Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The E-Spot

I am starting an advice column, The E-Spot, in which I will be answering all manner of emotional, relationship and sexual problems in a sympathetic yet direct manner. Email your problems to emma.theespot@gmail.com (please state if you wish to remain anonymous) and then, every Friday, I will put your world to rights. In fact, I have already received some mail, and will now demonstrate the kind of stellar advice you will be getting.

Am I a Lesbian?

Dear Emma,

I think I might be a lesbian for the following reason: Apart from having sex with them, I don't really like men. For a long time I thought the problem was that I didn't understand them, but finally, after fifteen years of dating them (I am 30), I realized that men are very simple organisms with three desires: sex, sleep and food. Sure, I've met some lovely guys who were nice, sensitive, interesting and had great taste in furnishings, but they were always gay.

Whereas women, where do I start? I feel so close to my friends. They are empathetic, emotional, supportive, sensitive, and have great taste in furnishings. Night after night I pray to God to make me gay and release me from a life of having to date men and listen to football scores. I have fondled girls in the past and it was hot, but I have never gone all the way with them. Women do come on to me fairly frequently, but in the end I always find I can't sleep with them because I don't find them attractive enough. Please help. Do you think I could be gay?

Wish I was Gay

Emma replies: Dear WIG



Firstly, look at the above clip. Do you feel any stirrings in your loins? You do. Good. Or maybe not so good. You see, Hollywood's depiction of lesbians has little relation to how lesbians look in real life. And the grim reality is, some devastatingly hot woman is probably not going to take your hand and lead you gently through her Sapphic garden. Sorry to disappoint, but if you really were a lesbian, your natural curiosity would have at this stage in your life, led you to several sexual encounters with women who were not necessarily pretty, but simply vehicles for your sexual exploration.

Please don't take this too badly. A life of heterosexuality isn't all doom and gloom. For example, men are quite good at putting up shelves, lifting heavy objects and sometimes even at sex. Yes I know this is going to be hard to take in at first, but WIG, I'm telling you the truth my dear, you are as straight as they come.

Emma

Okay, here's another one.

Office Affair Gone Bad

Dear Emma,

I am a 33 year old career woman, who has known this colleague for a few months (he lives in another city but is a fairly frequent visitor to my branch of the company). At first we were just friends and often hung out together, going out for drinks and movies. I knew he was married and had a son. Then one night, he was in town and invited me to stay the night with him in a hotel. I did stay the night with him, in fact I spent three nights with him and during this period I really fell for him. He claimed to feel the same for me.

After he returned back to his home town, I started to feel like he was acting weird towards me. He didn't call, text or email, and when I asked him what was wrong he said that nothing had changed, that he liked me, but that he had been too busy to contact me. That was three weeks ago.

I know he's avoiding me, or maybe he just feels bad about betraying and cheating on his wife. Now he refuses to talk to me. The problem is, I love him and it is hard to let him go and move on. And now I have lost our friendship on top of everything. Do you think I should call his wife up and tell her how her husband cheated on her with me, (I have their home phone number and some romantic photos). So far my friends have stopped me from doing that.

What should I do?

Had an Affair with a Married Man who turned out to be a Total Arsehole

Emma replies: Dear HAMMTOBATA,

It is tempting to tell you to move on. To realize that yes, you were an absolute idiot to get involved with this prick. But you know that, so I won't rub salt in that wound. I could, but will it stop you mooning around and bursting into tears every time he arrives at the office? I think not.

Now, I don't think there's any reason to involve his wife in this either. She probably knows what a tool he is and doesn't need reminding. What you really need to do, if you want to achieve closure, is to totally humiliate him.

Your ammunition: the romantic photos. Now, let's not be coy here, I hope to God you're talking about sex photos. Now, if these loving snaps of your three nights together feature anything good like:

1. the fact that he has a small penis
2. evidence that he wore a leopard print thong
3. one evening after downing the contents of the mini bar he let you put make up on him

then the photos you hold in your hand are gold, my friend.

You do not say if this Married Bastard is in a position of power in your company. If so, and he can help you up the greasy pole (not his greasy pole, I am referring to the career pole), then by all means start with a softly softly approach. Show him the photos and threaten to send them to his wife if he doesn't secure you a promotion and a hefty pay rise.

If, at this point, he laughs in your face, he must face the consequences of having the photos sent via email to every branch of your company (send this from an anonymous email address so that you don't incriminate yourself in this sordid scandal, but make sure to put his name clearly in the header in case his face is distorted in the pictures).

Oh and one more bit of advice: don't have affairs with married men you work with. Ever. Got that?

Emma

Do you think I gave WIG and HAMMTOBATA the correct advice? If you are distressed and need some thorny little dilemma sorted out, send your problem to emma.theespot at gmail.com and I will do my best to soothe your fevered brow.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hypocrites R Us

I was watching the film Love Actually with my six year old Scarlett, when one of the characters said, "Let's get pissed and watch porn."

I tensed, waiting for the inevitable question,

"Mummy, what's porn?"

But luckily, Scarlett put on her teacher voice and explained it all to me instead.

"Pissed is when you get drunk and porn is a funny movie."

"Er, right."

Teacher continued: "When you're drunk people do crazy things like fall down the stairs. You were drunk one time mummy and you lay in bed all day Sunday and didn't take us to church. Getting drunk is a silly thing to do."

"It's good fun though," I replied. Of course I didn't, just uttered the hypocrite's reply, "Yes, it's a very foolish thing to do."

I think of how many years ahead I've got of lying to my kids: Drugs are no fun. Sex without love is no good etc. etc.

Maybe when they're teenagers I'll be able to be more honest and say, "Basically, most things that are fun are bad for you. So, know your limits, do things in moderation, do any damned illegal drug you like, as long as you don't get addicted or cause trouble to those around you. And meaningless sex can be fun, only treat your partner with respect, even if it is just a one night stand, because I believe in one night stand karma and what comes around goes around ...etc."

But right now the kids are only six and three, and it'll be lies lies lies for many moons.

What about you? Are you a hypocrite too?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Got Monogamy?



Hurrah! Crankmama and I have just recorded the first segment of our new show, The Hot Spot at blog talk radio, on the topic of Monogamy: Is it a crock?. It was a pretty damned steamy little show, if I do say so myself. Hang with it… we had some blips but most of the information is there. If you want to hear more about sluts, polyamory and what to do to cure marital restlessness press play here:



Did you like the show? Did it give you food for thought, or did you simply think we sounded like a couple of hot MILFs? Please add your thoughts below.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Can anyone enlighten me?

Okay, I don't feel like I can talk about this subject with any authority, since I have been out of England for more than six years (last time visiting was two years ago), but can anyone inform me whether the state of British TV comedy has hit the fan, like the preverbial shit? Your honor, I present for your inspection a terrible British comedy series I saw recently called Star Stories. I watched this at my mate's house the other day, because his friend (a stand up comedian) had written this piece of crap and had sent him the DVD of it. It takes the lives of the rich and famous, ie Posh and Becks, George Michael, Madonna and Guy, and transforms them into a piss weak satire. This is rubbish. How did it get made? This is not funny. This is as funny as an American sitcom. Please tell me British comedy has not gone to the dogs. Example of this pile of steaming dog turd here:



What happened to British comedy? What about the good old days? Does anyone remember Alan Partridge? The character of Alan Partridge is my favorite comedy show of all time. You cannot watch him without wetting yourself. For those who do not know who Alan Partridge is, he is a character created by Steve Coogan. Partridge, a former BBC chat show host, fired both for being a piss poor interviewer as well as for assaulting his Commissioning Editor with a chicken, is reduced to working the graveyard shift on Norwich radio and is desperately trying to get back on television in any capacity. Alan is a generally loathsome, narcissistic human being with very poor social skills, a largely empty personal life and a very high opinion of himself. This is one of my favorite shows of all time and if you have never seen it you haven't lived:



So, is British comedy dead? Does anyone know? If it is, I am never moving back to England. There may be some gems on UK TV at the moment, I just don't know, haven't been back for so long. Please inform me. This is something I am very worried about.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Guest Post by Posh

Not a lot of people know this, because I don't like to brag, but I went to school with Victoria Beckham back in the day, and we've kept in touch over the years. We were in tap dancing classes together, and it was I who helped her through her first bout with bulimia. When she started going out with David, I said, "I'm not sure he's got much upstairs," to which she replied, "Yeah, maybe, but he'll always be faithful, a psychic told me, apart from a spot of shagging with that saucy Rebecca Loos bird a few years down the line, and I'm sure we can get through that."

So I gave her my blessing, and now that she's moved stateside because hubby's got a 128 million pound contract with shitty team LA Galaxy, she's suddenly round my house all the time, and telling me she's got a lot of stuff to say and that she wants a blog. Like, fine. When she started being in the Spice Girls did I go out and try and be in a girls' pop group? Like shit I did. When she dated the captain of the English football team, I didn't copy her, I was going out with Stavros from the local chippy. But now because I have a wicked blog, now Posh wants to have a go.

"Well fine Posh, if you think you're up to it," I said. "But this writing lark is hard work."

"Does it burn calories?" she asked.

"Oh yeah, five hundred an hour."

Well, she fell for it. So here we go, Posh has written a special entry here:



Everyone knows I'm a right stylish bird, right? I woz havin lunch with my best mate Katie, well I says havin lunch I wasn't exactly eating, eating can be bad for you or so my psychic advisor told me. Katie's a scientologist or summink, and she has her head screwed on, that girl. And she tells me, watch out, people are going to be after you, they're jealous of you. Beware, they're gonna try and snatch your kids and also your husband, they might even steal you and try and clone your fabulous figure, you know?

So I starts getting worried. It's a flipping conspiracy, I tell you. In England me and Becks woz Celebrity Royalty, we was above the A list, the A listers used to wipe our arses, know ta mean? I've had Keira Knightly wipe my arse, seriously. But when we gets to the United States of Americas people act like, what, soccer, what the hells that? Kicking a flippin ball around. Why aren't you wearing those head guard things like they do with American Football? No, I sez, David is a God and soccer to us in Blighty its like the business. Anyway, no one seems to understand and now the US immigration people have said we can't have any visas for our two dozen minders.



At passport control they gave me some shit about: "The US authorities will not grant foreigners a work permit if they believe Americans are capable of doing the job." I started screaming, I said, DO YOU KNOW WHO I FUKINN WELL ISS? I'm a fashion ikon and I has my own fashion line. Did you know that? And now you tell me I cant have my minders looking after Cruz and Brooklyn and whatever the other one's called and I'm gonna have to look after the kids myself? Are you fuckin nuts? So they take me to a padded room and I calms down again i tries to bribe them but they aren't having any of it. They won't let the minders into the country and they sez they don't know who I am! The world has gone mad. I show them a photo of Becks but they just look at me like I am crazy.



They says, "Ma'am, that looks like some gay dude mounted on a horse. You sure this is your husband, David Beck-ham?"

I sez yeah of course. the bratz is all screaming and I'm gonna have to look after them all on my own. To top it all I ate half an apple yesterday and I can't eat anything today although I could murder a cashew nut.

I don't like america too much, maybe even madrid was better although they talked foreign like and that weren't easy and they ate paella and weird stuff. I dunno, it's like i'm so perfect and everyone wants a piece of me and soon there won't be any pieces of me left, ya know?

Want to read more? Go to Posh's blog.

Friday, February 09, 2007

One Night Stand Etiquette

“Men don’t realize that if we’re sleeping with them on the first date, we’re probably not interested in seeing them again either.”

No, I didn't say that, but it certainly has a nugget of truth to it. It was an observation by comedienne Chelsea Handler, whose area of expertise is one night stands. She even runs a One Night Stand Etiquette Course, which I would have found very useful when I was spinning frantically round on the dating merry-go-round:



I would add to these basic etiquette rules, 'don't wear polyester pajamas when you first go to bed with a hot fox.' This happened to me on one of my worst one night stands ever, when I went on a date with this nerdy guy who seemed okay initially, until we got down to it. I didn't particularly fancy him, but I was kind of depressed after splitting up with a boyfriend and consequently made the mistake of going back to the nerd's place and getting drunk. I took off my clothes and got into his bed in the hope that he would cheer me up with a night of awe inspiring sex. While I was waiting for the earth to move, he removed his clothes - and pulled on some pajamas.

Weird, yes. But they weren't even regular pajamas, they were like an adult sized version of kids' pajamas, pale blue polyester with aeroplane motifs on them.

He then proceeded to get into bed beside me. Bear in mind I was naked.

Okay.

I know I should have just got out of there, but the guy lived about ten miles away from my flat, in some godforsaken place in Mile End, and his bed was quite warm, thank you very much, and was I really going to go out into the night and search for a cab? No, I was not.

So I wrestled him out of his pajamas and we started having what I will loosely describe as sex. Suffice to say his kissing was all wet and slobbery, his hands were clammy, and...well, to cut a long story short, you know you are having really bad sex when you regret it even while you are doing it, even despite being drunk. Most of the time with disastrous one night stands you regret it afterwards, or possibly the next morning, but during? Yes, it was bad. It was really fucking bad.

I recall that he bit me all over, like a rodent chewing on some cheese. Why didn't I tell him to stop? I'm not sure. I think I sensed he was emotionally vulnerable and might start blubbing, and I didn't need that. So I said something cheesy like "I want you to fuck me." So he did. That proved even worse than the nibbling. If he had done it before, I pity the poor girl. I won't describe it because, to be honest, it was one of those experiences which wasn't even bad, it was just nothing, shit, crap, total nothing.

The next morning it was obvious that he didn't want me to leave. I didn't either because I had just discovered that he had some absolutely phenomenal stuff in his fridge. Like this awesome stuffed crust pizza. I fancied a bit of that. He also had chocolate croissants and some great little danishes. After I'd stuffed my face, I tried to say adieu, but it was quite hard, as he was practically hanging around my neck. Which would have been great, had I planned to ever see him ever again.

He phoned me that afternoon, (for anyone who doesn't know this, don't ever, and I mean ever, phone a one night stand on the day after you have fucked her. It shows that you are absolutely DES-PER-ATE) saying I had forgotten my scarf at his flat and when should he drop it round! He was madly happy. He had that sing song tone in his voice like he'd already been imagining us walking up the aisle.

I gave him the old "Last night was great, but let's face it, I was pretty drunk. Can't we just be friends?"

"Thanks, but no," he replied. "I've got enough friends." The line went dead.

Yeah, I did feel like a total shit. But what could I have done? Said "I don't think it's appropriate to wear kids' pajamas after the age of twelve?"

So okay, I've shared my night with Rodent Boy. Now it's your turn to pile on the crap. I want to hear about your worst one night stands. And please, don't spare us the gruesome details.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wife swapping

I switch on the TV and see the unmistakable signs of reality TV. Two women are in a kitchen, cooking dinner. One, a Hippy Trippy Touchy Feely Liberal Lesbian, I’ll call her Lesbian for convenience, says to the other woman, “So if you’d known your kids were going to be born with Downs Syndrome, would you have aborted them?”

“Oh yeah, in a heart beat,” says White Trash woman, who I’ll call Trashy for short.

“So you think that disabled people are somehow inferior to other people?”

“Well, sure. And like, what about you being gay, should I feel sympathy for the fact that you’re gay?”

Lesbian’s mouth falls open like a fish, and stays open. Eventually she says, “Are you….are you equating being disabled with being gay?”

“Well, yeah. I mean, some people are born retarded and being born gay is your genetic defect.”

Lesbian starts hyperventilating. “You think being gay is a genetic defect?”

“Sure, being born with six hands or being born gay, it’s the same thing, right?”

Inevitably, Lesbian starts crying and has to leave the room.

And okay, you can say that Trashy was out of order, but, you wonder for a second, why didn’t Lesbian at least argue with her or punch her lights out? Because Lesbian had foolishly signed up for the show Trading Spouses (this time with the twist that one of the couples was lesbian and consequently made up of two wives). For those unfamiliar with the program, TV producers basically scan America for the most borderline mental couples they can find and make the wives swap, then stand back and watch the knives fly. Here's one of the infamous fights, when the two families went face to face after a swap, which, as usual, went disastrously wrong:



It’s absolutely delectable viewing. Each wife is trapped in the home of her polar opposite, personality and politics wise. She's stuck there for a week, which for each contestant seems like about a year, judging by the nervous wrecks they are when they return home.

It’s like having your in-laws to stay, times a hundred. Actually, I was sent an email once by a producer at Trading Spouses. Because you get $50,000 for doing it, I was tempted, but the catch is that the family you swap with gets to tell you what you can spend the money on, so it could be a lifetime’s subscription to The Catholic Mass Channel, so I gave it a miss. I was also once sent an invite to go on the Dr. Keith Ablow Show . (I know, Keith who? I think he’s some sort of bastard child of Dr. Phil and Dr. Spock). I was meant to talk about how blogging has affected my marriage, do I prefer blogging to sex etc. I chatted to the producer and I was all for doing it, even though I knew full well I’d be made to look like a lunatic. In the end it was my husband who effectively cock-blocked me from getting it on with Dr. Ablow.

I was going to brief hubby to do a stellar acting performance. I could see him saying, “It started with her blogging for an hour a day. But soon it got out of control. Before I knew it she was posting nude pictures of herself on her blog wearing only a dog collar and kitten heels.” Close up of tears running down his face. “And now,” chokes back sobs. “Now, she prefers blogging to sleeping with me!”

Keith Ablow smiles benignly and looks at the camera. “This couple is in crisis. And I am here to show them the steps they they can take to reseed their barren garden and anoint it with the water of love and forgiveness.”

Yes, it would have been wonderful viewing, only my husband didn’t want to be made to look like an ass. The kill joy. So that was the end of that.

So, alas, I am still waiting for my fifteen minutes of fame. Actually Rachael and I will be starting our own radio show on blog talk radio soon. This show will be hotter than hell. Watch this space!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Best Blow Job Award


No, I haven't won one. But this is a lovely gift for you to give to a loved one for exemplary services in the field of tongue work. It's made in, where else, Germany. Yours for only 9,99 Euros. Bargain!!

(If you seriously want to buy this go to http://www.neckermann.de and put 00707720030000 in the Search Box).

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Foxyegghead

This + a brain = The Foxyegghead

Well now, here's something you might not know. That women now make up 57 per cent of university entrants, and outnumber men in every subject, including maths and engineering. That two thirds of medical students are now women. That if current trends continue, most doctors will be female by 2012.

Why should that concern anyone? Well, according to Boris Johnson, a UK journalist, the point is this: an increasingly educated female population will lead to tons of non-graduate men as well as graduate females being left on the shelf. As an added factor, 40 per cent of female graduates born in 1970 will remain childless, and the trend is getting worse.

In the past, women have chosen a mate at an equal or superior intelligence level to themselves. A recent study shows that if a man's IQ rises by 16 points, his chances of marrying increase by 35 per cent; if a woman's IQ rises by 16 points, her chances of getting hitched decline by the same amount.

As a result of the same instinct — female desire to procreate with their intellectual equals — the huge increase in female university enrolments is leading to a rise in what the sociologists call assortative mating, which basically means that since female graduates won't marry non-graduates, an increasing number of non-graduate males and graduate females will never marry.

Well now, while that is certainly an interesting perspective, I don't think it takes into account this basic point: Women like to give it a bit of lip service about how they want a man with wonderful personality traits and intelligence and sensitivity etc. But in my humble opinion, while intelligence in a mate is important to most women, isn't the greatest factor in choosing a mate whether he earns a good to fantastic salary? Thinking about all the men I have ever known, the ones who got laid the most were wealthy and/or good looking. It really had very little to do with their intelligence, conversational skills or anything else.

One could in fact argue that good looks and finances in choosing a mate are essential in keeping the species going in the most cave-woman type way. Good looks and a good build are an indicator of health and good genes. Also, women value wealth in a mate, not necessarily because they are money grabbing little bitches, but because they want their kids to have a good standard of living and education.

Or, put another way, would anyone have had children with someone as ugly as Donald Trump without his fortune? Answer: no.

But that doesn't help me from wishing that society was different. Okay, maybe I am prejudiced here, but why is life so unfair for us women? Why are at least half of all women nice looking, whereas with men the percentage is maybe, what, five per cent? For God's sake, we are forced to choose between eye candy and intelligence. But, my God, think of the future, the future of cloning and genetic engineering!

In the future (alas, probably not in my life time) there will be genetically engineered males who are droolingly good looking, and who, when they open their mouths, are witty, intelligent and engaging. They will have the bodies of Greek Gods combined with the wit of Jerry Seinfeld (another point: would someone as dorky looking as Jerry have stolen his hot young wife away from her husband, without the lure of his millions? Answer: probably not).

Because, let's face it, as well as there not being many good looking men about, aren't they invariably stupid? Case in point: has anyone every heard the gorgeous David Beckham talk, or rather, try to talk? It's a little bit embarassing, to put it mildly. Why oh why are good looking men often rather dim? Is it because a handsome man doesn't have to develop his personality because his looks open doors for him? Who knows, but the intelligent/good looking man combo is as rare as George Bush uttering an intelligible sentence.

A Foxymoron is that achingly gorgeous male who, unfortunately, has only air whistling about inside his head. But think of the hybrid that could be created. The Foxyegghead, by a miracle of modern science, would bring intelligence and looks together in one irresistible package.

Okay, I'm going to close my eyes now and dream of that perfect future, when the world will be overrun with Foxyeggheads....aaaah...a bit of drool has just hit my keyboard.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A million waves crashing against a million rocks


A simple enough idea: The world is going to end today. A blogger records the last day on earth… just in case there are any survivors. I read about this story idea on Quick's blog. I asked him if he had written a story on this theme, and if so, could I see it? He said he hadn’t. I said could I pilfer the idea, or would he sue? He said he wouldn’t. So I wrote the story. What do you think?

A million waves crashing against a million rocks

Blog Entry
Time: 8.02 13 July 2007


Apparently, the world is going to end tonight. Some big meteor is going to collide with the earth and kill us all.

Right.

Like that’s ever going to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind dying, it’s just that I don’t believe this one is going to hit, that’s all. This last year since my sister’s accident has been a lot like being buried alive anyway. I’ve talked and talked until I’m blue in the face, but mom and dad haven’t taken in a word I’ve said. All they do is go on and on about Sophie’s death. And I suppose the way it happened was odd, and that I ought to explain, but seeing as the world might be ending tonight, I don’t want to waste my precious time on all that right now.

Since dad found me in bed with Graham last week, I’ve been grounded. It’s the middle of the summer holidays and I’m stuck in my bedroom, a prisoner in my own house. Dad just burst in on us and started yelling, while Graham scrambled out of bed, red faced. He was hopping around on one leg, trying to get his trousers on, while dad continued to scream. Then, when I wouldn’t apologize – for what, anyway? - dad hit me round the head ‘til my ears started to ring.

Pulling the bed sheet up over my breasts, I tried to find the words to explain that Graham was just a way of taking my mind off Sophie. But I couldn't. Instead I blurted, “Oh, grow up dad. It’s just sex.”

I got a slap for my trouble.

Now the doorbell’s ringing and I can hear the sing-songy voices of all the women in the neighborhood downstairs, gathered for another one of my mother’s religious vigils, designed to stop the meteor hitting earth. Like prayer’s going to stop it in its tracks. It’s hurtling towards us at the moment, only no one really knows for sure whether it will hit or miss. In some parts of the country, New York and L.A. especially, people have been going crazy, having orgies and taking heroin and all sorts. Nothing like that’s been happening here in Baltimore of course, which is just my luck.

Well now, since dad’s at work, I reckon I’ll just slip out. No one will notice in all the chaos.

Descending the stairs, I collide with the swell of women who are pushing their way in through our front door. Mrs Pickering from number 34 takes my chin in her hand and tips it back, twisting it this way and that. I stare into her eyes, an icy penetrating blue beneath over-plucked eyebrows.

“Oh, goodness me, Lauren, how’d you get this bruise on your cheek?”

Mom squeezes past with a pitcher full of iced tea. “Oh, she took a bad dive off the diving board and got whacked in the face.”

“How awful,” says Mrs Pickering, her eyes displaying disbelief.

I walk past her, out the door, not caring about getting wet from the sprinkler that’s watering our acid green lawn. There’s a sprinkler ban at the moment, only who’s going to enforce it when the end of the world is nigh?

I walk down the street to the newsagents, and walk into its cool musty interior. An old woman is chatting to an even more ancient woman behind the counter.

“I don’t believe it’ll come,” says the old hag behind the counter. She’s got on a pink nylon dress and her white hair is done up in little sausage curls. “Didn’t they scare us about a nuclear war? And that ended up being a load of hot air.”

I slink around the aisles, hoping to do a spot of shop lifting, but Sausage Curls is tracking me and it proves impossible.

“Those scientists don’t know nothing,” says the wheezy woman with the fluffy moustache on her upper lip, who we call Hitler. “Same with the stuff they keep telling us about diet. One week it’s eating low fat this and low fat that. The next week, carbs are the devil. You can’t tell me it’s healthy to live on fried bacon and rabbit food?”

“Of course it isn’t.” A long pause. “You know number 78 has built an underground bunker?”

“Lot of good that’ll do him.”

“I phoned my sister in Alabama the other day. We hadn’t talked in twenty years. Just in case the world does end, I thought, well why not?”

“Why’d you fall out?” says Hitler.

“She told me on my wedding day that Dave was a schmuck, that I shouldn’t marry him.”

“She was right though.”

Sausage Curls nods. “I suppose so, but she shouldn’t have said that.”

There’s an explosion in the street. Hitler and Sausage Curls rush out. I nip behind the counter and grab a pack of Camel Lights.

When I saunter out of the shop, it’s clear that the explosion wasn’t the end of the world come early, only some boys throwing fire crackers.

As I amble down the street, music oozes from the window of a passing car.

‘It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.’

I used to like R.E.M. but I’ve heard that song once too often on the radio these past few months.

Sticking my fingers in my ears, a blanket of melancholy falls over me. I wonder if I will live to see my sixteenth birthday.

Blog Entry
Time: 12.03 13 July 2007


As I approach Graham at the playground, he’s sitting on a swing, telling a joke, surrounded by some of the popular kids from school. All the A students turn and stare disdainfully at the cigarette pack I’m holding.

“Want a cancer stick?” I say, waving it at them. The kids scatter, like I was going to throw acid in their faces.

Graham and I share a cigarette, passing it back and forth between us, not saying a word.

He’s had his hair cut short since I last saw him. All the blond tips have been shorn off. I run my hand up the back of his head. It feels soft, like a teddy bear.

“I keep seeing Sophie’s face,” I say. The words are out before I can stop them.

“Want to talk about it? You never did, you know, not really. Maybe you should.”

I wonder how much I will tell him. But he’s right, I do need to tell someone, so I begin. I tell him how, last summer, we were at Ocean City on a family vacation, and how I was meant to be watching her. She was only eight and I know I ought to have known better but Christ, do you know what a pain an eight year old is to have around? I’d met this guy, see, much older than me, called Chuck. He drove a car, for fuck’s sake. I’d met him in the check out queue, while I was bagging my groceries.

“Hey Peachy,” he said, staring at me as I placed ripe peaches into a brown paper bag. “How’s it going?” Only I know that isn’t much of a line, but he was so good looking, dark touseled hair, a bit like Johnny Depp. His eyes undressed me, peeling off my clothes. I let him take me for a spin in his car. When I got back to our rented condo the peaches were squashed at the bottom of the bag, on account of the fact that I’d lain on them while we were making out on the back seat. And I hadn’t really noticed the strawberry ice cream either, which had liquefied and oozed its way through the bag. I’d been mesmerized, caught up in the way he was working his hand between my legs. Sure I’d had guys touch me there before, but they were just boys, and their fingers felt like popsicle sticks, jabbing into my tender flesh. But Chuck was different. His hand was warm and big, and he didn’t even put his fingers in that much, just kept rubbing away on the outside. And he just did that for a long time, until something broke inside of me and a warm gush of pleasure radiated out, like the way a ray of sunlight suddenly beams through the stained glass window at church.

But before I can tell Graham any more, my dad’s car pulls up. What the hell’s he doing home?

“We weren’t doing anything,” I protest, as dad gets out of the car and grabs my bare arm, hard. “We were just talking.”

He throws me into the car.


Blog Entry
Time: 20.58 13 July 2007


I’m back home and looking out the window. The street is deserted. There’s a terrible wind blowing the plane trees in the garden, whipping the branches back and forth. An unearthly roar fills my ears. Like a million waves crashing against a million rocks. The sky is dark, dark as the bruise on my cheek. I can see Sophie’s face, the way we found her.

Chuck was with me. We’d lost track of time, grinding up against each other in the sand in our damp bathing suits. And then we’d gone back to where I’d left Sophie, it seemed, not five minutes ago. Although maybe it had been hours. Neither Chuck nor I were wearing a watch.

We saw her body at the same time. She was bobbing about, mouth parted, eyes wide open.

“Shit,” he hissed.

I splashed down in the water beside her and cradled her head. Her eyes, usually a bright chestnut brown, stared up at me, irises the color of mouse fur.

“But she could swim, goddamit! She could swim!” I said, starting to shake her by the shoulders.

“I might be able to do something,” Chuck said, taking her from me and lifting her out of the water. In her shimmery green swimsuit, her long dark gold hair hanging down, she looked just like a little mermaid.

He laid her on the sand, pumped her chest and kissed her mouth, but there was nothing doing. It was over.

“I’ll come with you and find your parents,” he offered.

“No, no. Don’t do that. They’ll know I was with you. They’ll know I wasn’t watching her. What the fuck am I going to do?”

I wanted him to say, “It wasn’t your fault.” Only he didn’t. He just stood there, running his tongue over his dry salty lips.

Then he kissed me. A swift, impersonal kiss. I never saw him again.

My parents believed me when I told them I only turned my back for a moment.

My mother said, “These things happen.”

My father said, “We don’t blame you.”

Well, it makes no difference whether they blamed me or they didn’t. The life went out of our family after that. Behind all the forced smiles, I knew they did blame me, and that whatever I did, however good my grades were, I would never be able to replace the daughter they had lost.

So, seeing as that was the case, I figured, why shouldn’t I enjoy myself a little? And that was all I was trying to do, that time dad found me in bed with Graham.

But in the end, none of it really matters, you know? In the end it’s just you and the dark inky sky and the blackness. And the sound of a giant’s hammer smashing down on your head.