ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old English sticel [thorn, sting] + bæc [back.]

I have one of those kitsch aquarium screensavers which I dip into now and again. More elegant than most I have seen, it nonetheless irritates as much as it soothes. It has never quite made it past demo mode. Every now and again, it triggers unexpectedly with the sound of an antisocial inebriate taking a piss in the corner. Or an infirm relative with incontinence issues.

I have on occasion suffered mild whiplash as a result. Dribbling burning ash all down my shirt front as I fall over myself, aghast.

Before the Ghosts there was the Fishes. Sticklebacks and northern pike. Both freshwater and thriving in stagnant ponds. Screensaver aquariums, of course, require little maintenance. By definition they are purely ornamental; self-cleaning and uncommonly robust. In fact. Unless the monitor itself freezes or falls prey to sudden hard drive failure one needn\’t concern oneself unduly that one\’s tropical varieties might cook or succumb to the overnight chill of hypothermia.

Pissing in the corner, then, seems like a small price to pay.

Early this morning, some time around 3:00 AM, I awoke to an ominous crash. Sleep addled and slack jawed, I sidled along the walls in the dark trying to source the calamity. Throwing on light switches and finding nothing out of turn. A second bang forced me back out of the fold-down sofa. This time I was sufficiently roused to peek out the window, and there it was: an abandoned car mushrooming flame and several silhouetted figures tumbling out of a firetruck as they hurried to douse it.

The vision was not apocalyptic enough to keep me glued. Aha, I said to myself. Just another f@cking insurance job. A forty pence call from a public telephone. I threw back the covers and crawled back to dream of fish.

Screw the common pool.

CREEPER LAGOON: THE GIRL WHO FELL TO EARTH from \”Vs. The Dead C\” EP (Ratfish) 1997 (US)

clock by bullard art.


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