Not quite panicking, I’m a pirate without a patch!

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Although it is a bad idea to end up in hospital during a plague, it’s probably a more efficient experience than when not during a plague.

Note: this blog may be more badly spelt and incoherent than usual, but I have a reason this time.

On Monday I got a stye on my eye, you know, one those little painful lumps on your eyelid that go away in a few days? I got one of them. By Tuesday it was really hurting, with stabbing pains shooting into my head. Wednesday I got a weird lump on my cheekbone, like a painful pea. Thursday my eye swelled up so much I couldn’t open it and I kept walking into things. By Friday, another red lump, like someone had punched me, had appeared on my eyebrow. I had an am-I-being-silly?-or-am-I-in-trouble? phase. I went to the pharmacist, managed to lose my wallet on the way and then couldn’t see to find it. Had melt down. Called a friend who lives nearby and he came out and found the wallet perfectly safe in my bag, then kindly waited while I went in the pharmacist.

I said to the pharmacist, ‘It was just a stye,’ and he said something to reply, but he had a mask on and I couldn’t hear him. So I launched into symptoms, then when I finished, I realised he’d said the same thing a few times and I was too panicked to listen.

‘See a doctor. You need to see a doctor.’

I went to the doctors, they were shut and told me no one would come out to see me and they said I had to go to the hospital for Urgency Care.

(Is this Accident and Emergency now? They’ve rebranded?)

I didn’t want to go to the hospital so I called 111. The very calm, helpful doctor I eventually spoke to told me I needed to see a hospital. That I needed someone with me in case I had a siezure on the way and I might need to be put on an IV drip.

Erk!

Anyway, Urgency Care in a crisis, runs very smoothly and was half empty because everyone is too scared to go in (I suspect the ward where the virus patients are is not so calm). We could all sit at a distance from each other and I got seen in about twenty minutes.

I have an infection that has spread over half my face. It could have damaged my eye, but didn’t. I got given the strongest antibiotics they have and told by a very reassuring doctor, the not very reassuring comment ‘You’re strong, these will probably work. If not, you have to come in and be put on a drip.’ He squirted some orange stuff into my eye which dribbled all down my face and meant no beggars bothered me on the way back (scared for how they’re doing right now, but this was not the time).

I seem to have survived the night. My face has swelled up a bit more, but I don’t feel too bad. So if I disappear, I’ve either got nothing to say because I’m boring, or I’m in the hospital.

Note: wearing a face mask when you can’t see out of one eye is like peering out of a small hole in a box.

The End of Supernice

Supernice cover

Blurb

A funny and gripping story about a tyrannical alien invasion in a sleepy seaside town.

Chirpy YouTuber Nick and his cynical teenage daughter Natasha have their lives thrown into turmoil one afternoon when the walls inexplicably start swallowing people. Over the next week, more and more are snatched away, until the announcement is made: Earth is under new management. Aliens have taken control and they’re not happy with how humans have been behaving. 

The new leaders introduce a series of increasingly oppressive rules. Make a single mistake and you’ll be taken away – to be transformed into an upstanding member of the community. 

An upstanding, smiling member of the community with a brain like mashed potato.

As their town, and the world, are thrown into chaos, Nick and Natasha each find their own way to deal with the horror. Nick becomes a YouTube celebrity, convincing the public to behave. Natasha joins a makeshift rebellion working out how to dodge the alien demands. Each wants the best for the other, but they end up on opposing sides in humanity’s most vital and bizarre battle.

Will they ever be united against the real enemy? Will the human race become the docile drones that the aliens want? Or is universal niceness an impossible and undesirable dream?

The above is my blurb for my book, Supernice.  I’ve mentioned many times that I hate writing blurb. I spent ages fiddling with it and I’m still not sure, so any feedback on that will help me out.

Also, yesterday, I sent out the last four chapters out to bloggers who wanted to read it and which feels quite momentous. To any of you who’ve been reading it, I’d really like to hear your views or if you have any questions. What did you think of Nick and Natasha? Do you think others would like the book?

My plan is to release it in a week or so on Amazon and Smashwords.

We all must have purpose!

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two foxes

I have tagged this Lifestyle, because this is my covid lifestyle, watching fox cubs. And here are some words for such a lifestyle.

Deponent – having a passive form but active meaning (I feel this sums me up at the moment, because I definitely mean to be active, but my form is passive.)

Stygian – having a gloomy or foreboding aspect; murky (not sure if this is my mood or the mood of the world today)

Medusiform – resembling a jellyfish (self explanatory).

Along with watching foxes, I went out to buy some milk and watched a bit of Seven Psychopaths ( I haven’t the concentration to watch a whole film at once). And I decided to stop trying to write a book that was annoying me, and start writing a new one. It went quite well too. I might start another new one when this one gets annoying. Maybe I can sell them on to people who have trouble starting writing.

Almost the greatest photo ever!

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So I fixed my goddamn camera (well, I assume I did. I was trying to fix it and now it works. I’m not exactly sure what the connection between these two states is, but presumably I did something.) And I can take actual photos! I can’t really go out exploring, of course, but then the fox cubs came to visit.

I crept out the back door and got a couple of wonky snaps, (I had to kind of lean over the fire escape, it was awkward) and then, just as I was about to take the best photo ever, the kid from next door started shouting out the window.

‘Go away foxes! Go away!’ she yelled.

They weren’t even in her garden, they were in mine. The little bugger.

I sympathise though, she’s about eight, has been left with her grandparents and is going slowly insane. She spends hours hitting their washing with a stick while singing nonsense very loudly. This cannot be an easy situation for an only child. Still, she could have waited a few minutes before shouting.

Superhero in training…

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There’s this guy that I’ve seen at the end of my road a few times and I’m trying to figure him out. He’s tall, good looking with little dreads and always wears shorts and a singlet. The first time I saw him was a few weeks ago, he was outside my house when I was on the other side of the road and he was sprinting up and down, as if in a very small race. The next time, a few days later, he was at the end of the road having a dance. There wasn’t any music playing, but he was boogying away. An older gentleman looked over as he passed and dreaded-guy gave a ‘Cuh! Funny old world, isn’t it?’ expression.

I saw him a few days ago standing on the steps of what I guess is his house, just up the road, which is a fairly normal thing to do. But the way he did it was just a bit too superheroey, you know? Hands on waist, scanning the street for trouble. It was spoiled briefly when a little old lady who I guess also lives there, asked him to move.

Then today I got a shock when I saw him four feet in the air. He was standing, steady as you like on a pavement bollard. I went to my doorstep and looked back and he was still there, but threw something (looked like a cape) to the ground and then leapt down.

Now bloggers, you’ve helped me before, what’s going on here? He doesn’t look distressed or unkempt in any way, in fact just the opposite. So is he:

  • A superhero in training?
  • An exhibitionist who is used to getting compliments, but is missing out due to covid?
  • A malfunctioning robot who’s escaped a lab?

 

 

Feebility and foxes

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I like how the cubs started trying to kill each other, while mum fox became super interested in a daisy.

Wallydrag  – feeble person or animal. Runt of the litter

While checking wallydrag, Google suggested:

Sneckdraw  –  a sly crafty person trying to worm his way in.

Housal  – belonging to the house

The last few days I’ve been chased by a migraine. I have intense dreams about dying and then wake up with my back all twisted up. It’s getting a bit shit now. Anyway, so this is a short little blog, with foxes and words. I hope you all staying sane and delightful, keeping the plague away.

A few things to stay safe the government haven’t suggested yet, but may work:

  • A rabbit’s foot nailed to the door (only if the rabbit is already dead, otherwise is cruel).
  • A sprig of rosemary under the doormat (unfortunately my rosemary bush died last year. Coincidence?)
  • Three left shoes arranged in a triangle in front of a mirror (this really works!)
  • A tissue soaked in bleach on your pillow (this may explain the bad dreams)
  • I believe some people are also using rainbows drawn on the pavement to ward off evil, but they must be drawn by a child at midnight and I haven’t been able to procure one yet.

Another bit of Supernice…

Blue Supernice cover

Nick woke groaning as usual. His eyeballs felt too large for their sockets, his left foot had gone numb and a line of drool connected his face to his shoulder. He experienced a few moments of the usual suffering before he realised his situation was all wrong. He wasn’t in bed as he should be, but sitting on the floor with a sock in his hand. And the sun was up, which it shouldn’t be unless he was late getting up. Very late. He spent another minute refusing to believe this was the case before finally throwing the sock aside and panicking. He would be late for work. There would be complaints and his boss would sulk. His daughter Natasha would be late for school, then the school would fine him and Natasha would get in trouble. He could already see how these misfortunes could turn to issues, issues to disaster, disaster to catastrophe.
‘Alexa, what’s the time?’ he shouted at his virtual assistant.
Alexa spun a blue light around her perimeter and said in her soothing, unchanging tone, ‘At the moment it’s five degrees. Later you can expect a low of four degrees.’
‘The time Alexa!’ said Nick jumping up from the floor, but one of his feet was still sleeping and he fell heavily across the carpet. Then Natasha, his fourteen-year-old daughter, burst in.
‘Dad! Dad! Why didn’t you wake me? Why are you on the floor? Why didn’t my alarm go off?’
Nick tried to look calm and in control from where he was sprawled, rolling over and leaning on his hand. ‘It’s all fine, noodle, a little over-sleep, that’s all.’
‘But it’s gone one! Why didn’t we wake up? Why didn’t our alarms go off?’ Her voice was a jumbled mix of hysteria and anger. She was clutching her phone and kept looking at it in disbelief.
‘There must have been a power cut, that’s all,’ he said, while gingerly climbing on the bed.
‘But it’s battery-operated!’ said Natasha.
‘This is not the time! Get your things together as quickly as possible and we’ll go.’
Natasha crashed out of the room and he could hear her shouting at her own Alexa.

For the next twenty minutes, time conspired against Nick. The faster he tried to get things done, the faster they went wrong. He put the toothpaste on his electric toothbrush and then forgot to put it in his mouth before switching it on, so white and red paste spattered across the walls. He started shaving with his razor, so ergonomically designed that it shot out of his hands and onto the floor where it split in two. He put the buttons of his shirt through the buttonholes of his cardigan. He got the pin-code to his phone wrong three times and then it wouldn’t recognise his fingerprint.
‘Of course it’s my finger! Who else’s would it be? Look! It’s attached to me!’ he wailed, showing his hand to the phone in the hope it would see the error of its ways. He tried shouting instructions to Alexa to tell him the traffic situation and to stick the kettle on, but she kept saying, ‘I don’t understand what you want me to do. Do you want me to sing a song?’
‘No Alexa, call my boss!’
‘You’re the boss!’ said Alexa agreeably, then she began to sing. ‘Bring me sunshine, in your smile.’ Unshaven, with drops of toothpaste on his mis-buttoned shirt, Nick ran downstairs. Natasha was standing in the porch in bare feet, staring out, not moving.
‘Right, I’m ready,’ he said, realising he wasn’t. The he started looking for his phone.            ‘Come on Tash, get your shoes on,’ he said, then realised he’d already put his phone in his pocket, but now his keys had vanished.
‘Dad,’ said Natasha.
‘What? Where are my flipping keys? I had them last night.’
‘Dad, come and look.’ There was urgency in her voice, but it was focused out the front door instead of the crisis at hand.
‘Did you move them?’ Nick lifted up all the items on the table: the book that should have been put away, the plates left out from dinner, his small toolbox. His keys weren’t there.
‘Would you like me to make a sound like a pig?’ asked Alexa from the kitchen unit.
‘Dad!’ said Natasha.
‘What?’ Nick said angrily, annoyed that Natasha wasn’t panicking.
‘Look,’ she said. He walked to the front door and looked out. The cul-de-sac would normally be empty at this time. Apart from the stoners at number twenty-six and Mrs and Mr Wollstaff next door, they should all be at work or school. Instead, everyone was in the street. Most were looking at everyone else in the street. Many had shirts flapping or held pieces of toast in their hands. Some were making frantic calls on their phones, not having yet noticed the others around them.

‘It was everyone,’ said Natasha. ‘None of us woke up.’

 

You think this sounds entertaining? To start reading properly for free, just contact me on petra_jacob@ outlook .com (minus spaces) letting me know what format you want 🙂

Smile! No one can see it anyway!

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wondermonger – one who promises miracles

vincible – that which may be overcome

Tried wearing a mask out today, but no one in my part of London is wearing one. It means everyone stares at me and i feel as if I’m the outsider insulting strangers with my foreign ways.

Some of you might remember me writing about being on a journey to work last year and some guy started acting like he was going to punch me. I still see him around. Sometimes he’s following people. One time he waved at me, so I waved back. He can be a bit scary, but clearly has serious problems to deal with, so I always wish him well (in my head anyway).

Today I saw him sitting on a mattress with a lady friend (who also had difficulties to deal with). They looked like they were having a picnic in the park – a couple of cans, some snacks, plenty of sunshine. Except they were at the side of a busy road on a mattress in the middle of a pandemic. They looked happy.

It’s not an ideal situation, but take your smiles where you can, I think.

 

Supernice extract

Supernice cover
This is the cover! Do you like it?

For those of you looking for a free book to read who haven’t signed up for Supernice yet. Here’s the start of the book. It starts from a bird’s eye view, but actually follows the lives of Natasha and her dad Nick when a particularly strange alien invasion occurs.

The deal is if you write to me at petra_jacob @ outlook.com (remove the spaces) I will send you the first 12 chapters, and then 3 more chapters every 3 days (it’s not actually released yet). All for free, with no tricks or obligations. I just want people to read my book and those already reading seem to be enjoying it, now I want MORE!

Supernice by Petra Jacob

In New Delhi, Mr Patel was halfway through explaining Pythagoras’ theorem to class 12B when he fell asleep. He gently slumped into the white boards, smearing the bottom angle of a red triangle across his face, his blue-striped tie rumpling up to his chin. This would have caused delight to his students, except that they too were all asleep. Some gently snoring, some hanging from their chairs, but every one blissfully unaware of the world around them.

At the Zenith Heights Casino in Las Vegas, it was nearly midnight, but instead of the usual bustling drama, customers were folded and crumpled across fruit machines and tables. While Celine Dion wailed over the speakers, a young, balding man had fallen against a slot machine, his fingers around a pork rib taken from the buffet. Just out of sight of the machines, a hostess wearing a glittery costume, a peacock headdress and a thick coating of makeup was lying with her face in a line of coke, straw dangling from her nose.

Although most of Mexico City was asleep since it was two in the morning, the red-light district was still filled with punters. Car horns were blaring non-stop as sex workers had fallen back from the policemen they were straddling. Late night clubbers and early morning delivery drivers in London had all collapsed where they stood.  And fifty miles away, in Icking, near Worthing, Natasha had stopped getting ready for school. Halfway through putting on her socks she had tipped sideways onto her bed.

The minutes ticked by and the sleep continued. The insomniacs, the busy, the lazy – all united in slumber.

Outside Natasha’s house a light rain had started, speckling the cars. A black cat sat licking its paws at the side of the road. Then it stopped, looked at the ground in alarm, and in one graceful movement leapt onto a wall, making a low yowling moan, its tail waving as it sniffed the air. Nothing happened for a moment, and then with the faintest creaking the road lifted up and a small tarmac wave rolled down the white lines. The cat bolted along the wall and disappeared over a fence. Then another wave lifted and rolled beneath the cars parked along it. A large removal truck sailed down the road towards the battered Ka belonging to Natasha’s dad. As the truck hit the bumper, another wave lifted and carried it away.

Not only the tarmac was morphing. Cars wobbled and bulged, small bubbles of paint were popping and settling. Lampposts bent as if the weight of light was too much, bowing to the liquid road. With a slight shiver, and the smell of freshly mixed concrete, paving slabs shifted as if they’d been laid on molten lava. Then the slabs themselves became square pools of concrete with insects skating on the surface between stones that popped up and bobbed. Natasha didn’t wake when the mattress she was lying on bulged and collapsed beneath her, the material oozing into her mouth and around her eyes. She didn’t wake when the walls bowed in, squashing the furniture so it dented like marshmallow.

At the local supermarket, the shelves creaked as the metal struts puddled on the floor, then slowly rose again, leaving only a few packets of cornflakes spilled onto the now liquid ground.

The postman of Icking was leaning against a wall, three bills and a package containing a hairdryer still clutched in his hand, as the bricks against his cheek became as soft as dough and oozed around him. His nose was slowly sinking when with a pop he bounced back out, unharmed, still sleeping.

For three hours the streets, buildings and vehicles across every continent wriggled and floated as curious, intrusive intent took control, flexing and claiming. As the hours moved on, the movement slowed. All distorted objects came to rest exactly as they had been.

When everybody woke up four hours and sixteen minutes later, the world looked virtually unchanged, nobody suspected all life was now waiting to upend. Nobody knew that the Wave had begun.