Category: With Ken
Clive ran past Ken like he was on fire, yelling at the top of his lungs a single, shrill word: “deadlines”. Ken rocked back on his heels and sucked in the air. It was going to be a long day.
Ken had responded to Clive’s texts the way any friend should. Sending up the rallying cry was a move Clive only made in the most desperate of times, and Ken knew better than to press for details when Clive needed him, so he had made his way straight to the scene. Clive’s rooms had become buried in a landscape of files and papers, and among the strewn piles and partially-ordered stacks Ken could discern the remains of several unrelated cases he thought long-since wrapped up, and many others he didn’t recognise. It was, he remembered, something of a habit of Clive’s to do further, seemingly extraneous research on cases which details Ken was not party to, and sometimes Clive revealed hints of a knowledge of the progress of their past associates that led Ken to suspect Clive had been following leads long after they might have been considered cold. Ken took a moment to gather his thoughts and turn his focus back to the matter in hand, seeing suddenly and urgently the starkness of Clive’s single utterance freeze his mind to an icy chill and moving him to ask: “what deadlines do you require?”
Throughout the day, amid restorative cups of tea, Ken and Clive put together the beginnings of what we now know as the definitive work of their early career together, perhaps redefining the very boundaries of their craft. In the years that followed, those files and the cross-references between them became the substrate for a work that some collectors call their most cherished specimen, and value highly for it’s special place in the history of Ken and Clive’s endeavours together, indicating in it’s secrets those venerable days and past triumphs so distant from us now. It is perhaps the most telling of the early investigations and innocent wonder that motivated their work together, and as such can be studied for the moments of quiet personal testimony that can be extrapolated which is so difficult to discern in their later, more widely known works.
You spend the first five years trying to get with the plan
KEN: you hear they’ve started bringing in form assemblies?
CLIVE: like, an assembly where your form would be up front, orchestrating the readings, role-playing the inherent coolness but latent sinfulness of smoking - where the main element of the role play was that you were allowed to untuck your shirt - and what-knot?
KEN: nah, like grouping the school by forms so you get 7 Manning, 8 Manning, 9 Manning, 10 Manning and 11 Manning all together. It’s to promote some form of intra-form harmony, at least that’s what I’ve been told.
CLIVE: your mole on the inside.
CLIVE: won’t it just breed divisiveness?
KEN: I think that’s the sub-text. Already you’re meant to be able to see the results. Allen’s for the boffins, Wiseman has all the lithe sporting ambassadors.
CLIVE: breeding for the future…
KEN: I don’t think they gone as far to introduce breeding, they still think the rather primitive sex education, fusty atmosphere and stern looks will serve as the most effective prophylactic.
She likes to strew poppies as she wanders in your mind, so you can’t tell she’s been there.
ケネスサンは単独で坐っている。彼は書いている。森林が外である。葉の風はthunderous とどろきを作る。部屋のコーナーで火は火格子で燃える。Clive サン及びKeith サンは外で帰宅してい、車に取り組む。それらはオイルで覆われるが、これは意味しない不幸であることを。このパラグラフを終えた後彼はそれらに茶をする。ケネスサンは彼の仕事を完了し、ドアの方に動く。彼はソファーの毛布で包まれる子ネコの1 匹に気づく。彼女の極小の頭骨をなで、傷付けて彼は肉の部分が耳の1 つから切られたことを気づく。子ネコを密接に見るために曲がって黄色及び黒い目の後ろで潜んでいる彼は、はじめて、ほとんど人間のsentience に気づく。恐れているから遠くに、子ネコはmirthful - 楽しませてようである。彼はClive サンが外で声高に誓うのを聞いた。事は計画されるように進んでいなかった。
Presto sarebbe tempo di andare. Kenneth ha rifinito il suo caffè e rapidamente si è mosso verso il portello aperto alla parte inferiore del corridoio. Clive e Keith hanno sembrato ansiosi e dato il benvenuto a lui senza parole. Slittando nella sede posteriore dell'automobile, addormentato mezzo ancora, si è appoggiato a indietro ed ha ascoltato il ronzio del motore mentre il distributore a spaglio di notizie ha elencato, in un monotono irritazione, tutte le atrocità che erano accaduto o avevano evitato nelle ultime 24 ore.
Quindici minuti più ulteriormente su, alla stazione di benzina grande sui bordo della città, Kenneth si era svegliato sufficientemente per considerare l'interazione con altri individui una possibilità all'interno dei suoi mezzi. Comprando una carta, rinviante all'automobile, ha appoggiato ad un istante sulla struttura del portello aperto ed ha osservato circa, prendendo nei suoni e nelle viste di questa mattina grigia in autunno. La foschia era bassa, tranquillo e stava andando essere un azionamento lungo.
Conseguía tarde, así que pasar el tiempo Kenneth bosquejó algunas líneas cortas encendido a la tabla:
"Pobreza, una enfermedad todo-que consume, que acentúa el maravilloso, que los trabajos él son naturaleza excesiva de la magia reservada, cubriendo la tierra en valor y potencial. La lucha contra pobreza continúa - con las mismas armas que nos ha presentado con."
Él no era seguro si usted podría llamar esto un poema, él no había prestado ninguna atención al metro y había sido absolutamente arbitrario en su opción de la expresión. No obstante, era atrasada. Algunos de los otros juerguistas embalaban sus tablas y sillas lejos en el dancefloor, contando con sueño pronto, pero Kenneth era contento sentar y fumar un rato más de largo, cuidando su pinta en la barra. Él era rápidamente la única persona despierta en el hotel, a excepción del camarero y de su amante contrariedad.
Kenneth had a cold. Lying in bed delirious, the sweaty pile of bones and blood and hair tossed and turned in the grip of no little discomfort and unsettling images. The yolkyellow sun came and went, clouds passed by overhead, dogs on leashes held tight by unemployed thirtysomethings scampered along on the pavement outside his window.* He opened his curtains after nightfall, tired and unhappy. He slumped back into bed, underneath a pile of blankets and pillows. His body ached all over. The pain held him awake by a slender thread: the pain connected him with reality like a radio shouting down a well. Reality, in the distance, with its supple edges and dissolving surfaces, dropped in and out of view, obscured by waves of dizziness and visions.
In one of his visions, Kenneth was browsing the internet. He was looking, he knew, at his own site, Kenneth Trax, but he could only tell this by the colours on the page - the words were muddy and indistinct. Underneath the orange headings (and at varying lengths), a black smudge traced its mark across the screen. As Kenneth scrolled faster and faster down the page, stopping briefly at each new post, he heard his own voice call "Hello?", like somebody crying into an empty space after a sentience only suspected. For the longer posts, the voice was louder and clearer. For the shorter posts, the call was quicker and fainter until, coming across a very short post indeed (just a link, he supposed), the voice called "Hi?" quickly and repeatedly, echoing across the rest of the "Hello?"s emanating from the other posts. On and on the page rolled downwards while a cacophony of "Hello?"s sank and surfaced in the company of a hundred others.
* Some leaves followed the dogs, occasionally pausing to spiral up into the air, but otherwise achieving nothing.
Zombi - Legacy (from Surface To Air)
"Quickly Kenneth, take the oath!"
"I can't! It would be a lie!"
"But it will save your life!" screamed Clive above the din of the engines. Ken held on to the railing with all the strength remaining in his straining fingers, legs flailing.
Kenneth squeezed his eyes shut and pushed harder against the wind, hoping madly for some other way. There was no recourse, no escape from this horrific fate. It was do or die.
Quietly, Kenneth begged for forgiveness.
"I swear" he shouted,
"to uphold the code" gasping for breath, the punishing wind carrying his voice away with it,
"Of the thirty-second regiment." He had their full attention.
"I will not waver, I will not question orders. I will not reveal facts about my regiment when captured.
I will uphold the principles of the regiment. I will strive to represent them in my best capacity."
Some of the regiment stepped forward, about to switch off the engines, but their sergeant held them back with a raised hand, his piercing eyes glaring straight into Kenneth's desperate gaze.
Kenneth continued "I am a member of the thirty-second regiment, and nothing will stop me being so, so help me God."
"Switch em off!" yelled the sergeant, and with that the engines wound down, eliminating suddenly the gusts, and letting Kenneth's weary frame collapse to the floor of the cave. He was careful to use his last flicker of strength to roll to one side, out of harm's way should the engines strike up again for any reason, before collapsing fully into a breathless slump.
"OK lads" barked the sergeant "thirty seconds is up. Who wants to be leaders?"
From distant mountains there came the cry of hungry birds. They had forgotten to bring a tin-opener with them, and only tinned foods of course. The cry bleated through the valleys the moment one of them had tried to open a tin of rice pudding by smashing it with a rock, missed, and hit her hand with a crunching blow. She reflexively lashed out with her arm, sending the silly cow crouching next to her tumbling down an incline. The third bird shook her head. She was no better for her aloof posture but keen to take on an air of detachment, both for the relief it offered from her current diabolical situation and the feeling of superiority it gave her, despite having made no attempt to improve the situation herself.
Kenneth watched these tumultuous scenes through his high-powered ultra-light binoculars, which he had ordered for the trip from a specialist website. Not that sort of website, no, I mean a website selling military surplus equipment and hunting gear. He had also bought special buoyant boots that could be used as a life-raft in an emergency and an edible tent. So far, he had only deployed the binoculars, but they were already paying for themselves in terms of sheer entertainment. What he wasn't considering, as he laughed at the foolishly unprepared trio, was where his own food supply was coming from. As the first raindrops of an entire night's torrential downpour began to fall, it was only a few hours before his other equipment would come into play. The boots in time, but first the pivotal choice: food or shelter?
Walking too near the kerb is easily done, I should seek to avoid it if I were you. I do seek to avoid it myself, as I am me, and to be frank you could avoid it yourself without me being you. So don't do it, even though the fine example of a man that we are here to discuss was often to be found just millimetres from the kerb - on both the pavement and roadside, no less - wavering like a moth without due care and attention to the treacherous mobility scooters all around, likely to shunt him straight into the path of oncoming pensioners at any time in the villages and suburbs where he walked. It was a bad example he set in these instances, but they must be recorded for history's sake, for the sake of his story, in completeness and omitting nothing, despite what tears we might shed at the brutal truth of it, and what reams of foolscap we might use in explaining the disclaimer for the needs of today's insolent, litigious generation.
For the man whose life these writings celebrate was by no means afraid of danger as far as we are aware. In fact he spent a great amount of worry on the possibility of dangers he himself was not aware of, spending a small fortune at one time on insurance for "unknowable circumstances" that might befall him or his belongings. No claim was ever made on this policy, perhaps due to luck, perhaps because the circumstances, being unknowable, could never have been shown to arise, or perhaps, as I prefer, because of the very fearless attitude of the man. An attitude that made him oblivious to mortal danger and thus somehow immune from it.
So it is worth remembering, while we can learn from our subject, his attitudes, actions and writings, we should not take literally his example, for we are not guided by the same internal and mysterious wisdom. The wisdom, those internal forces, I mean, that made Kenneth Trax that most individual specimen of a man; the zenith of Kenneths.
Clive wished he lived in medieval times so that someone could give him a token of their affection. Tokens, it seemed to Clive, were ultimately a far greater aid to identity than any random logarithm generator or outmoded stylistic trinket used to denote your social demographic. You can trust someone blazing a “listen to ghostface” t-shirt across their ribs, and equally, you know to keep your distance from people who wear sweatbands, on any part of their body. Wearing your true love’s ribbon in your hair, now that’s identity. Clive was just in the process of etching a letter to his local Young Skimming Enthusiasts Association about the dire need for such signifiers for our security information as well, so we know we’re not acting on rustling breeze-borne coco-pops.
He knew that some things needed protecting. A freshly flounced quiff, the natural habitat of wool (which is successive homes secretaries’ hollow noggins, in case you’re wondering) and the exquisite song of bus drivers when you place any form of note to tender a fare (particularly noteworthy is the polyphonic tone emitted if the note is from your mum to excuse you from PE, which should be archived for posterity). Some things need shelter.
Clive was unsure of the familiarity shelter had with protection. Were they bed-fellows or just queue-buddies?
Sometimes people protect or shelter you by not telling you anything; they claim you’d be better off without. The information-stock would only weaken your welfare portfolio, at a time when pride-stripping and hostile confrontations are rife. Clive had reservations about meekly capitulating to assertions of his best interests. Only the other day Ken had assured him that he would feel a warm and fuzzy sensation, normally only induced by ingesting pasties too quickly, if Clive would let him have the last packet of crisps. Clive had actually felt the cold growl of his stomach, devoid of crisps, but didn’t press the point. Or when Geoff had sworn that the charity shop must have stolen Clive’s skimometer (a device for measuring what’s hot and what’s not in the fickle world of skimming) to use in its window display and it had nothing whatsoever to do with Geoff pinching it.