rumour you talked about, I got some more on it. I was in the bar just listening
in on conversations and there's these two very serious looking women, blue rinse
brigade and all that
lovers my guess
- and they start
talking about this Georgie.
seems she was someone used to live round here. She was a hooker and some sort of
porn actress from what they were saying. They most definitely did not approve.
Seems she disappeared couple of years ago and the whole thing's a scandal but
noone's done anything because of what she was. Everyone knows the details about
everything except the way she died. I checked the details. She was in the flop
shows like they said and all else attached but as to how she died it's all a bit
vague. There's an account of her being found on a railway track, head cut off by
the train. Then I went and dug out the doctor's report and there¹s a mismatch.
Head still on the body. Intacta.
this grinning partner. Georgie was someone's daughter.
trying to be philosophical?
here, in this place. Some of these people, they know her. One's her mother.
-Zip. No one
says a thing about fathers round here.
ever knows their fathers, jerkhead?
doing it again?
-O jeez, whatever.
noticed the poached eggs taste funny?
noticed how they kind of get to be kind of green?
should look harder. You're missing stuff.
never asked you that time.
just thought I'd get it in before you asked.
a negative guy you know that? Has anyone ever told you that? -No.
seen the equipment they use to blow up these dogs. They go up like
think just dogs?
don't think a thing. But these houses seem to be full of secrets. -You got more
on that Georgie woman?
a help. Someone trying to hide things. Trying to put us off the scent. Sniff
sniff, I'm a bloodhound.
need to be careful. You know what they do to doggies round here? Ka boom!
has its root in Œreveal' or something.
but maybe all this talk about hidden things gets me to wonder. Reveal, conceal.
Daughters hiding their mothers and vice versa and just good ol' vice. -------Who's
the daughter, who's the mother? -Mammy, mammy.
you'll wake the neighbours.
but who is my neighbour? What is the truth?
wash your hands.
likely in this fucking water. The drip could cause blisters. Keep to the bottle
and stave off the temptations of such devil crack. -Straighten up, people will
already are. They're talking about how the fuck they can keep our noses out of
the trough before they have to cut them off. Us off. All of us off, snout, head,
the whole bollox.
think there's a danger?
kidding. This isn't about fucking dogs now is it?
had a doll when you were little?
with a cunt had a doll.
Find the doll and you find the daughter and you find the mother. Then you find
the dads and then you find everything that's wrecking this place. Everything.
----Lock stock and bollox all.
last guy I spoke to, he's playing with the wrong stuff.
wrong stuff. He's playing with the little daughter and the little son and he
shouldn't be doing that to my mind. Not theirs neither.
say that's the heart.
with your doll. Play with your kiddies. Bad play or good play? You want advice.
Stick to good play. Leave out the bad play.
want to make clear what you're talking about?
want to say nothing. I want to be blind. I want my eyes to be sewn up. I want
that my ears too, needle and thread. I want too they sew up my arse hole and all
other holes. I want to have no more holes. That's what he said. The interview
was terminated at five this evening. I have it on tape. It was a significant
breakthrough. He's an old old man. He never left the area except once to fight a
war or something. Then he came back. The same old places. Familiarity and
contempt. He was looking to get both. I still say, in all honesty, it's whatever
they put in the water.
got a problem here with water with dogs with dolls with old Nazis with
what we do with the problem, with all these things? We just put them in the pot.
We just stir.
and fry more like and we the ones going to fry. Well and truly. I say keep out
our nose our snez our snout.
know the coking plant? -I know.
then, let's see what you know. You sure that's what it is? You want to
want you to check.
goon, it¹s too big to hide.
its hiding. It's right there in front but it's hiding nevertheless. Maybe we're
looking straight at it but we see jack.
your theories, they drive me crazy.
prove me crazy and I'll sign me in.
used my snout to good purpose, to glowing purpose, to puss in boot
on with your crow.
pipes, coal falling by gravity through holes in the roof, rams in the oven at
the narrow end, evidence of the W-D Becker Underjet Coke Oven, mixture burns,
coke wharf and the rest of the baggage
the stink of it, the senses steered backwards.
its no mirage?
a coking plant. Defunct. A former coking plant. Heavy duty stuff. Condemned
By the end of the last three years it'll be gone. Landscape artists already on
the job and then finished. You'll never guess in future times, you'll not see
the lost days.
always the last dying breath!
we have here is what we thought we had here ages ago.
-Before we came here.
Before any of it happened.
was that now?
there was the scar or the glistering white in the skin of the flesh. The Coking
Plant looks like a battleship, a grey wolf cruiser low slung through the
channels of water, but instead of water there's grass and a heap of stones
couched together where the very beasts themselves have life.
-I on nothing, I
just taking a good deep look that's all.
guess you got something in your sights then?
stare out and then it occurs.
I see nothing. That's what occurs. So I'm left out of it. All these nutters
round here, they just waiting for us to get out so things can revert, fall back
again to normal.
-There's no normal
here. Dogs. Dolls. Water. This Georgie character.
have a theory.
have two parts to the brain, twin hemispheres. They connect and learn from one
another. They connect and learn, but don't use language. Language, let's say, is
just one dimension of something that's five or six dimensions. So to trust in
language and believe that a theory of learning's just a matter of describing
how language works, even down to its deep structures, that's way off the point.
So you see, there's a need then to plug into the way the hemispheres do it with
each other. Some sort of connector's needed so that we bypass the language stuff
completely and tap in to the deep thoughts. Then start to connect brains to
brains at that level rather than rely on language to do it for us.
got dolls, we got dogs, we got Georgie girl, we got Coking Plant, we got brain
hemispheres. Do the dolls talk to dogs to Georgie to Coking Plant to brain
-Doll doggy stuff,
sounds like we're into something here very weird very kinky.
got a new dimension here.
that? The dolls?
not kiddies dolls. We're barking up the wrong tree with kiddies.
what are these dolls?
dolls? So what dolls? Who's dolls?
-The grown ups?
-So much human misery and
hate may be compressed into a few sentences spanning the years.
the new idea. In the fibre of these people something has been inprinted.
Something chemical and basic. The logical constraints of the biological
structures. Sex becomes thrown off centre. Everything becomes rewired. Some old
wires are even disconnected, removed. Ancient information is rerouted, decoyed,
mugged, scrubbed, wiped, messed up, reordered until they become new people. They
are not what they were. They are not who they are. Have you seen the insects
-There are none?
been eaten or just failed to reproduce. Either way, or even another alternative,
they're not here anymore.
are other changes. Way back there were changes in the trees. Many have died,
some are already coal.
-I did samples. That's
what I've been up to. That's why the coking plant's here.
-The coking plant's been
shut down for years according to records. According to records it's not even
up. They flattened it years ago. Along with the mine.
what is this?
-Ahha. There's the
question. Curiosity, free mind play and all that, disinterested, at cades in the
wilderness of Zin...
got people turning into trees and then to coal. That's what we got here.
got really all that?
-And the dogs? And the
-Dogs part of something
like a reaction.
-A reaction against.
Some sort of experiment sequence. There's a desperate people out here.
Something's got to be tried. So pump air into systems and see if that does any
good. It does no good. It leaves everything pretty much as it was. I find other
traces in the soil. Someone's trying out anything, everything.
Diphosgene, Distilled mustard, Lewisite, Tabun, Sarin, Hydrogen cyanide,
Adamsite. And cannisters in one of the storage sheds out by the plant.
coke plant's been sabotaged. The whole town¹s in on it. They've slipped in new
papers saying the thing's not there but of course, there it is. Roads have been
rerouted, lead to heaven, anywhere else. There's no way in, no way out. On the
maps this place isn't an address anymore. We're in a ghost and all the roads
curve away. They've been using the saturator, using the water sprays to cool
down everything and slow down the process. They were presumably hoping they
could perhaps separate elements in the air, in the gases that were being sent
through the feed lines, wherever they are, desperate to stop it all, to call a
what we¹re missing all along. The dolls weren't for kiddies. They were adults.
I mean that. Not dolls for adults, but adults, the real purple cord at the
-Subtle riddles, fuck
them. -There's a simple literal sense whose light the owls cannot abide.
Government agencies pore over certain things, day and night, tithes, morturies,
offerings, customs and other pillage. Runagates all. Ay.
were dolls. They were turning, each one here, even now. The wooden dolls were
the people hereabouts.
-Soon to be coal.
The plant's open to process them when they're too far gone. The process takes
place over a mere couple of years. Human flesh become wood. They appear as
dolls. They walk stiff all around and everyone's shitless scared at first light.
In the night you're just a wreck. They stiffen and become lifeless. They calcify
and end. And the remains are wisked away. The memories of their neighbours hover
everywhere. Eating habits change, politics, domestic arrangements, the
is right. Too fuck right.
we have here is a constellation of circumstances. Hrumph.
pest and bridges and playthings.
The sketch needs filling in but yes, that's the thing, pests, bridges,
-The water I guess. The
strain of crawling these streets.
-In the days
between Dan and Bersabe, to the threshing place of Areunah the Jebusite.
think some sort of plague sydrome, all other factors surrounding here.
and epidemics, the perfect marriage. Hohum.
progress on who wrote the cover up info? Any progress on who wrote our invites?
Someone wanted us here to see the childish things before they get put away.
There's someone here who likes us.
playing double bluff. Some elaborate trick.
prefer that someone likes us.
prefer safe than sorry
the fact, whichever way up.
there's been no contacts from either direction.
managed a little bit on the side but there's nothing coming home to roost.
-They still refuse to
help. They insist we stay heads down but breathing.
-There's a house
out on the west road about a mile out. There's a body.
There's the smell of something sour, a fruit mix all through the house. So I'm
there with the local bobby and he's saying I should leave this to the local
units and I show him my pass and he frowns but can't do anything. So I stay.
This van arrives and they put the body in and drive off. I follow at a discrete
distance. There's a small infirmary. They take the body inside.
-Retired guy. Used
to be a miner. Coal still in his skin, wears it like mascara. In his late
-Doctor signed a
certificate saying cancer.
-You get to
-I ask. They say
there's no reason for outside agencies to have any part in the routine. They
stress this. Routine, they say and there's a group of heavies suddenly in the
background I haven't seen in these parts before.
There's one I have seen before though.
-It's a face you
-So he's running
something out here.
-You say anything?
You think he knows what we are? You think he saw that you'd recognised
-He was in the
shadows, behind the others. It was a mere drift, a glance, nothing more. He can't
have seen I saw.
-So what does that
things and complicates everything.
-We should tell
-Yes but not yet.
We should find out more as to why the Complex has sent down its top architect to
supervise this stuff. This must be bigger than we were thinking.
-You think our
side knows how big?
-Could be the
reason they are keeping out for the time being. Maybe they want us to foul
things up a little here, barge in and make a mess before they ride in from the
between mob and law you saying?
-All I'm saying is
don¹t drink the water!
trail like a sniffer dog.
hinterlands, dog isn't good.
-There's a radio
van in one of the fields out by the wood. They're sitting around waiting for
something. They didn't see me but they were on red alert. There's definitely
something going down these goons know all about. I stayed with them for what,
hour, two? I ain't say exactly but long enough. The dead miner, all wrapped up,
delivered as the sun went down. I saw them tiptoe out into the field but
couldn't get close enough to see what they were doing.
-Standing back and
sometimes dipping into the radio van, twitching nervous throughout. If you ask
me they were scared.
-Scared? What they
got to be scared about? I thought we were the one's facing the hornets.
there¹s whisky, whatever you want but stay clear of the water. Out in the corn,
that's where it is.
-The body. They
left it there. There's something going to happen.
-I got vaccine, I
-Let's try the
coking plant first, see what we see, then see what we're missing.
-Malano and his
-And we got?
-We saw something in the roof. There's
a fire escape like a strand of jungle way overhead. Something moved quickly from
right to left. We both saw it. We shouted to whatever it was, we thought someone
was up there but then we saw that the ladders were twisted and broken. No one
could have made it. So we guessed it was a trick of the light, something we had
to shrug off.
-Doll head, splintered wood, painted
face, no mouth, oval eyes, myclonic jerks and spasms. We both had our theories ,
all neat and tied up and then this, spitting shavings and dust from way off. It
was like splicing ape with tree. And jeez it was watching our every
move, our each and every twitch, it had us in its sights, it had everything in
its sights, it saw everything that could be seen that night and we were just
blind. So there's a fall of coal dust and still we don't get it and then there's
a kind of gravity failure and we're starting to feel things floating towards the
roof and then we realise everything's falling down and we're buried under.
-The removal of the coking plant
should have been picked up by the recorders and scanners we were using. Standard
issue. But no shots picked any of it up. We never checked. So the blanks at the
end were a complete shock. Like dream sequences of landscapes we'd never seen.
All that flat grassland, all that horizon.
the operation I thought we'd both make it but of course....
the operation there was the business of the body in the field to follow up
and of course the sighting of Malano. You say he'd been dead for years but he
was there even though we've no recordings. If you cannot believe the reports
there's little we...I, can do.
Malano was in the frame in this then there must be other stuff which connects.
have told you everything I can.
-File a departed
-Ah ha. Yup.
then. Me, right hemisphere: you, left. Same brain. Malano's. You get the
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marshall has written poetry and short stories for CQ. He writes
plays as Frank Beat. His latest play, Hedgehogs, was performed at The
Man in the Moon (London) last year. His nom de plume as a novelist is
Dick Marsh. GM Mutant Baby Plague, Go Fanny Go, 8 Billion Vinnie Jones’s
and Dirty Manga Bastards should all be published by Attack! Books ().
Richard edits an education magazine called English In Education which
he has managed to keep “spinning towards the dissenting point of view.”
His ambition is “to keep making scummy noises that one day will bite.”