Quote // THE PHANTOMS OF CONTROL 

“In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the strings which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world”.

Walter lippmann(1927),The Phantom Public (New York :Harcourt Brace and Co.),p.1

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Word Prompt // J O L T

JOLTJOLT

He always finds it easier climbing up than the part where he has to climb down. After he’s fixed the faulty conductor he makes his way down the pylon, when his son asks him what it’s like climbing on them he reminds himself it’s just like when he, his son climbs around on those frames in the park, the ones he drives him to at weekends, when it’s his turn with the kid. He tells him it’s much more dangerous though, because the frames in the park don’t have high voltage cables that could literally cook you. He’ll never know how much this detail disturbed his son.

By now the whole county is criss-crossed with cables, which means lots of work for him. Sometimes they even send him further aways, paying for his accommodation of course. Nothing fancy, just cheap bed and breakfasts or holiday apartments, mostly during winter, when the prices are at their lowest, and the temperature.

He jumps the last couple of feet, his boots thumping hard against the cold, dry ground. The withered grass crunching as he walks to his van parked on the little access road on the other side of the fence. He looks above him, the power cables, black parallel lines shooting off ahead of him, disappearing over the hills and behind him, heading towards the skyline of the town in the distance.

He dumps his tools in the back and gets into the driver’s seat of the van.

It’s a long drive back to town, it’s already starting to get dark. His hotel is on the other side of the town.

He comes over the hill just as the street lamps are coming on and he sees the town illuminated, he thinks it looks like some huge circuit board coming online. And then he’s in it, driving down those circulatory streets like some electrical signal, heading to a receiver on the far side of whatever machine he imagines it to be. He approaches the hotel, pulling into the car park.

The van comes to a stop with a jolt. He pulls on the handbrake.

He thinks about his son and it reminds him of how lonely he feels.

He takes a deep breath, and decides to just sit there in the dark for a while.

 

Visual Prompt Exercise // CLOSER

CLOSER

He is in the back of his studio alone. He sits against the backrest of the chair, staring up to the first row of drawings he’s pinned to the wall. His eyes scan down, soaking in all the imagery he’s created today, he tries to take in every detail, every energetic, arching line, every frenetic scribble every pressing scrawl, he’s searching for recognition, he’s looking for something familiar yet extraordinary . He grips tight on the charcoal stick in his hand, black dust falls onto his trousers. His hands are sweaty, he rubs one on his trouser leg leaving five smudgy black lines down his thigh.

None of the pictures fully grasp it, the thing he’s spent weeks, months, years of his career trying to capture. The shows, the galleries, the buyers all of it just a means to an end. It’s been like trying to remember the details of a dream, back from when you were a kid. It’s been elusive, but today he’s felt closer to it. He stays there just staring. Hoping something, anything might jump out at him and reveal the final piece to the puzzle he’s spent his life trying to solve. He knows its universal, when he sees it, it’ll change everything, paradigms will shift from it. When it reveals itself to him he will unlock the secrets of the universe. It wont be quantifiable , you won’t be able to measure it in numbers, it’ll be a truth that surpasses mathematics, that only some special part of us, separate from the brain and body, but part us all the same, maybe the soul, but he doesn’t want to put a name to it, only that part will understand it.

He turns, picking up his packet of cigarettes from the long drawing table littered with sheets of blank paper and broken charcoal sticks. He places a cigarette between his lips, pads himself down, where did he put his lighter? He rifles through the sheets on the table, looks around the studio but all he sees is half finished canvases leant against the walls, easels with works in progress, he realises,all of this, all of what he sees, this is his legacy, this work, it’ll survive a lot longer than he will. He thinks, it’s funny, people spend more time and money preserving art, inanimate objects, than they do trying to preserve their own lives..

There it is, his lighter, tucked precariously on the little brown ledge of the easel of PAINTING No.103. The painting he’s been working on for the past week, a commission, for some businesswoman. His agent at the gallery begged him to take it , she’s willing to pay a lot of money she said,it’ll fund your other projects she said.

He thinks the businesswoman only wants to hang it in her corner office in some skyscraper across town to be a conversation piece.

Hey, look at the painting I bought, see how rich and cultured I am, aren’t you impressed?

She’ll never get it, she’ll never understand what he’s really trying to do. He thinks, maybe no one ever will.

He rests his elbows on the windowsill, blowing a cloud of smoke out the open window. He listens to the peeling of tires on the wet tarmac from the street below. The city beeps and barks at him, sirens fade out into the distance.

He’s close to it, closer than ever.

What it is, he does not know.

The Beginnings Of A Scary Piece? // BEDTIME STORY

I don’t exactly know how I got to be looking out of the window in the middle of the night but I was. Something had woken me up, a bad dream, a nightmare I think, I don’t remember what it was about. The light was off in the flat but light was coming in from the glow of the street lights outside. I peered through a tiny gap between the curtains that I held open with my two fingers.

Across the street, in the umbrella glow of one of the street lamps a man in a suit was standing there staring up at me. He wore an old style hat that wrapped his face in shadow so I couldn’t see what he looked like. I watched him for a while until I got real thirsty so I went and got a drink of water from the kitchen, by the time I’d gotten back to looking out of the window the man in the suit was gone. I checked up and down the street but couldn’t see anyone.

I took a sip of the water but drank it to fast, it went down the wrong hole and I coughed, choking on the water in my lungs. After a while the feeling went away and I sat in the recliner and rested my head against the back.

I couldn’t sleep so I turned on the television, I wasn’t watching any channel in particular. I kept flicking between channels creating a juxtaposition of imagery made up of snippets of advertisements and fragments of late night movies and documentaries and shows.

I stayed up until I couldn’t hold my eye lids open any longer. Keeping them open was to much of a struggle so I remember giving in and switching off the television and making my way to the bedroom. The bedroom was dark, no lights from outside illuminated anything in there.

I switched on the light and to my horror the man in the suit was sitting at the end of my bed, his back turned towards me, his hands resting on his knees. I couldn’t move, my hand was still hovering beside the light switch, every nerve in my body had frozen. The man turned his head slightly but I still couldn’t see his face from the shadow cast by the rim of his hat. The turn of his head was an acknowledgement of my presence.

“wh…wha…t do you want “.

“I want to tell you a story ”, the man told me.

A Transformative Flash Piece // URCHIN

URCHIN

It starts with a tingling sensation across the skin, then the tingling turns to a sting which eventually becomes an unbearable burning as the transformation really starts to kick in.

The skin begins to get darker and darker, turning black. Your insides churn and bones snap, the tiny fractured pieces soften and reform into a new skeletal frame.  The mind has experienced tremendous pain, a blinding white pain that seems to just stop suddenly even though the pain hasn’t really stopped it’s just so bad your brain has begun to switch off, parts of it have shut down completely and broken down into a toxic goo that will later be your defence against predators, you’ll inject it into their blood stream after they peirce themselves on the multitude of spikes that at this moment have sprouted from the pulsating leathery mass that used to be you.