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The Dark Man

I recently posted this to a writing site on facebook. It was deleted. So I made some changes, deleted the one bad word and substituted it with ****. It was deleted again.

Being a sometime ‘literary’ writer I like to work on the edges of darkness, and comment on society. There are many books much darker and much worse than this, and they are sold commonly in bookstores and online. They are what I would call the ‘serious’ novels. The ones you may not fully understand at the time, that might be a bit uncomfortable to read, but that does not mean that a site dedicated to writers and writing should delete a post arbitrarily.

I’m posting the piece I posted on my writers site page here in the hope that I can get some comment on it. It is allegory, and will of course reveal a political/social meaning.

I don’t care if my serious books don’t sell. There is very little room in the market these days for serious work. Huxley, Orwell, etc don’t sell. They are books that people SAY they have read, (1984, The Doors To Perception, etc) but really they read only the synopsis, or worse, watch the movie. BUT new serious books simply do not sell anymore. Because adult colouring books, recipe books, and children’s books along with romance and erotica for women take up much of the market.

Anyway, here’s the WIP (work in progress for those who don’t know the acronym.) Please comment. Good or bad, you won’t be deleted. Unless of course you are just selling something!

 

The Dark Man. (A dark novel)

This man, he’s wearing a black homburg hat. His coat, a black greatcoat, heavy, resists the bitter wind and responds only to the movement of his feet. His feet. He is wearing patent leather shoes in spite of the gnarly weather. The howling wind, and sluicing rain affect him not at all.
The hat hides his face, though he walks without head bent into the slicing, ice rain.
He is the Dark Man. The man of my nightmares. Even in plain sight, he gathers shadows around him.
He crosses the street against the lights. The world moves in slow motion. There is no blaring of horns. The traffic appears to be unaware of his presence and he crosses without incident. There is a girl, waiting at the crossing for the green man. As he passes he gives the appearance of waving slightly. She looks up from the driving rain and he shoots her in the face. There is no loud retort. The gun is silenced. The man in the homburg and heavy greatcoat continues on his way in no hurry. The girl has fallen to the ground and a torrent of blood runs into the gutter. The street is awash with people, all walking heads bent. No one hears the slight crinkly pop. No one sees the man in the homburg and the greatcoat except me.
I am standing in the doorway of a closed cafe waiting to bump into a stranger and skim their credit cards. The man in the homburg and the heavy greatcoat and patent leather shoes is not my business. I am afraid of him. She is dead. Completely. There is no point in my sprinting across the road to render assistance. The Dark Man has gone before the girl screams. She is with her young man. He holds an umbrella over her, bowing to an old age of chivalry. I imagine his face turning white. He is dressed well, in a Burberry coat, she, in a long, but lightweight black Ann Demeulemeester hooded raincoat. She screams and screams and screams. I wish I were on their side of the street. I smell money on them even at this distance and fumble with my pocket skimmer wondering whether I should take the chance. The chance is not worth it and I merge further into the doorway. The man is now raising a cell to his cheek. I would have expected ear buds. He talks frantically. He wants to wave and gesticulate, but he gallantly holds the umbrella over his love, perhaps afraid that she might wash away in the deluge never to be penetrated again by his ardour.
Then the street is awash with lights, blue and red, flashing and strobing so that I must look away lest I engage in an epileptic fit.
A businessman in a felt Dress Hat hurries on my side of the street. I step out and bump into his chest, holding my small skimmer like a cellphone against his inside breast pocket. I assume he is right handed. “Did you see that?” His voice is excited and afraid. “Yes.” I say, smoothing him down, calming him. Checking his pockets. “There is nothing to be done. Be calm. You might yet have a heart attack. Be calm.”
The businessman smiles briefly, a smile as watery as the weather. “Yes. Yes. Of course. Thank you.” We speak only briefly, but he quiets sufficiently to thank me again and then shuffles off, perhaps to his office to ponder the incident. Perhaps to his wife to engage her in the detail and huddle together naked in fear of a world gone insane.

2.
Beauchamp is waiting at home. She corrects people when they say Bow Champ. “Beecham” She says. She is readying for work. She has just spent money on a curved duty belt, designed for the female anatomy. It does not dig into the hips. She checks her sidearm and her ASP. They need to be quickly accessible. Then she checks her cuffs. We share an apartment but not a bed. Sometimes I think of raping her, but the way she looks at me it would not be rape. It would not excite. We remain chaste. I do not bring women home. Beauchamp suspects that I am gay and I do not disavow. She absently checks her glock for the second time. I have learned that it can load both 9mm and .40 calibre. She wears a light cotton blouse with a pocket over each breast. She asks me to fasten the flap over each pocket. The little black buttons are small and I spend a little value time fumbling each one. Her nipples are like teats, long and rubbery. My fingernails scratch each one lightly while I tend to her dress. Each small intake of breath generates a lightning rod directly to her cunt. Her eyes take on an almost imperceptible squint. She thinks I don’t see, or perhaps care. But I see everything. After all, was it not I alone who observed that casual murder by the man with the homburg and greatcoat? Who shot the girl in the face. A sliver of fear suggests this may be true.
“Fix me?” Beauchamp sits backwards on a simple kitchen chair. Her legs splayed. Her arms along the topmost spindle. Her chin on her arms. She lives two lives. That of the soft, tactile, scented maiden. That of the tight, wound up, disciplined, strict administrator of the law no matter her personal opinions. I am the vice. Ah! You think I mean vice! “Come on! Fix me! I’m going to be late again!” The fixing begins. Taking heavy full-bodied red hair, separating out hanks. Slowly. The feel of hair is silk on silk. A synapse ignites a wish to feel it on exposed, but yet hidden skin.
The hanks are plaited over-tight. Extreme. Beauchamp squints, but she wants it to be like this. When finished she will coil it against her skull. Hands now upon her shoulders. She is tight. Coiled up. Then gone. Behatted and wearing dark glasses.

3
The computer is shared. Beauchamp locks up a few folders but her porn history is effortless to access. TOR takes precedence. USB connects the skimmer and for a while at least, there is cash in the wallet. Beauchamp’s porn is of the romantic preference. Simple and naïve. Women may instigate. She is however, a cheat. A thief. She has downloaded copyright material. Copyright exists in the work. Porn too. When/if I decide to rape her, the camera will record and upload.
Beauchamp is good at what she does. She takes her training seriously. Each weekend we go together to the range to use handguns. She has a broad knowledge of such things. She can make her own ammunition. There are two assault rifles in a combination safe under her bedroom carpet. Lumicyano and a camera opens the safe. Her fingerprints are easily read. There are sex toys too, but of the simple, non-extreme kind. One of them entices me. A latex vibrating butterfly with a wireless remote control. Intriguing.
There should be something about the murder on the television. Channel surfing finally finds an item on Fox. The place, the time is right. Only one man comes forward for the camera. It is the man I skimmed. “The SUV came around that corner.” Pointing. “Had these big wing mirrors. Like the ones you use if you’re hauling a caravan. “Slammed her right in the face! Man! It was horrible.” He pauses as if deciding if he should continue. He does. “I was so busy watching that I bumped into someone . I said did you see that, and they said yes.” His description was naturally way off. My hair is red, not blonde. My long hair was under my woollen hat. It was blue, not black. My hat that is. I am confused because not only can he not give an account as to my looks there is no hatted man. I am not surprised with his description of my person. I however, saw no SUV at all. I saw what I saw. I saw a man in a homburg and greatcoat. His gun was a 9mm Beretta 92FS. There is little recoil. Even at distance handguns are familiar. Beauchamp is a remarkable teacher and a remarkable shot.
When Beauchamp works nights, I watch a little TV, often falling asleep in my chair. The channels are repeating the same old garbage. Rambo 111, Lethal Weapon, Back to the Future 2. Stallone, Willis, Mel Gibson, and Michael J Fox. They have become bores.
I settle on Lethal Weapon. It is better than the others and the shopping channels. The news channels make no mention of the man in the hat. Perhaps I was mistaken in the drowning rain. Even though it was daylight, the sky was crowded with low black clouds. A dark day, a dark man, and I in a dark mood. Of course. The evil thoughts about Beauchamp disperse. Overproof rum aids the disconnect. She is a sweet girl who still believes in the innate goodness of humanity. When the sun shines we walk together in the parks and the city. She is without parents, but has a sister in Boston. Her sister is married to an accounts manager in advertising. They have two children and a dog called spot. They are without imagination. The dog is a Dalmatian. The children, named Britney and John. I presume Spears and Lennon as their inspiration.
Soon sleep intervenes and the rattling, pounding gunshots through the big sound system fade into nothing at all. Dreams offer surcease from dark thoughts.
4

It is convenient that Beauchamp works the night shift. She cleans the gutters. Establishes rapport with the club crowd. Removes the detritus. “Laws are made,” she says, “for decent folk.” A balance in credit, or a large loan from a credited bank supports a request for identification. Resisted at first by a certain crowd. Batons and shields prevail and there IS acceptance in the main. The few who continue to protest are shot. Then there are no protesters. The rest? They hide in dark places and steal or starve. There are no soup kitchens to feed the homeless. Bringing them out into the open to thieve does the trick. The night is dangerous. The television channels favour action movies at night. They cover the sound of shots, body vans. Wailing sirens and human vocal chords. Vagrant babies have their necks quickly snapped. They rarely cry.
It is early days still. They say that as time passes the night will be reclaimed for consumption.
Cards now are issued only by The Bank. A delightful bonus for we who extract our livelihoods from unprotected chips. Entire lives embedded into a piece of plastic. Medical records, tax file numbers. The beauty of having all one’s eggs in one basket. An undisclosed STD can be of great financial value. It is a perilous craft. The most heinous of crimes partnered only by rape, murder, and homelessness.
At 6am Beauchamp will return, her skin a little more white than is healthy, perhaps with a few spatters of blood, though her training teaches how to avoid blood spatter. There are always accidents and mishaps.
There is an opportunity for complete silence. The apartment is according to federal regulations and is soundproof. The bed is memory foam. Have you ever
been in relaxed repose and listened into total silence? There are voices far, far away. They chitter and shout. Muddled and indistinct they are warning you. Of something.
5.
The President has executed his Senior Advisor. The post is not coveted. She was ‘not pretty enough’, he said to a cowed reporter. He smiled at her. She was from Fox. I have woken to a Breaking News banner and it is 5.30am. Perhaps the sun will shine. The reporter is wondering if not being pretty enough is reason to earn death. The President is Emperor. Only her face asks the question. Probably hopes the President fails to notice. But he is unaware, as he is unaware of all but his power. His lack of awareness extends to his evil.

READING WRITING AND PUBLISHING

July 17, 2013 2 comments

By the time you finish reading this article over 1000 new book titles will have been published. Six months into 2013 the number of new titles published is 1,305193. By the time you have finished this sentence another seven titles will have been added to that number.

Simplistically, by this time in six months, almost three million new titles will have been published. Globally, more than 796 million people in the world cannot read. Forgive the statistics, but there is more. At the time of writing, there are over 140 million books available to read ,

An astonishing 42% of college graduates, after graduating, never read another book for pleasure, and over 80% of American families did not buy or read a book last year. The United Kingdom fares little better. More than 4 million people in UK have never read a book. In the past six months more than 12 million people in UK had picked up a book to read for enjoyment less than twice.

I was never good with numbers, can just about do long division and work out how much cash I have left for food and entertainment after paying necessary bills.

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But something about these figures is scary. Of the world’s 7 billion+ population probably half of them either cannot read, or never read a book for pleasure. That leaves about 3 billion who do read, and probably half of them don’t read books regularly or often. If estimated figures are to be believed, there are more Google, Twitter, and Facebook users by far, than book readers.

Is it that books are just too hard? Or take up too much precious social networking time? Someone better than I will have to address those questions.

On the one hand more books are being published every year than in the whole of history. My google stream is full of people writing books, joining writing communities, talking about books. It seems too that in spite of the previously quoted figures, the book business is very healthy. The book business is healthy because those few of us,; an actual MINORITY who do read, buy the majority of books sold. writimg

Since I began this article the number of new titles published this year has just reached 1,305,453 and the chances of most of those titles ever being read is tiny. That number is only the number of books actually published. If my social networking is to be believed, there are many many more people writing books that will never see the light of day. Of all those writers, (and given the figures quoted) I wonder how many of those people writing books, and talking about their books actually buy a book, or pick up a book and read it. I would hazard a guess that easily half of those wannabe novelists don’t actually READ or buy books themselves.

It seems to me that if you don’t read books, or don’t read books regularly and often, then writing a book and hoping to have others buy it and read it, is a pointless and pretentious exercise. books and reading   

How many books have YOU bought this year?