Archive for the ‘Serial Novel’ Category

April 15, 2006

I checked in on Mumphred to see whether or not he’d stopped moaning.
I found him sitting on the edge of the shelf, looking out into the bedroom.

“Hey Mumphred! Feeling any better?” I asked.

“No. I wish I’d just die.”

“Really? You could always jump. The fall might kill you.”

Mumphred stretched his neck forward and looked down. “You think so?” he said.

“You never know. It’s worth a shot. But you don’t really want to die, do you?”

“I do. I just don’t want to kill myself.” Mumphred sat ponderously for a while, and I waited in silence. “Would you mind pushing me?”

I laughed at him. “I didn’t bring you up to the shelf just to push you off it. I’m going to help you fight the poodle.”

“Oh. I see. I’m not sure I trust you to help me, but I’m not sure it matters. I don’t know your name. Perhaps if I knew your name it might help,” said Mumphred.

“I don’t have a name because I’m just the author’s avatar. You can call me whatever you like. Earlier you seemed quite fond of ‘Dishonorable Rat.’ Maybe you’d like to call me that?”

“I’d like you to push me off the edge of the shelf. That’s what I’d like, but I don’t suppose you’re going to.
“My second choice would be to push you off the edge, but I have had no success in my previous attempts to harm you. They say ‘try and try again,’ but I’ve done that with you and with dying and with the poodle. Nothing I set out to achieve ever happens. I’m not going to set out to achieve anything anymore. Other plushies can set out things for me to achieve.
“So Rat, if that’s what you want your name to be, why’d you bring me up here? What would you like me to achieve?”

I sat down next to Mumphred and we both looked out into the messy bedroom. Down, far below the shelf, we could see the poodle roaming about and sniffing at the furniture. Looking for scraps of food. Or maybe it was looking for Mumphred. At the distant sound of the refrigerator opening, its ears suddenly perked up and it stood motionless for a moment. Then it ran out of the room at great speed.
Mumphred looked at me, his eyes empty and almost lifeless. He was like an emotional black-hole trying to suck in energy from his surroundings, but no matter what he drew into himself he would never feel sustained.
I felt a twang of pity, I wanted to tell him to just stay up on the shelf where it would be safe. The poodle would never reach him here, the torment would end, and he could live the rest of his days in peace.
But that would be an incredibly boring end to the story, and I just could not do it. I had to remain focused and dispassionate about his plight.
Instead I began to explain to him about where he needed to go and what he needed to do. I told him there was only one way to defeat the poodle.
I told him of the Vuvuzela.

March 29, 2006

I found Mumphred unconscious on the kitchen floor, the poodle moping next to him. He wasn’t doing anything.

“Hey doggy!” I waved a spare-rib, some meat still sticking to it, at the poodle. It immediately turned its attention to me, tail wagging happily. I threw the bone and the dog ran off after it, totally forgetting about Mumphred.

I walked up to Mumphred and kicked him in the ribs. He stirred a little.
“Mumphred, wake up. You’ve passed out again,” I said.

He mumbled something incoherent, but didn’t wake up. I kicked him harder and this time he woke with a start.

“Hey Mumphred! Wake up. All you ever seem to do is lie passed out on the floor. The dog mauls you a bit, and then you lie around and lament your horrible fate.
“We need to fix this. It’s getting boring,” I said.

“You! You’ve come to finish me off while I lie here on the floor? You are no lion. What kind of lion wears a safari hat? You are a dishonorable rat! I spit on you!” Mumphred raised his head and spat at me. The spittle arced up and down and splattered on his own chest.

“Bah!” he said, his head fell back and all the fight seemed to flow out of him.

“Come now Mumphred, don’t be like that. I saved you from the ‘killer beast.’ What happened to that optimistic Mumphred? That ‘tomorrow will be a good day’ Mumphred? Where’s happy-go-lucky Mumphred?” I asked.

“‘Happy-go-lucky,’?” said Mumphred, incredulously.

“Yeah, okay. Good point. There is no happy-go-lucky Mumphred. Doesn’t matter. Get up. We need to chat.”

“Go away.”

“Aw Mumphie. You’ve done that ‘go away’ thing before. It’s tired and old. It’s something else we probably need to chat about.”

“I haven’t told you to go away yet, have I? I told someone else to go away. Now it’s your turn. I’m trying to die here, so go away!”

That really is the whole problem with Mumphred. He’s so damned one-dimensional, and he’s the protagonist in this story. You’re supposed to give a damn about Mumphred, but I’m pretty sure everyone is just thinking, ‘When the hell is that dog going to rip the whiney plush-toy’s head off?’
The plot is missing something too. That’s because the story is based loosely on real events. That’s right, this is a dramatised reality show. Like Rescue 911, only nothing gets rescued. Quite the opposite.
But how many variations are there on the theme of miniature dogs hunting anthropomorphised plush-toys?

“You’re still here? I want to die alone. Abandoned. Unwanted. Unloved. Go away, you treacherous rat,” said Mumphred, interrupting my train of thought.

See what I mean? Mumphred needs a make-over, and I’m the one to give it to him.

I grabbed Mumphred by his right leg and dragged him across the floor. He began to wail mournfully as I dragged him, intermittently saying things like, “Leave me alone to die.”

I ignored him and took him to the shelf in the study where I live. The poodle can’t get up here. I told Mumphred he’d be safe here, but he continued to insult me and demand to be left alone to die.

I left him alone. He’d eventually stop whining. He has every other time.

March 28, 2006

Yellow plushie!
Life is game!
Life is game!

Play Play Play!

Rrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrr!

Game! Game!


Not moving anymore. Rrrrr?
Sniff the plush. Rrrrr?
Shake the plush. Rrrrrrr!
Throw the plush. Rrrrrrrr!


Still no move. Boring plush. Boring boring. Life is game! This is not game. This is boring. I want game!

Sulk sulk.

Oh look! Meaty treat!
Time to eat meaty treat!

March 24, 2006

Just after I hit the ground, the beast was there, growling and slobbering in my face.
It snarled and bared its teeth as usual, before biting my snout. The pain was intense.

The beast, with my snout grasped firmly between its teeth shook me back and forth and then flung me back over its body. I crashed into the refrigerator door, smacking the back of my head.

At that point I felt consciousness fading, but the beast was once again upon me. Growling, slobbering. Biting me, shaking me, flinging me, chewing me.

I don’t know how long it went on for. At some point I stopped really noticing what was happening. The pain took me and I took the pain. We became each other. I lost sense of where I started and where I ended.

Eventually I was at rest, and the beast was gone.

March 19, 2006

Yellow plushie falling. Falling. Falling. Bouncing.

Time to play!
Life is game!

March 19, 2006

I claw my way up to the top of the table and stand upon the surface. The search for the plushie tribe begins now. I see their abandoned campsite. The coals are dark and no longer do they smolder. I look about the site for evidence of where they might have gone.
They’ve been using the voodoo dust again. In the clear light I see that it is a dull red dust. I bend down, and scoop some up on my fingers. I rub it between them.
The dust has a sulphurous smell. It makes my fingers look raw and shredded. Like Fatmouse bedding.

“How did you get back up here?”

It’s the lion speaking English. Bizarre. The lion ever spoke English to me before. The whole tribe of plushies were incapable of uttering a familiar word.

“I thought you couldn’t speak English?” I say.

“I couldn’t before now. Something about writers’ block, apparently. Oh, and sorry about throwing you to the Poodle. And it is ‘The Poodle‘ now, and not ‘Pooooodulllll.’ That whole drawn out pronunciation was just silly.”


“What ‘What’?”

“What are you talking about?” I say.

“Writers’ block? When a writer gets stuck at a point in a story, and can’t figure out what to do next. Often it’s necessary to go back and rewrite some of the story, changing characters or plot slightly, or altering the order of events. Whatever is necessary to get the story moving again. Whatever is needed to get things back on track.
“The problem is that this isn’t a short story or a novel. This is a kind of serial affair. The writer can’t go back and rewrite earlier sections of the story because they’ve already been published on the internet.
“This also explains why the posts haven’t been as regular as they started out.
“Everything make sense now, Mumphred?”

I close my mouth, having noticed that it had fallen open during the lion’s nonsensical speech.

“Yes? No? Because honestly, you’re still looking a bit puzzled,” says the lion.

I decide to discount the gibberish about Writers’ Block, and ask a question that bothers me greatly, “How did you learn to speak English so quickly?”

“Mumphred, I’m really quite disappointed. Were you not listening to what I just told you? The author has writers’ block, but he can’t go back and rewrite the earlier entries, so he’s made some unlikely changes to my characteristics.
“I didn’t learn to speak English, he just changed me so that I always could. Admittedly it goes against story-telling conventions, but the author doesn’t really care.”

I decide that it doesn’t matter that the lion can now speak English. He might as well not be for all the sense he is making. I still seek vengeance against this plushie and the rest of his tribe. Preferably they must suffer, but if that is not possible, at the very least they must all die. Or I must die attempting to achieve this end.

“Where is the rest of your tribe? I have a score to settle with you. I have hoped that I may settle it honourably,” I say.

“Hey, I said I was sorry. Look, all of that stuff’s changed now anyway. There is no more plushie tribe, there’s just me.”

“I don’t believe your lies! I will have it out with you now. The others I will find myself.”

I charge the lion, screaming a battle-cry as I approach. My knowledge of battle-cries is limited. The care bears thing didn’t work before, so this time I try, “Go-go-gadget-go!”

“And the present tense, first-person-perspective thing is getting really tedious too. Might also be changing,” says the lion in response to my blood-curdling yells.

As I get into range of the lion, who has not moved since I started my charge, I dive head-first at him.
He side-steps effortlessly. I realise now that he has deviously positioned himself at the edge of the table.

Sadly I consider how long it took for me to get up here.

March 3, 2006

Eventually it leaves me again, damp and gooey.
My ear is slightly sore from being chewed, and I remember being flung about in a chaotic fashion.

It still lets me live. Perhaps it doesn’t intend to kill me. Or perhaps I died when that plushie tribe threw me from the table, and this is hell. And the beast is Satan’s Poodle.
Not likely, but nothing makes much sense any more.

I remember a dream. A strange italicised voice spoke to me in the dream. The details of the dream are fuzzy, but the voice wanted me to stand up and fight. Fight the Poodle.

Ridiculous. How can I fight the Poodle? It is larger and more powerful than me. It may even be more cunning than me. It has razor-sharp teeth and vicious claws — I have bright yellow.
There is no way to defeat the Poodle.

A wind blows across the carpet and I think I hear words carried by the moving air:

Vu vu zela!

The words make no sense, but the wind speed gradually increases and as it does it makes a hideous hooting noise. Hoot tooot toooot tooot toooooot!

The wind stops abruptly. A silent calm takes its place.
I am puzzled, but I know now that the Poodle will come back everyday and torture me, never killing me, until the end of time. I still long for death, but death will not come easily this way.

Perhaps the italicised voice is right, though. I must fight. What else is there in this treacherous land? Die fighting, rather than die submitting to my fate.

Fighting the Poodle is a hopeless matter with no chance of victory. I feel demoralised, and I don’t think I can stand up to the creature yet. Certainly I cannot defeat it until I learn of its weaknesses. I need a victory over a lesser opponent to boost my self-esteem.

What of the tribe of plushies that betrayed me? I lost my heart because of them, and I can never get it back. They left me to be torn apart. Are they not deserving of my retribution?

Somehow I will climb to the table top again. When I get there, then they’ll be sorry. 

February 20, 2006

I wake up to find those glowing orange eyes staring at me, the long pink tongue flapping about manically, and the sharp teeth glinting.

Good, it will kill me now.

It slobbers on my ear.

February 17, 2006

There is nothing there.
Not even the Poodull/Poodle Beast. It must have returned to its lair with my heart.

I don’t feel surprised about hearing things. I am obviously hallucinating again, this time as a result of blood-loss.
I am surprised that the creature didn’t finish me off.

I put my head back on the ground and try to die some more. More effectively this time, I hope.

February 16, 2006

Wake up Mumphred.

‘Go away.’

Mumphred. I am not going to ‘Go away.’
Wake up.

‘Go. A. Way.’

Which way?

‘Any way that is away.’

You cannot lie there forever. Get up.

Ignoring me will not work either. I can be very annoying if needs be.
Do needs be?

‘No. Just go away.’

I can help you Mumphred. The Poodle can be defeated.
I know how.

‘Go away.’

Perhaps you are not yet ready for this. Or perhaps you are just too weak. But I saw the fight in you. You turned and faced it.

I turn my head towards the source of the voice.