, received a parcel in the post. It was a 9mm pistol, or a replica rather, drilled out by a drug dealer from Manor Park. Tamsin felt it was the least she could do by way of apology for her outburst, besides, it had come from a batch which had a terrible habit of jamming.

My latest work, No Cure for Shell Shock, is a collection of short stories and poetry. It’s available as an eBook and a paperback here.

Beauty is…

When I chance to think of beauty
I choose a sweaty arse
I choose some unwashed panties
a human lack of class

Because once I was a dreamer
who saw just perfect skin
and the price that we all pay for that
is an ignorant one’s sin

We make the object lovely
we make the focus fine
but it’s for no mortal form
that we weakly pine

You see beauty is transcendent
away from figure’s line
and if you do look closely
a sweaty arse
can be

Featured image – Vases by Sinead O’Moore

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The Evil ‘I’

I started writing poems
I vented all my spleen
I wrote all of my feelings
I gave you all I’d seen
I nailed down words in narrow verse,
testament to my self
I filled the screen with driven thoughts
to aid my mental health

I shared all of my heartache
I shared all of my shame
I shared and shared with nothing left
I wrote on all the same
I made myself the center
the voice that must be heard
the focal point for all your lives
in the metaphor of a bird
I gave myself psychosis
I made myself divine
I made myself the one true voice
the audience was mine
I wrote a life worth living
and one for dying too
I shared it all with others
was I supposed to listen too?

But in return you gave me nothing
a cynical, cold stare
a sigh of resignation
You said that you’d been there
You said I needed content
some message to the words
A point beyond my feelings
a reason to be heard

But I’m the endless poet
and you can’t understand
that the feelings that I put down
Are an I-I-I-I sound

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