She should just go, Reece thought. Go right now and walk back to her car. Get the hose fixed and head out. Signs be damned. She walked out from the kitchen wiping her hands on a dishcloth. And an old, faded scar, Reece noted, that ran along her jawline from her left ear nearly to her chin. My car broke down. I need a job. It was a simple setup, she decided, and efficient enough. Large grill, restaurant-style stove, refrigerator, freezer. Holding bins, sinks, work counters, double fryer, heat suppression system.
Just let it come. She set the steak siz- angels fall 11 zling on the grill while she chopped onions and mushrooms. She put the precut potatoes in the fry basket, set the timer. She listened to the music, from the juke, from the grill, from the fryer. Joanie tugged the next order from the clip on the round and slapped it down.
The atmosphere, the orders might be different, but the rhythm was the same. Keep working, keep moving. She plated the original order, turned to hand it to Joanie for inspection. When she turned, Joanie was sitting at the counter, drinking coffee. Is it always that busy? We do okay. You get eight dollars an hour to start. You still look good in two weeks, I bump in another buck an hour. You get two days, or the best part of two off during that week.
I do the schedule a week in advance. We open at six-thirty, so that means first shift is here at six. You can order breakfast all day, lunch menu from 12 nora roberts eleven to closing, dinner, five to ten. You want forty hours a week, I Keep My Eye On You (Instrumental Version) - Channel 3 (4) - Keep My Eye On You (Vinyl) work you that.
Any problem with that? You hit the soft drinks, you pay for them. Same with the food. I can open, I can work any shift you want me to work. I can flex time when you need me over forty. It can wait. Be back at four. She was back in a kitchen, and it had been all right.
A normal reaction to snagging a job, straight off the mark, doing what she was trained to do again. She took her time walking back to her car, letting it all sink in. When she walked into the mercantile, Mac was ringing up a sale at a short counter opposite the door. Need a gallon of milk and a box of bullets? This was the spot. When Mac finished the transaction, she approached the counter. How do I pay? Paying cash, you can just leave it here. She could hear someone chatting in the rear of the store, and the beep of another cash register.
Quick work. I hope you come in sometime. Thanks for everything. It harbored a minute sundry shop, a tiny coffee and muffin stand and an intimate linen tablecloth dining room. There was, she was told, high-speed Internet connection for a small 14 nora roberts daily fee, room service from seven a.
Reece negotiated a weekly rate on a single—a week was long enough—on the third floor. Anything below the third was too accessible for her peace of mind, and anything above the third made her feel trapped. With her wallet now effectively empty, she carted her duffel and laptop up three flights rather than use the elevator. The view lived up to its billing, and she immediately opened the windows, then just stood looking at the sparkle of the water, the glide of boats, and the rise of the mountains that cupped this little section of valley.
This was her place today, she thought. Turning back to the room, she noted the door that adjoined the neighboring guest room. She checked the locks, then pushed, shoved, dragged the single dresser in front of it.
That was better. The travel candle, some toiletries, the cell phone charger. Since the bathroom was hardly bigger than the closet, she left the door open while she took a quick shower. While the water ran, she did the multiplication tables out loud to keep herself steady. She changed into fresh clothes, moving quickly. New job, she reminded herself and took the time and effort to dry her hair, to put on a little makeup.
Not so pale today, she decided, not so hollow-eyed. After checking her watch, she set up her laptop, opened her daily journal and wrote a quick entry. I took a job as a cook in a little diner-style restaurant in this pretty valley town with its big, blue lake.
Grabbing a jacket, she headed for the door. Before she opened it, Reece checked the peep, scanned the empty hall. She checked her locks twice, cursed herself and checked a third time before she went back to her kit to tear a piece of Scotch tape off her roll. She pressed it over the door, well below eye level, before she walked to the door for the stairs. She jogged down, counting as she went.
After a quick debate, she left her car parked. Walking would save her gas money, even though it would be dark when she finished her shift. Couple of blocks, that was all. Still, she fingered her key chain, and the panic button on it. Maybe she should go back and get the car, just in case. Stupid, she told herself. She was nearly there. Think about now, not about later. When nerves began to bubble, she pictured herself at the grill. Good strong kitchen light, music from the jukebox, voices from the tables.
Familiar sounds, smells, motion. And she went inside. Reece stopped by the booth where the woman was refilling the condiment caddy. She said I should give you a Keep My Eye On You (Instrumental Version) - Channel 3 (4) - Keep My Eye On You (Vinyl) orientation when you came in. We got a lull, then the early birds will start coming in soon. She had doll-baby blond hair to go with it, worn in smooth French braids. She had on jeans, a red shirt with white piping.
Silver and turquoise earrings dangled from her ears. She looked, Reece thought, like a western milkmaid. You need a break, you tell her, and you take it. No purse? We clean the bathrooms on rotation. We get crunched, you can fill drink orders. We serve wine and beer, too. Anything else you want to know, just give me angels fall 17 a holler. Welcome aboard. A good, wide solid ledge, she told herself.
A good place to stand until it was time to move again. Locals, tourists, hikers, a scatter of people from a nearby campground who wanted an indoor meal. She and Joanie worked with little conversation while the fryers pumped out steam and the grill spewed heat. A good sign, Reece decided as she took a seat at the end of the counter. It gave her a view of the diner, and the door.
Linda-gail slid a plate over to her with a sourdough roll and two angels fall 19 pats of butter on it. Want some tea with that? I can get it. After a glance over her shoulder, she leaned closer and grinned. And you plate food pretty. Some of the customers commented on it. Just a paycheck. She watches a lot of TV, that one. Matthew, being seventeen, just thinks about sex.
Me, I think you just got your heart broken back East. Any of us hit? And speaking of heartbreakers, here comes Long, Dark and Handsome now. A couple inches or so over six feet. It was a word that meant slick and classy to her mind, and this man was neither.
Instead, there was a rough, rugged look about him with a scruff of beard over rawboned features. Something rougher yet, to her mind, about the hard line of his mouth and the way his eyes tracked 20 nora roberts around the room. There was nothing slick about the battered leather jacket, faded jeans or worn-down boots.
Not the cowboy type, she decided, but one who looked like he could handle himself outdoors. He looked strong, and maybe just a little mean. Something in his stance, his absolute awareness of the room, had said cop to her.
Writer was better. A mystery. He rents a cabin on the other side of the lake, keeps to himself, mostly. But he comes in here three times a week for dinner. Tips twenty percent. From where she sat, Reece could hear her cheerful greeting. What do you have in mind for tonight? When she turned away, Linda-gail shot Reece an exaggeratedly dreamy look. The full-on stare made her stomach jump. Even when she quickly averted her eyes she could feel his on her, rudely, deliberately probing. She pushed off the stool, stacked her dishes.
Fighting the urge to look over her shoulder, she carried them back into the kitchen. He ordered the elk chops and whiled away the wait time with a bottle of Coors and a paperback. Someone had paid for Emmylou angels fall 21 Harris on the jukebox, and Brody let the music hum in the back of his mind.
He wondered about the brunette and that look in her eye. Richard Adams had coined the word tharn in Watership Down.
Good word, he thought, and one that suited the new cook with her sudden, frozen stillness. It would take a little longer to find out about her without asking, but there would be murmurs and comments, rumors and speculation.
He had a good ear for that sort of thing when he was in the mood for it. She had a fragile look about her, the sort that could turn on a dime to brittle. He wondered why. Since—at least for now—she was more interesting than his book, he continued to watch her work while he nursed his beer. Not attached to anyone from town, he decided. More like a runner, he mused. And when she moved to set a finished order in line, those eyes flicked in his direction—just a flick, then away again.
Before she turned back to the grill, the door opened, and her gaze shifted there. The smile flashed onto her face so quickly, so unexpectedly, Brody actually blinked. When he looked over to see what had caused that mile-wide smile, he saw Mac Drubber shooting her a grin and a wave. Mac slid into the booth across from him.
What looks good tonight? Limped into town today with a broken radiator hose. Comes from back East. Got herself a room at the hotel. What can I get you tonight? You let me know how you like those chops, Brody. Get you anything else? Those chops look good enough to eat. The food was artistically arranged on the plain white plate, unlike the haphazard mounds Joanie normally served up.
He not only ran the mercantile, he was mayor. Gossip, he liked to think, was part of his duties. Speaking of romance. He accented it with snakeskin boots, a Sam Brown belt and a stone-gray Stetson in a way that screamed cowboy.
Sandy, sun-streaked hair curled under his hat. He had a smooth, evenfeatured face set off by a shallowly clefted chin and light blue eyes that, everyone knew, he used as often as possible to charm the ladies. He swaggered—there was no other way to describe the deliberate, rolling gait—to the counter and perched on a stool.
And Brody found his slightly puritanical bent part of his charm. Eat the pie. No charge on it. You see the one just sat down at the counter? Goes by Lo.
Especially one who uses his penis as a divining rod. Really good. I never asked about the baking. Is that done on the premises, or do you buy from a local bakery? How about you? Joanie was tossing the pickles and tomatoes on the plates when Lo sauntered back into the kitchen.
Nice to meet you. And noted with annoyance that for the first time all night, there were no tickets waiting to be filled.
I got you on first shift tomorrow, so you be here by six, sharp. Got a coat? Without a word, she got her jean jacket. She could feel the writer—Brody—staring holes in her back. Why was he still here anyway? Lo opened the door for her, then stepped out after her. It feels good after the heat in the kitchen. And you can tell me the story of your life. Take a minute, look up there. And there, above the ragged shadows of the mountains, hung a full, white moon.
Stars exploded around it, as if someone had loaded a shotgun with diamonds and blasted away. Their light turned the icing of snow on the peaks an eerie blue, and dashed the crevices and gullies into deep, rich shadow. This, she thought, was what she missed when she allowed nerves to hunch her over, to force her gaze to the ground. The guidebook I bought called the mountains majestic, and I thought no. When I saw them before, I thought not majestic but tough and rugged.
This time of year, if you go up, stand by the river, you can hear the rocks clack in the spring runoff. Take you on a ride up. Nothing better than seeing the Tetons on horseback. The principles of Christianity and Sod's Law also known as Murphy's Law are the same: Everything happens to me, for me.
So if a man drops a piece of toast and it lands butter-side down, this unlucky event is interpreted as being proof of an essential truth about bad luck: that the toast fell as it did just to prove to you, Mr. Unlucky, that there is a defining force in the universe and it is bad luck. It's not random. It could never have fallen on the right side, so the argument goes, because that's Sod's Law. In short, Sod's Law happens to you to prove to you that there is Sod's Law. Yet, unlike gravity, it is a law that does not exist whatever happens: when the toast lands on the right side, Sod's Law mysteriously disappears.
Likewise, when Clara fell, knocking the teeth out of the top of her mouth, while Ryan stood up without a scratch, Ryan knew it was because God had chosen Ryan as one of the saved and Clara as one of the unsaved. Not because one was wearing a helmet and the other wasn't. And had it happened the other way round, had gravity reclaimed Ryan's teeth and sent them rolling down Primrose Hill like tiny enamel snowballs, well.
As it was, this was the final sign Ryan needed. When New Year's Eve rolled around, he was there in the living room, sitting in the middle of a circle of candles with Hortense, ardently praying for Clara's soul while Darcus pissed into his tube and watched the Generation Game on BBC One. Clara, meanwhile, had put on a pair of yellow flares and a red halter neck top and gone to a party. She suggested its theme, helped to paint the banner and hang it from the window; she danced and smoked with the rest of them and felt herself, without undue modesty, to be quite the belle of the squat.
But as midnight inevitably came and went without the horsemen of the apocalypse making an appearance, Clara surprised herself by falling into a melancholy. For ridding oneself of faith is like boiling sea-water to retrieve the salt something is gained but something is lost.
Though her friends Merlin, Wan-Si, et al. What now for Clara? Ryan would find another fad; Darcus need only turn to the other channel; for Hortense another date would of course materialize, along with more leaflets, ever more faith. But Clara was not like Hortense. Yet a residue, left over from the evaporation of Clara's faith, remained. She still wished for a saviour. She still wished for a man to whisk her away, to choose her above others so that she might Walk in white with Him: for [she] was worthy.
Revelation Perhaps it is not so inexplicable then, that when Clara Bowden met Archie Jones at the bottom of some stairs the next morning she saw more in him than simply a rather short, rather chubby middle-aged white man in a badly tailored suit. Clara saw Archie through the grey-green eyes of loss; her world had just disappeared, the faith she lived by had receded like a low tide, and Archie, quite by accident, had become the bloke in the joke: the last man on earth.
Good advice. Of course, Corinthians also informs us that we should not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain so, go figure. By FebruaryClara had deserted the church and all its biblical literalism for Archibald Jones, but she was not yet the kind of carefree atheist who could laugh near altars or entirely dismiss the teachings of St.
The second dictum wasn't a problem having no ox, she was excluded by proxy. But the first was giving her sleepless nights. Was it better to marry? Even if the man was a heathen? There was no way of knowing: she was living without props now, sans safety net. More worrying than God was her mother.
Hortense was fiercely opposed to the affair, on grounds of colour rather than of age, and on hearing of it had promptly ostracized her daughter one morning on the doorstep.
Clara still felt that deep down her mother would prefer her to marry an unsuitable man rather than live with him in sin, so she did it on impulse and begged Archie to take her as far away from Lambeth as a man of his means could manage Morocco, Belgium, Italy. Archie had clasped her hand and nodded and whispered sweet nothings in the full knowledge that the furthest a man of his means was going was a newly acquired, heavily mortgaged, two-storey house in Willesden Green.
But no need to mention that now, he felt, not right now in the heat of the moment. Let her down gently, like. Three months later Clara had been gently let down and here they were, moving in. Archie scrabbling up the stairs, as usual cursing and blinding, wilting under the weight of boxes which Clara could carry two, three at a time without effort; Clara taking a break, squinting in the warm May sunshine, trying to get her bearings. She peeled down to a little purple vest and leant against her front gate.
What kind of a place was this? That was the thing, you see, you couldn't be sure. Travelling in the front passenger seat of the removal van, she'd seen the high road and it had been ugly and poor and familiar though there were no Kingdom Halls or Episcopalian churchesbut then at the turn of a corner suddenly roads had exploded in greenery, beautiful oaks, Keep My Eye On You (Instrumental Version) - Channel 3 (4) - Keep My Eye On You (Vinyl) houses got taller, wider and more detached, she could see parks, she could see libraries.
And then abruptly the trees would be gone, reverting back into bus-stops as if by the strike of some midnight bell; a signal which the houses too obeyed, transforming themselves into smaller, st airless dwellings that sat splay opposite derelict shopping arcades, those peculiar lines of establishments that include, without exception, one defunct sandwich bar still advertising breakfast one locksmith uninterested in marketing frills keys cut here and one permanently shut unisex hair salon, the proud bearer of some unspeakable pun Upper Cuts or Fringe Benefits or Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.
It was a lottery driving along like that, looking out, not knowing whether one was about to settle down for life amongst the trees or amidst the shit. Then finally the van had slowed down in front of a house, a nice house somewhere midway between the trees and the shit, and Clara had felt a tide of gratitude roll over her. It was nice, not as nice as she had hoped but not as bad as she had feared; it had two small gardens front and back, a doormat, a doorbell, a toilet inside.
And she had not paid a high price. Only love. Just love. And whatever Corinthians might say, love is not such a hard thing to forfeit, not if you've never really felt it. She did not love Archie, but had made up her mind, from that first moment on the steps, to devote herself to him if he would take her away.
And now he had; and, though it wasn't Morocco or Belgium or Italy, it was nice not the promised land but nice, nicer than anywhere she had ever been. Clara understood that Archibald Jones was no romantic hero. Three months spent in one stinking room in Cricklewood had been sufficient revelation. Oh, he could be affectionate and sometimes even charming, he could whistle a clear, crystal note first thing in the morning, he drove calmly and responsibly and he was a surprisingly competent cook, but romance was beyondpassion, unthinkable.
But not Archie. She tried to be reasonable. She asked him: Why are you nevemRre? Why do you spend so much time with the Indian? But a pat on[K back, a kiss on the cheek, he's grabbing his coat, his foot's oJ'e door and always the same old answer: Me and Sam? We go vifback. She couldn't argue with that. They went back to befonMie was born.
No JBte knight, then, this Archibald Jones. No aims, no hopesJK ambitions. A dull man. An old man. And yet 3d. He was a good man. And good might not amount to i, good might not light up a life, but it is something. She at ted it in him that first time on the stairs, simply, directly, the same way she could point out a good mango on a Brixton stall without so much as touching the skin.
These were the thoughts Clara clung to as she leant on her garden gate, three months after her wedding, silently watching the way her husband's brow furrowed and shortened like an accordion, the way his stomach hung pregnant over his belt, the whiteness of his skin, the blueness of his veins, the way his 'elevens' were up those two ropes of flesh that appear on a man's gullet so they said in Jamaica when his time was drawing to a close.
Clara frowned. She hadn't noticed these afflictions at the wedding. Why not? He had been smiling and he wore a white polo-neck, but no, that wasn't it she hadn't been looking for them then, that was it. Clara had spent most of her wedding day looking at her feet. It had been a hot day, 14 February, but unusually warm, and there had been a wait because the world had wanted to marry that day in a little registry office on Ludgate Hill. Clara remembered slipping off the petite brown heels she was wearing and placing her bare feet on the chilly floor, making sure to keep them firmly planted either side of a dark crack in the tile, a balancing act upon which she had randomly staked her future happiness.
Archie meanwhile had wiped Keep My Eye On You (Instrumental Version) - Channel 3 (4) - Keep My Eye On You (Vinyl) moisture from his upper lip and cursed a persistent sunbeam that was sending a trickle of salty water down his inside leg. For his second marriage he had chosen a mohair suit with a white polo-neck and both were proving problematic. The heat prompted rivulets of sweat to spring out all over his body, seeping through the polo-neck to the mohair and giving off an unmistakable odour of damp dog.
Clara, of course, was all cat. She wore a long brown woollen Jeff Banks dress and a perfect set of false teeth; the dress was backless, the teeth were white, and the overall effect was feline; a panther in evening dress; where the wool stopped and Clara's skin started was not clear to the naked eye. And like a cat she responded to the dusty sunbeam that was coursing through a high window on to the waiting couples.
She warmed her bare back in it, she almost seemed to unfurl. Even the registrar, who had seen it all horsy women marrying weaselly men, elephantine men marrying owlish women raised an eyebrow at this most unnatural of unions as they approached his desk. Cat and dog. Of course. We've got a lot of you to get through today.
Archie was passed a pen and put down his name Alfred Archibald Jonesnationality English and age Hovering for a moment over the box entitled "Occupation', he decided upon "Advertising: Printed Leaflets ', then signed himself away. Clara wrote down her name Clara Iphegenia Bowdennationality Jamaican and age Finding no box interested in her occupation, she went straight for the decisive dotted line, swept her pen across it, and straightened up again, a Jones.
A Jones like no other that had come before her. Then they had gone outside, on to the steps, where a breeze lifted second-hand confetti and swept it over new couples, where Clara met her only wedding guests formally for the first time: two Indians, both dressed in purple silk. Samad Iqbal, a tall, handsome man with the whitest teeth and a dead hand, who kept patting her on the back with the one that worked. I have known the old boy since when?
And he wasn't! Quite the opposite until you made an appearance! Wallowing in the shit-heap, if you will pardon the French. Thankfully, she's all packed off now. There's only one place for the mad, and that's with others like them," said Samad, losing steam halfway through the sentence, for Clara clearly had no idea what he was talking about.
My idea, though, you know, all this. Jones' or "Oh no, Mrs. Jones', making Clara so nervous, so sheepish, she felt compelled to put her shoes back on.
Archie felt bad for Clara that it wasn't a bigger reception. But there was no one else to invite. All other relatives and friends had declined the wedding invitation; some tersely, some horrified; others, thinking silence the best option, had spent the past week studiously stepping over the mail and avoiding the phone.
The only well-wisher was Ibelgaufts, who had neither been invited nor informed of the event, but from whom, curiously, a note arrived in the morning mail: 14 February Dear Archibald, Usually, there is something about weddings that brings out the misanthrope in me, but today, as I attempted to save a bed of petunias from extinction, I felt a not inconsiderable warmth at the thought of the union of one man and one woman in lifelong cohabitation.
It is truly remarkable that we humans undertake such an impossible feat, don't you think? But to be serious for a moment: as you know, I am a man whose profession it is to look deep inside of' Woman and, like a psychiatrist, mark her with a full bill of health or otherwise.
And I feel sure, my friend to extend a metaphorthat you have explored your lady-wife-to-be in such a manner, both spiritually and mentally, and found her not lacking in any particular, and so what else can I offer but ike hearty congratulations of your earnest competitor, Horst Ibelgaufts What other memories of that day could make it unique and lift it out of the other that made up ?
Clara remembered a young black man stood atop an apple crate, sweating in a black suit, who began pleading to his brothers and sisters; an old bag-lady retrieving a carnation from the bin to put in her hair. But then it was all over: the ding-filmed sandwiches Clara had made had been forgotten and sat suffering at the bottom of a bag, the sky had clouded over, and when they walked up the hill to the King Ludd Pub, past the jeering Fleet Street lads with their Saturday pints, it was discovered that Archie had been given a parking ticket.
So it was that Clara spent the first three hours of married life in Cheapside Police Station, her shoes in her hands, watching her saviour argue relentlessly with a traffic inspector who failed to understand Archie's subtle interpretation of the Sunday parking laws. If you wan' help: jus' arks farrit. God knows there's enough of 'em to sink a bloody battleship. How we're going to fit them in what little space we have I'm sure I don't know. I mean, is it? And what about the coat-stand?
I bought it 'cos I taut you like it. It a coat-stand. It jus' red. An' red is red is red. What's wrong wid red all of a sudden? This is a nice neighbourhood, new life, you know. Look, let's not argue. Let's flip a coin; heads it stays, tails. A relationship on the brink of collapse will find one partner two blocks down the road or two countries to the east before something tugs, some responsibility, some memory, a pull of a child's hand or a heart string, which induces them to make the long journey back to their other half.
On this Richter scale, then, Clara made only the tiniest of rumbles. She turned towards the gate, walked two steps only and stopped. That wasn't too hard. I was just thinkin'. He serves Indian food all the time, he doesn't want to eat it too. They're not the royal family, you know. They're not those kind of Indians," he repeated, and shook his head, troubled by some problem, some knotty feeling he could not entirely unravel.
Samad and Alsana Iqbal, who were not those kind of Indians as, in Archie's mind, Clara was not that kind of blackwho were, in fact, not Indian at all but Bangladeshi, lived four blocks down on the wrong side of Willesden High Road.
It had taken them a year to get there, a year of mercilessly hard graft to make the momentous move from the wrong side of Whitechapel to the wrong side of Willesden. A year's worth of Alsana banging away at the old Singer that sat in the kitchen, sewing together pieces of black plastic for a shop called Domination in Soho many were the nights Alsana would hold up a piece of clothing she had just made, following the pattern she was given, and wonder what on earth it was.
A year's worth of Samad softly inclining his head at exactly the correct deferential angle, pencil in his left hand, listening to the appalling pronunciation of the British, Spanish, American, French, Australian: Go Bye Ello Sag, please. Chicken Jail Fret See wiv Chips, fan ks From six in the evening until three in the morning; and then every day was spent asleep, until daylight was as rare as a decent tip. For what is the point, Samad would think, pushing aside two mints and a receipt to find fifteen pence, what is the point of tipping a man the same amount you would throw in a fountain to chase a wish?
But before the illegal thought of folding the fifteen pence discreetly in his napkin hand even had a chance to give itself form, Mukhul - Ardashir Mukhul, who ran the Palace and whose wiry frame paced the restaurant, one benevolent eye on the customers, one ever watchful eye on the staffMukhul was upon him. With what joy pure bliss! For the younger, flashy, good-looking waiters like Shiva, this was a great injustice.
Shiva was the only Hindu on the staff- this stood as tribute to his waite ring skills, which had triumphed over religious differences. Shiva could make a four quid tip in an evening if the blubberous white divorcee in the corner was lonely enough and he batted his long lashes at her effectively.
He could also make his money out of the polo-necked directors and producers the Palace sat in the centre of London's theatre land and these were still the days of the Royal Court, of pretty boys and kitchen-sink drama who flattered the boy, watched his ass wiggle provocatively to the bar and back, and swore that if anyone ever adapted A Passage to India for the stage he could have whichever role tickled his fancy. For Shiva, then, the Piss-Pot system was simply daylight robbery and an insult to his unchallenged waite ring abilities.
But for men like Samad, in his late forties, and for the even older, like the white-haired Muhammed Ardashir's great-unclewho was eighty if he was a day, who had deep pathways dug into the sides of his mouth where he had smiled when he was young, for men like this the Piss-Pot could not be complained about. It made more sense to join the collective than pocket fifteen pence and risk being caught and docked a week's tips.
Somebody get these losers off my back! That was my river and now it's going to be split sixty-five-fucking-million ways as a hand-out to these losers! What is this: communism? You're the worst fucking waiter I've ever seen! You couldn't get a tip if you mugged the bastards! I hear you trying to talk to the customer about biology this, politics that just serve the food, you idiot you're a waiter, for fuck's sake, you're not Michael Parkinson. To no one in particular he said, "These young people what kind of talk?
What kind of talk? What happened to respect? What kind of talk is this? You're not my father. But, no such placard existing, he had instead the urge, the need, to speak to every man, and, like the Ancient Mariner, explain constantly, constantly wanting to reassert something, anything. Wasn't that important? But then the heart-breaking disappointment to find out that the inclining of one's head, poising of one's pen, these were important, so important it was important to be a good waiter, to listen when someone said Lamb Dawn Sock and rice.
With chips. Thank you. And fifteen pence clinked on china. Thank you, sir. Thank you so very much. On the Tuesday after Archie's wedding, Samad had waited till everyone left, folded his white, flared trousers made from the same fabric as the tablecloths into a perfect square, and then climbed the stairs to Ardashir's office, for he had something to ask him.
He knew that Samad had come to inquire about a pay increase, and he wanted his cousin to feel that he had at least considered the case in all his friendly judiciousness before he declined.
He said as much. He took a moment to look with the necessary admiration around the room, with its relentless gold, with its triple-piled carpet, with its furnishings in various shades of yellow and green. One had to admire Ardashir's business sense. He had taken the simple idea of an Indian restaurant small room, pink tablecloth, loud music, atrocious wallpaper, meals that do not exist in India, sauce carousel and just made it bigger.
He hadn't improved anything; everything was the same old crap, but it was all bigger in a bigger building in the biggest tourist trap in London, Leicester Square. You had to admire it and admire the man, who sat now like a benign locust, his slender in sectile body swamped in a black leather chair, leaning over the desk, all smiles, a parasite disguised as a philanthropist.
The matter was this. Ardashir's eyes glazed over a little as Samad explained his situation. His skinny legs twitched underneath the desk, and in his fingers he manipulated a paper clip until it looked reasonably like an A.
A for Ardashir. The matter was. The house was the matter. Samad was moving out of East London where one couldn't bring up children, indeed, one couldn't, not if one didn't wish them to come to bodily harm, he agreedfrom East London with its NF gangs, to North London, north-west, where things were more.
Was it his turn to speak? I cannot make it my business to buy houses for all my employees, cousin or not cousin I pay a wage, cousin. That is business in this country. He was forced, his look said, forced by the English to make an awful lot of money. I have the deposit for the house, it is our house now, we have moved in ' How on earth has he afforded it, he must work his wife like a bloody slave, thought Ardashir, pulling out another paper clip from the bottom drawer.
To make things a little easier as we settle in. And Alsana, well, she is pregnant. The case called for extreme diplomacy. I know you're not a fucking waiter' he whispered the expletive and smiled indulgently after it, as if it were a naughty, private thing that brought them closer together "I see your position Donate now to keep the Cube rolling!
First ask yourself, "How much does The People's Cube mean to me? It does all my thinking for me. Party-approved must-buy acquisitions When the Party says "must buy," it means you must buy. The People's Cube A politically correct puzzle. Click on it to enlarge. Subscribe voluntarily and we promise that the KGB will not sell your email down the river to other spy agencies. Quick links. Back to top. Rachel Corrie by Simon and Garfunkle? Sorry, I only listen to the genuine article by Billy Bragg.
Laika the Space Dog. Thanks Dr. It's so nice he didn't have any praying preying Imams on his flight that would have disturbed his muse while writing that piece of shit. If anybody listens to that whole song, they're a masochist. Matthew Rakosi. This songs are brilliant! Comrade Che Cure Booty. Did Laika wake up on the wrong side of the capsule this morning? Comrade Bragg's stirring tribute to Comrade Corrie made me weep. Does anyone have any contact information for Comrade Bragg? I now truly believe he is the only person capable of doing justice to a ballad about the Wisconsin Four.
Red Square. Bragg was born in December He was thus years-old when punk made its indelible contribution to English popular culture, in The Party will always appreciate billy's rousing musical reworking of Eugene Pottier's glorious Internationale : Verse 1 Stand up, all victims of oppression, For the tyrants fear your might!
Don't cling so hard to your possessions, For you have nothing if you have no rights! Let racist ignorance be ended, For respect makes the empires fall! Freedom is merely privilege extended, Unless enjoyed by one and all. Chorus So come brothers and sisters, For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale, Unites the world in song. So comrades, come rally, For this is the time and place! The international ideal, Unites the human race.
Verse 2 Let no one build walls to divide us, Walls of hatred nor walls of stone. Come greet the dawn and stand beside us, We'll live together or we'll die alone. In our world poisoned by exploitation, Those who have taken, now they must give!
And end the vanity of nations, We've but one Earth on which to live. Repeat chorus Verse 3 And so begins the final drama, In the streets and in the fields. We stand unbowed before their armour, We defy their guns and shields! When we fight, provoked by their aggression, Let us be inspired by like and love. For though they offer us concessions, Change will not come from above!
Comrades, please pardon my moment of lachrymation Could someone pass me a piece of People's Tissue to wipe the tears away. Chairman M. Here Dr. They were as rare as unicorns in a hurricane. What makes it work is the setting, a crummy series of bedsits and flats in a house run by a tight-fisted, bored, interfering, letching, right-wing landlord — as played to perfection by Leonard Rossiter — Rigsby could have become unlikeable, as the main antagonist in each episode as he forces himself on his lodgers Alan played by the already-loveable Richard Beckinsale ex of decent sitcom The Lovers with Paula Wilcox, and father of actress Kate and Philip played by Don Warrington to smooth perfection.
Both shared a bedsit, Alan as a poor medical student, a bit naive, and Philip more worldly and second generation black — chased by Miss Jones the wonderful Frances De La Tour, more recently of Hogwarts the single, sophisticated lady on hard times in the flat below. Philip has some fun pretending to be the son of an African Chief getting a British education, and Rigsby has the hots for Miss Jones and every other woman.
The chemistry between the actors and the characters is a delight, and the scripts sharp. Poor things, so sensitive. Filmed live in front of an audience, mistakes and all, it was more of a stage show set in a backwards quiet Fort Baxter army motor pool in Kansas. The man was a force of nature with his break-neck delivery of dialogue, and his scheming, money-obsessed, gambling, lazy, but big-hearted and loyal Sgt Bilko was one of the great TV characters.
The show won loads of awards, inspired later greats, and was beloved of many for decades. Quite right too. A real tragedy as it was very much a precursor to later fast-paced format-breaking, pop-culture-referencing, cool shows like Malcolm In The Middle.
And what a Principal Grace Musso is. Far and away the highlight of the series is her loud, plotting, sneering character as played brilliantly by Melanie Chartoff — she shouts and the glass on her door smashes into pieces in every episode. Siouxsie modelled her look on Morticia, the wife and mother of the Gothic household containing a bizarre extended well-off family of misfits and creatures that viewed themselves as normal and the rest of the world as distasteful and bizarre, but had hearts of gold in amongst the death-macabre-obsessions and lack of concern with shuffling off the mortal coil.
It still comes over as charmingly classy, a bit dated, but the performances of Carolyn Jones as Morticia and John Astin as Gomez, deeply-in-love parents to Wednesday and Pugsley, are still just fabulously skilfull while the key mad-cap former child actor Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester, together with lesser faves like Lurch the Butler, Thing a hand in a boxGrandmama, and Cousin It a short mass of hair and nothing else much give great support.
The episodes are those which give the stars a chance to shine, like Gomez driven by passion when Morticia speaks French. The late great Glen Campbell is pushed down by all the genius singles around, but the whole top 6 should be number one. Top 10 on all occasions, number one in for me. At 69, George Clinton debuts over a decade ahead of his Funkadelic UK groove, as The Parliaments funk goodie signals a name change due to record company collapsings. The Beatles. Done soul-style here by The Incredibles.
Highest new entry at 4 is the fake West Coast hippie pop anthem from the very British Flowerpot Men flobalot! Nilsson debuts in my charts with a Beatles B Side cover, which references other songs — rather appropriately as he became part of the Fabs creative crowd.
A big climb for The Turtles, one new to me and starting to sound as good as all their other tracks the more I play it. Great records grow with plays, lesser ones get dull after a couple of weeks. Let It All Hang Out is identical in every way in both versions, but this one came first.
Look no further! So much great music around in the Summer Of Love everything is underperforming chartwise, and I need to expand to a top really! Before the wave comes anywhere near her, Celestia manages to fly out of the way with a few flaps from her wings. The princess then proceeds to use her magic to levitate some of the unearthed boulders. These rocks are sent flying toward the enemy. A few of his powerful punches quickly transform the boulders into dust and rubble. Celestia alters her magical grab and aims Keep My Eye On You (Instrumental Version) - Channel 3 (4) - Keep My Eye On You (Vinyl) towards the sun.
Fires start raining from the sky as miniature solar flares. They start rocketing towards the Hulk. Although they appear to force him back a few feet, he doesn't seem to be any worse for wear, aside from an increasing temper.
The Hulk decides to jump to the Princess's height for some closer combat. However, somewhere along the way, Celestia manages to grab him in a telekinetic hold, stopping him from rising any higher. She looks like she is straining and beads of sweat are dripping from her head. She can't do much with her levitating hold and ends up just letting the Hulk fall to the ground from gravity. The impact from the fall does not have any visible effect on him.
Celestia is looking more fatigued than ever and her position in the air starts to descend. Hulk tries another jump at her. This time he catches the alicorn off guard in his grip. As they both fall to the ground, he positions her in a way that she gets slammed into the grass. Hulk smash pony! He then lets loose a few punches on the Princess lying on the ground.
A few X-ray shots reveal that some bones that should not be breaking are getting broken. From the third punch onwards, she's coughing up blood. It's now or never. Just as Hulk raises both of his fists for a finishing blow, Celestia disappears in a glow of golden light. She had no chance of victory left. Despite his apparent victory, the Hulk decides to lift another patch of earth in rage.
This rock wave flips the camera man flat on his back. We're left with a screen shot of the open, blue sky. A stat screen regarding the events of the battle appears while W takes the floor, I mean starts speaking. But her lack of violent tendencies gave her a disadvantage against an enemy that wanted nothing but destruction.
Remember, she's not invincible and although her attacks may have actually caused some damage to the Hulk, his fast-regenerating factor made nearly all of that damage moot.
I couldn't really think of anything at her disposal that wouldn't also destroy herself. Be it a sun impact or a moon impact with Earth and that wasn't going to happen. Feel free to leave ideas even though I might not do all of them. Later days. The following chapter may be OOC. It is not meant to be read by people with heart failures, women that are pregnant, or may become pregnant. Viewer discretion is advised. He ruled over Equestria in unrest and unhappiness using nothing but the Chaos in his claws.
Is that really what it says he is? Discord sighs, "Can't that hedgehog take a joke? Ugh, never mind. The scene rapidly changes as fast as Discord's imagination, actually faster. The screen goes black before a red face in the middle of a red oval shape appears. The red fetus known as Giygas gazes at Discord. A random number "" to the right of a random "HP" starts dropping one increment every half second.
He snaps his eagle claws and the "MP" is replaced with the "HP". Now the number starts dropping from "". This time it drops every third of a second. Immediately, the "HP gauge" drops to "0" and Discord is lying unconscious. The director presses the "Abort" button. I don't get it. This chapter may as well get deleted in the near future. If you wish to avoid an embarrassing read, I'd suggest looking away now to avoid discomfort. I'm serious. The non-canon of this chapter could potentially cause motion sickness.
Eh, I just wanted an excuse to use all of the main six characters in this particular work of fan fiction. B opens up, "I don't think anyone saw this one coming. Unless of course they saw our preview which we never madein which case, congratulations! You're ahead of the pack. W reads, "Today, our two challengers come from backgrounds worthy of pride, honor, and genuine bragging rights.
The title screen parts and reveals an image of an orange earth pony with a blonde mane and a stetson hat. B is completely ignored by W who says, "Applejack is a proud member of the Apple family in charge of much of the labor and business of Sweet Apple Acres. She represents the Element of Honesty and always appreciates the fruits of hard work. She can dislodge an entire tree of its apples simply by bucking it.
Anyway, W continues, "Applejack has strong roots in country living. She always prefers getting down and dirty when tackling problems rather than trying to maintain outside appearances. She won five of the Iron Pony Competition's events without breaking a sweat. It forced Rainbow Dash into a cheating corner for the rest of the competition. Often considered the most dependable pony, she even received an award for being the most loyal pony for steering a stampede of cattle away from the town.
A cut scene shows Applejack telling her brother, "Don't you use your fancy mathematics to muddle the issue. A picture of a Caucasian man with a full face-beard and a look of authority appears after the title card separates. He has founded Chun Kuk Do, a school of martial arts combining the Korean style of Tang Soo Do with elements from several other combat styles.
It has a code of honor that aims for greater achievements and tries to help others succeed. The only one surviving after that mess is Mr. Rogers all covered in blood. The title screen parts and we see a rather large field of apple trees.
These aren't quite as cartoonish as those of Sweet Apple Acres, but they're not exactly 3D either. The skies are partly cloudy today. The camera pans around and we find Applejack and Chuck Norris all ready to go. She paws the ground with her front right hoof while he calmly holds his fists in front of him. There won't be any signs of cheap tricks here.
Applejack makes the first charge. Chuck leaps out of the way and Applejack's kick instead goes into the tree. Several apples are dislocated and fall to the grass below. Chuck's martial arts training is apparent in the pattern of punches and kicks he throws at the orange pony. She recoils slightly but then charges back in with a few headbutts and whips from her tail.
Now they seem to be evenly matched, though perhaps Norris is simply shadowboxing while Applejack warms up. Right, right, sorry. It looks like Chuck is the first to break away from the exchange of punches. He somehow jumps all the way to the top of one of the trees. Applejack, being a straightforward quick problem-solver, runs up to that particular tree and bucks it. Before the apples have a chance to fall, Chuck jumps to the next tree over.
The farmer pony proceeds to charge and buck that tree. Chuck jumps again. This keeps happening a few times over. Finally, it seems Chuck has had enough tree-hopping and jumps down back to the ground a few feet away from where Applejack bucked last. She also changes her strategy and pulls out her trusty lasso. After swinging it around a few times, she tosses it at the man. For a second, he appears to be ensnared, only to snap free of it with his sheer manliness. Applejack pulls out a couple of her apples and kicks them at Norris.
He easily turns them to mush with his roundhouse kick. The farmer pony takes this time to pull out one of her juice bottles and takes a swig. She spits the empty bottle to her right, then charges at the man again. They both take a running leap at each other. The slow motion camera decides to take effect here and it seems like they're suspended in the air. As they collide, the camera resumes normal speed. A dust cloud forms around the combatants as sounds of hits and kicks are still audible. This takes place for a few seconds.
As the dust clears, a faint outline shows the winner standing with one foot on the opponent lying on his back. An off-screen referee counts, " He has a very patient attitude where Applejack was in a hurry to finish the job.
However, remember that Applejack's neck alone can produce the Newtons per meter necessary to lift and toss a hay bale that can be as heavy as pounds. She wasn't going to be fragile in this fight, even when facing the greatest man to ever live.
I'll live. Applejack is best pony. The sky holds a blue, dusky aura. A campfire is crackling. An empty pie plate rests a few feet away from it. Two shadow-outlined figures are resting on log seats on opposite sides of the fire. Two, I believe that the success of others is just as important as my own. Today I was reminded of a lesson that needed a little reviewing. See, winning isn't everything, even to a guy or girl that's capable of doing so all the time. It's important to stick your neck out there for others and help them realize that their worth is just as important in the world as your own.
Signed, Your loyal subject Applejack. I'll be sending you a piece of apple cake to enjoy while you recover from your injuries. Since someone suggested it, I thought I might as well implement the idea. W declares, "Magic, the unusual power of the imagined world. It leaves itself as the answer to many unexplained phenomena.
The title screen parts to reveal a young-faced wizard with glasses and a visible scar on his forehead in the shape of a lightning bolt. He also carries an invisibility cloak and rides Firebolt, a wizard's broomstick capable of reaching speeds of miles per hour in less than 10 seconds.
He can cause pain with Crucio, destroy objects with Reducto, control minds with Imperio, and slash enemies with Sectumsempra. Also, Harry can teleport with apparition and he's pretty handy with non-verbal spells. His occlumency training helps protect him from mental attacks and illusions.
The picture behind the title card is an image of a familiar lavender unicorn pony sitting and reading. W begins, "We briefly talked about Twilight Sparkle in her last Death Battle, but there's plenty more to discuss. She has mastered teleportation, object conjuration, levitation, illumination, magic shields, and wind manipulation. It is also worth noting that she can copy spells cast by others after studying them intently the first time she sees them.
But she cannot do so alone. B adds, "And to make things more interesting, I've let loose a few monsters from the two worlds. The scene changes to a dark-wooded area.
Both combatants are walking in from either side of the screen. Twilight currently has her horn lit up while Harry has his wand lit up with Lumos. As with most Death Battles, combatants will have their initial reasoning removed and first attacks will happen without question.
The sort of purple spell hits Keep My Eye On You (Instrumental Version) - Channel 3 (4) - Keep My Eye On You (Vinyl) unicorn and she falls over laughing. The transparent bolt hits Twilight and she gets slammed into a tree, no longer laughing.
Rather, she grunts in pain. Shaking off her dumbfounded state, she charges her horn and releases a few magenta magic bolts. Harry counters with a quick Protego and a volley of non-verbal spells.
A low howl interrupts their magical duel. The combatants each turn their heads toward where the sound is coming from. It appears the commotion has attracted a pack of wolves made from twigs and lumber.
These are the timber wolves. They growl at the sight of two sources of prey. Without warning, they start leaping toward Harry and Twilight. The wolf closest to him catches on fire and starts to break apart. The only signs of a corpse are burning timber. Losing interest in the boy who made fire, the rest of the pack starts charging toward the unicorn. She manages to hold them off with a pink magical bubble surrounding herself.
Though, it's going to be impossible for her to hold that concentration indefinitely. A barrage of Incendio spells makes quick work of the remaining wolves.
It seems Harry is more interested in removing this new threat rather than his original target. As the last timber wolf burns to ashes, Twilight notices and lets go of her shield. It disappears as she smiles graciously at the guy who just saved her. Before any touchy moments can take place, a new moaning sound fills the air. Several ghost-like figures glide down through the woods and form frost on the trees that they pass.
It seems Dementors have been attracted to the battle as well. As one of them passes Harry, it starts to breathe in emotional essence from him. As Harry struggles to maintain his grip on the present, other Dementors start hovering by Twilight. They start breathing and absorbing her positive emotions too, leaving her to relive miserable moments of her life. She's taking it worse than Harry, as her training with mental defense isn't as perfected.
Harry, however, manages to stand tall and recalls a happier moment. He talks with his parents It's more of a fantasy, but he's happy nonetheless. He uses his Apparition technique to temporarily leave existence. He reappears beside Twilight. He casts his Patronus charm again. Unfortunately, it seems that there are at least a hundred more Dementors still hungry for soul energy.
Meanwhile, Twilight's silently been observing Harry's use of white magic. With a nod of new determination, she starts concentrating magic of a different variety than her usual blasts. Her thoughts recall a moment of joy.
What happened to Ponyville? The enemy of my enemy is my friend. At least that seems to be the mutual feeling between wizard and unicorn right now. Armed with a new spell, Twilight joins her force with Harry's. A pale white stag appears in front of Harry and a pale white phoenix appears in front of Twilight. Both luminescent figures then disappear before a rather wide curtain of white magic flashes across the screen blasting away Dementors in a Team Rocket fashion complete with stars twinkling in the distant sky.
Both combatants breathe heavily and collapse from exhaustion. Safe for the moment, they lay down to rest. She even mastered the Patronus charm on her first attempt. However, their alliance against a double threat by the foreign prevented any chance of there being a victor. I don't want to kill either of them. At least not yet. So long.
It's a "man vs. Get ready for the onslaught. The screen shows various snap shots of fighters with odds stacked against them, as if they were taking on the world. W states, "This time we're taking a lone soldier of space and putting him to the test against an army of Equestria's least favorite antagonists. Parker the surviving miner of the Red Faction will face the entire pack of Diamond Dogs. With the guidance of a technician named Hendrix, Parker took up arms and fought against Ultor military and monsters created by Dr.
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