Molly Bloom? YES!

Posted in books, coffee, hipsters working in bookstores, literature, wankers by expatatlarge on October 28, 2011

Two guys, P & T, go into a bookstore, browsing.

– I always like to read the last sentence of a book before I buy it. I find that it tells me most about the book, says P.

– Yeah, me too. Most people grab a book and look at the first sentence, or a bit of the first few pages, agrees T.

– Mistake. First few sentences writer dude’s trying hard to grab the publisher’s attention, you know, like publish this book and give money, sorta thing. It’s not actually what the reader would like he’s thinking of, but what he thinks the publisher will think the reader will like. You know how many subsequent classics have been knocked back by wanker publishers? Lots, it’s fucking criminal. The first sentence can be annoying, but the book still amazingly good. Or the sentence good but the book crap, like the stuff you read.

– Ha ha. But yeah, never thought of *why* I do it, but you’re spot on there. The last sentence or two are about tidying up the plot, the characters. Dude’s only trying hard to impress the reader, make the reader satisfied. Well not always of course, but you know what I mean.

They nod. Such perfect agreement between people is rare.

T, a genre fiction addict, recommends to P a couple of science-fantasy-speculative-horror-magic/realism cult books which he thought everyone should read, but P hasn’t.


“He never saw Molly again.” *

” ‘Don’t ask me why, old sport,’ said Stoney, ‘but somebody up there likes you.’ ”

“I know nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past.”

“He walked away and he kept on walking.”


And a few others of varying merit.

P, a pretentious autodidact who uses words like “autodidact” in general conversation, recommends some slipstream books which don’t quite fit the genres, as well as some modernist and post-modernist classics which everyone should read but, naturellement T hasn’t.


“And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out.”

“For a long time there is really nothing to be seen; but after Golgotha’s been burning for an hour or two, it becomes possible to see that underneath the shallow water, spreading down the valley floor, right around the isolated boulder where Randy’s perched, is a bright thick river of gold.”

“And all that is left to me is the sound of snow underfoot.”

“It was summoning all the barges on the river, every last one, and the whole city and sky and the countryside and ourselves, to carry us all away, the Seine too—and that would be the end of us.”

“Now everybody—”


And he picked up one more of the recommended books and held it open in his hands… And he started to read the last sentence.

P paid for his handful of books, had them demagnetized, placed in a biodegradable bag. He waited by the entrance.

Still waiting, he browsed some more new releases that tempted him. The Pale King. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet… He moved his biodegradable bag from one hand to the other, scratched at his groin as a pubic hair seemed to caught over the end of his cock. This irritated him. It was too long since he had last shaved his balls.

He wanted to call out to T to hurry the fuck up, but in a bookstore such as this one in Carlton, it is like a library but with allegedly cool people who have eyebrow studs and ponytails (males) and pierced lips and blue hair (females) behind the counter, and not little old ladies who always recommend Agatha Christie. It is not cool to yell here.

P gives up. Fuck, I’ll go have a long macchiato, he thinks. I’ll met T in the coffee shop he loves, the one next door..

His second long macchiato is down, some biscotti down. Despite his shaking hands, he is in a dream world, reading one of the books he has just bought. It is completely weird; moralistic, simplistic, and funny, and he was hooked by the expression “chrono-synclastic infundibula.” T is still not back. P sighs, pays the black-clad, blue-haired waitress with the stud though her lip and heads back to the bookstore and find T, last seen reading over 30 minutes ago.

T is standing where he left him, still immersed in the book, turning a page.

– Come on mate, I thought you were only going to read the last sentence!

– I am.

– What the fuck book are you reading?

– You recommended it, man.

He turns to book over to show P the cover.

P groans.



[Sorry about that folks – it was just meant to be a three line joke but as usual, I got carried a way. The real Tom, from whom this completely imaginary conversation originated when he joked about the title of this post being on a t-shirt somewhere (or something like that), has neither (all) the characteristics of the hyopthetical T nor (all) those of the hypothetical P, but he is a well-read bastard. Both characters, says E@L, c’est moi.

And there is purely the smug satisfaction of being a wanker dilettante like E@L for those who can tell me which books are quoted above: they are last lines, of course. OK, a candy bar or a Guinness, your choice, if you can get more than five. I’m presuming most people I know will get the book T is reading… If not, I’m getting some new friends.]

* The author added this sentence as an afterthought in order to prevent him from writing a sequel, as in — hey, she’s dead. It didn’t work. (Thanks Paul.)

Faster Lifts : Faster Stupidity

Posted in frustration, lifts, misanthropy, Mr Grumpy, stupidity, wankers by expatatlarge on October 2, 2010

What is it with people and lifts? What is the rush?

When the light on the call-button is lit – obviously someone has pressed it already and one of the lifts will eventually be on its way – why do they have to press it again? The lift is not going to come any earlier because of your redundant poking. Why does the next person come up and, even though they have seen the last person press it, even though the light is still on, why do they press it yet again? The lift is fucking coming, all right? Shit-for-brains.

Leave. The. Call. Button. Alone.


What do these impatient and hateful people, those who force their way into the elevator against those coming out, what do they hope to gain? Why is this millisecond of aggression so important? They’re only going to amble off casually once they get to their floor anyway, chat absent-mindedly on their phones, take emails on their phones, read texts on their phones. What is with the fucking rush to get into the elevator? It’s not going to get you to your floor any sooner.

Why? Because I am still at the back of those waiting to go in. The lift is not going to leave until the last person squeezes in, and that’s me. Maybe I’ll even poke my ample tummy – the tummy you stare at with such contempt, you are so disgustingly rude – into the infra-red beam that senses people coming in. Your pushing and shoving will be wasted. I am taking my fucking time, just to fuck you up, wankers.


And you, hunched at the side of the lift’s interior, why do you hover over the controls floor-buttons in the inside of the elevator as if they were a secret set of controls? Why do you block me? I want to press the button for my floor. Maybe in your mind these are controls to make contact for a 1.21 gigawatt burst of stored static electricity to surge through giant glass discharge balls, to send artificial lightning into a dead body, to bring a hybrid monster to life?

Or do you think your are lift operator? Maybe you have lift operator genes in you? Do you dream of an oversized, two-pronged lever to close the lift, like in the good old days? Are you a throwback to the grandfather on your mother’s side, the grandfather who was a lift operator? Maybe your grandfather was Dr Frankenstein, working-part in a department store?

Get out of the fucking way, let me press the button for my fucking floor, crazy pricks!

Step. Away. From. The. Buttons.


Why do people feel they have to press the door-OPEN button while the other people are coming in? Do they think they are in-charge, or that are being nice. This is an automatic lift with sensors, with retractable inner doors that trigger the reopening of the door if someone or something obstructs them. Anyway, the door is already open, stupid. It is not going to close yet as the infra-red beam has not been broken and the mechanism of closing cannot start. I can open a 99% closed door by running my hand in, either breaking the infra-red beam or holding back the inner pressure-sensitive doors which forces them to make contact with the door opening trigger. I don’t need you help to get in. I am adult. I have a University Degree (equivalent). I can get into a lift by myself.

This is not your ancient HDB lift, one that stops at every second floor (Grandma in her wheelchair has to carried downstairs, welcome to Singapore) and tries to crush Grandma and any slow moving grand-children when it guillotines closed unexpectedly. This is a modern building, it’s not going to happen, this is the modern world. Wake up to the 21st century. The ironic thing is that you are rude and aggressive everywhere else in your mean and petty life; I know your type, arseholes.


Why do those patently rude people press the door-fucking-CLOSE button – jab, jab, jab, jab – when people are still coming in or even while people a few steps away are approaching the lift and who obviously want to go up or down, whichever way this lift is headed (or footed I guess, going footwards, down). You are the nice person in his true colours. Bastards, I hate you.


Why do they all press that door-close button repeatedly – jab-jab-jab-jab-jab – even if the door has started closing already? Once a second or two elapses since the last person broke the infra-red beam, then, according to the design chosen by the lift-making company, the time-circuitry that controls this door is initiated, and the door has commenced to close. The urge for them to press this button seems irrepressible. What mechanism? Maybe there is a small spring-controlled wheel with a dropout area which allows the magneto to contact (the old way), maybe these days there an electronic program on a chip to to do it, but whatever – nothing these people can do will change this timing once it reached its closing sequence. (Industrial lifts have a longer time before they close.)

OK, the lift might close a bit sooner if the close button is pressed immediately after the last person has just entered, in the short insignificant time before the timing mechanism kicks in by itself. Then the spring will be released and the timing wheel will spin a bit faster and allow the contacts to be made a fraction earlier, either that or the hypothetical program will be over-ridden, but what is the fucking rush? The door will close automatically anyway, in fact it’s already fucking closing, dickheads.

Stop. Pressing. The. Close. Button.


Stop. Driving. Mr Grumpy. Crazy.


Hell is other people in the lift. I hate all vertical commuters.


c.f: James Gleick, Faster