November 13th, 2007

(no subject)

Had a great time at the beach. Got back yesterday in time to see Control, the Ian Curtiss movie. My impression? Teriffic acting, especially by Sam Riley as Curtiss and Samantha Morton as his wife. Beautifully shot...the recreations of 70s Manchester are almost too beautiful, like Ridley Scott's pictures of Somalia in Blackhawk Down. It was like urban decay used for a fashion shoot. The picture was filmed in a linear style that had the effect of making the pace glacially slow and you're left with the impression that Curtiss wasn't a particularly interesting guy, a typical young asshole who was fucked up and cruel when he could be and self-absorbed and convinced (like many guys of this sort) that he was doomed, which turned out in his case to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every college campus is loaded with these guys and Curtiss just happened to make some good music. As a two hour nostalgia trip for fans of Joy Division who'll tear up during the performance pieces, it's worth it; for anyone else, pass. I haven't seen the Joy Division docu that's making the rounds, but I bet I like it better.

I like Shannon Beach because it's got this enormous rock down on the beach. I love big rocks. I actually wrote a story about this one for Datlow's Inferno
(Burn Baby Burn, Datlow's Inferno) and I dig walking around the tidepools beside it and I like the fog. But otherwise the town is full of creeps with attitude. You know, Oh how we hate the tourists. They're so annoying. Of course we are parasites who prey upon them, but in the end we are vastly superior and more sensitive beings. A case in point. Searching for a pen that worked, I entered a gift shop, the only store open at that hour except for a cafe...I was looking to write some stuff down that I'd come up with while walking the beach. The place was full of post cards and plastic sea gulls and painted sand dollars and crap like that. There was only one pen for sale, a 14.95 wooden item about sixteen inches long designed to last about ten minutes that had the words Shannon Beach on the side and images of (wait for it) sea gulls all over amd what appeared to be a feather coming out the top, simulating--I suppose--old quill pens. So I go up to the counter where a middleaged lady is arranging Shannon Beach cigarette lighters in a display and ask about pens.

No Good Morning, no smile, a flick of her hand. "They're in the front."

"Those would be the fourteen ninety-five pens, right?"

No response.

"Actually," I said, "I was looking for something cheaper. You know, a Bic or something."

"Well, then you're in the wrong store, aren't you?"

A retort springs to mind, but I notice a Bic-quality pen lying beside her hand. "Where did you get that pen?"

"We buy them by the gross."

"Can I buy one?"

A thin smile, as if to say, Foolish boy. "No."

"I'll give you three bucks."




"All right. How much do you want?"

"The register won't let me ring up a pen sale for less than fourteen-ninety-five."

"You can say it's something else."

"I couldn't do that."

"Jesus Christ, lady! What do you want?"

An injured look. "I want you to not take the Lord's name in vain."

The Christian always makes me snap.

"Technically, you're right. That was wrong of me. But it wasn't really taking the Lord's name in vain. If I'd said, Fuck Jesus Christ, now that would have been __in vain__. That would have crossed the line. Jesus Christ,'s barely worth mentioning."

She stares at me hatefully.

I pull out my credit card. "Ring me up a pen...without a feather."

She starts to do so, then has a thought. "We're selling those pens two for twenty-five."

She's trying to screw with me, but I'm a beaten man, I have no comeback. "No thanks."

I turn to the window and notice the diner across the street is now open. There are waitresses inside. Waitresses with cheap pens. Loaner pens.
I snatch back my credit card and head for the door. From behind me, a voice:
"Sir! Sir!"

I turn.

"Don't you want the pen?"

There are many things I want now more than a pen, among them immunity for murder, but I'm tempered in my response.

"Jesus wants your pen. Maybe he'll go for the two-for-twenty-five deal.

We exchange death stares.

"I'll pray for you," she says.
  • pgdf

Punch 13.00

[Click for a variety of astonishments]

FATHER: What do you want a new car for? You've only had this one a month.
DAUGHTER: Yes--but it's known to the police by now.

A scrawled signature on this image is not susceptible to interpretation. Alas, for we'd like to know who to credit for this still-funny joke.

Note the louche cigarette dangling from the girl's lips.

Posted by Paul DiFi.