life as we know it 1


The kraken goes shopping

I was on my way from leaving to arriving,
idling in a less-than-patient traffic queue,
when an unexpected monk
came tapping at my window.

He offered to paint my windscreen
for an altruistic price, and while he worked,
he shared the tragic story of his life.


… and that was how the voyage ended.
The vessel capsized, the mighty kraken squeezed
the shipping containers until they burst,
and all our quality products were lost
to the stormy sea.

As luck would have it, I reached the shore
on a makeshift raft of paper towels
and kitchen wipes.

I broke the awkward silence.

Misfortune nonpareil,
and all because

you used your crossbow
to skewer an albatross.

It might have been a seagull,
or a weather balloon,
or something else entirely.
I only know that I’ve been cursed,
that I must wander day by night
up and down the motorway,
painting windscreens as I go.

With a flourish of his brush,
the artwork was complete—
a masterly depiction of
a slightly spherical seagull.
But before he left, the curse
compelled a final verse.

Moderate your madness,
be conditional and circumspect,
and leave the waterfowl alone.
In your mind, you’re nobody’s temptation,
and yet you might be fate’s.


The words of that mysterious monastic
echoed in my head, and though my windscreen
was opaque, the path ahead shone brightly.

I would undertake a barefoot penance,
a pilgrimage to Port Botany,
there to seek forgiveness for my sins,
there to learn the secrets of the ocean,
there to find whatever truth was waiting.

I disembarked and crouched before
my Vauxhall Victor, addressed it
through the radiator grille.

You’re free to find your own true way,
but first, please take my shoes and socks
back home.

to continue


artwork  the kraken coast (detail above)

33 thoughts on “life as we know it 1

    • Thank you, BG. Yes, they’d definitely have to be in sealed packages. I probably should have done some testing, but not enough time. I’ve found saying you’re a writer and you’re doing research for a story works well for a lot of things. 😃 I’m hoping there will be a 2.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right Frank, I saw the news and there was a lot of trash washed ashore. Sadly, the Victor was manufactured many decades before the current self-driving cars. Apparently the protagonist wasn’t aware of that. 😃 Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “Moderate your madness” is quite a practical advice. We can’t get rid of our madness, but we should try to moderate it.

    What a story in exchange of a (not so) clean windscreen. Did you take his shoes and socks? Or did you keep ‘em because he didn’t do a good job (on your windscreen)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Annie, and I always try to. Given that, I prefer not to identify with the protagonist who apparently is not as in control as he might be.😃 There are various possible explanations for the shoes and socks. I’m imagining that the monk wasn’t barefoot because he was cursed to walk up and down the motorway, but apparently the protagonist was happy with the artwork, so my guess is that he left his own shoes and socks in the vehicle to begin his penance,

      Liked by 2 people

    • No, you’re right, Magarisa, I would never expect a monk to tap on my window in the traffic. I usually expect Quoth, the raven, to tap, or an unnamed raven, or a giant mutant mosquito from Mars, or possibly a zombie. But never a monk. 😄

      I have a theory that there is only one truly altruistic price, i.e. free. And even if a merchant offers a free trinket, it is not altruistic because it attracts clientele.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Sobhana. It might be easier for fictional Vauxhalls with AI. I’d say the rest of us have a qualified freedom, with all the connections we have to others, the restraints we choose ourselves, that we gladly accept.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Paul. Might be a bit of action and reaction, because I slipped a gear with this one due to other commitments, and was running late. I think it drives what I write towards a certain kind of craziness.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Nikita. I do know one thing about inspiration: when I really, really need it, I won’t be able to find it. I think that dreams always play a role, and I usually write in the morning. At the minimum, even when they’re not remembered, they leave a feeling tone behind, and from there, a flash, a phrase, images, through to a whole narrative.

      I think that all of our past experiences, including what we’ve read and seen in various media, fiction and not, come into play. This applies both to dreams and to what pops into our heads when we’re awake. And when we consciously remember a dream, this is material for further dreams, which I wrote about … er… here.

      Liked by 1 person

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