A new life, for an old man.

Month: January, 2013

The Curious Case of Billiards – Part Two

The very first thing that was offered was a game on said table. I could tell from the brothers demeanor, they had no intention of enjoying the game, but I could not wait. To cue up for a hit, you had to use the fowl as a precursor, and they only rolled one way, straight, so multiple hits required delicate maneuvering and forethought. I immediately found myself immersed in a strange speculative thought pattern. The beautiful art kept my eye delighted, and my mind responded with a capricious and sprightly thought pattern. It became apparent as well that there was a cause and effect of weights and design. It was easiest to hit the moon, and then use the moon to push other balls around. After about two hours the genius of the game was so immense I was left almost flabbergasted and distraught, but I knew there had to be more to my visit than just this. Our conversation was becoming more distressed as we played, and it was obvious that the brothers did not grasp the subtle clues and intentions the game itself kept buried in its mechanics. Indeed they became down right angry with the whole thing.

“Is it not preposterous, this monstrosity of a game, dear Spiker? I am completely convinced my mother has gone mad, and is just out of control with her airs!” Hampton spun his monocle from his chain, peering down his nose at me.

“Of course it is brother, it is just again, her demanding and control of the estate, put to horrible use, and a useless end.” Richard put his billiards stick on the table, closing the game.

“Your Mother is an artist, I am sure she meant it to be enjoyed by the two of you, and your friends…” I did not finish the statement, as it was obvious that they hated the table, the game, and anything coming close to statement. Another round of scotch was poured, and this would be the fifth round of heavy pouring, I was aware I needed to stay quiet and find out what my 50 pound fee was going to entail.

Richard picked up one of the chicken cue balls, and with a hearty sideways swing of his arm, neatly chucked it out the open glass top of the room. “That is were this belongs, on the lawn, as a decoration! Her insistence that we play it at least once has been observed, let’s talk about why we called you out.” His face was flushed, and he was angry, so I did my best to keep a pleasing face and smile for them, as they began to talk with me in earnest.

The table cost £180,000. The ivory for the sticks cost £2000 alone, and between the large semi precious stones used as billiard balls, and the payments for sculpting artists, the table had wrought considerable financial difficulties for their shipping investments. The problem was that their mother controlled all their interests for 5 more years, and they worried that her madness would manifest itself in spending every penny they had. They had every intention of ruining her in court, and getting a judge who had been handsomely bribed to give them the control over their various monies, before they were gone. We sat on the two lounges in the library, and as we sat, Hampton kept chucking various pieces of the table out the windows.

Now I have never felt the bite of a moral, or had the desire to shield people from each other. Indeed, I was quite the opposite, you do whatever you need to do in life, and I will do my best to profit off of it. I had no interest in the mother, but as they talked, half of my soul and heart began to betray my conscience . I could feel the normal half of my brain agreeing with them, telling them what judge they should bring the case to. The other half of me was setting up an even more elaborate plan, however. I heard my self telling them to chose to use the high court, not the county court. My arguments seemed sensible, as the high court has more jurisdiction and power  and would likely not be contested, however I knew it was much easier to bribe a county official than a high court justice. They had £20000 to bribe with though, so there was a part of me that said it could work, and justified the idea to the other half of me. No matter though, it was a trap, a trap I was devising as we spoke. I was about to betray my position as a scoundrel  and go against all my work before me. I was sweating over it, when the mother herself came in.

She saw the mess of the table, and at first, smiled greatly, correctly assuming that we had played a game with her table. She talked about it, and I listened with an intent ear, for the table was a prize, a prize for all mankind, if I had ever seen one. She eventually noticed the missing pieces however, and then the row began. Her sons, angry in the first place, were not to smart to me however, and I winked at them as a conspirator should, and admonished them and sent them and the servants out to search for all the pieces.  She was distraught, but soothed by the fact that they did indeed find all the parts, and I wrung an apology from both of them to their mother. She finally smiled and said goodnight, and retired to her rooms.

I of course, was immediately under the ire and angst of the brothers. I cajoled them to think about how perfectly I had set this up for them. Let the table alone, indeed show it off a little bit, it could not hurt, as it was well done and proof of how well heeled they were. Use it to write a contract on, and laugh about how silly the game is, and all the while I would set up the case for the high court. Once I knew the judge, I would send word to them and they could approach him privately and settle their accounts. There would be an end for all, and until then, smile and be polite about it. They discussed it privately outside, while yelling at the servants to put out the lanterns that had been lit to find the various pieces. They both came in and slapped me on the back heartily, positive and happy about the course of action we had set.


2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Curious Case of Billiards – Part One

The Curious Case of Billiards and Backstabbing  or How I Saved the Best Art

Although not generally known, for my reputation as a drinker and a rascal is far better known, I, John Babtiste Spiker Handrow Thronton, am a barrister. I tend to be the man, who in certain circles, takes on certain delicate cases. Basically anything you want to hear about the rich and the powerful, their proclivities, their sins, their moral dilemmas, I am the one who has to cover their assets from loss and public derision. I am a modest man, modern and self made, my background is a bit dubious, because I come from the country and have made myself known in the city. My mother died at childbirth, and my father doted on me, using his money to insure that I became something grand. I hated life in the country, and loved the city, so I fell prey to his motivations, far better than he ever expected. As soon as I entered the city, I began my schooling in the practice of law, but I did so only at person request. I made it known that I could be had for a price, to take the law and make it perform certain loops and circuses for the rich. I first just had certain papers signed, but over the years I was known to be the man who you could take problems and conceal them, children who did naughty things and have them rescued from public indignity, family who was not to be shown in public and have them properly put into the country, and other similar and delicate situations.

I also had a to keep a certain reputation, one I rather enjoyed, so that people would not be embarrassed to approach me with their problems. I had to play the hedonist, you see, I had to know certain madams, and I had to have a list of  doctors, people who could get things done. I had to show my indulgences as well, it had to be known I could have drink, or a tonic, and perhaps absinthe or laudanum. I had to show knowledge of rascals, folks down by the harbor, people who could do things. Keeping such a reputation is the most wonderful way of life I could condone, I suggest it for every man. This lifestyle has so many advantages for a man in the city of London, that many have followed me trying to get into my shoes. I however, being the barrister I am, never allowed a school of bullies to gather around me, instead always following my own personal order, and seeking ever the higher company of people in the proper circles. My hedonism keeps them from being so close to me as well, and most younger fellows and their children are the main company I keep.

I was called on the summer of ’88 by Richard and Hampton Surry, to come and give legal advisement on a certain piece of art that was being delivered. One must understand this predicament usually meant being served the finest scotch available, usually stuff that was made before the war. I ate a hearty meal, and prepared myself for a night of indulgence. I find the two brothers spiteful and arrogant to the extreme, but their table is always filled with the finest liquors, and I am always called on to tell them my distinct ideals on whatever they have in mind. I basically keep them out of trouble of their own make and decision, advising them on when to use servants or people of the village or when they should get their own hands dirty. My fee of 50 pounds per visit keeps things nice tidy for me, as well. The complication of this visit was evident before I ever arrived however, because the visit was over a piece of art. That could only mean one thing, the art was from their mother, and they needed to know what to do about it. Perhaps it was embarrassing and they wanted to hide it, or maybe they found it uncouth and wanted it destroyed. I knew that it would be of extremely personal nature however, I had no clue how dirty the evening would get.

I arrived in my own carriage, dressed richly but simply, this was not a night for women and public reports, but a quiet night between friends, if the indulgences overran or not. I wore a green felt jacket, with a doubled button vest in black silk. I had felt top hat and pocket watch as well, in case I needed an excuse I could say I had a later appointment for dinner. I stepped out of my carriage on to the main entrance at Surrey Manor. I loved their courtyard, the Roman columns standing straight and tall, the marbled steps clean and white. I was escorted through the Main Hall and into the new glassed in Library. Richard and Hampton both stood and greeted me like proper gentleman. The library was amazing, made of this new modern sheet glass, you could see the whole of the gardens right outside, and the entire top 4 feet of the walls were open to allow fresh air in. They showed me the intricate mechanism, made of beautifully cast iron, full of swirls and cusps, that with no effort at all, even a woman could crank the tons of glass up and down, to shut out the cold, or let in the warm fresh air like to day. I do think this Library more an Arboretum than a place for books, for there were exotic plants from all over the world. I was shown various orchids of delightful colors, amazing foliage plants whose leaves were of the brightest greens and yellows, and the most colorful birds in golden cages, whose noise might be a bit much for most, but as the whiskey was in my hand almost immediately after our introduction to each other, I had no complaints.

After a half hour though, I begged that we move on to some business, before the whiskey took me away from my knowledge and left me bare and unexplained with my calling. We walked over to a corner closest to the old walls of the house, but still plenty of room around it. Sitting there in the darker corner, was one of the most glorious things I have ever had the privilege of seeing. A billiards table, made by the artistic mother, sat under a beam of light that peeked in from the setting sun.  She made a beautiful table, an artists interpretation, which is now on display in the British Museum of Fine Art, you can go see it yourself, called The Table of Fruit and Fowl. An amazing, impressive piece, the table of the finest slate, greenish with dark streaks of marbled silver, like marble, but proper slate, like a good table should be. The balls are of the 9 known planets, in this modern time, and each ball is a vegetable or fruit that represents the god name of the planet, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, ect. There is a group of markers, the size of a ten-pence  each hand carved and exquisite, that you may place for each planet, carved of the same stone. Each planet itself is carved of different stone, so that the colors and texture remind one of what we can see in our telescope. Finally for the exquisite joke that rounds the table out, and brings it down to our human level, the cylindrical fowl, designed to roll straight into the carved balls. and the sticks carved of ivory, telling the history of man’s discovery of the planets, and how chicken we really are.

Cleaning the Slate

My slate has 44 years of trash, old markings, embedded permanent marker glossed over with a fine coat of clear nail polish, graffiti done in indelible ink, and chiseled scratchings etched in acid and rust. I did so much last year, so much I am proud of, and I have yet to start anything this year. I think it is because my slate is not clean. I am here by denoting this, and setting about clearing it. First, let’s get out a rough steel wool and take off the first layer of garbage.

I have an almost uncontrollable urge to eat crappy food. I have done so well, so much, started riding my bike this past year, getting exercise, getting out. I feel like I hit this wall yah know? I hate winter, honestly, it is so easy to make an excuse when its -8 Celsius outside, to not go or do. Oh bloody hell, I miss writing. Soon as I turn on the pen, on comes the brain. Ok ok, that was confusing. So it is like this, although everyone says it, and I watch the event occur with my lady, who goes to the gym VERY on spot and regular, unlike me, it is exercise. I literally just thought it as I wrote it. I need to exercise again, no matter what.

I really do not want to go through any more layers now, sheesh. It is exercise, and only exercise that is missing from my routine again. I just hate the holidays. Work was completely unbearable, and it gets me depressed  and I get depressed and I start eating. I have everything going for me, why the hell am I depressed? I am 58 days from the big move to Oz, land of my dreams, island of hope and love for me, and I am depressed from the holidays again.

So that is the second layer, depression. I do not know how to deal with that one, I really do not. Maybe the exercise will work against it. I can’t see a doctor, I sure wish I could do something about it medically, just to get over this hump, but I am on my own here. Scrub a dub dub, three layers on the tub, and one of them is not soap scum. I hit the third layer, I can see it so clearly now. I fear myself, I fear, that she will not love me when she sees me. I wanted to lose so much more weight, before I left, and I was on the right track too, dammit.

The third layer of my unclean slate is fear of failure. I want anyone who reads this to understand, right now, what you are reading is the actual thought process as it happens, I am not going to change this, but instead continue the automatic writing until I am clear. I will just go back for spelling and gobbledygook. I can see now my three barriers I must overcome, before I can carry my slate above my head proudly. I must first of all, get into exercise again. I think it may be the key. I sometimes wish we were like the Japanese were back in the 80’s, doing yard exercise every morning before the work routine began. Second of all, I must battle depression, using what tools I have. Thirdly, I must build my confidence back up, to where it was this summer.

These three things are the dirt clouding my clean slate, the grunge of untold years of horrid conditions, that sit on me and weigh me down even after all this time, even after all my luck changed when I met my Everstar. I met her because I was more confident, although I am still impossible, I was confident the day we met, and I am overtly confident even now. She keeps me going and has been wondering what was wrong with me, asked a few times lately, now I know. I know why she asked, and I know why I didn’t answer.

Quiet all this time, no blogging, no direction, just silence.

This is the price I pay, trying to be a cashier in a shitty job, and trying to uphold my values as a writer. Hmm, maybe I am not saying that right, but that is the gist of what I am trying to say. We humans pay a terrible price for jobs, for although the job is not the single underlying cause of my feelings right now, it is the major contributor and the direction the negative force is coming from. I only have 58 days left, I can do it, I know I can, and it is already getting easier, even the lords and judges of the workplace are taking it easy on me and laying off now. I did 45 days in jail once, it was a miserable experience  but worse than going to work. Not much worse, which is a source of another conversation later. Funny how jail and work compare though, almost as equals, well, at least in my toxic work environment.

I do not know how I will come out, but tonight, for the first time since thanksgiving day, I feel like I have a hand on the handle of the problem. I can see now where I went wrong, and what I can do to change it. I can also see the end of the main source of my depression and lack of motivation. Soooooooo many people feel like I do too, not just me. So many people need vacations and time off, and can not afford it in america. America, land of dreams stolen and sold, childhoods erased by 4th grade. Personally, I will not weep for its passing, when the time comes and it passes, because all my dreams were thoroughly squashed until I met my Lady, and even after meeting her, the hydraulic piston of dream squashing is working overtime and getting over heated at the idea that I have dreams again.

I can say I am glad I wrote today. I am sure most of you are bored by line 10, to long, didn’t read, ect, ect, but I am glad I did. I have handles to grasp now, and I have a toolbox, even if it is mostly empty and overused, that will help me along. Apologies to all for the long silence, part of working out includes using my brain, so I will be posting quite regular again. I want to hit over 100 posts by the end of January, and not filler either, but some good articles and maybe another review of a Denver restaurant. Cheers!