But that's my problem, not yours. If you haven't caught wind of the unparalleled excellence of Bite's sticks yet, pull the dicks out of your ears. It's not 2002. There's no need to be wearing the questionable shit you bought at the chemist. Throw that stuff away or regift it to your more ratchet friends and treat yourself to an Amuse Bouche shade. There are different levels of coverage and moderate variations in finish, so read a few reviews to find exactly what you're looking for. Or you could honestly almost pick one at random. They are thoroughly lovely.
Crushed Chili is from the LE Spice Collection, which contained some earthy bangers; I almost went for Hot Harissa but decided I needed more warm intermediate shades. It was a good choice. The texture alone is worth the $40 or so NZ bucks outlay- unctuous, comforting, impossibly pigmented, satin-smooth and kind to neglected lips.
Colour-wise, Crushed Chili is infuriatingly ambiguous in the tube and I was pretty flummoxed as to exactly what to expect. Don't squint yourself into thinking it's some sort of deep dusty peach or dark melon. Behold yonder hand swatches in afternoon sunlight, especially the multi-shade ones at the bottom of the review; they tell the real story.
I included both a fairly true red and orange at either end for accurate reference.
L2R, MAC unless stated: Russian Red, Bite Crushed Chili, Verve,
Chilli, Taupe, Spice It Up, Nars Iberico
Die Happy: More Lipstick Review
Although I definitely appreciate asymmetry in Japanese artistic expression, I do not enjoy shit being off-centre in my daily life, so I apologise to all my strictly midpoint homies for this left-side-of-the-bed-wide-angle wonk.
A few years ago we were compelled to fell two young Himalayan Birches in a garden realignment and decided to screw them into the end of the bed. Since then, all manner of international glamour has settled in their branches, including but not limited to:
Malband (for securing/decorating baggage and animals during migration), probably Anatolia or could be Persian/Bakhtiari, 20thC. It's a particularly festive one with metallic thread and a billion multicoloured tassels.
Yak hair rope with white terminal details. These are apparently made and used everywhere from the Wakhan Corridor to Mongolia and possess really peculiar physical properties, being exceedingly bristly, as well as light, strong and waterproof. This one is from southern Tibet.
Ikat Hinggi, Sumba, circa midcentury onwards. Sneaky dealers try to pass all of these impressive pieces off as antique, but if you've travelled through Indonesia in the last 30 years you may share my suspicion of this attribution. To my jaded eye this piece has the slightly generic look and certain lack of conscientious detail that usually hint at modern production. I could be wrong; the colours are definitely all combinations of red, blue and neutral, exemplifying the traditional palette. All I know about textile production in Sumba is that it has always been regarded as highly idiosyncratic. I'm not entirely sure they're still being executed in this particularly large format as the process is almost unimaginably skilled and laborious.
No matter what their age, large expanses of ikat will always trip you the fuck out and reward hours of idle contemplation. Here's an interesting piece on it. I can't be mad at anything that boasts both chimeras and skull racks.
Below right: Fuck yes I'll have that for $40: a lovely vintage Siirt battaniye, a Turkish/Kurdish iteration of that most treasured of domestic ephemera, the angora blanket. Local goats are shorn of the silky fibres that are hand-woven into simple kilim-style cotton-warp plainweaves and then given a thorough brushing to yield this pelt-like pile. They are light, dirt-resistant and warm without inducing the sweaty thermal panics that characterise my relationship with duck down.
Just as an aside to that particularly baffling cohort of anti-wool (wool? You're angry about wool?) agitators out there; shearing a caprine is not inherently distressing, cruel or painful and I'm not sure exactly where people have been getting that fucked up idea. Wild sheep and goats lose their wool/hair via seasonal moults, like cats, but most domestic breeds absolutely require manual wool removal if they are not to end up lodged somewhere like a wad of felt. I've shorn and crutched sheep myself, both with hand shears and a comb, so I'm not just talking out of my arse. There's really no way you can shear a sheep without its cooperation. They quickly learn the process and relax into the positions as you make your long blows down their flanks etc. It's no more traumatic than getting a buzzcut when you'd rather be having lunch. Watch this to see what I mean.
If you have animal husbandry concerns (and all of us should), I urge you to get off your arse, visit a farm, see what goes on for yourself and make decisions from there. PETA's campaigns have done more harm to public perception of animal welfare reform than anything else I can think of.
Top left: I'm not 100% sure where this length of tent/yurt band came from but because of the width and very atavistic motifs I'm guessing Central Asia, probably Uzbek or Kirgiz. Turkish dealers always cut these for some fucking reason, which really pisses me off as it takes ages to sew them back together.
^ Doga, Duacik, Tawiz or Moska, an embroidered amulet from northern Afghanistan/Uzbekistan, possibly Chodor Turkmen people. This one has pages of the Qu'ran or a similar text (I haven't been tempted to look) sewn into it but others contain salt and other auspicious substances to repel evil influences. A nice man gave it to me for washing his Kente cloths. Thanks Philip!
Dog, circa last year. The most expensive fibres in this array by a factor of 10, and connoisseur of Siirt angora.
(Disclaimer: apart from said dog which was an essential purchase, all of these items are vintage/second hand and nothing cost more than $100; most were less than $50, so we're not exactly flexing lol.)
I may have posted this before a while back, but I'm having a GM retrospective sort of night and who the fuck doesn't appreciate this kind of third degree burn? It was TWENTY FUCKING YEARS AGO ARGGGGHHHHH bursts into ashy pall of ancient dust. RIP George. Still dancing on the D train baby.
I don't want to keep you or any of these people in suspense any longer so I will just release my grades right now.
Yes/Thematic Success/ Would Wear to Supermarket Personally
Thought Was Mmmokay But Am Blinded By Hatred Of Wearer
There was some merit in Cardi B's paradisiacal genitalia cosy but big trains are so fucking played out and I lose IQ points looking at her just as a general rule, so no.
A World of No, LOL, Cringetastic Conceit and Not With Someone Else's Dick: Low Information Edition
Burning resin spat from the tall splinter of pine that Sachiin pushed down into a narrow fissure in the table, hissing where it fell onto the back of his hands. Their gracile shapes were painted in a flickering orange degraded into umber and obscurity by the light of the flame at the end of the wood, its plume of oily smoke snaking toward the ceiling of the chamber. That it had once been a refectory was evidenced by the gaping, crater-like fireplace standing at the far end of its rectangular extent and still housing the great kettles and cauldarium, rusted and overturned. The dusty black scent flushed down the chimney flue was overlaid by the amberous emissions of the living flame; Susan leant back as she sat before it, another glob of hot sap landing on the wood before her.
“That had better not explode.” she murmured. A pile of medlars gleaned from beneath the two trees of Sachiin's discovery lay in repose upon the table, their strange autumnal smell reminding her again of their equally peculiar savour. He sat down across from her, easing his long legs over the bench. She dealt seven cards from the slick airport pack in her hands, face down onto the dusty grey timber.
"You have to be quiet for this. I'm going to pick up a card, and you have to tell me which one it is. If you only get a colour, just say which one." she instructed.
"I'm not psychic."
"You don't know that."
"Yes I do." he chuckled dryly. "The universe has spoken."
"Just do exactly as I say."
He set his chin on his hand, murmuring answers as she worked through the suite. Her perplexity, writ faintly at first, deepened as the experiment concluded.
"You got every last one wrong." Susan frowned, gathering the cards and suspecting the blamelessness of his expression before looking round the feeble details allowed by the torchlight. “No Petrouchka again.”
“A girl’s got to eat.”
“Eat what? I’m the only thing on two legs for god knows how far...”
“Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
"I told you... she's avoiding me."
In entering the chamber Kala'amātya troubled the smoking flame but made no sound, and Susan quashed an embarrassing start, keeping both feet on the ground. While he surveyed their seclusion mutely it occurred to her that he was providing an opportunity to demonstrate disinclination; when she made no obvious objection, he sat down at the end of the table and chose two medlars for himself. The torch stood mirrored in the polish of their eyes as a golden ellipse, and she was struck, then disturbed by the idea that they would have dispensed with it altogether if she had not required it, contenting themselves with a darkness that was no more opaque to their perception than rain was to her own. The glow was returned by their faces, its effacement of all minor detail rendering them so perfectly alike that one might have been the reflection of the other, though when she made a deliberate attempt to confuse them, she discovered it was not as easy as she feared. She shook her head at Sachiin none the less.
"You're dyeing your hair." she told him.
Kala'amātya drew his knife through the medlar in his palm and ate as though unaware of the scrutiny she accorded the entirely novel tableau; Sachiin’s stare narrowed in sympathy with the rest of his expression, shifting with the pressure Susan placed upon his foot under the table. She addressed herself to their visitor.
“Have you seen Petrouchka?”
“She left three nights ago.” Kala'amātya replied, while she selected her own piece of fruit.
“Because of us?"
"No." Sap sparked again from the torch.
"What do you think the weather will do?”
He cut around a blackened portion of the drupe; she spectated patiently, leaning on her elbows.
“We won’t get stuck here, will we? I thought we might get going, in case that happens.”
Again she waited, leaning further over her arms in an unconscious attempt to discern the wordless aspects of his discourse, finding only subtle disapproval of the inquiry in his gaze.
"Will we? Get stuck here?" she pressed. Kala'amātya chose another medlar.
“Christabel, he's not going to putt a fucking box of chocolates out his arsehole.” his brother assured her dourly. She sighed his name. “Susan…” he countered, wide-eyed. "You don't have to pretend it's not gruesome... look at him... it's like trying to small talk with a giant fucking shrunken head."
She examined their guest again, revealing a tilt in her expression that grew while Sachiin continued to enumerate objections until they seemed more to obscurely commend than execrate their object. Dealing seven cards for Kala'amātya, she explained the procedure briefly, receiving his silence as assent; he looked from each toward her as he rendered his verdicts.
"Six of clubs. Black king. Red queen. Ace of spades. Two of hearts. Small red. Black jack."
Susan frowned as she attempted to articulate her findings.
"You um... you got them all right..." He watched her colour at the implications as she stared at them in turn. "You're not... are you?" she demanded. Even as she spoke Kala'amātya's gaze caught and bound her own, altering to the colour in the foot of the flame, its consuming, gem-like blankness stoking her dismay.
"I can only read you when you're looking at me." he told her. In the darkness of the wall against which he had leant Sachiin rolled his eyes and sighed at her horrified credulity, picking up one of the cards.
"He's fucking with you. We can see them in your eye." he laughed, leaning forward so that she could perceive the red queen miniaturized upon the surface of his own. Susan snatched it back from him, including them both in her admonition, her tormentor receiving it with the faintest of half-turned smiles. Sachiin shrugged. "Yeah well, I warned you about him."
“What did those alujha want the other night?" she demanded. "Did they talk to you?”
“They came to troll Pet for putting us up... she called them a bunch of banjo-picking ballbags and told them to fuck off.”
“And what else?”
His reply was complicated by another medlar and she turned to Kala'amātya for clarification.
“They were looking to be compensated for their loss of personnel.” the latter explained.
“You’re joking... what, money?"
"We told them we weren’t carrying any currency. Any claim they might have had was voided by their offensive anyway.”
Clearing his throat conspicuously, Sachiin let his stare settle on his brother’s face.
“See the rainbow this morning?” he asked. She grinned as she shuffled the cards.
“No... you’re not still afraid of them, are you?”
“It’s not fear, it’s respect.”
“I used to be scared of vacuum cleaners.” Susan chuckled, looking back to Kala'amātya. “So, what... you told them we were broke... and?”
“They said they’d take you, in lieu of money.” That she did not at first believe him was expressed in laughter and he elaborated. “Your inamorato explained his objections the only way he knows how, and since negotiating with someone aspirating their own blood presents difficulties, I was forced to support his position. After which they left.”
She scowled again at Sachiin.
"I thought you said it wasn't on."
"They started it."
“So... you beat them up and they went away with nothing?” The cast of Kala'amātya's gaze confirmed it. “Good.” she concluded, returning her attention to him. He bore it stoically, the lack of unequivocal refusal in his demeanour like some persisting mirage. She decided to test it further. "What's India like?"
"Difficult to summarize." he replied.
"Could you have a go?"
"It's adjacent to Afghanistan."
In the ensuing silence she turned her expression to Sachiin, who smiled back at her contentedly.
"I know it's probably horrible, but I really want to go to Afghanistan for some reason." Susan declared.
"I don't care for it myself."
"Shall we just go to India then?"
His disinclination was tangible, like a change visible through his skin. The thought that his plans might diverge from their own in actuality was like a kick from a stranger, and something she could not immediately accept. Taking the box of cigarettes from the end of the table she applied herself to picking out the gold tab from its cellophane.
"Why were you pretending to be an artist?"
"High spirits got the better of him." Sachiin mused.
"I don't understand why you weren't allowed to make anything. It just seems completely mad."
Her knowledge of the ancient interdict sent Kala'amātya's gaze back to his brother, but he replied in his own time.
"It is the axiomatic fundamentalist ultimatum. All creation performed outside the divine inceptive act is necessarily profane, and ours was a profoundly idiopathic subversion of the natural process... any hieratic structure was obliged to instate an orthodoxy emphasizing absolute legitimacy to confute the presumption inherent in all independent creativity."
She emitted a smoke ring, watching it slow and double over as it dispersed.
"It suffices to say my motives may not have borne sustained inquiry."
Susan's frown migrated to the side of her face.
"I don't know about that... I just... I'm not convinced you ever do anything you don't really want to."
"I'm here, aren't I?"
"I don't know why... will you please just go back and find Lilian, for god's sake? It drives me mad just looking at you." Kala'amātya greeted her impassioned observation darkly. "Do you honestly believe she never wants to see you again? And don't say you don’t want to go against a woman’s word... you're not fucking pro-choice when it comes to teeth.”
“Would you have preferred to die of sepsis?”
“Some arguments are academic, some are not.”
Sachiin received her exasperation with equanimity, though the sound of his brother rising from the table pulled her off the bench in an impulsive attempt to prevent his departure. He stood as though awaiting some concession from her; Susan was loath to provide it, sitting back down only when he moved to do so, wary of any further evasive measure.
"I... while you're both here, there is something we should sort out." she told them. "I do know that if anyone's going to get dragged into an unmarked van, it's going to be me... if that happens, I want..."
"If you get picked up, we come and bust you out. Je m'en fous." Sachiin interjected.
"The only thing that can't happen, Christabel, under any fucking circumstances, is us getting pinched together. If I'm collared, you have to get as far away as fast as you can."
"There are fifty billion of me... you're all that's left of you. I mean it... do everything you can to help each other, but don't get caught on my account... promise me that."
The brothers looked to one another in a mirror-like consensus.
"If we end up in the pokey it's because we were dumb, or drunk, or both. I wouldn't pull his arse out a wet paper bag and the feeling's pretty fucking mutual."
"You haven't even thought about this, have you? You could wake up in a steel box with air holes and be stuck there for the next two hundred years while they do god knows what to you! You won't even get the chance to blag your bloody way out of it."
"That's the point of individual responsibility." Kala'amātya reminded her.
"I said I wouldn't bust you out." his brother muttered. "We got her into this shit and it fucking behoves us to get her out of it, if it comes to that."
"How long could you watch someone taping electrodes to her before you agreed to whatever they wanted?"
Susan slapped a hand to her forehead.
"Thank you. If anything happens to me, drag him in the opposite direction."
"The fuck he will."
"Acquire some defensive capability and it might not come to that." said Kala'amātya. Susan dropped her head and shook it wearily.
"Will you both stop nagging me? I told you... I hate guns, and I'd be complete rubbish at them anyway." She lit another cigarette, squinting when the smoke from the torch swung back into her face. "I did mean to ask you, though... what's it like, being shot? Out of ten?"
"Twenty nine." Sachiin muttered. "We don't have a luxury shock reaction. We get it all, the going in, the hitting the bone, the turning round, coming back out again... it's very detailed."
"Is there anything you can do to stop it happening? Magic words... getting your tits out?”
Kala'amātya appeared to deliberate upon the extent to which he should oblige her inquiry, the pause lending such weight to his reply that she was startled by, then suspicious of its brevity.
"He's being polite." Sachiin sighed. "Do you really want the R-18 version?"
"Do you want to stop being a patronizing muppet?"
"Out of any ten people with a firearm, seven will be competent to hit a stationary object at close range, five at a distance, two if it's mobile." Kala'amātya continued, unexpectedly. "Ballistic weapons are the friend of the contemporary imbecile. If you have a brain, use it if you don't want it emulsified. Being female is to your advantage if you're willing to embrace the fundamentals."
"How do you mean?"
"Without training, you're too small to hurt anyone conventionally, so don't try, except in extremis." She was less than pleased by the blunt nature of his assertion, but did not interrupt. "Always cry. A significant proportion of human males from any cohort cannot execute a weeping woman. And offer sex. Feign enthusiasm. Someone will eventually cut your hands loose." Susan folded her arms, looking away from him. "There's no more discredit in that than there is in eating their food. If you're committed to survival, the only failure is to waste an opportunity."
"I don't know if I could."
"I'm pretty sure most of us would fellate a fucking warthog if it had a nine to our ear." Sachiin assured her. "You do whatever you have to do... I've done it, he's probably done it... live, and have a breakdown later." he added, far more gravely.
"How hard is it? To shoot someone, when they're looking at you?"
Kala'amātya did not respond and his brother interceded.
"It depends who you are... some people can gut you with a clawhammer but can't pull a trigger... others can strafe you stupid but couldn't slap a douchebag if he was teabagging their grandmother on the front lawn." She screwed up her face; he leant across the planks and took a hit from her cigarette. "Some people are born lucky and can do you both ways, right from the get go... the tueur fou, ange de la mort... but you really should learn to pop a cap, cloudcheeks, allez. It's not like we're asking you to hang someone from a fucking light cord and go at them with a baseball bat. It's baby steps to the psycho shit... for erm, most of us." he chuckled blackly.
Sachiin's companions looked to one another in silence.
Susan had come to recognize the small cues provided by their detection of approaching parties, and sat up while their erstwhile hostess shuffled along the passage outside, tripping over the heaps of plaster lying by the walls. She could smell Petrouchka before the latter hove into view through the arch in her saturnine mink, hands and mouth, chin, collar and sleeves blackened thickly by fluids that had lost their sheen and settled into tarry craquelure.
“Look... is like chernozopy hut, in Akusha..." the vampyre gurgled, laughing at the humble nature of their arrangements. “Black hair will grow from your ears.”
The clotted purple stink of her victims' blood was effused by the waning warmth it had confided, rolling over Susan when she slumped down with them. A bottle of stolen home-brewed spirit and a flask wrapped in camouflage mesh clattered onto the wood before her; she pushed the former toward the brothers with a grimace, screwing the stopper from the latter and sucking down a long draught. The sluggish consistency of its contents was demonstrated by the toiling undulations of her throat when she lifted the vessel skyward. To Susan’s unique perception she was transfigured by her meal, overpainted with the dilute semblance of life, though the pulse-pink and infant blues had already begun to degrade. More troubling was the flailing anima that still struggled within her enclosing skin; it held her eyes wide and worked her chest with the long-forgotten exertions of laboured respiration, pulling back her lips in a stranger's grimace over her half-translucent teeth. From behind the flask Petrouchka caught sight of Sachiin exchanging a discreet manual remark with his sibling and spluttered blood that ran from her chin and down her creaseless neck, smudged against it by her collar when she moved.
"What you say? Don't, unless we all can hear!” she warned shrewishly, voice leaping from her throat. "Po'shyol 'na hui... I know what you say... she eat alujha mudak and is drunk, like soldier. These wolves, they don’t like me now, because of you but I don't care..." Her eyes grew wider. "I dujju them, why not?” She shoved the bottle of spirit toward Susan and sagged on the bench, still clutching her flask in her small hand. “You are still here? Look at you, sitting like princess... drink, govno... get drunk." she told her. "You don't have much time, 'suka."
Sachiin's glance was pointed and she returned it in kind, sinking into the fur.
“How many?” he asked.
“One, darlink... two, maybe. I dujju two. I don’t think they miss. They weren't pretty, but... facile. Trés facile.”
She began a loose, divaricating monologue in three languages during which Susan turned slowly to him in search of reassurance; in reply he made a gnathic face, allowing his eyes to roll up into his head in imitation of the vampyre’s inebriety. She sucked in her lower lip to contain her reaction to his impression, while Kala'amātya partook of the făţată sparingly, privately ruing his own broad comprehension.
“But don’t you feel sorry for them... they were lucky... the deer dies with the wolf, but the wolf, he die alone, they say... these wolf don’t die alone.” the vampyre concluded, her observations meeting with a silence that spoke too plainly on the part of her companions. She gave vent to a brief, roaring spate of embittered laughter, its alien nature prompting Susan to flinch away from it; Petrouchka reached out and snatched her arm, drawing it into the dense pelt in her lap, stroking it slowly. “I forget... you are young and stupid.” she told her. “You know how old I was, before this happen to me? Fifteen year. My father, he marry me to a man of fifty... oslayob... who force himself on me, every day, and flog me like plough horse when he could not. What you do at fifteen? Live in pretty house with family who love you... like him.” She nodded at Sachiin. “You can see in their face, these ones who were loved. Look at this one...” she muttered, gesturing to Kala'amātya, her voice sinking into the thickly pleated vowels of her native tongue. “Nobody love him when he was young.”
Petrouchka slid her tongue over her teeth and used a second hand to encircle her guest's arm as though the first had called for reinforcement. It burned with the strain of resisting the vampyre’s grasp, though Susan bore it as stoically as she was able.
“I know you could not be happy, Sachiin, as I am... you can’t smile until every body love you. If I was Auberjonois, I would break her neck for you sending her to me. But he think to have you back.”
“How bad is that stuff?” Susan asked him, reaching for the bottle of spirit and swigging from it before he could warn her; her spluttering recoil prompted another round of barking laughter from the vampyre.
“Is bad!” Petrouchka roared, the sound percolating in her throat as though the blood itself were speaking. “Now we are friend, I think you tell me... you know of Sachiin, before he have you?”
"No, I fed her ketamine and chained her to an engine block." he assured her; Susan took another pull from the bottle, shaking her head as she replied.
“I knew there was something wrong with him before he opened his mouth.”
“Yes...” the vampyre cackled. “Of course he tell... he know you are not clever... your curious is poison, and it bite you for him...”
“She’s the biter.” said Sachiin morosely.
“Will you please stop telling people that?” Susan lost patience with the vampyre's grasp, twisting her arm then jerking it back toward herself. Petrouchka’s head snapped sideways, small face lit by the frozen glitter of her gaze; she lurched at her, but Kala'amātya's fist caught the collar of her coat while Sachiin vaulted the table and sat down between them. Planted in her seat, Petrouchka was held still until they were satisfied the impulse had passed, the brothers' dispassion lending the act a plangent surreality. Susan settled on the far end of the bench, clutching her parka about her neck; slowly, marking the vampyre closely, she reached around her companion and retrieved the bottle, lifting it over his arms.
Their hostess reeled as she was released and took some time to reclaim what she had lost, her gaze and then her hands falling to Sachiin's where it lay upon the table. He bore her wandering examination patiently until she addressed herself once more to Susan.
"You think I am a horror, but you love this..." she murmured, tracing his eccentricities with her fingers. "So much you don't know." Petrouchka took her guest's hand in her own and passed it through the torch flame, chuckling to herself while the sinuous plumes licked around his palm and between his fingers where they should have blackened them and conferred irresistible agony, turning cool velvet blue and remaining in an almost wistful association when he slid free of her grasp. "See, kotik? When you want to push him into fire, he won't burn. Eto prosto pizdets." She received no answer, and looked down at her coat, brushing small crystals of ice from its glossy nap. “Look... did I say? It snows. Is snowing now. I don’t like anymore... I think too much of de Marchand... it bring her back.”
Pearls of cold rosé pink were born in the corners of her eyes and spread across them slowly, holding on her lids before breaking down her face. She slid toward Kala'amātya, staring up at him with a mouth bitterly downturned.
"You think you were the only one to love her, but you don't know either. Before you, she go to sleep with my hands in her skirts. I give her pleasure, and she give to me..." His silence drew at her as surely as any audible solicitation. "Sometime, she speak words, over man... from village, sometime, from town... she bring, into her bed. I look while he serve her, and I lie with them and take his blood, taste everything they do. If I had life, you think she would choose you?" Whatever she had sought from him seemed to elude her, and she lapsed back from her study. "The snow always bring her back. How can you look at it? Sometimes, I cannot look, and I sleep, all through the winter, so I don’t see her. I am careful for so long..."
“Belyaev...” Sachiin murmured. “No one can change what’s done.”
“Be quiet!” she cried suddenly. “What you do for her? You are like him, you do nothing…”
“Belyaev.” he interjected, shaking his head at her gravely. Cognizance of his caution slid across her red-stained eyes as though she had blinked, but it was not enough to stop her. Her murmur recommenced, turned with her gaze toward Kala'amātya.
“Do you know she did not trust you? One night, before winter, she undress and look at me, and she say Trouchka... I am with child." The vampyre met with lithic disbelief, which she disregarded. "How can it be, I ask... have you known only this creature Kala'amātya? She ask spirit, and they tell her... Walpurgis, on the Brocken altar, when everything is too close... it open her to you. Was she happy? No... she weep, because she know... you only want what does not need, and have nothing to give. She drink the cup of roots, and was happy to be rid of this poor little thing, and we promise together, never to tell you..." She looked up at the ceiling rendered so faintly overhead. "When I see her in your house, I thought I die again, of joy, but she come for you... I cannot bear! You are more dead than I, you poison thing...”
Sachiin stood and stooped to slide his hands beneath the arms of their intoxicated hostess, lifting her from the bench and setting her on her feet, walking her toward the black shape of the doorway. Susan sat with Kala'amātya, the flame settling once more into strict verticality. The dread spirit of Petrouchka’s revelations hung about them in the air, neither undone nor redacted by her departure; she felt them keenly even in her innocence, and how they fared amid the agonizing context borne by her companion was something she did not care to contemplate. Returning alone, Sachiin used his gaze to suggest an exit, to which she assented. His brother lifted the burning pine from the table and handed it to her as she passed him, remaining alone in the spreading umbra that closed around him.
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK(ish)
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce
Alligator mississippiensis, Theloderma corticale, Dendrobates tinctorius azureus +Atheris hispida
I grew up with a plethora of reptilian/amphibian pets and really miss their forthright energy (they're just too difficult to house and feed well in New Zealand so I abstain here).
Do your eyes a favour see the rest of these portraits here
You know your raver days are two fucking decades behind you when you start getting just as excited about incoming blooms as you once did about BPM, random sex and synthetic stimulants. My stimulants are organic nowdays. Autumn used to be a bit of a dud around here since we don't get great deciduous colour, being windy and maritime; all the summer flowers are fucked out and the aloes have yet to get their shit together.
So I decided to establish a bit of a crazy pot farm in the front yard. It covers the scabby concrete and tarmac patches, feeds the bees and pleases the eye with an array of exotic salvias and all the half-hardy beauties that might lose their roots in the clay. It's getting more and more crowded as I get into all those mesoamerican sages and South African bird polinated thingies that do so well here. Above: Aloe hoffmanii, first flowers I think tee hee!
The first flowering on this exceptionally emerald green Aloe glauca clone. I almost lost it a couple of years back to root rot after letting too many old leaves get manky around the base. Don't do that.
Salvia splendens 'Giant Form' apparently tops 6 feet and the hot red variant certainly curb stomps the colour gamut in late afternoon sunlight. Bought both the merlot and the scarlet versions; it was the right decision.
This head is only half-out but is already gratifying us with this intense candy blue-pink. I have several largely unnamed forms of this group and I love them unconditionally. They become enormous here with our decent rain and pissweak-to-absent frosts. The foliage is huge and plush. You can hear the clickety clack of bumblebees sawing into the base of the flower to get at the nectar (they are bird pollinated in native situ I think). Plant some today.
Salvia fulgens 'Red Dragon', a tall, open bush with attractive corrugated leaves and nonstop fuzzy scarlet floral business. Something, I suspect a Bellbird, comes along and snaps off half the damn heads trying to get at the nectar.
If I had a dollar for every euphorbia I had going on, I'd have about $12.50. The lazy gardener's main ho. Can't remember the name of this cultivar, but it's from Marshwood Gardens in Invercargill. Their online shop is like a tinny house for plant tragics. Sheeeeeeiiiiit. Peruse at your peril.
Salvia sagittata supposedly but it looks like it might be a hybrid with something else. The flowers and parts of the stem are an incredibly dense Afghan lapis blue, which is as much as you can ask of any given organism really. Not quite out yet, but you get the picture.
Below: good old Salvia leucantha, which I only discovered a couple of years ago after encountering its luxurious, almost extraterrestrial plushness in the flesh at a garden centre.
Always touch plants. The tactile dimension is a whole nother thing.
I always try to have some Dagga (Leonotis leonurus) going, even though this plant seems to labour under a curse in our garden, attracting all kinds of misfortune and mysterious fatalities. I have a slightly disappointing creme version too, which unfortunately looks like used bogroll a lot of the time due to the unsightly off-whiteness of the bloomage so I might pass it on. Dagga is supposed to be psychoactive but it looks like it tastes like something you would do in your late teens because you couldn't get any real drugs. So I haven't been tempted. Give it a few more years. I may well regress to vomiting sludgy decoctions in someone's backyard. Lol.
The honey-seeking birds tend to give it a fucking hammering, which is why some things are better closer to the house where the avian contingent is a bit more circumspect about humping the shit out of popular plants.
You might roll your eyes and murmur bloody sponcon, but nothing could be further from the truth. We don't tell people we're reviewing them, don't solicit or accept free shit, and just say whatever we like about whatever we're doing/purchasing/visiting. We went on this particular boat just because it was there. It's not sinister.
The Port to Port ferry was a long time coming, even though the 15 minute route across the harbour from Port Chalmers to Otago Peninsula obviates an horrendous hour-long, vomit-conjuring drive around the entire bloody inner coastline. They had to have their shallow-draft boat custom built; there are one or two vintage ferries that used to make the trip still lying about the place in various states of disrepair, but the romance of an historical vessel is one thing and the economic reality is another. I grew up in remote Northern Australia and still have a soft spot for tinnies anyway.
The boat is neat, stable and boarding from the low jetty in Port shouldn't pose any challenges if you have half-decent bipedal motility. You don't have to wear lifejackets but they have all the requisite safety shit on board; I checked.
This was Fir's first time on a boat. Though he was not initially convinced it was something a dog should be doing, he relaxed about halfway across.
Looking out at Taiaroa Head with its lighthouse and albatross colony. Below- Mt Cargill and the inner harbour, toward the Dunedin city end of things.
Things may have changed since we were last there, and it's not like it's a hellhole or anything; our best advice is to pick up some fish and chips and park your arse down on the waterfront on a nice day.
Personally I would prefer to punt most children into the actual sea before allowing them to monopolise marine research facilities, but that's probably a niche thing.
Heading back toward Port. It was a really pleasant trip and we definitely intend to do it again on one of those nice flat-water days over winter. There was a half-decent nor'east swell on the day and the boat handled nicely; R gets motion sickness sitting in a driveway contemplating movement, and he was fine, as was Fir.
Our one small gripe was the lack of commentary volume once we picked up speed in the rear half of the vessel. But you know, there was plenty of room in the cabin if we'd really needed to know more, and a low key approach to audio is one thousand times better than being fucked in the ears by some rote-droning halfwit, as any bus tour veteran will probably know. The experience was pleasant, affordable, low-key and irritant-free, so the Port to Port Ferry goes on our used+recommended list of local attractions.
He spends all day taking and fucking around with them, then posts them in his blog and doesn't tell me.
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Every dramaturgical lipstick has its breathless following and Train Bleu's adherents praise its elevated colour balance and suave texture. It's definitely nicer to wear than most of its equivalents, but I'm not sure that's saying very much. Night Moth is the MAC pencil heart of darkness OG, but my god it feels like Akhenaten's crackly taint upon one's lips. More emollient purples just end up in greasy hepatic horror. TB is by no means perfect, but it strikes a pretty rational balance between workability and refinement.
Let's talk a wee bit more about yay and nay, vis-à-vis le violet. There's not much middle ground between sulky, smells like encrusted Hot Topic-type manky darkness, and adult statement purple, is there? The difference is elusive; for reasons that escape me, Train Bleu is dominant and austere rather than angry and slutty. You won't look like you're wishing you still needed fake ID. The choice depths of its intense baked blueberry character is well illustrated in the stigmata swatches below. Perhaps it is its reference to the natural spectrum that keeps it classy.
I just want to share with you that I got that above piece of astrakhan in a job lot from an ex-furrier to the Queen. (While I would never buy or wear new fur for obvious reasons, I support the respectful utilisation of old furs, as I would anything that had cost an animal its life; they exist, and it is unethical and stupidly wasteful to discard them).
Anyways: TB can be smudged out and smoothly gradated, as you can see below, and never fully dries down to the extent that you can't budge it. It's thick enough to feel persistently present on the lip, but it won't migrate embarrassingly or stain your mouth very much upon removal- always a bonus.
The palm swatches demonstrate how little operational difference there is between Train Bleu (big S), MAC Night Moth (little s) and Pat McGrath Blood 2. If you have one, you don't need the others and I would add MAC Smoked Purple, Night Violet, Bite Beauty Marsala liquid lipstick (not shown), and MAC Sin (right smudge) to that list, even though the latter appears very red-brown here in comparison. They're all effectively the same once maxed out. I have the original version of the Pat McGrath and the formula is fudgier and a little more slippy than the Nars stick.
As with almost every super-dark lipstick, Train Bleu has some failings. It's just too perimortem-esque for the squeamish and will amplify dark eye bags and sallowness issues. You will need to moisturise very well if you have ashy skin. It will end up on your teeth at some point, which is odd for a matte. It is slightly, although not tortuously, drying. Those of us with full lips already know that it will skip the middle of our lower one unless thickly and patiently built there. Older bitches like myself may experience a very slight peripheral wander of the purple tint into our biddy wrinkles, though that effect is not particularly odious and can even seem artful.
On the whole, Nars Train Bleu is probably as dignified and utile as this sort of colour can be and I'm glad I acquired it. Its singularity demands an exclusive focus, so it's probably a mistake to contrive a competing eye situation. You could do a tiny hollow flick or a grey tightline, if you look too mooncalfish without a little something. My favourite TB look is minimal and sort of baby-eating; no mascara, brows powdered over. Halloween and Monday, taken care of.
L2R, MAC unless stated: Russian Red, Nars Train Bleu, Nightmoth, Pat McGrath Blood 2,
Bite Beauty Licorice, Nars Terra de Feu, Vino, Sin, Bite Beauty Clove
Meaningful juxtaposition + stylistic assurance = 🤘
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Selected Ravings Presents the Contemporary Complainer's Guide to how not to be the Cruise Ship Tourist Everyone Despises and No, that is Not too Strong a Word.
Here in Port Chalmers, the cruise season is over, by and large, for another year. Forgive me if I express deep gratitude for that blessed cessation, as an introvert domiciled in an increasingly visited small town. This has been the busiest year to date.
Boatpeople, for us hapless residents, the season is long. Have a thought for the flesh units trapped in those destination towns. Your oceanic hell wagons belch carginogenic smoke, blast us with their fucking PA and mediocre musical stylings whilst decanting far too many people into the surrounding countryside. Day after day, for months. It starts tap dancing on the nerves.
We didn't ask to be put on the CS schedule; in fact, we were given no say in the matter. You may be on an expensive holiday, but no one else is. While your paying presence might provide benefits to a narrow demographic, you should probably know that much of your sweet, sweet visitor spend is expertly snatched back by your bloodsucking cruise co affiliates, which is why all those pre-booked day trips cost twice as much as they should. Your dollar isn't equitably distributed and much of your impact amounts to exploitation. To too many of us, you are just the thudding chug that wakes us in the morning and the smokestack emissions that permeate the contents of our clotheslines. We twist the names of each boat into childish obscenities just to make ourselves feel better about the whole situation. I'm not telling you what they are.
You know how you wander in and sit your arses down en mass in local businesses, purchase-dodging and using their internet while actual customers stand out on the footpath melting your brains with their stares and wishing wing'd death on you? You fool nobody, and the accrued karma will send you to an ER one day.
It would be great if you could use the literal biblical plague of buses specifically laid on for you to get into the city, instead of the local public transport which is already inadequate for our purposes. These tourist buses create toxic stank and inconvenience for locals and they will not go the fuck away until you give them your fare, so have a heart. You're making people late for work and school when you form 30-deep lines trying to save $1.50. You even fill the bus sometimes so that locals miss their rides altogether. Come on now. Also: don't loudly complain when another passenger opens a window on the trip into town. You wear 500% and 355% too much Red Door and Flower Bomb, respectively.
I know you're on a boat motherfuckers, but remember those basal social skills. Treat locals with the respect you presumably afford fellow travellers on your amazing prefabricated journey of discovery. We aren't props or extras. Those people with dogs outside cafés are probably deliberately avoiding eye contact. You are never the first person to loudly interrupt their personal convos by declaring how much you miss your dog, seizing and handling the unknown canine, snapping memorial photographs and going on to wanderingly impart your unsolicited attitudes to everything from race relations to phrenology. Don't expect on-demand deferential engagement. We're trying to chill for 20 mins with a friend and every successive version of you edges our hand closer to that cake knife. Just smile at the dog and move on.
Further to this, people going about their business at their private addresses aren't props, either. I say this as someone who lives on an increasingly popular walking route. Please don't stare in to our houses; we can see you. Think twice about coming up driveways to take photos of private property. Don't pester strangers in their gardens when they're busy or obviously disinclined, and staring fixedly at them over the fence until they acknowledge you is a pretty fucked up thing to do. If you're determined to go ahead with this behaviour, the least you can do is throw money; it might stop me clipping you in the head with flying dog shit. I cannot tell you how much the imposition of awkward pleasantries with a day-long stream of randoms takes the shine off enjoying one's own yard. It sucks.
So does trying to patronise a very small local supermarket packed to the tonsils with boat people who have just emerged from a vessel groaning, nay, listing with every fucking foodstuff known to mankind. They need more, and right now. They cluster in impenetrable clots in every aisle and in front of the items you need, stripping the stock whilst glancing over their shoulder at you but never, ever conceding access voluntarily. They don't bother carrying local currency but do want to dispute the exchange policy at the checkout with 20 peeps banked up behind them. They're always up for an arguement over NZ's alcohol ID requirements, the high cost of cigarettes here and maybe demanding the checkout person's help to sort through the things they actually want from the two stuffed baskets they've emptied on the conveyor while shouting to their sister in law who is jumping the cue with another two baskets.
Visitors, there's a reason why you don't shop like this at home and that reason starts with throat and ends with punch.
What was I saying? Oh yes- don't be an arsehat when you step off the gangway. You know what? Just don't go on a fucking cruise ship in the first place. Actually visit your destination instead of poking it with a stick from a distance. Sincere regards, etc.
I don't know if they've granted this new colour variety an inevitably stupid, swishy, committee-generated, focus group-tested, utterly inapposite proprietary name yet, but I'm sure it's in the pipeline.
Aesthetically, we were a little underwhelmed after the hype accompanying the limited release. Are we just being picky cunts when we expect a little more red in a red kiwifruit? Whatever. There's no denying the cross-section offers a pretty burst of ruby, it's just that it's not entirely obvious how a meringue or pav is going to seriously benefit from this partial and somewhat parsimonious novelty. On the plus side, it sort of looks like it's on its rag and I don't hate that. With all these things considered, I bestow an eyeball score of 6.5/10.
I was tricked into eating some arse-gapingly horrible Italian kiwifruit the other day by our utterly unscrupulous dickhole of a supermarket. Jesus fucking wept, I actually spat it on the ground and this mushy, gluey insult to my unsuspecting gob reminded me of the simple pleasures of the kiwifruit OG, that homely local variety with its Colombian emerald flesh and indefatigable strangeness of flavour. I like its pubic furriness, sometimes punishing acidity and translucent Kermity beauty. The yellow depilated variant is a different, more melony customer that has only recently earned our respect after distributors apparently learned not to sling shitty, half-fermented, golden snot-like sub-export trays at local consumers. Which only took about 5 fucking years.
Taste-wise, the Zespri Red is utterly forgettable and harkens back to those bad old days of crap yellow kiwifruit, shying away from its progenitors' noble and quite frankly essential acidity in favour of mealy, omnireferential neither-norness. There's a hoarse whisper of guava, maybe a tired shrug of rock melon but nothing that amounts to more than a limp-wristed gesture toward tinned fruit salad that's been sitting in a cup on the bench for three warm days.
4/10, would not bang.
Nonbasic fashion images for the win.
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“I lisp now." Susan sighed, sliding her tongue between her teeth; her hand lay open on Sachiin's knee and she peered down at her open palm while he leant over it, working the thorns free with the point of a folding blade.
“You don’t lisp.” he chuckled.
They sat on the parapet and chair respectively. A ceaseless wind, cold and bone-dry, blustered over the edge of the yard under the midday sun, its distant solitaire lost in a sky of insuperable, gaseous immensity, snapping through the clothes and strips of hare meat on the drying frame they had improvised from branches. It curled against the hill and swept back toward them, dosed with the smoke still rising thinly from the remains of their laundry fire. Below the forest formed a sea of undulous shadow green in which the bald peaks rose like desert atolls, thick skirts of snow still lying, topaz blue, amid their shade. She looked up, the sun flooding brightly-veined crimson through her lids, then returned to examining his peculiarly toneless expression, an effect of his devotion to his task; Sachiin's colours were favoured by the light that dramatized the landscape and her gaze enjoyed him in the same leisured and impersonal way. The thorns he cut free left behind a shallow, sapid burn, relieving the pressure of their intrusion. Susan closed her eyes; in her pellucid mood the sound of him leaning in his chair to discreetly address the tin of condensed milk secreted beneath it did not move her to active intervention.
"You'll get diabetes." she murmured.
"I don't care. This shit is incredible. It’s...”
“Ten years past its use-by date... sickly and disgusting?”
"Sans déc. It’s the Hello Kitty of food... like someone dipped a cow in gur. What's caramel?" he added, frowning at what he could make of the recipe printed on the tin.
“Stop eating it! It’s not even ours.”
When she swatted impulsively at the can he rose with it and walked some distance from her, leaning over the edge of the roof to vomit the substance into the void beyond, the polka dotted fabric of her underwear sagging on his hips.
“There’s fucking miles of it down there.” he assured her, referring to the aging cache they had discovered in the alcoves below and taking another from the portion they had requisitioned, peeling off its lid with an ecstatic murmur. His small porcine devotee squealed impatiently at his feet and danced in anticipation as he bent down and offered the treat to its questing snout.
“Give that one to him and get another, for god's sake. And put some pants on.” she complained, easing herself from the chair and crossing the yard to take his jeans from the line; cognizant of her intent, he stepped up onto the parapet and used its broken length in a leisurely evasion, scooping what remained from the tin.
“Hey, if only the black helicopters could see me now. I dare you!" he declared, shaking a fist at the sky.
“They'd have to fly back to base and bleach their eyeballs for an hour, so stay up there.” she observed, feigning resignation before lunging sideways at him. He walked over the chair and took refuge behind the fire where she cornered him, Fyodor dashing after them.
“You can’t forcibly re-pants a spirited ch... child of...” The protest was interrupted by the re-emergence of the second tin of milk, which he bent over to eject. "Nature... is that caramel?" he inquired, nodding down at the ground. As she kept hold of his wrist and shook out his trousers he lost his elusive verve, standing tranquilly and smiling at her as she hauled the garment up over his legs. “While you’re down there.” he grinned, enjoying the slap to the rear that his remark inspired. “I can't help this, you brought more underwear than I did.”
“So did Kermit the bloody frog.” She buttoned his fly and shook her head at another of his new scars, a wide, slightly corrugated crescent on his hip that he twisted to see for himself.
“Well, at least I didn't get it in a tranny fight at Taco Bell, though that would have been a fuck of a lot more glamorous.”
“We should have let your brother turn them into kebabs when we had the chance.” Susan muttered, walking back to the chair. He paused to douse his head in the bucket of water.
"Alas no, my bloodthirsty petal... an alujha death feud is a game nobody wins."
"Aren't we in one anyway?"
"Technically no... they started it, so if we don't do anything else, it's not on." He consulted the tin in his hand once more. "It says... caramel happens when you heat it up." he added, gaze shifting to the cans that formed part of Susan's rations and equipment, the former assorted into daily allowances, the latter cleaned, examined and laid out to dry. Sachiin edged one toward the coals with his foot whilst dipping a finger in the can and applying it languidly to his neck and chest. She let her head settle against the chair.
"If you're going to do that, your name has to be... mmm... Richard... you have to be new in town and just looking for a place to stay, and you're going to be passed around a lot of strange... I think this time... strange firemen." she informed him, smiling at his groin's gentle and intermittent conjunction with her ear. He rolled his eyes.
"Your name is the least pornographic part of you... I can't help that. How can you have ants in your bloody pants? We just washed them." The narrow shadow in the corner of her smile granted it a strangely endearing quality.
"Les dents du bonheur." he contended at the sight of it, touching his thumb to her lip. "And it's happiness. I have happiness in my pants."
"I know. It's poking my eardrum. Sit down... if you don't stop eating that rubbish I'll have to tie you to something. Have a go at the back of my head."
Susan knelt over the stone and he sat on the edge of the chair to work the tangles from her hair, searching out the thorns that had lodged in her scalp. The stroke of his hands closed her eyes; he leant down to set the tin on the ground for Fyodor, who nosed it greedily.
"Do you ever think about how strange you are?" she inquired.
"How do you mean?"
"I mean... do you feel it?"
He looked out toward the mountains.
"Parfois. Sometimes I feel... loose. Like the parts are rattling around... talking about me behind my back."
"You have parts?" she laughed. "How many?"
"Three. One at the back, and one behind each eye. The left one has a creepy voice... go platinum blonde, drink a case of Pernod, light curtain fires..." He adjusted his intonation accordingly. "I try not to listen but he's very persuasive."
"How can you be three things at once? Who am I talking to now?"
"My threefold shit is all up in your grille, poupée... every part likes you. Je suis désolé."
From looking at him she took another measure of the encircling horizon, resting her chin on her hands.
"If I'd known you were this creepy I would never have slept with you in a million years." she smirked. He ran his tongue over his teeth inside his own smile.
"Now you're stuck with me in a place where there's absolutely nothing else to do. The very heart of darkness."
"Yes, and I'm not overly fussed about staying.”
“Give it a couple of weeks."
"You’ve got some carbs to suck down before we take a run at the border. You’ll have to walk behind me when we do, though... Gévaudan’s gone straight to you arse and it’s giving me a special feeling.”
“Make the most of it. It'll be fit and sporty by the time I’ve hauled it back to civilization.”
“Don’t say that, Christabel... rub some butter on it.” he exclaimed, edging the chair forward so that he could enjoy more intimate contact with her posterior. She reached back in a futile attempt to deter the attention. “What do they say... starve a cold and feed a booty? An arse in the hand is worth two on the dancefloor? A hot rack is silver but trunk junk is gold? A double-down donk is a man’s best friend?”
“It’s speaking is silver but silence is gold. Silence. And stop that.”
“I can’t.” She shook him off and climbed up onto the parapet to lie on her stomach, taking advantage of the meagre warmth afforded by the stone; he let himself down on top of her, blowing a rolling purr on the back of her neck and watching her ears turn pink. "Un petit coup en vitesse?"
"You have to say it slowly." Susan complained.
"It loses its charm." he laughed, settling beside her with his back to the drop and his head propped on his hand. His eyes shared their hue with the distant trees behind him so that they seemed to have commandeered his gaze, his stare undermining the quietude that she encouraged by closing her own. “I was going to tell you something, but if you don’t want to hear it... alright then."
Sachiin maintained his threatened embargo for longer than she anticipated, though he began flicking his teeth with a fingernail.
"Tell me or I'll push you off.”
“I just wanted to say that I was worried... you know, that Ed had done the right thing... the grown up thing... by letting Frost go. I’m glad I was too needy and pathetic. So... thanks, for not running off screaming.”
“I did run off screaming.”
“Thanks for not running off screaming from me specifically.”
“I’m not planning on running ever again.” she assured him. "But... I would hate to be sitting in bloody Hackney right now wondering what you were doing and realizing I'd just made the most sensible adult decision ever."
He clapped a hand to his heart.
"My left ventriloquist is having an erection."
Susan accepted his kiss with some hesitation, wary of its nebulous, luring gravity and pushing him back onto his side when he slid an arm and leg across her.
"I hope it doesn’t cost anything to get wherever we're going because I’ve about ten francs and change left. What've you got?”
“Fifty lei, in my good pants. I dropped my last US on Azeri single malt in the Nizami küçəsi."
“So... we're skint?”
"And you're not bothered?"
“You sound like such a rich kid."
"Is that good or bad these days? I don't know, Christabel, I just can't get all bent about money. It comes and it goes... we just have a casual thing."
"I don’t know if I can go from tooling around in a Jag to... panhandling, probably, in eastern Europe...”
“No prise de tête. Auberjonois’ll sub me whatever we need. If there’s something he loves more than pulling thirty percent for sitting on his hairy fucking arse eating cheese, he's too ashamed to tell me.”
He groaned as he sat up and let his legs hang over the drop, and she curled around him.
“Your walking away from a Jaguar is a lot sexier than driving around in one like a dick.”
"It took me forever to find that fucking car. I was trying to impress you."
"Do they not come with a key and matching doors?"
"I asked my inner lady what she thought about the guy who drives a minty XJS and she said she just couldn't imagine wanting to fuck him."
"Your inner lady should buy some underwear." she laughed.
"Well, first we'd have to hit the lending arm of the international bastard bank of Kala'amātya, but that's cool... he’ll pay me to go away in a fucking heartbeat.”
Her frown returned.
“I don't think we should leave him alone at the moment.”
“It’ll do him good, the sulky prick. You're the first person to survive calling him a sadistic mental case in the last two thousand years, though... that's progress now that I think about it."
"I wish we could send him to counseling."
He laughed, its strange sound falling over the wall and booming down the slope.
"You girls and your Jesus complex... he's just not a modern guy, Christabel. Skullfucking, unsolicited amputations... it's all ikebana to him. Leave him to the expert."
"She left him."
Sachiin issued a dramatic presentation to the gorge.
"Kala'amātya in therapy... what seems to be the problem, Mr Lamb? Why are you such a creepy, twisted fuck? I don't know, but I start stabbing clinical psychologists if I can't find my skull bag, and what the fuck did I say about eye contact?" He made a splattering sound between pursed lips. "Clean up in cubical four."
Having wiled his way into the narrow space between them and under his arm, Fyodor set his little hooves against her to complete his usurpation.
“That pig is in love with you.”
“I’m in love with him. But I’m not in love with my brother, and there’s something about the way he was grazing me with small arms fire the other night that tells me I’m getting to the end of what I can do for him in his present state.”
They remained in their respective silences for a while, Susan biting at a fingernail.
"I really do not want to stay here. Petrouchka's avoiding me, and when she isn't, she's giving me looks. I'd rather sleep under a tree."
"I don’t know the technical shit involved in the whole undead conversion thing, but I do know the human brain probably isn’t designed to be flogged five hundred years past its use-by date, especially when it wasn’t your flashest feature in the first place. She's petite noblesse... she can marry well and find veins and that's about it. Don't take it personally.”
“Stop trying to make me feel superior.”
“You are superior.” he assured her.
“What, because I have a pulse?”
"Give it two weeks, cloudcheeks. Fourteen tiny little days. Pour moi?"
Muttering, Susan set the pig down on the roof and sat up alongside him, pushing a hand into his hair and attempting to derange it to her satisfaction, only to see it slide back in its sericeous disregard.
“I never thought I’d miss midnite madder, but I actually do. If we can go pretty much anywhere, I fancy India. For Diwali or something."
“Long walk.” She groaned but he remained resolute. “It’s lo-fi pedestriation until we lose the heat. You get safety or you get convenience. They don’t hook up.”
“But I like convenience...”
“I like not having the door of my condo kicked in at three in the morning by black op freaks or roidy bloodsuckers." He glanced at her fondly. "And I love a feral pants-optional destination so what about Holi, somewhere backwards and country... I'll trade plumbing and florists for not having to worry about you so much.”
“Having me around must be like this nightmare egg and spoon race that just keeps going.”
He shook his head at the exoticism of the activity to which she referred.
"If I had known you were this weird, I would never have slept with you." Sachiin smiled, lurching perilously at the shove she applied to his shoulders.
“About your brother...” He put a hand to his throat and commenced a doleful choking but she persisted. "When I think about it, he's probably the smartest person I've ever met, so he must know if he stopped sulking and got on a plane he could actually be with Lilian.” she insisted.
"He's smart enough to know you can't fix a fleshwound with a fucking machete. Frost cut him a break... I never thought she would... if he jumps the rope and goes after her it'll end in a smoking hole in the ground and I'll be the one who needs a fucking shrink."
"Everything ends badly." she observed. He stepped over her and walked back toward the remains of the fire.
"Trust me, it's a matter of degree. Christabel, I know what you're saying... a year ago, all this was me. I was the one humping his leg trying to get his attention. He told me himself, over and over... get off my dick, Sachiin... no really, I prefer my own company... strictly no romanticizing my evil, Sachiin. And he was right. He’s the scorpion, not the frog... don’t get it twisted.”
She murmured something toward her chest.
“I said they both drown.” she sighed at his insistence, lowering her voice as he leant over the shifting red glow of the coals as though listening to something obscure within them. As she opened her mouth to ask, a cracking report sent a spray of caramel bursting from the can he had left upon the coals. Wiping a hand over the streak of browned milk decorating his midriff, he murmured to himself and licked it from his palm.
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce
Climate-wise, it's been a pretty typical summer so there's not much to report in that respect. Lifestyle-wise, we've had the culture shock of entering the hospitality trade via our little wiener guesthouse, which has taken our usual summer routines, strangled them and dumped them on the compost heap. Oh well. At least we can afford groceries now.
So anyway, we haven't been out much; you'll just have to make do with these quotidian scenes.
Newly minted geese. At least the local sports clubs aren't shooting them at the moment.
Juicy water. This had a sparkle rating of about 8/10 on the Blackthorn Scale. You can't really see where it picked up that sort of score in these images due to the limitations of the small camera we were carrying but it was a good effort. It had almost everything: sexy contrast, interesting distribution, lively coruscation. Points deducted for slightly disappointing sequin definition, suboptimal continuity and water colour could have been better, strictly speaking.
A number of krill events have seen legions of birds and fish of all sizes roiling through the harbour and sucking up that oceanic bounty. I dote upon these cyclic manifestations; they provide some evidence of business as usual in the face of all those hellish predictions.
This is Frost, some sort of collie/huntaway amalgam and he is a good boy. He runs ahead to all the swimming spots and waits, with his stick, for his lady and her poodles, who must remain on their leashes for reasons obvious to anyone familiar with the breed and I say that as a poodle parent.
Supermoon rising. Unfortunately we were not carrying a superlens, but you get the idea.
Above: Careys Bay Pub, just round the corner. Below: seasonal civil greetings.
As part of its postindustrial budget charm, Port possesses a puzzling superfluity of hazard signage, both contemporary and superannuated; in time I will document it all, before gentrification sweeps it all away.
This was just your usual shitty, no frills boatshed round Back Beach until the tin was stripped away.
I had no idea.
Fir insisted on obscuring this footpath dick; that is actually what you're looking at, in case you were wondering.
Careys Bay. The football field.
Honestly, no one should be particularly surprised. One of the reasons we left Chch, and this was 25 fucking years ago, was the fuckwit skinhead/white power presence that disgusted us so comprehensively. They have been a tolerated presence there for so long that R and I just looked at each other when we heard and knew exactly who it was. I long ago lost count of the number of confrontations, ranging from verbal abuse to outright assault I've personally accrued with these worthless dickheads since the early 90s, both for being a visible weirdo and intervening in their pathetic 4-on-1 assaults on other randoms. The cops have never, ever been interested in dealing with them. They need to wear a lot of shit for the impunity white supremacy has enjoyed for so long.
I'm not a fan of organised religion and Islam is as deeply problematic as any other patriarchal monotheism. But just in case you were wondering, the Chch shooting is not some sort of fucked-up overreaction to the presence of any militant dickswinging Islam in NZ. At all. It just isn't a thing here. Any perceived threat from the Muslim community these perpetrators might cite is a complete fabrication. So no matter what you might read elsewhere, let a New Zealander assure you that this atrocity could not have been more arbitrary or cowardly. Fuck white power, fuck skinheads, and fuck the police for sitting on their hands this long.