Bulk (A very short story)

Out with the lads, Friday night, Jake all lairy and Tom all leery and all of them pretty beery, darts, pool, lager, perving over women, playful shoulder punches and heterosexual hugs, rhythmic belching on a hot summers night.          And Jake says, ‘Here’s Pete’.

          And you know past midnight the bars still open and the goodness the dwells within every soul, open minded and ready to accommodate this new friend, Pete.

          ‘Alright, Pete?’

          Bloody hell!

          Pete is a fifty six tonne sperm whale.

          ‘Pete’s famous’, Jake says, ‘Cos he can drink like a fish. Can’t you, Pete?’

          Pete grins.

          His polo shirt only just fits.

          ‘I’ve just been playing pool’, he says. ‘But I leaned on the table and the legs broke. Completely collapsed! But I won the game anyway because all of the balls just happened to go down the holes in the exact right order. We had to leg it’.

          I want to ask him how he can leg it when he has not got legs.

          ‘Up till then’, he says, ‘It was going swimmingly’.

          I also want to ask him how he can hold the cue with his flappy little fins but I’m afraid he might give me a slapping.

          ‘Let’s go out and get a curry’, Jake suggests.

          ‘Or a kebab’, says Tom.

          ‘I don’t know about you guys’, says Pete, ‘But I’d love some krill. I think there’s an all night plankton place near here’.

          At this moment we hear some loud mouthed skinhead at the bar tell a joke in which the punchline denigrates certain sea-based large mammals.

          ‘Just what did you say?’, Pete asks.

          The skinhead looks somewhat taken aback.

          ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t realise you were a whale. I couldn’t tell from the accent’.

          But now we’re beginning to warm to Pete and plans are made to get a taxi back to our place. Helpfully, Jake suggests we might need a six seater, without drawing attention to Pete’s bulk, the elephant in the room.

          ‘We could watch a dvd’, Pete says. ‘But not something sad. I always start to blubber’.

          ‘You could stay over’, Tom says. ‘I could make up some beds’.

          ‘That’s fine, I can always sleep in the bath’.

          At that moment a fight broke out at the pool table. One of the combatants lobs the cue ball, it sails through the air and goes straight into Pete’s blowhole, where it lodges, and he dies.

The Day This Summer I Almost Gave Up On Spoken Word

It’s been a strange year for a lot of reasons. Professionally for me, it’s been a very good year with lots of opportunities and reasons to get excited about the future, some of which I can’t reveal right now. But just a few months ago it looked very different.

I was reminded of this by the retirement of Nico Rosberg, the current formula one world champion. For those uninitiated with motor racing, he won the world championship after a thrilling duel with Lewis Hamilton, reckoned by many to be the best driver in the world today, then promptly announced his retirement. It was a brave and honest move.
This summer I performed at the Edinburgh Fringe. I was only there for a week, but the usual Fringe madness was endemic, the seemingly endless cycle of promoting and leafleting, flyering, talking, then putting on a show in front of three people at the most. I was getting audiences at least, but I was not having the best of times, in a noisy venue which was very supportive and friendly and yet wholly unsuited to my show, which demanded long periods of quiet. Consequently I did not enjoy the experience. However, I did appear at a few other shows, as a guest at Stand Up and Slam, which my poetry helped the Poet team to a resounding success, and at the Boomerang Club, where I headlined on the very last day of the fringe.
By this time I was feeling a little frazzled by the whole experience. I’d also had one or two problems, such as losing my passport, so while I should’ve been flyering and leafleting, I was making phone calls and stressing about the passport, because I had a trip to New York and it was looking like I wouldn’t have a passport in time to get there. I’d also had to move accommodation for the last day of my stay due to another procedural problem. So it was all quite stressful.
On the penultimate night I thought, hmmm, why don’t I give it all up? The possibility of a promotion had come up at work, and this would mean less spoken word, perhaps I ought to go for the promotion and not do any spoken word at all, become a professional and competent retail manager instead. And as the penultimate day wore on I thought more and more that this was the right decision.
So I planned the set for the Boomerang Club in the knowledge that this might be my last ever performance anywhere. And where better to do a last performance, but headlining in Edinburgh? It would be a great story. Something to remember for the rest of my life while ploughing ahead into the beauty of a career in retail.
On the way to the gig from my new lodgings, I walked along listening to music, walked past the Courtyard, and someone recognised me from the Stand Up and Slam event, they acted as if they’d just seen a celebrity. It made me feel good.
The show went well and I finished on my poem ‘Plop’, which I normally start routines with. I did this because it was a little symbol to myself, a little nod. The show went very quickly, and I sat down and thought, well, that’s done then. And now I’m a retail manager.
Getting home to Devon took about twelve hours and when I finally arrived my mind was blank. But then something weird happened the next morning. It was like my brain had been wiped, that the whole future of spoken word seemed a blank canvas on which I could completely start again.
And instead of retiring, I found myself acting as if I was a complete newcomer. I set in motion a system of rehearsing and concentrating on performance skills. I decided to try and learn all of my new material. And I decided to have fun. Why should I stop doing the only thing I’m halfway decent at?
And I decided not to go for the promotion.
It’s a gamble that has paid off. I’ve got a few opportunities and projects which are quite advantageous, financially, and I’m even considering reducing the number of hours I do in my day job to accommodate these. This whole half year has been a complete reinvention. And of course, I had a fantastic gig in New York, once I’d sorted my passport out, winning over a cabaret crowd in Greenwich Village right next door to the Stonewall Inn. 
It’s been a weird year, and I’m so glad that I didn’t Do A Nico!

This year’s advent calendar 

Well this year’s advent calendar was a strange one. Here’s every day in it’s unusual glory. 
Today’s advent calendar picture was of a duck wearing a Groucho Marx moustache, nose and glasses.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a clown waving his big shoe at a smoke detector 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of the Easter Bunny trying to keep two sides of a build-it-yourself shed upright while Marilyn Monroe reads the instructions. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of the seven dwarves waiting, angrily, at a mobile chip van, while the lady serving, who for some reason is a panda, is looking at holiday photos being shown to her by Snarf from Thundercats
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Gandalf at the self service Tesco machine 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of an advent calendar 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Vladimir Putin eating a Pot Noodle 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of sixteen Laurels (from Laurel and Hardy) and Sid James queuing at a self service cafeteria.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a frog trying to push a sofa up a flight of stairs, backwards, sweating profusely.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of an igloo, a bin with contents strewn around, and a polar bear flaked out by tranquilliser dart. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a Peruvian brown bear wearing a scarf scraping frost off the windscreen of a parked car with its engine running. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a sneezing unicorn.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a badger and a rabbit having a row about who gets the last chicken mayonnaise sandwich in the chiller cabinet while TV’s Victoria Coren Mitchell sneaks in and grabs it for herself.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a stack of suspended ceiling tiles, £11 each plus postage and packing 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of the nativity scene. (Bit early but there you go). 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of fifteen donkeys wearing sombreros and a man at a stall trying to sell them more sombreros but the donkeys are having none of it.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a badger getting a refund on a pair of trousers.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Lord Byron on roller skates in a crumpled heap next to a slightly dented Ford Focus. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a panda in a library reading a Will Self novel, double checking some of the weightier vocabulary in a dictionary. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Mr T from The A Team at the boating lake in the park, rowing a rowing boat past some rhododendrons. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a squid waiting in the queue for the Primark changing room with a Tigger the Tiger onesie.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Darth Vader in a lightsabre battle with Alan Bennett. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Michael Portillo looking very grumpy on a rail replacement bus. Oh, and why not, Skeletor from HeMan is sitting three rows behind him, eating a Pot Noodle.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a confused ostrich.

Make your own Robert Garnham Poem with this Automatic Robert Garnham Whimsy Generator

Make your own Robert Garnham Poem with this Automatic Robert Garnham Whimsy Generator!
Your birth month:

January : An ocelot

February : A badger

March : A haberdasher

April : A lollipop lady

May : A dental hygienist

June : Jeremy Clarkson 

July : Mark

August : My Aunt

September : A duck wearing a Groucho Marx moustache and glasses

October : Another badger

November : The bus driver

December : TV’s Alan Titchmarsh
Your eye colour:

Brown : is playing a trumpet.

Green : is getting a refund on some trousers.

Hazel : is sneezing.

Blue : Is looking for the tv remote

Grey : has a dodgy stomach.

Other : is fumbling for some loose change.
Birth order:

Eldest child : Look out,

Middle child : Get ready,

Youngest child : Eat some cake and

Only child : Hang on a sec,
Hair colour:

Blonde : They’re coming after you next.

Brown : There’s bound to be an argument.

Red : They’ll send you a Facebook request.

Grey : run!

Black : did someone say ‘plop’?

Bald : Fetch a bucket.

Other : Put the kettle on.