Interesting people.

It started with the dwarf.

Well, not really. The dwarf was the trigger that made me notice and recall it all but really it started long before then. The world and, it seems, especially this corner of it, is full of interesting people. Strange things happen every day but nobody seems to notice.

In Local Shop there is a daily ‘mother and baby hour’ in the afternoon, around 3-4 pm. The shop is full of baby buggies, from the basic to what can only be described as the SUV of buggies with off-road tyres and probably an engine. There are even double-deckers. They all arrive at the same time, fill the shop and then they are gone. The mothers don’t seem to know each other, it’s not co-ordinated, it’s as if somehing in those motherly hormones sends them all shopping at the same time. Or maybe there’s nothing on TV at that time.

There is disabled-car hour. Those electric chair-cars are drag-racing around the aisles, again they all arrive at once and then they are gone. Again, this does not seem to be co-ordinated, they don’t all know each other. It’s like a brief invasion by topless Daleks and doing a round to check the floor is like taking a short cut across the dodgems. They all appear at once, at the same time of day, then all disappear. Coincidence? Every day?

Thursday the weirdness ramped up. Every woman in Local Shop and every woman I passed on the way home had two small children. No more, no less. All roughly the same age – I would guess about six or seven years old but children are just annoyances until they are over thirty these days, so don’t take my word for it. I wondered if someone was giving them out. Perhaps the stork had a ‘birth one, get one free’ offer on six years ago. That was the only day I can recall seeing that event so where were they before, and where are they all now? There were none in evidence on Friday. None at all.

Friday was the dwarf and the smiling woman. The dwarf was first.

Note that I have no interest in political correctness so if any short people are offended, well one of you scared me first so consider it payback. I’m not a dwarf but living here among the Picts who tend to be of such height I sometimes wonder if they have snow on their heads and whether they can breathe up there, I can somewhat appreciate how you feel. It’s hard to recognise people when all you see is a midriff, and looking up all the time ruins your neck. Also the phrase ‘I can see right up your nose’ soon gets very tired here.

The dwarf was quite a pretty woman, but with mad staring eyes. They weren’t staring at me at first and as I noticed her from the side, I could not at first see that she had a glove puppet on her left hand. The puppet examined the shelves as she did.

She noticed me, turned those mad eyes my way – and the puppet turned to look at me too. She (and the puppet) resumed their examination of the goods on display, I thought ‘I’ve seen films like this, there’s usually an axe involved next’ so decided to be busy in the stock room for a while. I thought it best to leave before her and the puppet’s eyes lit up.

There is considerable weirdness in this town anyway, and most of it passes through Local Shop, but this was the weirdest experience ever. So far.

Now I’m not judging this small woman. She might well be very pleasant indeed. She might just be out to wind people up – and I really have no right to criticise anyone for that – but she scared the hell out of me.

Later, when cleaning the bakery ovens (this is a much easier job than it sounds – it’s just flour and sugar in there, a wet cloth and it’s done at ten minutes per oven) I experienced the smiling woman.

Unknown people smiling at me is nothing new. I forget brief acquaintances, people I might have been introduced to once and spoken a few sentences with. Nobody can remember everyone. I have recently had a long conversation in the shop with someone who worked for years in the same labs as me – and could I remember her name? Nope. Still can’t. At least I recognised her in that ‘I know you but have no idea of – and little interest in – your name’ sort of way, where at the back of your mind is ‘Please don’t ask me to pass on a message, I won’t know who it’s from’.

Smiling woman I did not recognise. It wasn’t just a hint of a smile, not just a smirk, it was a full-on grin. I wondered if she was one of those forgotten one-conversation meetings but could not place her at all. She just smiled and smiled. Then I realised she wasn’t really smiling at me.

She was just smiling. And talking to someone who wasn’t there. Time to remember something important to do in the stock room again.

At this point I should note that this is not one of my fictional stories. All of this is real. This has always been a strange town full of interesting people and that was a big part of the reason I chose to live in this little place rather than any other. This town isn’t called Marchway, the place I base most of the fiction, but it is the inspiration.

The weirdness is ramping up fast now though. The dwarf with the puppet is a new one, smiling woman is a new one, the outbreak of women-with-two-small-children is a new one. Within the last week, the entire town has slipped into the Twilight Zone. It was always on the edge of it but it’s now heading for the middle.

Maybe it’s all those years of science. All that training in noticing little details. It develops into a sort of detail-compulsion. For example, none of the bakers have ever known how many fibreglass baking mats they have. They have twenty. Eight red ones and twelve black ones. I can, when taking back a cleaned set, tell them how many of each they have left. I can’t help counting them. I’ve been trained to notice.

Nobody seems to notice when odd things happen. They haven’t been trained to notice and I’m even starting to wonder if they’ve been trained to not notice.

Maybe David Icke is on to something. I don’t buy the ‘lizard’ thing. When that series ‘V’ was on television years ago, the game broke when the lizards took off the human masks. The lizard faces simply could not have fitted inside the masks. Shapeshifters don’t cut it either. That can only be done by illusion and while the drones are dim enough to fall for illusions and suggestion, real people are not. Someone would have noticed. More than just Icke.

But Icke’s central premise of ‘There is something terribly wrong with the universe’ is still true. We like to think we know everything but we know almost nothing in universal terms and honestly, not all that much in earthly terms. We know about what we see and what we think we see and the drones know what they are told to know.

In my tiny, infinitesimal corner of what we call ‘reality’ there is a lot of unreality. More than there should be. A conspiracy? I think not. I think it’s just chaos. Fall of Rome on a global scale. It’s not all bad – at least chaos is fair.

I am drunk and talking shite now. The tales I have told really happened and I will have bad dreams and possibly scary stories about the dwarf in the future. Tonight was meant to be a smoky-drinky but the change in shifts from starting in the afternoon to starting in the morning wrecked my pattern. I fell asleep for the evening. Instead I will visit tomorrow.

In the dark, on the way,Β  I will be watching out for dwarves with puppets.





53 thoughts on “Interesting people.

  1. Try living in rural Norfolk…where an entire village shares not only a DNA sequence but an IQ.
    The Bestes Frau In The World tells me off when I start humming the X-Files theme when we’re out and about…and the Bestes Frau is clinically, certified and certifiably, insane herself.


      • Some of my family tree originate from East Anglia. There is a genetic influence from the Danes who came over in the 8th century, or some such thing…


        • For those not familiar with ‘Norfuckers’ (with apologies to National Lampoon and Tolkein): “Norfuckers are an unattractive but annoying people whose numbers have
          decreased rather precipitously since the bottom fell out of the sugar beet
          market. Slow and sullen, and yet dull, they prefer to lead simple lives of
          pastoral squalor. They don’t like machines more complicated than a garrote, a
          blackjack, or a luger, and they have always been shy of the “Hoomuns” or
          “Norms,” as they call us. As a rule they now avoid us, except on rare
          occasions when a hundred or so will get together to dry-gulch a lone farmer or
          hunter. They are a little people, smaller than dwarves, who consider them
          puny, sly, and inscrutable and often refer to them as the “beet peril.” They
          seldom exceed three feet in height, but are fully capable of overpowering
          creatures half their size when they get the drop on them. As for the Norfuckers
          of the Fens, with whom we are chiefly concerned, they are unusually drab,
          dressing in shiny gray suits with narrow lapels, alpine hats, and string ties.
          They wear no shoes, and they walk on a pair of hairy blunt 6 toed nstruments which
          can only be called feet because of the position they occupy at the end of
          their legs. Their faces have a pimply malevolence that suggests a deep-seated
          fondness for making obscene telephone calls,”


    • My sympathies lie with the good lady; I have more than once had to elbow the Spouse in the ribs in the local High Street to halt an impromptu rendition of ‘The Ugly Bug Ball’.


        • Ooops, sorry! I’d better spare you the rest of the musical repertoire, then.

          As a coda to the above – absolutely true! – yesterday afternoon, the Spouse (with no idea I had written that comment) turned to me in the crowded shopping centre and muttered,
          “Now remember, act just like them; if they notice we’re different, they’ll eat us”.


      • Nope , in this case ‘bestes’ is correct , It’s from ‘Bestes Wife In The Whole Wide World’ ie english misuse of an adjective not german. I just put ‘Frau’ not ‘Wife’ sometimes to indicate that the missus is German/Hessian/Prussian (select according to Political Beliefs).


        • “Bestes” Frau is not possible in German grammar.

          DIE Frau.

          Nom. Die beste Frau
          Gen. der besten Frau
          Dat. der besten Frau
          Akk. die beste Frau.

          Adjektiv without artikel;

          Nom/Akk; beste Frau

          Dat/Gen; bester Frau

          NO other endings possible.


          • Think we’re talking at cross purposes. My german grammar is ropey but i know the adjective endings, thanks. Like i said “bestes” is a made up english adjective not a wrongly declined german one. Surely you’ve noticed me use it, here and elsewhere, before?


              • It *could* quite have easily been a bad bit of german on my part, but for once it wasn’t-just bad english. Both languages you actually have more mastery than I in, I know. Infact about 3 months ago I made a start on finally relearning PROPER German and not the Rottwelsch-Hessisch-PlattduUtsch-English-Mockney mix we speak at home these days (trust me, your ears would bleed if you were exposed to it). I learn a poem from Heine daily…that kid had ‘biss’!


      • Walking around Accrington town centre is rather like this. Genetically speaking, I am a mongrel; go back in my family tree and there’re Russians, Irish, Jews and Norsemen (and that’s only the official family tree; odds are there’s a Yeti or two in the biologically correct version). Having had a good enough upbringing, I am about the size humans genetically can attain, and stand about 6’3″ tall.

        Go to Accrington or similar places, and I am looking over their heads. Dwarves, the lot of ’em, with mayhap a halfling or three who sneaked in on the quiet. One communitiy have a thing for deliberate in-breeding, which explains dwarfism and stupidity on their part; how do you stop a culture of in-breeding when this very practice makes ’em all stupid and resistant to clue? Out-breed ’em with drones and hope to get something vaguely tractable if mildly retarded? Nah, that makes Stalin’s attempts to breed a human-chimp hybrid look positively humane in comparison!


  2. Probably your shop is one of those unusual places which is not on any ley lines.

    It’s risky to let on that you’ve noticed.

    If the puppet engages you in conversation, remember to include the dwarf. Good manners cost nothing, do they?

    Keep calm. Don’t run.


    • Re: the Smiling Woman. Are you sure she isn’t just talking into one of those remote mobile phones? Freaked me out when I first saw them. Which was on a rare visit to London, on the concourse outside Kings Cross station. Forty or so people all ambling around in small random patterns talking to themselves.
      Looked for all the world like the final scene in ‘Fahrenheit 451’.
      Until I noticed they all had wires trailing from their ears which was even freakier. I assumed they were being remote controlled by their overlords.


      • Once upon a time the sight of a person conducting an animated conversation with what appeared to be themselves was a strong hint to mind your own business in a somewhat studied manner. Now it is usually someone with what looks to be a paperclip stuck on their ear discussing in detail intensely personal concerns with who you can only conclude is either their best friend or a priestly confessor.

        Usually, I say. Sometimes they’re just nuts.


      • She had no Borg earpiece. I’ve often thought though, that little earpieces should be handed out to anyone who habitually talks to themselves. Then they can babble away and nobody will give them a second glance.


    • There are so many stone circles and standing stones around here that everything must be on a ley line! Even the river is haunted.

      I left before she or the puppet started a conversation. I’ve seen this in the movies – it doesn’t end well.


      • Don’t believe dowsers who tell you these things; it is an open secret in such circles that whilst pretty much any old fool with any dowsing tools can find various things, no two dowsers ever agree where energy lines (if such they are) are concerned.

        Guy Underwood built fantastic castles in the air on this matter (and invented what is universally recognised as the most contrary, difficult, annoying horror of a dowsing tool as has ever been made); Hamish Miller did the same, but disagreed completely with the former.

        Don’t believe any of ’em, they’re all wrong!


  3. The women with buggies are probably on their way home from picking up their brats from school.Getting too cold for a nice stroll to the shops during the day so drop in with brats on way home.
    Love the dwarf and puppet,must try that with someone secretly filming it.


  4. Weirdly or not, yesterday evening I was in the local ‘local shop’ a Co-op to be precise and arriving at the place where money or credit exchange takes place I saw one person ahead of me slightly hidden by the clutter these places love to stack around the most vital part of their premises.
    I saw a young girl under four feet tall. I waited patiently and then the girl pulled out a credit card. The assistant didn’t bat an eye so I shifted position and took another look and bugger me sideways the girl was a dwarf in her twenties (educated guess I did not ask).
    I frequent this shop fairly regularly usually during the same hour of the evening (markdown hour) and have never seen her before. You’d like her Leggy she lit up as shop as she left the store and she rolls her own!


  5. Never a proof reader around when you need one…
    “she lit up as shop as she left the store and she rolls her own!”
    should say
    “she lit up as soon as she left the shop and she rolls her own!”


  6. Speaking of the legend that is Icke he is launching his own media station called “The People’s Voice” and he is doing a test broadcast for 5 hours tomorrow night starting at 5pm UK time.

    So long as he leaves the lizards at home this could be a very good opportunity to have a media outlet that actually tells the truth, unlike the rabid BBC, Daily Mail and Sky News etc.


      • I’m always suspicious of their motives. They only do things which benefit themselves, not us. Thing is, when they are kicked out at the next election, will their tenure at the treasury still go on? I wouldn’t put it past them…


  7. Oh yes. Local shops, my daughter lived in Bristol a couple of years ago. There was a tereffic hoo-haa when Tescos had the temerity to try and open a store. There were demonstrations, sabotage of the building work and The Guardian had a leader about the evil of supermarkets. Well now, the Co-Op opened 2 stores in the same area as Tesco, there were no demonstrations. So how come Tesco is EEVIL but Co-op is not ?


    • I remember that. There was also outrage about a Starbucks (or was it Costa) opening somewhere in a village down south. The place was already full of coffee shops but those were all okay.

      There does seem to be a particular targeting of Tesco that isn’t applied to Asda or Morrisons or any of the others. Yet they all have the same effect on small local businesses.

      Co-op isn’t as cheap as real supermarkets. Maybe they pose less of a threat.


      • They had protests here against a local NETTO opening.

        6 months later a Reichelt opened. NO problem.

        HOWEVER, having had the missfortune to accidentaly wander into the NETTO, I can now see the protesters point.

        The half a mouldy carrot and stale loaf type of shop.


        • As with the anti-Tesco protests – why would anyone object to a shop they don’t want to buy anything from? There are many women’s hairdressers and beauticians here (and looking around, they either aren’t any good or are not doing much business). I have never been in one. Never will. They can open as many as they like, I have no interest in using them. But protest about them? Why?


          • They were moaning about the increase in traffic and parking problems.

            Like someone who can afford to own a car would stoop so low as to be even seen DEAD in a NETTO!

            In fact, any one that can afford a bus fare…


  8. Taking the customer lift on my own down to my dungeon the other day I was joined from one of the “public” floors, by a Muslim looking woman and her ten year old son.

    Said son then asked her “what’s wrong baby” and proceeded to kiss her most affectionately on the cheek and mouth several times.

    Now I was just starting my shift and it was rather mind-boggling, my mental faculties not being at their best at that ungodly hour.

    As they left I clocked the “son” and realised it was was actually a short ugly mannish looking child sized lesbian and her partner, “son” complete with razor cut hair.

    Maybe they were trying to raise a reaction from me, but I remained utterly stoic, but I admit to exiting the lift after them and rapidly outpacing them as they left.

    I wonder if similar things have been witnessed by David Lynch, as it would explain a lot about his oeuvre?


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