Sunday, 27 May 2012

Hero Worship Part 3 of 4: Pet's their Masters and the Chains that Bind Them

P   R   E   V   I   O   U   S   L   Y      I    N 
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S

The face at the heart of the lightning storm above me snarls with a parody of viciousness. It appears Kurt has a dragon.


This is such a curious place to die and damn, the volume of screeching! Raping my ears from all possible angles there’s a shrieking that rips right through the air - up, down, left and right – the foul protest is everywhere.
All of this whilst to my right, sprawled oblivious on the single bed stirs Kurt Cobain, rousing from his slumber, twisting away from the guitar he’s been sleeping with.

    I keep a tight clench on my chain, my left fist won’t let it go as the metal fucker snags ahead of me and down, the heavy links sheering paint off the trailer’s door step.

The L.A night seemingly pulls this gleaming lead away from me, tugging and jerking with unpredictable violence because my minion, the creature on the other end of it? The fuckers still raping the shit out of that girl.


I’m really not sure of her name as my dreadlocks burn volcano-lava-bright - I’m ready to go out fighting. Yeah, cos I’m not afraid of some talent-less-suicide-punk-poster-fool who for whatever reason, floats back transmuting. 

Sid my enemy, who only seconds ago blazed above as an unholy bleached cloud of fire has now changed; reconfigured into a dormant and silent gloom. The ear stabbing wail of the unseen female has faded away in tandem as I lie here stunned by Sid’s new translucent form - his long dark door shape. It stretches out vertically along the trailer wall. It’s the enclosures lone light source then, my irresolute resplendence of lantern hair that allows me to notice him, that short blonde guy politely perched on the half-made bed. 

He’s wearing torn blue Levis. He’s sporting a cardigan the colour of coffee that partly obscures his Sonic Youth T-shirt; his brow cloaked in a curtain of that iconic golden mane. His face is almost completely hidden. it’s a mysterious half-secret.

    ‘Hey.’ says Kurt baring whites - at me! Like he’s my pal.

    ‘Hey.’ I reply. Stationary. On my back, with used condoms and DVD’s crushed underneath, the tug of a bind in my left palm.

    ‘Beer?' ’he asks sweeping his dirty blonde back, revealing his profile, its twin pools of ocean blue. These eyes I’ve only seen in videos and posters, they size me up.

    This mystery flicks a light switch, and then it heads to a fridge.

    Fuck man, this, this shit is madness. Maybe the smoke that billows out of my hair has slow building hallucinogenic effects? I wish. I’m still gripping the chain for dear life, fighting my every instinct to attack a rock god on his way back. His feet crunch over plastic cutlery, glossy music publications and scrunched up note-paper.

Hopping over his guitar pedal, a phenomenon that blew its brains out in nineteen ninety four reaches me with a six pack, and proceeds to dislocate a can of arctic cold Budweiser. Our fingers touch across the base of it and I’m beaming up at…Him, unreservedly watching in awe as he dumps himself back down on his mess of a bed.

I shake the happiness off my face. My god’s been giving me a headache after all.

    Time to man-up.
    ‘O.K, before I tell you what's going on,’' says Kurt, his free hand matting the tussles of his mane, 'Promise me. Promise you’ll trust me? I need your help.’  Beer trespasses beyond his dirty blonde as he confides, ‘I’ve been calling you.’

    ‘Calling?’ I guzzle beer on reflex. I’m Spiderfingers and taste is just a memory, 'Next time just text, the whole chainsaw through the brain idea doesn’t quite work for me...’ 

    I down some more alcohol whilst using all my brain power to keep my drinking hand still.

    ‘It hurts? Sorry man. I’m sorry,’ he says sincerely, ‘what I can do, all’s all still quite new to me.’

    Those clear blue eyes that he has, they take in my left fist and the leash clenched within it. And he asks, ‘What’s going on with that?’ 

His quiet considered timbre is equal parts caution and curiosity.

    ‘A pet of mine,’ I reply, ‘Protection.’

    ‘Really,’ he intones such warmth as he places his hand to his heart,‘It should be O.K now. I swear, I will not hurt you.’ He’s not Lennon but his voice is such that I have to chuck Rooenn’s restraint to the side. And as I watch it slither away from me, over music mags, a battered copy of sci-fi novel Solaris, the odd take-out carton, I feel a sudden hollowing out inside – a vertigo. 

Kurt’s rubbing my shoulder like a proud father who’s seen his kid through heroin rehab but I barely register the weight of his palm because all I’m thinking is: I should’ve felt this way after commanding Rooenn to kill whatshername. And I couldn’t have been more detached when I allowed the bastard to gut and scissor that D lister – Sheridan or was it Saul? Whatever. So then, before the last link can vanish through the trailer door I’m floor-diving - I’m shooting out an eager hand toward my shiny snaking thing. So precious. 
    Out of his can of Bud, Kurt Cobain takes slow sips. Careful, considerate. It’s disconcerting watching someone else moderate their every movement into a subliminal message of passivity. His eyes glare at the silver in my closed palm,

    ‘Please tell me it’s a dog you got out there.’ says Kurt hopping off the bed to go look.

    ‘No, Rooenn’s no dog,’  I shout after him,

    ‘Listen...Kurt,’  and I add some extra bass to my voice as I continue,‘If I find out you’re some shape shifting minion out for my head -’

    ‘The last thing I want to do is give chaos head.’ 

    He heads outside. His smutty joke is a good sign. Minions generally don’t have a sense of humour.

    ‘This guy I’m in is an actor called Lance Caesar -Young,’  shouts Kurt, 'He's playing me in Nirvana the movie - ’ his voice trails off. He’s seen Rooenn.

    When Kurt returns to his place on the bed his face is expressionless.

    ‘This is a prop,' he says handing me a Gibson he's fetched from under the bed, 'a present from the director.’ 

Kurt says director in the same whiney way petulant teenagers say mother and man, this guitar - although it looks immaculate - it's useless to Kurt. The fucking thing is strung up for a right handed player. I nod toward the other axe, the teal green and Byzantium Fender laid out on his ruffled cream bedding asking, ‘What about your six-stringed sleeping partner?’

    To this Kurt replies, ‘Before they fired him, David bought me this.’

    My mind somersaults and I have to ask, ‘David as in Lynch?’

    A full head of blonde shakes from side to side and says, ‘David as in Fincher.’

    I open my mouth but he interjects telling me that no, I really don’t wanna know who the new director is. I take a big glug of beer looking at the Gibson then back at the Fender while Kurt says, ‘I’ve been stalling, faking illness, and not turning up on set...for weeks. I'm trying to fuck up the big Hollywood machine. Figured you'd want to join in?’

    I’m English, but I am hanging out with Kurt Cobain...And I am in L.A, so I punch through the smoke that rises from my flaming hairdo screaming,

    ‘Let’s fuck Hollywood in the ass!’ And Kurt mirrors my smile too perfectly. He must have seen Rooenn raping the girl, so what does he make of me?

    ‘Hey man’, he says, 'Let’s celebrate, let’s jam? I got keys to a rehearsal space?’

    I excitedly nod in this moment that would be quaint and wholesome were it not for the unremitting shredding, the biting of Rooenn’s chain chomping down on the front doorstep. The clinking bridle leading down and beneath our vehicle. Chomp chomp chomp it bites. I glare at the viciously, yanking metal as I visualise a wagging bleeding vagina. I envision inch-wide punctures shrouding a semi-dressed female torso. The grasp on my metal viper draws a little of my phosphorous goo for blood and I couldn’t clutch at it tighter. 
    Kurt Cobain closes the door on the Hollywood darkness but Rooenn’s chain isn’t of this world.

You can’t just shut it out. And so, I haul myself into the passenger seat next to my dirty blonde divinity, my lengthening lead gripped fast as I watch my monster and its victim in the rear view mirror – a grey, pink, red horror that gets smaller and smaller with fuel and distance because Kurt’s foot is hitting the accelerator hard.

    I’m thinking of bad poetry. I'm reciting Bowie lyrics to help zone out the confident rattle of Rooenn's chain hung tight outside my passenger window.

    I bet I look nervous. 

    I'm sure I seem excited. Jumpy.

    There’re questions to be asked. 

    For instance, I’m more than a little paranoid about the humming black rectangle on the wall. I ask Kurt about Sid ‘fucking-attacked-me’ Vicious.

    ‘Sorry about that, Kurt replies, ‘Sid really doesn’t like it when people touch me, not without permission anyway.’

    I lean in and ask, ‘I know Eros is a psycho queen but Kurt Cobain and Sid Vicious escape Aphrodisia? You had it made.’ 

    He flicks me a quick stern look, like a child rapist that’s been asked why prison wasn’t such a barrel of laughs. It’s a flash of utter hate, till the emotion is gone, his face blank again, eyes on the barely lit tarmac ahead.

    He says, ‘I just couldn’t take another moment of Lennon saying something to impress me. And Jim Morrison - man - Jim Morrison is an asshole. He called Jimi a nigger one too many times, just to get a reaction. You’d think becoming a god would purge you of idiocy.’

    I nod all believing, eyes transfixed on the road.

    ‘I need to know something.’  

    ‘What?’  I reply eagerly, instantly hating how I must look - a bounding puppy being leashed for walkies.

    ‘In the grand scheme of things, how can you be the god of chaos if you guard Earth from the gods? Isn't that a maintenance of order?'

    'There is no chaos. I'm a being that's attracted to patterns that are hard to identify.’

    I'm not happy with my answer.

    I shrug the weight of awkward silence off, not knowing how to follow up the nonsense that Miss World spoon-fed me long ago. It's not like I am at all satisfied with her account of who I am - not one bit - it's just that there're only so many times a year you can badger and cajole the mentally ill. How many times have I pushed Miss World for her revelatory moment of clarity? A speedy recovery from a war between gods isn't going to happen for Gaia. Her therapy is gonna take time. It's this musing on speed that allows me to briefly consider Kurt's driving. I read Heavier Than Heaven. The real Kurt Cobain drove old-lady slow.

Kurt cuts the engine outside a condemned building, bricks looking like crumbling fruitcake and with its rusted keep out signs this dump succeeds in scaring the shit out of me. I can’t see any greenery around so no chance of Gaia-flavoured back-up then. Were I an assassin charged with the task, I’d lure me out here, to this tree-free zone so far and away from Miss World. Apollo, you clever bastard – I always knew that in the end, it’d be you.

    ‘Kurt,’ My fingers tremble, waiting for him to deliver the deathblow, ‘How come you’re so calm, about you and, everything?’

    An unreadable face turns to me and the voice of my god says,

    ‘What’s there to be excited about?’ 

His shrugging all nonchalant, his blank face on, only the slight humour that curls out the corner of his mouth betrays him. I chuckle. It’s an old sound, comforting in its familiarity. It startles me. I almost tell him thank you.

    Kurt abandons the driver’s seat for a smoke (another good sign, since monsters don’t care much for Marlboro Lights) and I’m staring out into the Los Angeles twilight taking in nothing. See, I’m talking myself down from my Apollo paranoia. I’m turning inward and upon deleted scenes, so many starring a vagabond in a red trench coat who is so painfully aware of that pronounced distance between himself and the someone he’s just met. Unless you're some coked up freak of an actor (Was it Sam or was it Stan? Steve maybe?), there’s ALWAYS that awkward fucking moment where you’ll catch just a whiff of what I so obviously am. I don’t need your fucking reminder of my destitution – shit – the idol in me? He normally plays editor but tonight? Tonight I’ve met my hero whose fluid body movements glide in and out of my personal space without that painfully understandable knee-jerk tendency. There's none of that slight retreat people do to keep my stink of a body at arm’s length. Hell, I’m foolishly stealing glances at Kurt’s nostrils for nose plugs that aren't there, y’know?

    From my expensive cream leathered passenger seat I’m idly watching Kurt as he puffs out real smoke. I won’t bring up my astral visits to Aphrodisia - our relationship was simpler then. I'm not Eros, I just can't see Cobain as a tool for light relief - not anymore.

Here on earth he’s more...whole. He makes jokes, he’s self aware, his body is not pumped up with Eros’ properties; if he smiles here its cos he is genuinely happy.

Another reason why I won’t talk about Aphrodisia is - well - of all the dead rock gods, I honestly think he’s the only one that see’s Eros’ country for the twisted, hyperbolic, egocentric theme park that it really is. A freaky island for the bloated and degenerate clowns of rock n’ roll tragedy. Only Ian Curtis’ cynicism comes close.

    Outside, Kurt’s rummaging his pockets for keys or something, so I head into the back of the trailer to fetch the guitars. Then it hits me like a truck out of nowhere: I haven’t played rock music in years.
    Kurt’s unloading drums onto the pavement; bass drum, snare drum, toms; and he’s telling me about the power of free will and destiny and Sid tagging along and...FUCK! I’m about to jam with the most significant third of Nirvana!

A hi-hat some cymbals, two bass drum pedals, and more toms are hauled out onto the roadside because like any friendly musician, I’m pitching in with my fellow player, emptying his gear to the street while inside, I’m squirming. Each unpacked instrument accents the countdown booming my inner space. 

Kurt's so jovial, tells me how he could focus on calling me, that he could sense me tracking him, but I’m zombie-nodding. I’m freaking out. The piece of piss chords for ‘Been a Son’ have slipped out the back-door of my recall.

    My blonde god, he points at me and he says,

    ‘Look at you: Spiderfingers, god of chaos. You’re slick.’


    ‘The chain.’ he says as my eyes follow his line of sight to my ankle. I browse a quick-fire glance at my fist grasping one big hunk of nothing - nothing but a pocket of air.

Not only has Rooenn’s rein pissed all over natural laws to follow me here - look, see where it’s gone - snuck right out of my palm and coiled round my left ankle. My pet knows that I need my hands free for the guitar, that I need to be fettered to him - forever.

I think of a barbed and spiked penis as big as a policeman’s truncheon. I see the weapon punch through and gorge out a female’s abdomen, the baton excavating rib cage and sternum through Caucasian skin. The silver snake round my ankle squeezes me and it’s not as if the horror-dick goes away. I still see it.

I fight but I can't help but view the ruined place it’s made bloody, and inches wider. 

    I am god inspecting vineyards whilst a sinner turns to salt. 

    I am The Almighty issuing Noah mathematical measurements whilst simultaneously reorganising valleys and weather patterns for ‘spring cleaning’. 

    I am the great I AM drawing new planets out of my bottomless imagination as nations go to war claiming to have my protection.

    And I am Spiderfingers trying to recall the chord progression to the bridge of the Nirvana track Breed. I’m sure I’ll get it and that Rooenn’s cock cleaving out of the girls chest is in no way a distraction. The blood oozing down and off her legs reminds me of lava creeping down a volcanic slope – some documentary I saw.

Her blushing legs contribute to a firm and fixed picture in my mind because I’m an absent-minded charmer, looking down at my lustrous python weaving itself about me.
    We’re in a cramped rehearsal room with cheap orange mike stands, dusty amps and cracked performance mirrors. Nothing in here looks like it works and were I human, I’d probably think twice about touching anything remotely electrical. But Kurt’s presence charges the air with the kind of energy that sends men and women into tongues.

I’m onstage but I feel an altar should be up here with me. 

    I’m expected to tune up. Noting my difficulty, Kurt hops and skips over drum cases to help since tuning takes him a mere minute. A sensitive few turns of the machine-heads are all god needs before he lollops back to the kit, sticks snapping out militant rhythms against his thighs.

For all the vague monstrosities that clot my god memory, this kind of vulnerability is dizzying.

    I scan the intensity of his face; my god the dead rock-star, busy, lowering his drum stool. Such a short guy. You wouldn’t know it to close your eyes though because right after his stool is ready, you’d be like me – your jaw to the floor. You’d be listening to drum skins take the severe thrashings of aggressive post punk.

Getting my levels right takes but a few frustrating minutes, it’s so much easier when you’re a two piece.

    I’m glad he’s insisted on handling vocals. I don’t have to scream, sing or front, though it’s all there, alive inside me, hoping I’ll set it free, give it a chance to arrow-head a campaign of worship. Oh, that knowing smile. Fools your audience into believing you know something they really, really ought to.

    Ooh! Don’t forget to be funny! All these little tools, they help construct belief. Now your words and actions have a huddle of curious primates determinedly digging away at their meaning. Hopefully, you think, fanatically and till the end of their lives. No, I’m happy that the microphones on Kurt, meaning my only focus is on chords.

I fling bolt after distorted bolt into his storm of a rock beat. It thunders. It halts. It struggles.

    And then the amazing happens.

    My fingers, the spidery fuckers, they unlock a new riff, a shadow of Bleach track Negative Creep. It’s in the wrong key but the tempo’s identical. The smirk Kurt blinds me with confirms what we’re both thinking.

I tread over uneven carpet, clumsily but without disaster till I arrive at Kurt’s mic, praying to Gaia I won’t be a fucking dildo and screw this up...

    ‘Daddy’s little girl aint a girl no more! Daddy’s little girl aint a girl no more!’

    As the almost-tune becomes a car crash of feedback and off-kilter noodling I spy Kurt’s clown-grin as we careen deep, deep into a display of sonic ineptitude. A lifetime of insecurity breaks away.

    No other dead musician could teach me this.

So then, two hyper-realised deities walk the earth. 
Whatever will happen next?
To be concluded.

Be sure to follow Stephanie Penny Tent's Spiderfingers on his wayward mission in 28 days.  

N   E   X   T      T   I   M   E      I    N
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S

    This mystery man with the John Hurt vocal pattern had withered purple sleeves trailing down and into his lap, as if his arms had not been pulled or chopped off but had simply disappeared from within the garment. She stared wide-eyed at him, cross-legged and situated between the kitchen and the living room. He opened his mouth to speak once more,

    ‘Welcome back Priestess Stephanie,’ he spoke through a polite grin, ‘Are you ready for your quest?’
The comments posted below pertain to a deleted scene. 


  1. Hi John, great stuff once again. I particularly like your use of cinematic/comic book style images, the speech bubbles conveying the thoughts of both SF and Steph, and the way these images relate to the overall theme of Russian Dolls - with speech bubbles within speech bubbles.

    I was also pleased to see the return of the Red fella, as this ties the story in with previous episodes and makes the whole arc feel more cohesive. I'm interested in the motivations of the Red gentleman - considering the fact that Steph seems to view him as a protector/guide and this notion is subtly questioned in the Red guy's final words 'Who do you think the gods need to kill now?' There's a sense of foreboding here and an element of hostility left unanswered: is he a saviour or a tool for destruction. This subtle cliffhanger works really well and makes me interested to read the next episode.

    Unfortunately, I am less convinced by the presence of the narrator in the first few paragraphs of this piece. My first concern is that the narrator's identity is unclear, we don't know who he is and why he relates to the story. At times, I thought he might be Mr Lime, but the voice and the vocabulary doesn't seem to match with that character. Then I considered that it might be SF himself, but the words quickly put paid to that idea. Then I wondered if this was the voice of John Clay, our 'real' narrator. The issue here is this: while I was thinking about who was actually speaking, I felt like I wasn't paying as much attention to what they were saying. I'm not saying you should rid yourself of this section by any means, but consider a new way to approach it - as I said when reading the Sam Mills novel that you leant me, too many layers of meta can indeed spoil the broth.

    I also found myself distracted by the talk of intervals and intermissions. Would you be able to explain your reasoning behind this? I'd be interested to know what you were thinking with this device. I just feel that it's a little superfluous, is all.

    That being said, that was my only issue with the piece, as always, it's well-written, deftly-plotted, and the pace is still moving along nicely. I was interested to see that Steph was rescued from the roadside by an elderly woman - and I wondered if this was the Jehovah's Witness that Steph followed in a previous chapter? Maybe I'm pre-empting coincidence there a little too much!

    One more suggestion and then I will shoo myself away. Would it be possible to make the positioning of the seating (two rows like that of a bus) more explicit when the concept is first introduced? Maybe it's because I was still thinking of the theatre setting, but when you mentioned two rows of seats, I instantly pictured two rows of seats set out theatre style, as if facing a stage. I think this point needs to be clarified in order to make the scene make sense.

    Also (last one, promise!) you refer to the 'passage-way' of the bus - for the sake of clarity of language, I'd be inclined to call it the aisle of the bus instead, or the gang-way. Passage way implies stationary buildings, at least in my mind.

    Right, done now. Hope those are helpful :)

  2. Glad you appreciated the continued nod to the Russian Doll motif – was afraid it was a little forced; apparently not but hey, others are yet to comment so we shall see what the general consensus is.

    He Who is Red is quite ambiguous and though he has recently saved her Steph is beginning to twig that just because someone comes to your rescue it doesn’t me that they don’t offer their own brand of danger (Saul having been a rescuer and then of course his appetite taking over). This piece was chopped in half so I wasn’t sure if there was enough of a cliff hanger. It seemed right but hey, these days I’m not quite sure – so much to juggle from the month to month and I’m slowly but surely learning to appreciate the challenge of giving less per episode volume-wise to concentrate on taking you all with me on this crazy mad-man’s tale.

    Very interesting that you found an issue in the narrator’s identity crisis in that it detracted from the tale! I was (as I told you via my message upon reading your post on Sunday) very much inspired by your recent high concept salvo to push how meta isn’t always better! Mr Lime originally appeared in Why is Wigloo to provide a ‘clearing up process’:

    ‘You need me to exist don’t you? Don’t worry about a name, past or multifaceted character traits – devices like me don’t really require such handles though I often unconsciously lapse into one of the many voices that surround me. It can be argued, and it can be postulated easily that I ought to have shown my face a lot sooner in this jumble of affairs. Stephanie’s life/Spiderfingers’ latest tale could have benefitted from my intrusion as far back as Dangerous Beginnings. Felt a little egoless back then though.’

  3. The fact that he prizes clarity and order over chaos should mirror my own respect for the story whereas the soul or voice that appears to be corrupting him with the weighty and needless expressionary forms cares only about being seen. Mr Lime goes as far as to name his agressor as being none other than Spiderfingers:

    ‘I don’t know how he did it or if indeed he is even aware of his legacy, but Spiderfingers has left his conceited identity all over this universe that I foolishly thought I could control – but only for your intellectual delectation.’

    I must admit that for this piece to be all it can be, I have to consider the difficulty in the balance of serving the monthly form as it’s impossible for you all to keep up with the agendas of all the characters and maybe, just possibly, more spoon feeding should have been appropriated regarding Mr Limes intentions/motivations? His subsequent downfall would have been more pleasurable to watch and comment upon.

    ‘I felt like I wasn't paying as much attention to what they were saying. I'm not saying you should rid yourself of this section by any means, but consider a new way to approach it’ – Leanne Moden A.K.A Crimson EBlog

    Any suggestions would be very helpful Leanne and to anyone else that may echo such sentiments that I wholeheartedly agree with. Suggestions contribute directly towards the creation of this story so please – feel free any of you silent watchers.

    Sim recommended more breaks in the narrative (His particular gripe inspired the lengths of Spiderfingers issues of the last three months…thanks Sim if you’re out there a-watching)! I decided to give Mr Lime the luxury to compose himself from time to time since he is allowing himself to die away so as to halt Spiderfingers’ mangling the tale. Any ideas to make the intervals contribute more clearly within the logic of the tale are most welcome.

    Glad you think the pace hasn’t let up as I was VERY tempted to slow things back down again before the next big wild action piece. As regards Steph being rescued by the jehovah’s Witness – yeah, she is indeed the woman from the Ring, Ring, Ring. She’s been amalgamated with Jane Faye from the Steph’s Gold Medal short story (Bradley The Boy Wonder). How is this possible? I’ll leave you with a quote from He Who is Red as I figure it’s significance has either been overlooked or not made more flagrant enough:

    ‘Treat it well. Be careful how you live your life because everything and everyone you invite in ends up here, not quite as you’d expect but here nonetheless, a little mangled but recognisable given the right going over.’ – He Who is Red

    For saying that you found my piece ‘deftly plotted’ – thank you! Although I am quite obviously moved by commentary to drastically redraft subsequent stories, The Russian Doll Stories has a definite road map that I can’t stray from too far. Nice to hear that you can see it as well as occasionally question its existence. I feel like a jugular learning his skill in public and it is most certainly rewarding.

  4. Will DEFFO edit the piece with your comments in mind (You’re right about the gangway rather than passageway as by now Lime is pretty much dead so it’s time to leave the clunky ego of Spiderfingers’ theatre coding by the wayside).

    More explicit with the seat rows? From your comment you seem to have got it exactly as I intended you all to see it? Clarify your req yes?

  5. Right well that as a bit of a puzzle wasn't it? I didn't really make many notes reading this one, mainly becuase I had to pick my way through where, when and why of the story. I enjoyed reading it and like Leanne says it's well written and the reintroducing of He Who Is Red, is a nice tie in.

    I do feel a little sorry for Steff, mainly because it seems like there is no way for her to escape the trouble she's gotten herself into. I'm not sure about the bus though. I know it's the purple bus and am I right in saying it's hurtling through Chaos that is Steff's own self created chaos? Or have I got that wrong? I found trying to figure out where they were super confusing. It took me a while to figure out Steff was in the bus in the first place, I thought she was lying on stage and Mr Lime was merely commenting on her status like before, even though he said he'd done away with all that - *sigh* can you hear my confusion? It's raging isn't it?

    I also enjoyed the comic book bubbles, however I think your description of Steff thinking about Spider thinking about Steff needs a little bit more clarity (for me anyway) coz that bit lost me.

    Really loved the end paragraph and the description of the building in the beginning. I thought both were very well written and also the what if of everyone walking around with the deepest, personal scars flying above them like flags a very interesting topic - would make a good stroy (obviously a completely nothing to do with Spiderfingers story!)

    I had one big question though - where is Steff's son? Is he really real or just a fabrication? I get that maybe he's being looked after by someone else seeing as she is supposed to be in the loony bin but she never gives him a second thought? Even when her life is being threatened he doesn't pop up in her mind. I know you mentioned her being estrnged from herself and her son but I really want to know how she feels about him. Little point and probably not relevant to the main arch or even sub arch of the story but it's something I'm keen to know the answer on.

    Other then that you've piqued my curiosity and I want answers dammit!!

  6. ‘I had one big question though - where is Steph's son? Is he really real or just a fabrication? I get that maybe he's being looked after by someone else seeing as she is supposed to be in the loony bin but she never gives him a second thought? Even when her life is being threatened he doesn't pop up in her mind. I know you mentioned her being estranged from herself and her son but I really want to know how she feels about him.’ – Rachel M

    I may just pepper the last four months with the odd Gideon meditation but I’ve found in times of insanity one often thinks only of themselves and recollects there place in the world (and all those that depend upon them) much much later on. There is a guilt that accompanies such a realisation and so of course once things have settled down (and wierdo’s like Red get out of the way), Steph will return to her thoughts on Gideon; her bafflement regarding his mixed race and her absent maternal pride are in fact part of her own personal plot but right now my mind is set on adventures in The Oma and shanigans in the life of Spiderfingers-lookalike Foley Edwards (he appears in Why is Wigloo very briefly).

    Gideon was originally intended for a rather traditional use of protagonists child but then I stumbled upon a way to involve him with more originality. He could have turned out to be a token hostage for Steph to rescue upon completion of her quest and though an element of that may or may not still surface, Gideon is a doorway to us understanding one of Spiderfingers’ hobbies. On that note, doesn’t it bother you, that for all the modernising of comic style characters that not one of them appears to have a hobby? Can Peter Parker really be just a photographer trying to balance his life with Spiderman? What life? I suppose characters that are as angst ridden and driven as him and Batman don’t have time for kite flying, stamp collecting or/and playing the guitar but in peter’s case in particular, the reminiscing of a hobby would make him more real, yes?

    Spiderfingers has Steph to thank for keeping his memories of John Clay’s musicianship as part of his story/life. Maybe he’s just lucky. Maybe he’s not as chaotic as he would have us all believe? What does it matter, now that he’s dead…

  7. I love puzzles. I love fooling myself into thinking I can solve story based ones before the narrator has uttered their last sentence. Glad you enjoyed reading it as I do believe previous brain teasers of mine have been more frustrating than agonising. This is probably because we’re getting more of a feel for this world that Steph must negotiate.

    At present I’m gonna continue my mimicking of last year’s format and am hard at work on perfecting the multiple scene approach I did in last year’s story – Dangerous Beginnings.

    We will learn more about He Who is Red but please – you know me, the facts will turn up as wet cement rather than concrete. Tread around them carefully or you’re interaction with them shall push them into new shapes – these stories are only half written by me.

    Glad you sympathise with Steph as she is our main protagonist. Her escape seems unlikely doesn’t it? Good.

    Regarding your confusion regarding the bus, take another look at the end paragraph you mentioned liking. Here you go:

    ‘Ah, the uncontrollable vehicle that rolls, careens even between our ears, the swerving beguiling transit is never quite the constant is it? Unlike the storyteller, unlike a play’s set-design, your subconscious, it requires no piloting and is in fact an unruly ever unpredictable bastard.’

    This might sound defensive (and I do that so well!) but getting a little lost and then finally figuring out a sentence happens all the time especially with some of the concepts I’m appropriating/amalgamating. It really is O.K to get lost just so long as you remain intrigued. I would HATE to think that there is some unbreakable rule that read so: Every sentence must leave the reader in absolutely no doubt as to where they are. I mean Jesus, imagine writing good dream sequences that had to prepare the reader that they were about to follow a character through them? It would scan like writing. I prefer to for the reader to casually become aware that they’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.

    All that being said, the where and the how are all fourth coming in the next tale called Foley, His Sister and Other Parasites.

    I was concerned with the building description as that was written merely an hour before posting. Imagining the story without it is IMPOSSIBLE for me now, so cheers for that! Ah and the Recollection Wheel idea was typical Spiderfingers doing his damndest to show off – he cares little about stories or endings and would prefer to be the lead in an ongoing soap opera. He NEEDS to you to keep watching him, only him. What better way to do it than continually waving his liar tongue about with declarations that might suggest that he has re-invented the wheel of drama?

    1. Well no-one can say that you dont pay attention to your comments. So I wont go on again about how much I dislike the literal contruction (Though it seems to be catching in Leons, argh. Nor will I consider the parts that potencially could cause umbridge ;) )

      I like the way SFs is almost refusing to die. Mr Lime is choosing to fade to twart this? Hum ok. Though his narrative voice wasnt such an issue for me, just the lengths you took it to.

      I suppose this is what has been putting me off lately. I cant help but feel that you are too indulgent. You have all these interesting ideas and concepts, that individually could prove quite potent, grasping the audiances attention. Then you force them all together and they form a jumble ( quite similar to some of your earlier sentance contructual issues, but now with concepts.) Its not that these ideas are necessarily bad, or not worth pursuing, just that sometimes you need to be more firm with yourself. Say No. Cut some of them, save them for another story. For the ones that stay really polish them until they work in syncronisity with the story. (Im facing this same dilema at the mo; a whole sequence of events where i was indulging in lots of fun stuff...but I think it has to go. Instead of a chapter a one line allusion...)

      This month I felt that not a whole lot happened. A critism you have given me in the past, whilst it has some validity my work is more character driven. And yes it could be argued that yours is also...but, and this is a very bg have (almost literally) swept all of your characters off the stage. Yes we see them, but we, the audiance, are distanced from them. So do we fall back onto plot? Not so much. The plot takes one mincing step forward each month and I am getting frustrated. I feel that you could cut about half of this months out. In fact I feel that the last few eps could easily be condensed into one good, fast paced gripping narrative.

      I respect your desicion to not have a linear narrative, but the problem with this is it disrupts the stories natural pacing. Its easy to fall into a cul de sac of intermediacy.

      I hope you dont think im being too harsh; this critism has been niggling and has become clear this month. Im going to leave it here, to go and post on (probs) Rachels next, then comment on comments including more here.

      Oh I will say that I DO like the plot, it intrigues me and I DO get the sense that its good and has meat, In fact I like it so that I want more than a dribble each month ;)


  8. Yup, the comments are where it’s at regarding my development – I couldn’t have written Steph without you guys. I’m sure you can see my killing off of Mr Lime as my rather obvious attempt to guide us back to less convoluted story ideas? I’ve had my dill of uber meta myself and it’s time to get into more obvious character driven stuff.

    Glad you like Spiderfingers stubbornness, that the afterlife isn’t a place where he is keen to stay for long. Mr Lime has done The Russian Doll Stories a service in keeping him dead. I don’t think Spiderfingers can/will return after this point. Phew.

    Tell me about this comment of yours regarding Mr Lime:

    ‘Though his narrative voice wasn’t such an issue for me, just the lengths you took it to.’

    Would LOVE to hear how you would have handled writing Lime into the narrative to illustrate my distaste for overly and cumbersome narration.

    Too many ideas? I’m comfortable with my ongoing balancing act and have been guilty of writing in a lesser coherent style than this here Recollection Wheel malarkey wouldn’t you say? Reading back Invisible is trying and will benefit from your final editing. You still up for that? I love the jumble of ideas that often arise in Gaiman’s, Pahalniuk’s and Lynch’s work. Comic writers such as Morrison, Ellis and Milligan also indulge in wowing their audiences with multi-layered concepts so, if I can receive guidance from you and others on the execution of the style rather than the timid dumping of it, I would be very, very grateful. I’d say the managing of seemingly chaotic literature has been a characteristic of my work for years. I think The Show was a good example of how to write Spiderfingers well so I’m curious – how long have you been unhappy with the saga?
    ‘The plot takes one mincing step forward each month and I am getting frustrated.’ – A. Fox

    I gotta stick to my guns and Sim’s parting advice to me that less is more. Although excited about the developments in the 8000 word count of The Show, he reckons that of late, shorter episodes are easier to take in. This means slower plot movement but I have to say, that I don’t share your feeling that the plot is bogged down or suffers from lack of action. In the last three months alone we’ve had more insight into the recent history of the Discordians, we’ve had Handy Andy and Saul break Steph out of Bellevue, Saul turning on Steph, Spiderfingers trying to come back to life through an omnipresent narrator and said narrator sacrificing himself to prevent chaos’ return. What else? There is Steph finding out more about her place in the plans of the gods, her default position as priestess of Spiderfingers confirmed by He Who is Red. If any indulgence can be spotted it is of course in my interest in exploring backstory (Steph’s street time and The Discordian’s prepping themselves for a mission into The Oma). I am more forgiving of your own need to do this as we are both building worlds we care about…it is natural for us to take our time in their construction and so the providing of other mini stories that help reveal the possibilities of these worlds is something to celebrate. The final edits of your epic and mine will owe a lot to our monthly experimentation.

  9. ‘I feel that you could cut about half of this months out. In fact I feel that the last few eps could easily be condensed into one good, fast paced gripping narrative.’ A. Fox

    Yup. I could have done exactly that but I would have needed more time. Writing Spiderfingers from month to month is no mean feat and though I’m happier than two months ago I’d say considering what I’m trying to achieve, this soap opera could be in a much worse a state. Agree or disagree? I am quite keen to know.

    ‘Oh I will say that I DO like the plot, it intrigues me and I DO get the sense that its good and has meat, In fact I like it so that I want more than a dribble each month ;)’ – A. Fox

    You want to know what happens next month? Maybe it’s cos for all its highbrow postulations, Spiderfingers is Eastenders in disguise. Actually, it’s more Dallas – which is making a come back on channel 5 soon. JESUS!

  10. Hi John,

    So I'm just jumping in, but here goes --

    I really distracted myself by trying to discern who the narrator is at the beginning. Is the narration a form of consciousness within the mentioned 'she'? In Steph's head?

    "A bragging harrying arrogance that has somehow managed to project itself from its falling place, a death-spot; a battle scarred residence where a body lies unburied."
    ^very nice! I appreciate the words you used here, except for 'residence'. I feel it could be replaced by a more specific word, but that's probably because I was trying hard to place who and where/what this narrator is. I was using the words as clues, if that makes sense.

    I loved the theatre imagery -- intimacy of a thrust stage, the idea of a "transgendered theatre" (as host of the narrator?) I found compelling.

    "Vomiting up the gunky foul-smelling Technicolor side-effects of my self-medication.." Guh. Gross. But cool.

    I understand the red, yellow, and blue breakings, but what are the purple ones doing?

    I get the sense that there are many things being tied into this story, definitely going to backtrack through your earlier posts. I apologize if these questions are answered through earlier posts!

    Overall I enjoyed how well-written this is, the speech bubbles, the Russian doll-within a doll-within a doll imagery/recurrence, and that I didn't get a sense of the story dragging. I hope you find some of this helpful.

  11. Yo! Ada! Good for you for sharing your thoughts and had I known how out of the loop you seemingly are on the exploits of chaos’ adventures, I would have suggested an earlier instalment. Out of interest, which episode did you read last? I remember your praise for Steph’s Gold Medal on the promo picture on my FACEBOOK.

    The narrator is someone called Mr Lime but no, not a voice in Steph’s head – way too crowded in there as it is! We met Mr Lime at the beginning of this years volume/season/arc in a tale called Why is Wigloo?

    Residence is less used than home and added to the lyrical flow of the sentence so I am reluctant to change it if only because you were unfairly distracted by the narrator. Wish you had read at least the last two or more episodes as it would be nice to see if your puzzlement would still be prevalent.

    Yeah, I figured you being acquainted with all things theatrical would enjoy the language used to describe the playhouse! And oh definitely, the transgender theatre was a host to Mr Lime.

    One suggestion that I will undertake will be the replacement of the purple borders since I don’t take into consideration how much I consciously encourage people to read into my work – the purple barriers are just that, spaces between thoughts – nothing more.

    Absolutely fantastic that you got a notion of strands weaving together. Volume II is all about revelation.

    ‘Overall I enjoyed how well-written this is, the speech bubbles, the Russian doll-within a doll-within a doll imagery/recurrence, and that I didn't get a sense of the story dragging.’ – Ada Ball

    I find your comments quite encouraging and considered. Very much looking forward to your catching up with Spiderfingers’ saga in a more (how ironic0 orderly fashion x

  12. Yo John'o,

    The last I read was in January, Why is Wigloo. I don't believe I left a comment, but know that Mr Lime creeped me the fuck out. I was also high tho. So.

    I see what you're saying about 'residence'. Anything I say is going to sound nit-picky-like because I don't have the reading to back it up.

    With the purple, the thoughts are Lime's, right? If that's true, then the purple could be appropriate. I just wanted to know what they were doing, if the thoughts were shifting to different persons at each break. But I see now.

  13. You were high when you read one of my stories?! I take absolutely no responsibility for any of the bad trips or the fake guides that you may have encountered upon your journey to realities perilous and labyrinthine.

    Nit picky is GOOD! REALLY good! Read loads and get back to me - it is your job....don't let me get away with anything sloppy.

    The thoughts are Lime's and of course Spiderfingers concious is appearing to break through. At least that's what Lime is experiencing.

    1. Yes and I was stoned, not on peyote!

      Alrighty, I have a lot to read. Until next time...