"I’m a student. My parents didn’t want me sitting around the house all summer, so they made me be a shepherd." (Kalak, Iraq)

(Reblogged from humansofnewyork)
(Reblogged from garfieldminusgarfield)

6 Ways to Win a Fight!

by Patrick Brennan

I’ve never done a proper fight but when I hear about people getting beaten up all I can think is “what are you DOING idiot, fights are EASY to win!!” Seeing as I know lots of stuff and everybody else knows nothing, I have written this article to help you not get beaten up if you ever do a fight.

1. Punch
This is something you might forget when you get really angry from doing fights, but doing punches is a good way to win. You put your “fingers” close together like when you’re standing in a queue too close to someone else and you’re touching their bum by accident. Then with the tight fingers close together you bring your arm forward and hit the person on the face/legs. Hopefully the other person has not thought of doing this thing and doesn’t know how and you will easily win the fight.

2. Grab
If punching doesn’t make you win the fight for some reason, you will have to move on to grabs. This is like when you hug your grandmother to thank her for your Christmas presents even though they were really bad but you have to believe it’s the thought that counts. When the person you’re fighting gets close to you, put your arms around them and hold them really tightly. If you are a woman, you are probably really good at hugs already so this will be easy. Hold them until they say “okay, you win fight!!” and then you have won the fight.

3. Kick
Kick is like punch, but with leg foot.

4. Scream for police
This is a good one if you can’t win and need help. If you get the police they will arrive and start beating up whoever they want to with a big black stick. They might even put the people in jail forever so you also can take all the person’s money/life over as your own!

5. Drive over with car
This is not recommended unless you are very bad at fighting. When the fight starts, you run to your car and then drive the car to the person quite fast so that they die. The police however do not really like this and you may go to jailprison.

6. Press R3
If you sneak up behind someone who hasn’t seen you and press the R3 button (push down on the top of the right analog stick), you will do a series of crazy moves including: back/side punch, kick, throat slap, knifing and stabbing. This is a last resort as you will easily win the fight which is no fun at all.

Now you have won and your crumpled foe(s) lie(s) at your bloody shoes. What next? Marriage? A nice house boat on the Riviera? Only time can tell! The world is yours! Fight on you crazy moll!

Cormac McCarthy’s Pat_Bren

his mother with back hunched over and apron on was doing the washing up.
help me dry up pat she said.
no said pat. i am doing the great tweets.
he was on his black laptop slamming at the keys hoping good content would come out. something that would quench the black fire that burned in his soul and ate up his guts with the thought that hed never amount to anything. the dishes banged against one another in the basin as his mother washed them.
therell be no dinner if you dont help she said.
yes there will said pat. you always do dinner.
i mightnt do it. i might stop.
no you wont said pat.
he couldnt think of any good tweets but that didnt stop him. more like meteor-wrong he tweeted because a meteorite had killed a bunch of people in russia that morning. it didnt get any retweets and noone even clicked on the star button to favorite it because he was bad and he knew he was bad. on the counter beside him there was a tube of potato chips. they were not pringles because the family was too poor. they were stackers and they were the same thing except they were from aldi which was a cheap shop. they were not a rich family but not a poor one either until they sometimes got some money which made them less poor and more rich.
i cant help you dry up said pat. i am doing tweets and eating stackers.
there was a shuffling in the hall. it was the mailman. he was mailing letters in through the letter box. his mother went to them and brought the letters in.
theres a letter from your granny she said. she says you should help me with the drying up.
tell her i am eating stackers said pat.
youre not a good son said his mother.
quiet said pat. i am good. leave me alone. i am good.
he had his back to his mother. she went to the basin and fished in the sudsy water like a giant scouring the ocean with his fingertips looking for a whale to eat. she felt what she was looking for and pulled it out of the water
youre a bad soon she said and took the knife out of the water and plunged it into her sons spine.
ouch why are you doing this i am good said pat.
no you are not she said and cut his spine out and he died. dark blood covered the wooden floors. im not cleaning that up she said but her son was dead now and couldnt hear anything except the beating of the demons scythes as they cut his flesh for all eternity and beyond. she buried her son under the ash tree in their back yard.
why were you such a bad son always eating stackers and tweeting she said.
i am sorry he would say if he could talk but he couldnt as he was dead and couldnt say anything except stop cutting me demons i was a good boy in life and a good son also but the demons knew the truth. his mother heard nothing but the cry of the ash tree as it shook in the wind. then she went inside and ate all of the stackers in one go.

A Trip to Dublin

Tommy stepped off the Luas into the grey day but Karen wasn’t there. He sent her a text. She didn’t respond so he stood by a nearby Spar and looked around for her. After a few minutes he saw her walking towards him, her dark red hair swinging, looking well in a loose jacket over a green top and dark trousers.
  “Hello Karen,” he said, smiling widely.
  “What do you want to go see?” she said, looking at her phone.
  “Whatever you want.”
Karen led him through wide and narrow Dublin streets to the cinema. Tommy wouldn’t have a clue how to find the way on his own, no matter how much maps he looked at. He had no sense of direction but here, today, he had a girl to guide him, the first girl he’d ever asked to go anywhere with him.
  Karen had been in his class in college, but she dropped out to get a job at the National Museum. When they were in college together, Tommy was surprised to find her talking to him sometimes, even just to say good morning out of the blue. Through all his time in school, no girl had ever bothered to do so. Maybe the fresh start in a new environment had wiped the slate clean and people would start treating him with more maturity, start seeing that he was nice and good and stop being weirded out by him because he happened to be quiet. He wasn’t sure if Karen actually liked him though, or if she was just being pleasant, so he had sent her a couple of good-humoured tweets and Facebook messages. Sometimes she responded, good-humouredly. He never said anything in the least bit threatening, but he knew he’d always regret it if he didn’t at least try to see what she thought of him. She hadn’t rejected him outright, hadn’t told him he was ugly or stupid, and finally he got up the courage to ask her to go see a movie in Dublin one Saturday during the summer holidays. To his utter amazement, she had accepted.
  He hadn’t told anyone why he was going to Dublin, of course. Imagine the jokes. Imagine his mother fretting around the idea that he may one day have pre-marital coitus. He just told them he was going to see a friend, which he hoped at least were true. They bade him farewell at the rural train station and were none the wiser that soon he would be a normal young man, able to go to Dublin normally, with people who liked him for his normalcy. It was all coming up Milhouse.
  Tommy found it odd that Karen walked without talking to him and tried to make conversation. Had she forgotten he was there? Did she accept invitations from weirdos so much that she just wanted to get it over with? Tommy caught his own negative thoughts for once and tried to spin them into something positive. After all, she didn’t have to say yes. Why would anyone say yes and not mean it?
  “So… are you getting the new Assassin’s Creed?” said  Tommy. He knew she liked those games.
  “No. I saw the first trailer, didn’t look very interesting.”
No use. He had to find common ground. He searched for a topic. James Bond. There was a new Bond movie coming out soon. Maybe that could be their second outing.
  “Are you looking forward to the new Bond movie?” he said.
  “Eurgh, you don’t really like them do you?” said Karen.
  “I think it’s… okay.”
She said nothing else and they walked on.
  “You come into Dublin often?” said Tommy.
  “I work here now so… every day.”
They walked onto Moore Street. There were stalls everywhere filled with fruit and flowers and clothes and auld ones shouting out their bargains. There was a terrier cur tied to a post yapping at the air and tugging away from his lead so that his two front legs kept rising off the ground.
  They passed into a wide street with official looking buildings, still not talking. Karen was texting on her phone, looking up only to make sure she wouldn’t walk into a lamppost. Near the end of the street, a tall young man with a foreign accent and a suitcase at his feet stopped them. Tommy assumed he was looking for directions. That was his ploy, he soon realised.
  “Hello friends,” said the young man. “You are… married couple?”
Was he joking? Tommy shook his head. Karen laughed a little.
  “Oh, just friends. I used to be lost like you. But thanks to the teachings of the great guru Devanagari, I have found true inner peace. He has shown me the path to true enlightenment. We are a small group, but any donations would help us.”
This was it. The chance to show her he was a good and kind person that he’d been denied so far. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a fiver.
  “Oh, how very generous,” said the young man. “Normally they give coins but you, I think you have the goodness within you.” Damn right, thought Tommy. Filled to the brim with goodness, me. The young man reached down and opened his suitcase. It was filled with small, hardbacked books with black covers embossed with words about the teachings of the guru.
  “Have this book, my friend. You too will perhaps find the way.”
Tommy said thanks and took the book.
  “Farewell. Perhaps your friendship will blossom with the guru’s help!”
Karen said nothing until they had walked on a little.
  “I wouldn’t have given him anything,” she said. “Why did you bother?”
  “He was… I don’t know. Sorry.”
  “Come on. We’ll be late for the movie.”
  They weren’t late for the movie. It was some boring remake of some stupid eighties action movie that seemed like The Godfather in comparison. It was far stupider than any Bond movie, even A View to a Kill. All throughout the film, Karen was texting on her phone, barely looking at the screen. When it was finished, they stepped back into the dull day.
  “That was so boring,” he said.
  “I thought it was good,” said Karen.
He couldn’t win. Her phone rang and she answered it.
  “Yeah… no, I was at the cinema… no, with some guy I know… yeah, I’ll be there… wow, hope so! It’ll be awesome. See you there!”
Tommy didn’t know if he should say anything else as she’d find some way to shoot it down.
  “Where will you off to now?” he said.
  “Going to a friend’s birthday, then to a foam party in a club. It’ll be awesome.”
  “Oh right,” said Tommy. “I’d better… leave you to it then. Which Luas will take me back to the train station?”
She pointed.
  “Right so… bye.”
  “Later,” she said and walked away, not offering a second glance.
It was on the train ride home that it really hit him. He put his head against the window and saw an ugly, defeated ghost stare back at him. Karen never liked him at all, not in any way. Of course she hadn’t. What girl would? Why had she said yes to him at all? What was the point? She didn’t use the tiniest bit of energy with him. At least if she treated him like something on the level of a wasp, she’d have to run around a bit. It was like she hadn’t even seen him as a human being at all. One event of the day stuck out in his mind more than the rest. After he’d given the weird young man the money, Karen had asked him why he bothered. Tommy didn’t know. It was time for him to stop bothering with anything, with life or with love. Maybe it was karma, or something. Tommy thought so little of himself, maybe it was time people started actually treating him like that. What if he’d been more outgoing, what if he wanted to go to that party she was going to? What would a normal person have done? Tommy didn’t know. Maybe that’s the way people did things. You don’t bother getting close to anyone, don’t talk to them, don’t even treat them as if they exist. You go to parties with them, you get drunk with them, and then you forget them. If you don’t go to parties and you don’t get drunk then you just get the last one. Or maybe it was just him. He deserved this. He deserved all the pain in the world. Every time he thought of her he couldn’t stop another thought entering his mind - the certainty that she would never think of him again. He was nothing. Always had been, always would be.
  He watched the flat, empty scenery of the Curragh go by outside, looking through the apparition of himself. When he was sure no-one else in the carriage saw him, he put his hand over his face and cried.

Music to my Fears

Tommy shivered and pulled the window closed with one hand, holding his phone to his ear with the other. His mother’s voice asked him what the weather was like where he was.
  “I’m half an hour’s drive away Mam, I’m not in Mexico.”
There was a series of banging sounds in the background. After a minute, Tommy figured out it was his father tossing rings at the ring board in their kitchen, a deduction that became a certainty when he heard his father’s voice say “ah, fuck that” and there was the sound of the door opening and closing.
  “How’s the study going?” said his mother, not even noticing. “It’s a pity you’re not coming home this weekend. It’s not the same without you, quiet as you are.”
  “You’ll have to learn to live without me, Ma. I want to move off somewhere when I finish up here you know.”
  “I don’t know how I’ll cope. Your brother’s off in Enniscorthy working for the council, I’ll have no-one to look after me.”
  “You don’t need looking after, Ma. You’ve got Da anyway.”
  “I know, but what if something happens…”
  “Stop worrying,” said Tommy. “You’re always worrying. I’ll see you next weekend.”
  “I’m not worrying, I’m just saying…”
  “If you weren’t worrying, you wouldn’t be talking like that.”
  “Well… I don’t know. When’s the exam?”
  “I know. What time I meant.”
  “Two, I think.”
  “I’ll say a prayer for you,” she said.
  “Ma, I need to study, I don’t need prayers.”
He heard a couple of young voices on the street outside shouting in the dusk, drunk probably. Tommy could never tell really, most people he saw around were just always loud.
  “I know, I’ll let you go now in a minute,” said his mother, affecting a tone which let Tommy knew something bad was coming. “There was this programme on TV3 the other night, about these things that students do. It showed them getting drunk and everything and Tommy… they were doing things to each other. I don’t know what you get up to in college, but you’ll be careful won’t you? You know… careful.”
  “Ma, I can honestly say you haven’t a thing to worry about.”
  “Alright Tommy. You’re coming back next Friday, aren’t you?”
  “Of course. Good luck Ma.”
  “Alright Tommy. Good luck.”
  “Bye. Good luck in your exam.”
  “Thanks Ma. Good luck.”
He ended the call, though he knew his mother probably wanted to say goodbye six more times. He put his phone on the bedside table and looked at the alarm clock. It was seven o’clock on Friday evening. For a whole minute he watched the silver hand tick its way around the black square face and then suddenly remembered he hadn’t eaten since the bowl of corn flakes he had for breakfast.

Tommy rarely left his room, slowly watching the hours pass him by as he studied or read or tweeted. The only place he ever went outside of the accomodation was the college library, where he would study or read or tweet. He went into the living room. His flatmate wasn’t there, though he could smell her perfume still. Her name was Kelly and they didn’t know each other at all, though he was pleasant to her and she did likewise. He knew it wasn’t easy for her to live with someone so quiet and shut off from everything as he had had to live with himself for quite a long time already. He went to the kitchenette in the corner. They both kept it spotless, doing their own washing and drying up, never getting in each other’s way. When Tommy first moved from home, he was deathly scared he’d have to share a house with loud party animals, snorting coke off his PS3, slamming his fingers with the toilet seat because he wouldn’t do ten shots of vodka with them. In the end though, his life away from home was just dull. He was never sure if he would prefer some excitement, because that would involve the possibility of people seeing how weird he was and how he hadn’t much of an idea how to do anything. So he spent his time doing nothing.
  Kelly kept her food in the left cupboard above the sink, Special K and Nutrigrain bars and rice crackers. Tommy’s cupboard was stocked mostly with Aldi noodles and white bread and a box of corn flakes. He’d survived on pot noodles until his mother read an article in the Daily Mail linking them with cancer, obesity, brain tumours and another fifteen ways of dying horribly, so now she bought him old fashioned dry noodles and curry powder to go on them. His mother was such a worrier. The funny thing was, a couple of years back when she got sick and had to go to hospital, she didn’t seem worried at all. Tommy thought that maybe the point of doctors and hospitals was to stop people worrying as much as it was to treat disease. It’s like in a movie when there’s a monster behind the door. No matter how scary it looks when they finally open it, the monster in your mind is always scarier. He ripped open  a clear plastic packet of noodles and took out a small hard block that looked like knitted frozen string and made himself a meal. At least it was better than a Pringle sandwich he thought, a delicacy he was reduced to consuming on occasion.

Tommy had never stayed the weekend in the flat before and decided he wanted to do something wild, so he put on his coat that was too big and walked through the cool evening to the library. He squinted in the bright fluorescent light as he stepped in and headed for non-fiction. There looked to be no-one else around but he heard a cough from somewhere among the celebrity biographies, but couldn’t see anyone. He perused the various titles, looking for one that fitted his appropriate mood and the tone of his evening, settling on a thick tome about the Battle of Stalingrad. He let out a loud sigh and collapsed into a nearby soft backed chair. It was a dull read, all about the movement of armies, barely even bothering to mention the names of any soldiers or their feats of glory or inglory but he persisted in his reading as he had nothing better to do. Then he smelled something sweet, and heard shuffling behind him. There was a girl standing there, a stranger looking at some kinky title that Tommy would be ashamed to come within a yard of. She had shoulder length hair dyed pink gelled into small spikes at the top, and a nose ring. Her black top left her tattooed arms bare. Tommy went back to his reading. After a minute, the girl sat in a chair a few feet to his left and read a book about the history of punk music.
  “Stalingrad,” she said after a minute. “Is that about the battle?”
  “Yeah,” said Tommy smiling, offering nothing else.
  “My grandad fought for the Germans. In France.”
  “Yeah. I don’t think he did anything war crime-y, but you never know.”
  “I suppose not,” said Tommy.
  “You going to the concert?”
  “What concert?”
  “Haven’t you seen the posters? There all over the college. Joan Hammond is playing here next Wednesday.”
She pointed over his shoulder. He followed her glance to a poster, mostly black, with a pale woman with long black hair standing in the middle holding a guitar. Under her were the words “Joan Hammond - the first lady of punk. Wednesday, 5th of November”.
  “Oh. No,” said Tommy.
  “Are you into more metal stuff?” said the girl.
  “Metal what?”
  “Music? You know, metal music?”
  “Oh. I don’t know anything about it,” he said.
  “I think you need to get out more,” she said with a little laugh and returned to her reading.
After a minute she got up, left the book on the chair and went out. Everything was quiet again. Tommy put his Stalingrad book back on the shelf in the gaping wound it had left between other books about equally vicious battles. That’s what he liked to read about. They made sense. People all wanted to do evil things, deep down. Not that deep down. They pretended to like each other with bars and clubs and dancing, but if anything broke out, they’d sell each other out for a penny. They’d slit each other’s throat to save their own skin. That made sense. Why wouldn’t they, thought Tommy. How many people would save me? How many have even talked to me? How many have I even talked to? Too many he thought, even though he knew it was next to none.

The flat was dark and freezing when he got back. He turned on the heating and felt hungry again so he got a bag of Spuddy’s crisps from the cupboard and sat eating them in the living room. Despite his unhealthy eating, Tommy was quite slim. Whenever he went home at the weekends, he would go for long walks on the country lane they lived beside. Except for that, and the half a mile it was to the library, he imagined himself ballooning up like a latter day Marlon Brando, giving long speeches in the jungle, except his would be about what makes a good tweet and why Roger Moore was the best James Bond. How am I not married, he said to himself with an actual laugh.
  Kelly wouldn’t be home for hours. She always stayed out until three or four in the morning, tip-toeing in thinking he’d be asleep. Tommy had never met anyone he’d want to stay out until three or four in the morning with, but Kelly had a whole group of friends to do so with. So he gradually pieced together from the little fragments of her life that intersected with his - overheard phone calls, a friend or two calling to collect her. She never drank in the flat, though Tommy didn’t know if that was because she didn’t want to upset him with any noise, or if she thought Tommy would suck the fun out of any party they had through sheer proximity, even if he kept himself in his room like normal. Both were valid reasons anyway. He brushed the crumbs off his front and banged his knee on their low table as he went to put the crisp bag in the bin. His exams were on Monday, but he didn’t feel like studying. He wondered why he’d stayed over at all. He could never think straight when he knew the world was out having fun and he was stuck inside his own stupid head, going over and over childhood rejections and teenage heartbreaks and the endless awkward interactions he had with people. Then he was startled by his own reflection in the big window behind the sofa, like his twin looking in at him, equally sad and burdened with the same load he was. He pulled the curtains and brought his laptop out of his room and tried to relax. When he felt bad, he usually just tweeted some stupid joke or observation that, like everything else, only made sense in his head and that no-one else much liked. Sometimes he’d hit on an incredibly stupid pun or lame joke that would do well, and he’d get a few compliments from a friend or two and feel alright about himself for about seven seconds. Most of the time it just felt like shouting into a void alongside millions of other people all looking for an audience without being willing to be a part of someone else’s. Just like him. He always felt closer to humanity as a whole through the bad and selfish and neurotic things they did than through the good ones. Tonight, he was spewing forth awful puns about the way Sean Connery spoke. His favourite was ” ‘Whoopshy daishy.’ - Sean Connery climbing over a fence.” It got two favourites, and three people unfollowed him.

A little after ten, Tommy was startled out of his wits by the front door opening. He’d have been less anxious about who it was than if a zombie had crashed through the front window. It was Kelly. She burst into the living room as Tommy stood up. He always had to do something awkward and weird. Why stand up? She doesn’t want to be treated like the queen, he thought. She looked at him, a little startled too. Her big green eyes were red-rimmed and running mascara was stained her cheeks.
  “Oh, Tommy.”
  “Hello. Kelly. Um… sorry.”
He sat back down and watched her walk over to the kitchenette and pour herself a glass of milk. She had short black hair and tanned skin and wore a low-cut green top and tight jeans. Tommy didn’t know what he to do. She wasn’t crying now but obviously had been. He decided the best course of action was his default one - do nothing and hope nothing was asked of him. A kind-of half retching sound came from Kelly and he thought she was getting sick, but she’d just let the milk drop out of her mouth into the sink as she started to cry again. He watched her for a minute to make sure it was a proper emergency, then stood up and walked to the the kitchenette’s side wall, three feet away from the crying girl.
  “Are you okay?” he said. Kelly was crying properly now, letting it all out, one hand on her forehead, leaning with the other on the sink.
  “Darren… he slept with Ciara.”
  “Oh,” said Tommy. He had no idea who they were, though the names seemed half familiar from when he had looked her up on Facebook just after he’d moved in. Tommy didn’t have an account though, he thought Facebook was for people who believe they won’t die and rot and be forgotten and the only one they can change is the last one so they’d better do something other than post pictures of themselves on holidays or at parties with awful people. That was his philosophy anyway, even if he couldn’t put it into action.
  “That bastard… I should’ve seen it. They were together before. She was his ex. They’re made for each other. Fucking bastards.”
She sobbed for a minute. Tommy produced a packet of tissues from his pocket and offered her one. She said thanks and wiped her eyes and nose and mouth and stood staring at the space in front of her, drowning in thought like he often found himself doing. His laptop started making a loud whirring noise that it did sometimes so he sat back down on the sofa and gave the computer a good whack until it shut up.
  “Sorry,” he said. “The fan… it goes weird or something.”
  “You fix it by hitting it?” she said, snuffling.
  “Well, I’m not exactly BIll Gates or anything, but it works.”
She let out a little laugh.
  “I don’t feel like crying myself to sleep. Is it okay if we stay up and talk? Do you have to study?”
  “Nah,” said Tommy. “I know enough.”
He closed the laptop and plugged out the charger as Kelly sat in the armchair facing him.
  “We’ve never really talked,” she said. “I don’t even know what you’re studying.”
  “History. Ancient stuff, the Celts and all that.”
  “Oh. Cool. I study literature.”
He’d seen enough of her Victorian novels lying around to figure that out on his own.
  “Is that interesting?” he said. “I like reading, but I don’t like studying books too hard. It takes the fun out of them.”
  “Nah, it’s okay. It’s what I want to do.”
  “History is what I want to do too. I don’t think I’ll get a job out of it,” he said and thought if it was wise to add more. “I think all the outgoing people get the jobs, in any field. The outgoing people get everything. I don’t think people like me get much. We just have to do the best we can.”
He wasn’t sure if she was listening, but he couldn’t blame her. She sniffed and sank a few inches into the quicksand-like back of the armchair. Neither said anything for a moment.
  “So… what happened exactly?” said Tommy, seeing her brow furrowed, obviously thinking of whatever it was.
  “Darren happened. I don’t know what I saw in him, except he was kind of fun to be around. He has this group of friends, and they became my friends, you know? I used to go out with him in school, he was a year ahead of me. So we were, you know, apart from each other for most of a year when he was in first year in college and I was in sixth year in school.”
She sat up in the chair and shook her head as if there was a tarantula on it.
  “He used to be better back in school,” she said. “He started getting cocky when he started here. We kept in touch, we were still going out, like, when we were apart. It turns out though, as I learned tonight, that he had a thing with Ciara, who I thought was just one of our group of friends. He cheated on me with her, basically, when we were apart. Even if he had just done that, maybe I’d forgiven him, but they started it up again a few months ago. All the other friends knew, I think, but they didn’t tell me… I suppose because I was the newest one, the outsider.”
Her face screwed up again for a moment and a mascara blackened tear slid down her cheek.
  “I don’t know what I’ll do. I mean… I think they’re okay, the friends I mean, but… why didn’t they tell me? I thought that Jason or Mara would say something… Maybe me and Darren can split them up, like a divorce. I can take Jason and Mara, and he can have that slut Ciara, and Jack… I never liked him, always talking about some stupid video game was better than Citizen Kane or something. Eurgh, he can have him. Him and Darren and Ciara can just fuck off.”
She stared into space for a minute.
  “What are your friends like?” she said.
  “I don’t have many,” he said with a self deprecating smile. “Well, a couple here in college. They talk to me, but I don’t go out places so… you know, it limits things.”
  “I’ve kind of noticed you don’t go out a lot,” she said. “What do you like to do?”
  “Not much. Tweet mostly.”
  “Oh. Are you on Facebook?”
  “No… I used to be, but it was just people posting about how great everything in their life was and it made me want to kill someone.”
  “Oh dear,” she said. “It can get like that. What do you tweet?”
  “Stupid things. ‘Jokes’, in inverted commas. Whatever pops into me brain.”
  “Like what?”
  “Stupid things.”
  “Tell me one,” she said, wiping her face with the tissue.
  “They don’t make a lot of sense. They’re not really jokes… but okay, here’s one. I really like this one, but no-one else did. You know the way Sean Connery talks, right?”
  “Well, it’s like something he says. ‘Whoopshy daishy.’ - says Sean Connery climbing over a fence.”
Her face remained grim, but after a second a slight smile came to it.
  “That’s so stupid.”
  “I know,” he said. “Like me.”
  “Ah no, you seem alright.”
  “Do I?”
  “Yeah. So do you have anyone? A girlfriend? Partner?”
He looked at her suddenly, as if she was proposing something, but he knew she wasn’t. It’s just how his mind worked.
  “No… I don’t get out a lot, and girls don’t really tend to… appear if you don’t go to them.”
  “I thought maybe you’d met someone online…”
  “No,” he said. “It’ll probably end up that way, by necessity, but no…”
  “I think you’re better off. Why do people think they need to be with someone just for the sake of it? Most people just aren’t worth the effort.”
  “I know,” said Tommy. There was a jingling noise somewhere. Kelly took the phone out of her pocket and looked at it.
  “Text from him. Eurgh. ‘You still going to concert?’ Jesus,” she said, talking to her phone. “I won’t even bother replying. He’s not worth it. What difference does it make?”
  “Are you going to see her? Joan Hammond?”
  “The… punk lady? I don’t really…”
  “I was going to go with… them,” she said with utter contempt. “I was really looking forward to it.”
  “Oh,” said Tommy.
  “I really like her music, you know? It’s so anti… everything. Everything they stand for. Conformity, bullshit relationships, you know. I think they truly believe they’re different than everybody else, when they’re even more boring because they think they’re interesting, you know?”
  “Kind of.”
  “Would you… go with me? To the concert? I don’t want to go alone. They’ll see me and think I need them. They’ll try to get me back.”
  “Oh. I… I don’t know…” said Tommy, looking for some easy excuse to get out of it.
  “It’ll be okay. I’ll look after you.”
  “Really? Are you making fun of me?”
  “Sure,” said Kelly and combed her short hair with her fingers.
  “I actually do need someone to take care of me though. I don’t have a clue about anything.”
  “Well, I don’t think Joan Hammond can teach you that much about stuff…” said Kelly.
  “I’ll go,” he said. “Okay. I’ll go. If we won’t be out too late, or do anything crazy. Okay?”
  “I don’t want to do anything crazy ever again,” said Kelly. She threw the tissue at the bin in the kitchen but missed by a mile so she got up and put it in properly.
  “We should talk more,” she said. “I’m sorry we haven’t talked before. I thought I already had friends.”
  “That’s okay,” said Tommy and, seeing her head for the door, went to turn his laptop back on. “Goodnight.”
  “Goodnight,” she said and closed the door slowly behind her. Her perfume lingered in the air. Tommy opened up Twitter again, and in a moment of genius bordering on insanity, thought of the stupidest tweet he’d ever thought of. “Hey, Sean Bean,” he typed. “It’s either Shaun Baun, or Seen Bean. You can’t have it both ways!” It was sent off into the webs, and he waited a moment to see how it would do. One retweet, two more unfollows. He still had the slideshows about Celtic law open, the ones his lecturer had said would definitely be on the test. But there was time for study. It wasn’t that important.    
  Tommy opened a new browser window and Googled the name ‘Joan Hammond’. Half a dozen Youtube results came up. He clicked one at random and listened to music he’d never heard, that he never even knew existed before. The more he listened and let the music wash over him, the more he felt an entire new universe was being created all around him. Everything bad he knew was screaming and burning out of existence and everything good was just coming into view, small and blurred, but there where there had been nothing before.


"Nobody came to my tenth birthday party. I have a very vivid memory of helping my mother set the table, then watching through the window as the sun slowly set, before finally realizing that nobody was coming. That moment pretty much set the themes for the rest of my life."

(Reblogged from humansofnewyork)

My Dearest Father and Loving Leader,
I write to you on behalf of my brother Ben and sister Natalya. There has been a terrible mistake. Three men came last night and said the local party headquarters in Jansong sent them. They have been arrested and charged with sabotage and collaborating with the invaders. This is not just a falsehood, but an absurdity. Ben served with honour in the Army, reaching the rank of sergeant, defending the capital from the invaders, and receiving the Banner of the Founder. Natalya was a sniper in Abottahad, the hardest fought city in the entire United Country. She killed one of their officers and saved many lives.

Dear Leader, I know that sometimes in a country as big as ours, you do not learn of every activity of the local parties, so I beg you to not be too harsh in your punishment of the local party head (Ilyovich il-Povich). May you live a thousand years!

Your loyal and loving supporter,
Pavel Maleshenko

(note only; no response)
This letter is a typical example of the kind of pig shit that fills my mailbox. Lecturing me on the history of our Nation, asking for a second favour before I have granted the first. Throw it in the archives so we do not forget the name of this dog. - Secretary


"What’s your favorite thing about her?"
"She still gets giddy when she sees a firefly."

(Reblogged from humansofnewyork)