Create your own Star Wars crawl, care of Lucasfilm. I made one of my own.
What can you create?
Create your own Star Wars crawl, care of Lucasfilm. I made one of my own.
What can you create?
Ray the chef was having trouble scooping out a pumpkin. Lunch had finished and he decided he had plenty of time to get ready for the pub’s Halloween party on Sunday night. The 4.40 at Haydock Park was two hours away. Loads of time to get a bet on.
“Ping!” Allie the Aardvark was playing with the microwave again when I brought in the last of the day’s dirty cups and saucers. He and it had a special understanding, it seemed. I couldn’t see the attraction myself. But then, my little blue friend found amusement in the strangest of places. Maybe there weren’t any microwave ovens where Allie came from. Which reminded me: as long as I’ve known the aardvark, he’s never really explained his origins. He was just…there. The winning prize of the pub’s weekly lottery and I somehow adopted him. Or he adopted me.
Whichever. I don’t really know.
Ray cursed loudly. “Whose bright idea was it to order a pumpkin?” he said.
“Mine,” Allie said. “Halloween is not Halloween until a pumpkin has been well and truly scooped.”
For those that don’t know, Allie is a one-of-a-kind; a talking aardvark that only I can hear. He loves playing up on this.
“What did he say?” Ray said.
“He said it was his idea,” I replied. “What’s the problem with it?”
“It’s as tough as my granny’s you-know-what,” he said.
“That bad, huh?” I didn’t want to ask what the ‘you-know-what’ was. Some things were best left alone.
“I need a chisel,” Ray said.
“You can’t take a chisel to a pumpkin, Ray. You’ll hack it to pieces.”
“It’s either that or it goes in the bin.”
“The bossman wouldn’t like that,” Allie said. “He spent twenty euro on a pumpkin. For that kind of money, he’ll want it to serve drinks, too.” Martin was the owner of the pub. He was as tight with cash as Ray’s granny’s you-know-what was tough. Real tight. Real tough.
“What did he say?” Ray asked again.
“Don’t use a chisel,” I said.
“He’s no bloody use,” Ray said. “Ask him to take a took at the 4.40, will you? I need a winner badly.”
“After the last time,” I said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Especially when you’re thinking of chiseling a pumpkin.”
One of Allie’s many talents is the ability to predict certain events, events in which he has no direct involvement – like horse racing. He found a winner for Ray the day after he got here and was sorry that he did. Even though the aardvark tried to dissuade him, Ray still tried to get one more winning horse from Allie.
“Let’s go, Jimbo,” Allie said. “I want to see what Halloween is like in Dublin.”
“I hope you like bangers,” I said.
My new friend wore my Stetson all the time. I brought it home from my trip to the States last year, but it suited him better than it did me. He had a head for hats. I just looked ridiculous. We took a bus into the city centre and got off at Marlborough Street. We crossed O’Connell Street, avoiding chuggers along the way, and strolled up Henry Street. The shop windows tried in vain to entice people to come in and sample the very latest in fancy dress. Allie walked toward one of the displays. His snout perked up.
“See something you like?” I said.
“I’m not sure,” he replied. “It seems to me that the latest fashion designs would have the Witches of Salmon weeping into their cauldrons.”
“The witches of who?” I sensed an aardvarkian history lesson on its way.
“Salmon,” he replied. “I mean, look at these.” He pointed at the mannequins. “If I didn’t know any better I’d say this shop sold school uniforms for Lady Gaga fans. Who in their right minds goes around wearing stuff like this?”
“This is what happens on Halloween, Allie,” I said. “The young ones dress up like tarts, get blitzed on alcopops, and spend the next day throwing up monkey nuts.”
“Charming,” the aardvark said. “Wouldn’t happen in my day. The witches wouldn’t allow it.”
We continued our walk up Henry Street. On the corner of Moore Street, some guys were selling fireworks and bangers, despite this activity being against the law. One of the hawkers approached us.
“D’ya want some fireworks, bud?” he said.
“A witch’s curse be upon you!” Allie replied. “May your spawn suffer the ignominy of perpetual boredom!”
“What did he say?” the hawker asked.
“He said no.” I grabbed Allie’s snout. “Let’s go, you.” We marched further on. “What’s with the cursing? It’s not nice.”
“Yes, Jimbo. On the Feast of Salmon, all witches’ covens got together for their Annual General Meeting and debated ways of making their day of celebration more even and meaningful, less shallow. Hence the term ‘shallow evening.’ Of course, over the centuries, almost everything was lost. Shallow became hallow, Salmon became samhain.”
I stopped in my tracks. “You’re pulling my leg, aren’t you?”
“What, you think all this is to do with druids and ghosts?”
“Well, that and a good horror movie.”
“It’s marketing, Jimbo. It’s St. Valentine’s Day with vampires. The Witches of Salmon would…”
“I know, weep into their cauldrons. Hubble, bubble, boil and trouble.”
Allie’s stomach rumbled. “I need some M&Ms, Jimbo. All this talk of food is giving me an appetite.”
We retraced our steps. “You know, Allie,” I said, “if all this distresses you, you could always Hum them away.” Allie’s only weapon, as far as I knew, was his psychic Hum; a sound that penetrated people’s minds and hearts and made them do his bidding.
“I thought of that,” he said. “But it would cause more trouble that its worth. If I make these vendors go away, others will take their place next year.” He looked at me with those dark expressionless eyes of his. “I might not be here this time next year.”
I hadn’t thought of that. I felt my face fall.
“Don’t fret too much, Jimbo,” he said. “We have much to accomplish before I go anywhere. But first, I need…”
“M&Ms,” I said.
“Yes,” the aardvark replied. “And I want to have another look at those school uniforms.”
I will be returning shortly to the world of Allie the Aardvark. To massive public clamor, as well as a petition signed by such notables as Barack Obama, Salman Rushdie and the bloke who runs the local chipper, Allie fans will wait no longer.
Tomorrow I shall post the Halloween special; but for now, read and enjoy Allie’s first appearance in my life.
WELCOME TO ALLIE’S WORLD.
“When’s Judge Judy on?” it wondered.
“You know who Judge Judy is?” I asked, very much amazed that it could talk.
I looked at my watch. “It’s five after midnight. It’s too late for Judge Judy.”
“It’s never too late for Judge Judy. You got any pretzels?”
“You can sit down, you know. I don’t bite.”
“I hope that’s not an insult.”
“I mean, you’re sucking up those peanuts.”
“That’s what we aardvarks do. We suck.”
“But I thought you ate ants?”
“Among other things, yes. Please, sit down. You’re making this aardvark uncomfortable.”
I sat down, not taking my eyes from this strange creature. It put down the sweets and extended its hand, paw, whatever, to me.
“My name is Alistair Reginald Boothroyd lV, but you can call me Allie.”
I shook its..whatever it was. “I’m James, but you can call me Jimbo.I didn’t know aardvarks could talk.”
“But I can hear you.”
“That’s because you’re supposed to.”
“Jimbo, come on. You arrive into work this evening to find that the top prize in your bar’s lottery draw is an aardvark. Stuff like that doesn’t happen every day.”
He was right, it didn’t. Usually the top prize was cash, but ticket sales have been down since the economy went pear-shaped. So we rang up suppliers, asking them to sponsor the draw. Only one came through for us. Hence the aardvark.
The winning numbers were 2, 3, and 5, and there were three “lucky” winners of the top prize. All of them took one look at Allie and passed, taking instead the consolation prize of five free drinks. This left me, as stand-in organiser of the draw (the boss was on holiday), stuck with an aardvark. So I put him into an empty cardboard box and brought him home with me. I considered myself fortunate that I didn’t meet anyone I knew on the way back to my apartment.
“So why is it that only I can hear you?”
“The powers that be have decreed it so.”
“I don’t know. I may have made that part up. You got anything else to eat except chocolate peanuts?”
“I have cheese.”
“I can’t suck cheese.”
I looked in my fridge and found some yogurt. “Will this do?” I asked, showing Allie the carton.
I checked. “Blackcurrant.”
“Nice. I like blackcurrant yogurt.” I gave him — it was a “he” now, seeing that we’d been introduced — the yogurt. He tore off the foil cover and sucked up the contents. The sound was like that of a vacuum cleaner, sucking up clotted cream.
“I have to go to bed soon. Are you all right down here?”
“I’m fine,” he replied. “Leave your laptop open, if you wouldn’t mind. I want to check my Facebook.”
“You have a Facebook?”
“But you’re an —
“–aardvark, I know, I know. So you keep reminding me.”
I started up the stairs to my bedroom. I was dazed.
“You got any good books?” Allie called.
I stopped and looked down. “What do you read?”
“Just Cell and Lisey’s Story.”
“No Dark Tower?”
“Man,” Allie replied. “You’ve got to read the Dark Tower series.”
I sighed. “So people keep telling me.”
Ten minutes later, when I was about ready to put his whole episode down as some sort of elaborate hoax, I could hear the sound of jewels exploding, followed by hoots of joy.
“122,500 points. Jimbo, when I’m good, I’m very, very good.”
I pulled my pillow from under my head and buried my face in it. Tomorrow, I thought. I’ll sort this out tomorrow.
We’ve all heard this aphorism, haven’t we? Someone or something (usually a network or energy provider) promises you the sun, moon and stars if you sign on the dotted line. But all you find at the end is you’ve sold your soul for a white elephant and nothing much has changed.
Consider air fares. Ireland’s national airline, Aer Lingus, is advertising cheap flights across its European network. I can, if I wish, travel to Paris one-way for €29.99. Great! But how much is it going to cost me to come back? And how much extra will I have to pay?
The latest information from their website tells me that a weekend break in Paris will cost to the tune of €140 and rising. This is mainly down to what they don’t and won’t tell you – until it’s too late.
Fascinating Aida is a British comedy and music act, a trio of very talented ladies whose brand of humour has won them many fans and awards. I recently came across a video recording of exactly how they feel about this air-fare rip-0ff. It’s amazing how much truth there is in comedy.
This just in:
Suicide Bombers to go on strike Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are
set to begin a three-day strike on Monday in a dispute over the number
of virgins they are entitled to in the afterlife. Emergency talks with
Al Qaeda have so far failed to produce an agreement. The unrest began
last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number of virgins a
suicide bomber would receive after his death will be cut by 25% this
February, from 72 to only 60. The rationale for the cut was the
increase in recent years of the number of suicide bombings and a
subsequent shortage of virgins in the afterlife.
The suicide bomber’s union, the British Organization of Occupational
Martyrs (BOOM) responded with a statement that this was unacceptable
to its members and immediately balloted for strike action. General
Secretary Abdullah Amir told the press, “Our members are literally
working themselves to death in the cause of Jihad. We don’t ask for
much in return, and to be treated like this is like a kick in the
Speaking from his shed in Tipton in the West Midlands, in which he
currently resides, Al Qaeda chief executive Osama bin Laden explained,
“We sympathize with our workers concerns, but Al Qaeda is simply not
in a position to meet their demands. They are simply not accepting the
realities of modern-day Jihad in a competitive marketplace. Thanks to
Western depravity there is now a chronic shortage of virgins in the
afterlife. It’s a straight choice between reducing expenditure and
laying people off. I don’t like cutting wages but I’d hate to have to
tell 3,000 of my staff that they won’t be able to blow themselves up.”
Spokespersons for the Union in the north-east of England, Ireland,
Wales, and the entire Australian continent stated that the strike
would not affect their operations, as “there are no virgins in their
Apparently the drop in the number of suicide bombings has been put
down to the emergence of Scottish singing star Susan Boyle – now that
Muslims know what an actual virgin looks like they are not so keen on
going to paradise.
Thanks for this, Mark.
I got this in my mail just now. Luckily enough Gmail recognised it for what it is. Still, for a wee second I was almost (but not quite) interested.
UK Games Board
Victoria Square House,
Birmingham B2 4BP.
This Official Letter of Notification is displayed in the order of the 2012 Olympics Games that will next be held in London 2012 Opening date, 27 July 2012. Closing date, 12 August 2012. Your Email Address have won you the sum of One Million Pounds Sterling, your e-mail address was gotten through the United Kingdom Information Network Online (U.K.I.N.O)and your winning is attached to a Reference Number: BOGC/9887-44UK & Batch Number: 44/0091-BO1/GC2 been for the International Promotions Program.
Draws of Email Addresses was selected through a computer system from Thirty Thousand email addresses across the world as part of the IPP and the winning sum for this draw is Five Million Pounds to be shared amound 5 eligible winners by receiving this notification. Send your claimaint details to the below contact for payment processing, data programming and further steps of claiming will be related with you by Mr. Perry Lyons.
Sex: | First Name: | Surname:| Occupation: | Marital Status: | Date of Birth: | Residential | Address: | Country of Origin: | Nationality/Citizenship: | Email: | Alternative Email: | Fax #:
Tel#: | Cell#:.
SEND DETAILS TO:
Mr. Perry Lyons
Tel: +44 702 402 7924
This program is promoted and sponsored by allot of partnerships such as: Acer, Cocacola,DOW,Panasonic, P&G, Samsung, Visa, Addidas, BMW, British Airways, e.t.c. Please Quote your Reference and Batch numbers and avoid unnecessary delay/complications, all funds that are unclaimed within 2 weeks of notification will be revoke. We also advise that you keep your winning information very confidential as our security policy demands to avoid double claims/impersonation and unwarranted abuse of this program by unscrupulous element.
UK Tele Raff
Copy Right 2010
If any of you feel like chancing your arm and somehow get lucky, just get me a ticket to the States. You can hang on to the rest.