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"You've Got to Sleep With Your Mum and Dad" is now available on Amazon. Childhood angst, marathon swimming, international exploitation and the threat of impending pinniped intimacy. on 2014-08-13
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Fourth news item

Have a look at my page on Amazon. Still plenty of summer left for challenging literature. on 2014-08-13
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Third news item

Check out my Amazon Kindle page. 'The Baby Who Killed People for Money' is now available. An utterly charming child with a unique and lucrative skill. A father with no defence against his daughter's impulses. Would you take your little girl around Europe for a spot of murder tourism? Of course you would. on 2014-06-30
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Second news item

My story on the Tate gallery website on 2013-11-11
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First news item

A Thousand Natural Shocks An anthology that includes two of my stories. Available now at Amazon. on 2013-11-11
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April 2009
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Archive for April, 2009

Posted April 21, 2009
  Posted by in Enormousfish

Stefan awoke to find that he was having sex with an enormous fish. He had expected something like this.

The fish was manifestly unpleasant. It was cold and its skin had the texture of a corpse. Stefan’s first impulse was to shove it away but a lifetime of conditioning made him cautious.

Sure enough, they were being watched. Bored, white-coated operatives were looking on, adjusting dials and taking notes. Stefan recognised Dr Malek.

“Keep going, boy. Almost finished,” Dr Malek encouraged. “Welcome back. Hope you had a good course. Just doing a few tests to find out how the human body responds to… whatever it is.”

Stefan started to choke out a protest.

“Don’t talk. Keep going to ejaculation. Make sure you get there or we’ll have to do it all over again.”

Stefan looked at the fish. There was a look of outrage in its unblinking eyes. It was not enjoying this. Perhaps it did not know why it was doing this either. It might be better for both of them if he stopped.

But Stefan was back in the System. He had a job to do. Manfully, he worked at increasing his stroke rate. He wondered why the System had decided that it would be a good idea to make him have sex with a big fish. Dr Malek might tell him afterwards.

He was nearly there now. He closed his eyes and tried to visualise Anya. It occurred to him that the fish couldn’t close its eyes. Did he feel unpleasantly hot and dry to it? Could a fish ever be attracted to him, Stefan Griska?

Ah! Stefan felt the muscular contractions beginning. Nearly finished. He could feel the fish squeezing him rhythmically. He opened his eyes. The fish looked aghast but its mouth was opening and closing rapidly. Its gill covers were flapping. He poured warm fluid deep into the fish’s body and the fish itself undulated energetically, eyes bulging from its scaly head.

“Right, You can stop doing that now.” Dr Malek’s authority relieved him of duty. “Go and have a shower. You and you,” he gestured at some men in white coats, “get that fish back into the tank. Don’t forget to take the samples. And you,” he pointed at a stooping old man, “Clean up the mess. This man has to sleep in that bed.”

“What’s going on?” Stefan ventured.

“Welcome back.” Dr Malek disregarded the question. “You’ve got time for a short rest. You’re due in the office at seven o’clock.”

“Yes. Of course.” Stefan snapped into routine. He took his toothbrush from the metal rack and squeezed an economical amount of toothpaste onto it. He headed out to the bathroom at the end of the corridor.

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Posted April 21, 2009
  Posted by in Enormousfish

I saved an octopus today. I was swimming at Brighton Beach, the one near my childhood home in Adelaide. Walking back over the sand, I saw a lifeless blob of jelly. I bent down and saw the tangled limbs of a stranded octopus.

I picked it up by the head to show my wife.

“It’s alive?” she asked.

“No.” I laid it out on the sand and began to spread its arms, find its siphon; all those things I had examined in stranded marine creatures when I was a curious child. A flaccid arm latched a couple of suckers onto my finger. I noted idly that the suckers still worked after death.

“It’s holding onto you.”

It was. Another arm adhered to me. Its survival systems had registered a last hope. I took the octopus to a pool in the sand and put my hand into the water. Slowly more of its arms stretched out to my hand and it edged its head towards me.

I remembered the horror stories I had heard about the blue-ringed octopus at this beach. If you let the tiny thing pierce you with its beak it would kill you, they said, with a nerve poison. The most horrible pain while you’re totally paralysed, then you stop breathing.

My creature was not a blue-ringed octopus. However, its shape was close enough to trip early memories of the warning posters. It began to revitalise and form itself into the classic octopus shape rather than the wrung-out rag that it had been minutes before. As it drew closer to my hand, I became increasingly uncomfortable.

I tried to prise two of the legs off my hand so I could lever its beak away from my skin. I couldn’t. If I used enough force to dislodge the suckers I was sure its thin arms would tear.

I could see its eyes now with their rectangular pupils. Its siphon was extended and occasionally puffed out a few grains of sand. It contracted its muscles to draw it closer to my hand.

I knew that there was no danger. This was not the deadly force that I was conditioned to fear. However, I did not relish having the beak of an unknown octopus in the palm of my hand. How sharp is an octopus beak? What would it do with it when it found that I was not a rock but made from edible material? Wouldn’t it desperately need food after being stranded?

I stood up, octopus in hand, and ran back over the sand into the sea. When I was knee-deep in cool water, I knelt and immersed my mollusced hand.

Its grip strengthened again. It was trying to get closer to the tenuous safety that I represented. I tried to remove a suckered tentacle from my skin but again its grip seemed stronger than its flesh. Carefully, I levered one row of suckers clear of my hand. It took advantage of my concentration to latch two other ones around my wrist. I gave up and put my hand deeper in the sea.

Suddenly the octopus gave a single convulsion and sprang off my hand, streaking like a meteor to the sea floor. I looked at my hand with its faint rows of white circles, monster free.

The monster itself sat on the sandy surface, working out its best course of action. Slowly its arms disappeared as it buried itself. After a minute, only its sand-coloured head was visible. I looked away towards the beach. When I looked back, it was gone.

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Posted April 21, 2009
  Posted by in Enormousfish

…and the Bosphorus.


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