Category: With Keith
房子是安静。酒倾吐了从瓶入玻璃- fizzing 声音和一个水果的气味。第四天隐居几乎通过了。有三他们, 这里, 肯尼斯, Clive 和Keith, 和另外四下面。楼梯变得高度政治。战斗隐约地出现了在天际, 由坏natured 啼声预示。房子的极化长期未需要。名人要求客厅作为他们自己, 以伴随要求在厨房。这留给三位pals 一点选择但疾走在楼上和快速地要求所有四间卧室、卫生间、宣扬的碗柜和锅炉作为他们自己。如此要求, 房子的这分界是关键对了解两个队战略。剥夺厨房, 和一个前门, 我们的三个英雄设法谈判一个方式在大厦的边下和分配地段如下。同样, 楼下, 名人- 被剥夺卫生间- 喜欢对排粪在半完成露台外面。除奇怪的爆发, 有现在是沈默达大半二天。两个队准备基本武器和防御。争斗计划速写在特别时尚。肯尼斯辩解了战斗来临在周末最早。他们安定享用他们的酒, 听见噪声在stairwell 的底部当他们同时采取了他们的第一个饮者。
Basking in the icy moonlight, Keith supped from a glass of cold tea that he carried around in his belt, in a special flask that he had bartered for a hat and a pair of trousers back in his days of wanderlust. Cold tea was much easier to maintain than hot tea, and could be used as a quick substitute for most medicines in desperate times. These were not such times, instead the moon was able to occupy his full attention, save for those remaining fragments of his mind set up to monitor nearby threats and stop him from spilling tea all down his front.
Forty-five horses stood close by - resting from the long trek, you could say - or more accurately: the car cooled near a tree, panting and pinging as its temperature dropped suddenly. Clive was away gathering sticks to make a fireplace, insisting that things be done properly, and a fine selection of biscuits sat waiting to be sampled in the boot. It was understood that these biscuits would serve as adequate sustenance post-dinner and pre-breakfast (aka night-time) while the five of them stopped the gas stove from setting light to Clive's makeshift mantelpiece, his pride and joy for the little time his attention could be focused. It wasn't worth jeopardising his happiness for a few moments of sleep - his temper might tear away from him and destroy all the biscuits.
Keith thought of warming the tea perhaps, but he knew the others would soon be back and there would be a fresh pot on. Sugar would be required, teaspoons, milk jug, tongs, saucers, cups, tea, milk, water, kettle, oven glove, lemon - in short, all the usual camping supplies. Most of the non-perishable items had been collected over the years, the set honed and refined like a carpenter's tool kit, lovingly perfected and worked with; cleaned, oiled, polished with a chamois, stored in a hand-made box in immaculate condition between uses. Perishables, of course, had been replenished that very morning at the Co-op in the village, except the biscuits which had come from a specialist wholesaler, whose prices on volume were much more reasonable.
For now, the still night was enough to be going on with. Keith realised how peaceful these few moments alone had been, deeply breathing in the tranquility. It was a reflective moment that could so easily have given over to fear, cold, loneliness or boredom. But there were plans, there was purpose; the night had promise and would soon be filled with gaiety and biscuits of the finest variety. It would be some hours, too, before any more driving, or any task even close to so much effort and necessity would need to be accomplished. If the day's driving had taught him anything, it was that rest is as necessary to work as effort. And he was all for putting plenty of effort into the rest.
"For turmoil, you should try these. They can halt most upsets of the stomach" said Geoff, offering a bagful of hot whelks.
"Hey thanks, but they're not the most appetising of snacks at the best of times" replied Keith. "Seafood is usually what starts the upset, if you ask me."
Ouch, instant noodles hurt the insides. Not like a pine cone or an all-lemon diet, more like forcing down a damp wad of toilet paper. Taste doesn't really come into the equation, but you might be able to dull hunger pain with this other feeling of thick and sloppy mass, and keep those demons at bay. But it's not satisfying that need for nutrients that the body gives out as a vague longing, at first, then a stronger tiredness and stomach cramp (or headache), then an implacable feeling of exhaustion and malaise. Of course there's the longer term pain of lacking any of the vital life-giving qualities of actual food - a really difficult-to-place void in wellness; it could last days... years. Imagine a drug where the effects don't kick in for several days. You'll only connect the reaction to the ingestion if you know what to expect. Food is like that. What's the difference?
Staring out across the sea towards some kind of boat that made it's way across the horizon, Geoff popped another whelk in his stinking gob. Keith thought about interrupting the silence with an observation, but thought better of it considering how banal an utterance it was likely to be. It would suit the weather, the landscape, the town, perhaps, but the silence of roaring wind, distant seagulls and the rhythm of the waves suited it just fine.
Keith would have been better off with a whelk, but he had never tried them before. How was he to know? They looked pretty disgusting, and that was enough to turn his stomach. Instead he filled his lungs with the sea air and hoped his churning belly would settle down enough for the drinking later on. A proper meal was what was needed, but no-one had been bold enough to be so prepared. On top of the background of nausea, hangover and tiredness, Keith felt the depressing throb of realisation that he had already opted out of having a great time this holiday and would have to suffer through it like so many before. The question to himself - was this to be life? And his answer: yes, for today again it is, and you have chosen it for yourself.
Even if the rumours that had recently gathered about their heads had no basis in fact, they were still upsetting regardless, and that they had and they were thus doubly so had not escaped the young Jared's attention. The protestors had begun gathering on their lawn a week ago, and every day the crowd spread and swelled like an unattended campfire.
In order to get to work his father and his uncle, who slept in the same bed in the corner of the living room, on the same side of the wall as the telly, had to use a tunnel they'd built in the basement - it took them to next door's basement and the neighbours were on holiday. For the first few days of this new arrangement they hadn't found the keys to the front door and had guiltily climbed out of a back window and snaked off down the block, hoping to remain unseen amongst the protestors. Then, when they had found the keys, they listened to the answer machine by accident (or design - it depends how highly one rates both the intelligence of cats and their manipulative appetite for drama) and discovered that it was in this house that the rumour began to spread, by the mouths of these neighbours, from door to door and street to street.
In the wake of this grim epiphany, Jared's dad and uncle had stopped caring about things like: feeding the cats, watering the plants, avoiding harming the cats, keeping the plants upright in sunlight, keeping the fridge door closed, keeping milk out of the television, keeping the front door to the house locked, not trailing mud about the house, and so on. So when this morning they stuck their heads out of the tunnel and climbed up the stairs, past a pair of swinging feline corpses and the flies feasting upon them, it should have been no great surprise to find a trio of men gathered around the fridge door looking at a map of the local area.
Jared's dad and uncle exchanged a look of silent tension. Jared's uncle put a finger to his lips. The three men were debating directions.
"... clearly three miles that way," said Keith.
"That way?" asked Clive, incredulous. "But we're here!"
"Even if we're not there," said Geoff, "and we're here, where Keith says, then it is neither three miles that way nor the other!"
"Maybe we should ask some of those protestors," suggested Keith after they'd paused to take all this in. "I wonder what they're protesting about?"
"Oh, haven't you heard, it's something to do with-"
Jared's dad coughed.
Bending down to pick up a leaflet about Tax Returns, Keith spotted 5p resting next to the skirting board and thought carefully whether he could claim it as his own. It had never occurred to him that there would be skirting board in a Post Office, but its presence jolted him from the supposition that he was in a public place and therefore monies strewn about were fair game. This might well be coinage belonging to the Post Office itself, which would find the vaults short at the end of the day and blame everything on the luckless clerk who made the mistake of admitting to falling short on her first day. To save face, the hapless clerk would have to make it up out of her own pocket again, out of her own lowly wage, and this might probably be adding up to a hefty cumulative burden on the measly scrapings of the poor hatless clerk. Forced to survive on bread and cheese and cigarettes like Van Gough in his poorest years, her work would surely suffer and soon hundreds of pounds worth of incorrect postage stamps would be issued in error. This could only go on for so long before somebody would notice and trace the financial damage back to the station of the malnourished and confused clerk, each day a grinding cycle of hunger and fatigue, self pity and loathing for the position she was in, a position for which she only had herself to blame. Her demeanour suggested as much.
Keith, too sensitive a man to let even this calloused, wiry and prematurely aged buzzard punish herself any more, picked up the three coins (two tuppences and a penny) and presented them to the useless clerk. She gave him a look of contemptuous confusion as if he had just presented his two socks so that she might compare the smell, and accepted the coins onto the desk in plain sight. Keith knew his good deed was done for the day, used to the wrinkled nose and furrowed brow as the common reaction of his beneficiaries. They didn't have to be thankful when he helped them, or even ever at all realise they had been helped. To Keith it was enough to know that his good influence on the world made it's own way, contributing to the general harmony and pleasantness of life. On the way out, he treated himself to a giggle.
"By Caesar's ghost!" he blurted, almost causing an old fellow to spill his pint down the front of his trousers again. Keith had at that moment come across the final piece of an intricate mental flat-pack self-assembly scheme, finally allowing the whole towering construction to run like clockwork to a smoothly logical conclusion without all the hideous clanking, hiccoughs and grating noises that had been emanating earlier via Keith's involuntary spasms. The old man trying to have a quiet drink on the bar-stool next to him was still none the wiser as to how this series of grunts and whistles could so suddenly erupt into a second explosive gesture, seemingly timed to coincide just as he was unsteadily raising his glass.
Keith, now noticing this irritated old man peering at him over a glass held mid-sup, wondered what, in his concentration, he might have himself done to offend. It was not unusual, in Keith's experience, to find quite upset people nearby after a particularly good idea had settled in his mind, wondering usually when Keith was going to apologise or at least begin to acknowledge his actions. Keith had become used to being forcibly ejected from libraries, bakeries and cafes across town. He may have flung the odd reference tome, toppled one or two elderly ladies in the queue or absent-mindedly broken all the plastic spoons one after the other while wrestling a particularly difficult mental dilemma, but to Keith this was the everyday fallout from the white heat of inspiration - a few irritated shop assistants or a couple of hours spent sellotaping spoons back together equated to a trivial sacrifice for the revelatory results.
But the old gent voiced no objection, not even a small muttering, being content merely to glare for a calculated few moments before continuing the supping motion. Whistle wet and rightful warning issued, the fellow was perfectly happy to forget the incident as a gentleman should, and allow Keith, if he should wish, to introduce himself - Keith after all being the newcomer to the bar. However, Keith, looking unaccountably pleased with himself, was already leaving by the time the old man had resurfaced from the intimacy of his drink, and would never be seen again; neither by the old man nor in this pub. Lightening had struck once again in Keith's mind - a fine and powerful idea that would stand strong against every conceivable objection. His thoughts were concluded and he was resolute - affirmative action was the only resolve. It was definite. He would buy his booze at the supermarket and drink it at home.
Keith was walking down the high street whistling a tune to himself - eyes closed, no problems. Turning a corner* he started - a man selling newspapers across the road. Forgetting himself, Keith dashed eagerly across the pavement, not for the first time taking his life into his own hands.
"Read all about it! It's the new style!" cried the paper-man, waving a rolled up newspaper against the skyline.
"The news-style?" asked Keith, his voice hushed with awe.
"No, no, lad, the new style" replied the paper-man.
"No, the new style" chimed the people on the street, who had all stopped going about their daily business to stare at these disgraceful scenes.
- Incredible, thought Keith. I've been out of prison for two days and already I'm mishearing people! He flushed crimson, clearly furious, before knocking the paper-man to the ground, sending his newspapers flying into the air. The crowd hissed.
Thinking of the future, worried about the past - Keith's fury had reminded him of the fury which had landed him in the clink to start with, and the fury which broke him out. It was a fury called Frankie.
Oh, and the paper-man? Without going into too much detail - the next twelve years showed that he never really recovered. The crowd abides.
* For most, a difficult task. Keith, however, had honed a technique over years which allowed him to negotiate up to three bends a minute with his eyes closed.
Soul Destroyers - Armadillo
At last, a way to find out everything about the mysterious stranger in the pub without having to risk the pitfalls of conversation.
Forget the 10 questions or the star sign, just look at their hands.
Research over the course of one week at Club 2000 in Scunthorpe, North Lincs, suggests long, proportioned fingers indicates a good memory and stubby fingers creativity.
Participant's fingers were measured and then they were asked to fill out a card which required them to pick one of five choices of vegetable which best described them. There were 100 results for each of seven vegetable types. Chartered psychologist Keith Leithly, who helped in the research, says: "This study seems to show a link between your personality and your finger measurements. This is understandable as every part of our body is an extension of ourselves, and many of us use our hands to do things."
Who???? - Don't Know What This is Called (White label with REP05 on the runout. This from side marked A2, and it's the second track. Any ideas?)
He was sixteen over par on this hole but he knew they could still take the course. To be perfectly honest Kenneth understood that it wasn't accepted as good form to play the gentleman's game in this manner, but there was no way to take back the bet now without losing face. Clive steadied his bearing, loosening his legs and then removed them to swap for a lighter pair. Now feeling sufficiently readied he lined up his shot and charged at the tee, yelling at the top of his voice before pounding the ball in an over-head swing that sent it flying in shards at every direction. Perhaps one would fall into the hole, certainly, but this would be a side effect to the overall game plan. Clive, tapping the side of his nose knowingly, let Kenneth take over, who, not breaking his stare at the opposition for a split second, took an easy swing at the ball, knocking it heavily toward the little windmill, where it struck, rebounded, and hit his panting teammate square on the forehead. With a single raised eyebrow Kenneth stepped back, and, still holding eye contact, fell into a pond. "Now" said Clive, as he regained consciousness, "are you absolutely sure you can take the pressure? You can back out any time, no grudges." "Absolutely not" replied Keith, selecting his No. 3 glove from the briefcase while Jeff polished the custom heel-toe putter with a chamois leather. Yet when Keith took the club in his hands, looked at the hole and began to weight his grip, the first crack in his ice-cool demeanour began to form. Just out of the corner of his vision, to the left, Clive took out a battery-operated hair-dryer and started to dry Kenneth's sodden trousers, and Keith's top lip ever-so-slightly gave in to an involuntary twitch.
James Ruskin - In The Shadows
Keith's nerves were playing up and it wasn't the time. True, no-one really could have expected a first-timer to be cold as ice, as cruel and unforgiving as the blade of his +1 scimitar, but he might at least say something thought Geoff. Geoff was eager for this to work as there was no way they could defeat the ogres on their own. Despite what you may have heard, one of the party did have an undead army - but, animated with magic, these troops could only be used defensively as they would crumble if they walked into the ogre base, protected as it was by an anti-magic field of some sort, the nature of which Keith could only dimly comprehend. This was all new to him and he got the impression that his trepidation was starting to infuriate certain other players. Enrico, a half-celestial assassin, and Clive, a Gnome fighter revered throughout the lands as both a diplomat and a drinker, were beginning to talk in raised voices about some 'suicide mission' involving the Satyr Druid and his indolent Leopard companion.
"Poison!" blurted Keith. The GM made a sound in the back of his larynx that gave the impression of either intrigue or asthma. Once this sound met the sealed lips of an unrevealing mouth, itself trapped beneath knowing brown eyes and impudent, provocative nostrils, the overall impression was so convincing that everyone in the room looked at Keith as if he was the most interesting thing in the world. George, the undead warrior prince who had commanded a hundred armies of a thousand or more zombie irregulars over a period of more than a million years, made an intimidating prospect as, clad in full plate armour, with the fires of hell burning pinpricks through souls of cheer from his carrion eye sockets, he excused himself for a minute as he went to the toilet.
"What about poison?" ventured Keith further. "There must be something poisonous in these woods."
"Well, you would know," said the GM. "This is your homeland".
Once more, thought Keith, I've fucked this up. Even when his ideas had legs, his inexperience would trip them up and kick them in the privates. What was so galling was that Keith's inexperience even had the cheek to make it look like an accident. Still, it seemed to be going slightly better. People were no longer laughing at him (though the odd chuckle survived), and there was none of that stony silence about anymore - how it had dogged him for the first fifteen minutes, appearing almost exactly at the same time as he stopped talking, his point made. "Why not do a Profession (Herbalism) check?" said the GM helpfully. Thank God for the GM, thought Keith. He's on my side. He doesn't want me to crash and burn, he wants me to contribute to a good game. Keith was almost entirely certain of this point. Enrico's mobile rang.