Category: Bad taste

Fallsday, 05 Frost

Earned 19 / Spent 12

Savings 16,975

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When I run, I run hard.  The drakeroot keeps me going, but some days it’s not enough.  It’s easy to stagger and fall on a long run.  The distance gets too much, your muscles try to give out on you but you won’t let them.  The union works me hard, runs me ragged.  I just chew more root, dust myself down, keep going.

Can’t keep going forever.

Am I to run for my whole life?  There’s more to existance than work, than a few seeds.  A heap of caraways and a nut or two will keep me in rent and food for a week, but what then?  Run more packages, earn more seeds, rent and food and chew more root…

Things are getting a little easier at the union.  Sometimes they make an effort, something I gave up on a while ago.  Keep things sweet and reinvigorates your work muscle, keeps things from getting on top of you.  In Kernal that’s too easy.  In the end, your nerves are frayed and it only takes a glimpse of a few feral cauliraptors to put you into full meltdown.

It’s Frost now.  The winter’s setting in.  The jungle never dies, but it shrinks.  The leaves grow small and tight.  Vines coil inward towards the warmth and security provided by the trunks.  The birds and reptiles hunker down during the cold nights and only fly close to noontime, when the sun is at its highest.  The Disc is a threat to them.  One eclipse during this time and the birds get a full day without heat.  I run past them, watching them sleep.  Lizards die clinging to branches and become like shrivelled dry leaves, orange and crunchy, ready to fall off at the slightest breath.

Am I good at what I do?  I’m not a board member of the union.  I’m not on the top Kernal league table.  People do what I do every day, running up and down Capital Hill, through the industrial districts, skirting The Den and the jungle and buzzing the stagecoaches on the lower paths.  I do the work.  I put in the hours.  I chew the root. 



Budsday, 1 Anthuary

Earned 36 / Spent 16

Savings 16,420

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There is a tram that trundles from the thoroughfare to the other side of Kernel, under the old stone bridges by the industrial quarter.  It goes past the verdant foliage of the jungle’s edge; wet leaves brush against the windows.  I feel like a cheat getting across town this way – a courier needs to always be on his feet – but there is regular work at the other side that I need if I am ever going to rejoin Foist in Metrodon.

I have hardly saved.  Fixing up the new place is a drain on money; I watch my savings get eaten away, torn down the middle.  The treehouse wasn’t a good place and now I am on Capital Hill, and I can fill the place with Foist’s carpelwork work and be happy, be myself.  But every seed spent is a seed not saved, and I watch the tin cans get emptier and emptier.

It won’t be this way forever; after a few more weeks there will be a balance and I can continue to save.  Meanwhile, courier work is there in the financial district, a place that feels brand new where the buildings are being made taller, and there is more glass to reflect the sunlight and the Disc.  Like anyplace (particularly Kernel) some days it feels clean and full of energy; others it is a drab place, drizzly so close to the mountains, and I’m not sure I like it much.

The work is part of an initiative.  I’ve been accepted on merit, I suppose – chew enough root, run enough miles, you get a glimpse of recognition.  Once aboard, you are expected to chew more and run further.  There are not more seeds in it – barely a caraway or ten – and the tram fares eat enough of that away to make me wonder if it really is worthwhile. 

And out here, I am further away from my memories of Foist, who in my imagination sits alone. 




So ages ago the Earth was formed, and it wobbled on an axis like a skewered apple as it caromed around the Sun at about 450 miles per second.  Sometimes it is tilted towards the Sun’s roasting, UV-rich cocktail of radiation; sometimes it’s tilted away from it.  Inbetween there’s a moment, twice a year, when it’s bang upright.  This is the equinox.

Some time after the formation of our happy little planet the moon was created, maybe captured by Earth’s gravity as it flew past through space, maybe we got hit by something and all the debris spun off and formed that big ball of rock we see in the sky every now and again.  Anyway, the moon exists (hooray) and it goes around and around us, around and around, and sometimes our shadow blocks the light from the Sun so that it looks like a huge bite has been taken out of it.  Sometimes it’s at just the right angle to be fully illuminated.  This is, as everybody knows, a full moon.

The moon takes around 29 days to do a full cycle, from full to the barest sliver and back again.  We call this a month, roughly speaking, and for convenience we divide this into four weeks, and those into seven days, ending in Sunday.

The Earth on its eternal wobble hits its first Equinox in the Spring and the moon swings round goes from waxing to full and the week goes on until it gets to Sunday and for some insane reason we call this Easter.


If you didn’t know the original of the Easter holiday, let me enlighten you.  Easter Sunday about 2,000 years ago was the day that all rabbits were venerated as the hoarders and gracious distributors of all the world’s chocolate.  This had come about during prehistoric times as part of a covenant between the giant Cretaceous Hares and the lizard-men who were the descendants of dinosaurs and the precursor to mankind as we know it today.  No-one likes to break tradition so we let the rabbits keep the chocolate and we bribe them annually with good cheer in exchange for some of the ‘brown silk’.

Centuries later, Renaissance man discovered that keeping domestic chickens had its advantages.  By feeding chickens certain types of corn and grain, they could manipulate the egg-development cycle to produce a new palette of flavours.  Excited, they naturally tried every type of feed under the Sun and then various other substances.

Around this time, the conquest of South American was reaping its rewards for English explorers.  One of these explorers was Thomas Cadbury, who had returned with chocolate bartered from the Mayans in exchange for sexual favours.  For decades this was the preferred method of obtaining chocolate, and even now some women find a sexual pleasure in consuming cocoa products (try it, it works).

Of course, you’re putting two and two together yourselves.  The raw cocoa product was fed to the chickens, and in 1701 the first chocolate egg was produced.

Over time, the process was refined by chocolatiers in France, and in later centuries, by scientists in America.  Certain foodtypes could only ever produce tiny, regular-sized eggs.  Caramel and white goop, for instance, may only be fed to chickens in small quantities, because caramel is toxic to poultry in certain concentrations.  The white goop they just don’t like very much.

But chocolate in isolation, it was discovered, could be used like magic to produce giant eggs, provided the chicken was big enough.  The first large chocolate egg (normally referred to as “a £10-er”) was made to great cheer in 1924, probably before you were born, so don’t bother looking it up.  This was in the days before genetic modification, and so the only way to make a giant chicken was to cross-breed it with a hippopotamus or elephant.  Right up until 1990, chickopotami were the preferred methods to obtain giant chocolate eggs.

Finding these solid eggs to dense to properly consume, the feed was soon altered to generate hollow eggs, which allowed for a certain commercial benefit.  They could be filled with all kinds of treats, like cigarettes or semolina.

The conveyor-belt approach to the new Easter was deplored by the rabbits.  Early peace talks broke down rapidly, any remaining good will dissolving into the first World War Wabbit in 1927.  Further treaties were reversed in 1945 after splinter cells, mainly hares, tried once again to destroy the egg factories in Minnesota, and the Californian chickolotami farms.   American troops reluctantly introduced the Myxoma virus to wild rabbit populations in Spring 1946, settling the matter.

Today, the Easter holiday generates over 130 billion pounds for the economy, mainly through chocolate eggs.  Domesticated (or subjugated) rabbits are still revered in the Easter Parade in London, and other capital cities around the world, where members of Parliament dress in rabbit costumes and hop to Buckingham Palace.


Someone told be a less believable story about some dude who was strung up and died and then woke up again in a cave and moved this massive rock by himself and was like a god or something … but I reckon they’re full of shit.



I have a love/hate relationship with the McD’s.  As in, I think I love it but actually I hate the place.  I walk away regretting it every time. 

But then I soon pine for the taste of charred beef and lettuce marinaded in Hellman’s Lite.

McDonald’s.  So it’s been a while and the whole place has changed.  It’s fancy and new-looking.  The walls look like one of those school classrooms where the kids were allowed to decorate.  Nauseous splashes of colour.  There are no real tables now, only long breakfast bars plastered with old shit like the table at Herot after Grendel had a go. 

It’s still got that horrible supermarket cafeteria feel with everybody elbowing each other out the way with little pots of Heinz tumbling off their trays.  On quiet days I don’t mind these places so much.  Desperate animals always seek out a place where they can fester in dirt, anonymously.

I was shocked at the number of prams that were in there.  At one point my path to the counters was blocked by no less than five prams.  Did I miss a Mothercare newsletter?  The one with the Happy Meal vouchers in it?  What, new mums think it’s a good idea to take their babies – not kids, babies – for lunch at McDonald’s?  Stuffing those fries into their gaping toothless mouths as a pacifier substitute?

Be quiet and eat your McNuggets, Courtney-Lou.

But the checkouts.  No longer the undisciplined lines of people undecided on which queue looks quicker!  There’s a new Express Line.

Oh yes.  Fuckers are organised now.

Because apparently there are times when fast food just doesn’t come quick enough.  The people have demanded ultra-fast food.  It’s the fibreoptic broadband of effortless eating.

But I have to say, they’ve really evolved.  They’re with the times.  I ordered at the little free-standing desk, and by the time I’d taken two steps to the counter they already had my ‘meal’ waiting for me.  Shit you not.

The Chicken Legend.  Basically a big herby McNugget in a toasted wholemeal breadroll.  Open wide…! 

Chicken’s meant to be pink.  Right?

Doesn’t matter.  I figured that any salmonella would eventually be killed by the Dead Sea of salt that they served my fries in.  Currently my blood has a higher salt-to-water ratio than the Pacific.  Or a condiments warehouse during a light fog.

I had to LOL at the fries.  Burnt little crispy fingers.  Those little greenish bits.  Yummy.  Wash ’em down with my drink, 1 part Diet Coke, 1 part soda, 2 parts ice.

Why do I do it?  I couldn’t tell you.  It’s kind of an experience.  I spoke to someone recently of the type of food that is really self-flagellation.  Sometimes we think: “this is nasty, but it’ll do me good”.  Sometimes we think “Doesn’t this taste good?  Even though it will kill me?”

I seem to have survived the expected food poisoning. 

But.  Just in case: If I die, you can have my Happy Meal toy collection.