A Job Like Yours

Eloise returned home from what seemed like an endless string of parties. Burned out, coming down, and yearning for the solitude of her single bed, she opened her bedsit door to find a postage paid brown envelope pushed under it. A letter from the DSS, dated two weeks ago, saying that despite the risk to herself and others ATOS had found her ‘fit for work’. She had to attend an interview that very day or face benefit sanctions. It was a New Year, and the government were already pushing in a new ‘work experience’ scheme forcing the disabled and long term unemployed into the unskilled and underpaid jobs nobody else wanted.

There was a form with lots of intrusive questions and boxes to tick, with a blank page at the end to provide any further information of relevance. A space beneath for her signature bore a legal warning that failing to provide all relevant information, or providing false information, is a crime and you may go to prison.. She gave details of her mental health problems, being sure to include the ‘s’ word, and all the reasons why she would not be suitable for any of the placements they were offering. Instead, she had made a suggestion of her own.

* * *

She wore a short sleeved black top to show off the scars along her arms with their criss cross hesitation marks. A plunging neckline framed the puckered red stripe across her throat. There did not seem much point in taking out her facial piercings or combing out the spikes in her hair.

At the dole office she registered her presence at a desk protected by shatter-proof glass, with a black on yellow sticker reading Abusive language or threatening behaviour will not be tolerated and will result in prosecution. Beneath it, smaller, Staff are equipped with ‘Spit Kits’ for D.N.A. sampling.

The waiting room was lined with metal chairs sloped at an angle so you gradually slid off if you relaxed, which the junkie in front of her did every three minutes, waking from his stupor when his head hit linoleum before sitting back up again. He did this forty times before the ceiling mounted speakers mounted in the ceiling burst into static, “Miss Eloise Mumford, room one, third floor..”

Her second name. For a moment all she could see was blood. Her family. She vowed to change it this year.

On the second floor of the concrete stairway a man on crutches winced as he lowered himself downwards. One step at a time.

She stopped, “Can I help?”

He smiled with his mouth but not his eyes, “No. You’re on your way up. Best not keep the bastards waiting.”

The interview room was a sealed box with no windows, lit by a gently flickering neon tube, just big enough for the bolted down chair facing the desk, a solid block from wall to wall. More shatter-proof glass. Her interviewer was in a wheelchair, his half paralysed face a permanent sneer. When he spoke he sounded like he had a bunged up nose, “Did you fill in the forms we sent?”

Wondering how they managed to get a man in a wheelchair in here in the first place, seeing as there was no lift in any areas open to clients, she pushed the forms through the letter box shaped hole in the bottom of the glass. He flicked through it, “And do you have confirmation from your doctor?”

I couldn’t arrange an appointment this early in the year.”

You’ll have to provide it as soon as you can. If it’s not here by the end of the week I’ll have to stop your benefits. You were given plenty of time to prepare all this.”

But I provided proof when I made a claim in the first place, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Situations change. These things need to be updated. If it’s not here by the end of the week..”

He broke off, reading what she had written at the end, “You’re just trying to be shocking, like the way you’re dressed, which doesn’t help your prospects either. Besides, you’re not qualified and you’d need a licence.”

She had anticipated the objection, “You don’t need either of those things. All you need is a strong stomach, the proper equipment, and the right kind of work surface. They have these troughs on either side to drain away all the fluids. There can be a lot sometimes, as you might imagine. Especially if the insides are all rotten and turned to mush, or if they drowned and it all comes sloshing out at once when you carve them open. I’ve been studying the manuals and researching it as a career path.”

Her interviewer put his hand over mouth like he was swallowing puke. When he finally spoke, he looked like his blood had drained down the plug hole, “I’m sure you have, but we don’t have anything like that in our system.”

Why not? Death care is an industry, just like any other.”

That may well be, but if it’s not on our system I can’t arrange a placement for you.”

I could find one.”

Out of the question, and you know it. I could never sanction something like that. Especially not for some with.. with.. your condition..”

She smiled as she offered her coup de grâce, “But that’s exactly the point. My condition won’t be a problem – it would be an advantage. Plus it’s a job nobody else wants to do.” Her folded arms and wry smile silently implying, “A bit like yours.”


Black Rite Gone Wrong

Down and down and back to Essex, era vulgaris 1970, the moonth of Februate or thereabouts, the hour midnight. Is the desertified church of St. Mary at the Walls in the olde town of Coldchester. Black robed skir hand covine in widdershins circumambulates, enchanticating names of infernalised drakness, “Lucifuge! Samyouwill! Natas!”

Centric of their circle stands upright Szanded Dashwoor, eyestraining The Book of Dragons Red in pail luminations of too few candles, far much smokiness of incenses and charcoal. The furds of envocation is all bewuddled; somewitch spiked the chalice with Hell’s Ess Dee and whooshing up strong. Zazas for a nasatanada as door swunged wide with not a prayer as in they come, all possessed with no excorcist between them for the Licence of Departure.

Daemons come and daemons go but where they comes from we don’t gnow. What we does gnowsis most of thems comed in the gingerhead on the alter, hypnotricked with curdling oaths of secrets held and spells of covine punishings. Struggles strains and hurts as change of mind denied, held fast by wrist and arse and she but 16 years jung. Was Essex Craft and all so let us not pretend of good blood manners. Concepted by Black Rite gone wrong, solitary semonid bespatters panick strucken egg and what was writ but the Grobbly – summoned to homonculi from who gnows where by squidged langs of magicology.

Seven moonths a secret but belly grows gibbous. Grandmatrix and Grandpatrix fingerwaggle blames and shame but Matrix tells them not of the name nor the when or way of it. Rumourmonger neighbours all a snigger, her reputatiates shredded. She is a just a honeybell, say all. Knows even not the patrix name nor when and way of it, say all. Keep it not the stranger’s basturd sprog, say all.

And so If was, Grandmatrix sprunching Matrix’s pregnified gloopits in the heating tub as glattles of whiskey belittered the cractiled floor – is how was done in the Old Daze. But wriggle free of cuntsquish did the Grobbly, amniotic caul and all, bobbing to the surface of shit stinked wetars and red mess bubbles in me flesh balloon.

Sliced of sack the babe within but 3lbs light, purple blue of skin and furred with red from toe to head. Crooked spined with curly tail at arse and six toe funny feet, a gribbly sprog so hard to love but kill me they could not. Hellow, is back again!

Doctors is called and comes. Besaided, “Done prematurely cuntsquished a crooked sproglet. Will never of the follolop, he so criplified. Best be chopping off that tail.”

The furry felled all rub away leaving plump baby pinkness, yet still is no bondies with Matrix’s cold witch teat. For worse our chopper sprouts teethipegs, many lots in doubled rows and sharpestmost, as if even then we sensed her twisty self hate for blame of the Grobbly and willfilled keeps the distafied.

From birthed behind a veil of tears it gets no better for matrix nor the Grobbly as life is by. Szanded Dashwoo done a flit, the gribbly. Off to grobble sproglets and snorting of wrongness with rock & roll dwindlers. So matrix was a honeybell and patrix was the Devil, and what proceeds? That which preceeds in wrongness is sure to proceed no better and so it is. Fret not fickle Fate of witch no have of sway.

So here is the Grobbly decades flitted, comfit at the crossroads as trafficking flashy by, gribbly olde bowler for tributes and all rags and blankets. Who in the now is follolop along but you, pockets at a jingle, bethinksing gnows of khaos and magick and Ifs and If Nots but no occifisdom for the Invisibubbled.

We at this intersects all dazed longing. Eyewaggle the Grobbly or no the Grobbly eyewaggles you and all your journeys of Ifs and If Nots, growtesqueries, thwarts and whatnots. All what your preceedids and proceedids whatnotted. There at the over post where Red Men sign for stillness and Green Men becon on.. Away is gone, not eyewaggles to right or wrong and folloloping lanky strides.

One day perhaps a woopsie daisy splat, run over by a karma if not more care. But this be the Grobbly litrified, not your vayn pocket jingle sprentings. Downtime bethinksing wander of your own begendings – pay more attrition for Grobbly’s sake, bespair and overstanding comes. The lessen is soon under and down and downer to the atavistical begendings of all this gribblish and grobbalosolalia. Be gentle with your selfs and blessie blessie every mourning.


WARNING! The author and publisher accept no responsibility for any loss of sanity or risk to personal safety that may or may not result from reading this book.

“Tall tales, low lives, filth and fun – a deliciously dark slop bucket of enjoyment from a modern master. If you like mind melting urban epistles that are inky with intrigue and redolent with the stink of sorcery, then hold your nose and jump in quick!” – Julian Wilde, author of The Grimoire of Chaos Magick and The Real Rasa.

“Right up my street.” – Pat Mills, creator of 2000AD

“Put what you think I might say. That should be fun.” – Ray Sherwin, originator of Chaos Magic.


Stories include; The Dangerous Author, MK Ultra Culture, The Lost Keys of Solomon, Everybody Loathes a Clown, The Rape of Saint Peter, The Apollyon Machine, Ex Nihilo, Marmalade Lane, Mistress Beta Von Rhine, The Cutting Up of William Burroughs, A Grim & Unfairy Story, Embrace Reality Through Imagination, The MK Massacre, Khaos at Trinity Road.

Available now in paperback

Available now on Kindle 





Happy New Year to all my friends and readers. Here’s a short story to whet your appetite as you wait for my new book to come out in just a few days..


THE BODY-BAG is brought into the mortuary and the corpse of William Burroughs placed on the slab beneath glaring strip lights. The room is decrepit and less than sterile. The tiled walls are cracked and there is the stinging aroma of toxic chemicals and human decay. The air conditioning is no equal to the sweltering Interzone weather and every surface is crawling with fat blue flies.

Voices are muffled, not so much out of respect for the dead author’s work as from a strange dread. The mortuary is like one vast memento mori and what is about to happen to William Burroughs reminds us all that the body is a temple. Like any temple it can be looted, its precious treasures scattered, its secrets and mysteries exposed.

Dr. Benway enters the room wearing surgical gloves, a white pathologist’s gown and the ceremonial mask of Anubis. He addresses the paying audience.

Ladies, gentlemen, critics.”

It is an indication that he is about to begin.

A microphone hangs within a few feet of the slab. Benway turns to the technician.

Is this thing on, Seth?”

Seth gives a grinning thumbs up. He is a gleeful little man with copper bright red hair, familiar enough with Dr. Benway to have prepared everything for the arrival of the deceased.

Photographers snap away, recording for posterity each stage of the process. Having stripped the corpse naked Benway points to a few areas meriting particular close-ups.

Bruises consistent with heroin use, veins collapsed. No surprises there. Our subject was a self confessed addict and boy lover, not just a homosexual – take note – but a paedophile with a taste for Arab boys as young as 9 or 10. His one attempt at a heteronormative relationship ended with him shooting his wife in the head. All this suggests his addiction may have masked deep self loathing and was perhaps an attempt to control, if not completely deaden, his socially unacceptable sexual desires and attendant guilt.”

Benway removes a small sheet concealing what little remains of Burrough’s modesty. The penis has all but rotted away whilst his inflated testicles stretch their purple and black sack as tight and as large as party balloons.

Gasps from the audience. Someone throws up into their sick-bag, provided at the door upon entry.

His balls weren’t that big when he was alive, in case you were wondering. That’s what we call dropsie, decaying fluids pooling beneath the skin. You see here where he’s been going into the groin, turning the whole area black. Onset of gangrene. Had probably been impotent for decades but that doesn’t mean he was wasn’t sexually active. Or passive, for that matter. I’m now rolling over the body.”

William Burrough’s lifeless buttocks hang like dirty grey dishcloths, their cold blue tinged skin striped with taut white scars.

Clear signs of flagellation, possibly self administered. We shall now examine the anus.”

Benway parts the cheeks to reveal an orifice big enough to put your foot in, if it is a large foot and you really want to put it there. Just as you think his descriptive monologue could not get any worse, it does. You try to concentrate on what he is saying but it is not easy. Something about friction wounds, relentless dispassionate penetration and reverse engineered alien technology.

Someone in the audience faints.

Dr. Benway produces a crumpled Camel cigarette. He pokes it through the mouth hole of his mask and lights it with an army issue zipper

Measurements, a physical description – six feet one inch tall, grey hair, face like a turtle, that kind of thing. Fingernail scrapings and clippings are disposed of in polythene bags. The body is washed from head to foot in a concoction with a heady smell like spiced wine, after which Dr. Benway gives the body another cursory examination. Finding nothing new he gets down to the serious business we all bought tickets for.

A deep incision is made down the front of the torso. Ash from Benway’s cigarette topples into the gaping wound. Blood samples are taken and handed to Seth, who places them neatly beside a row of empty glass jars. More samples are taken; urine, faeces, stomach contents, liver, body hair (including eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic) and tissue.

Benway makes an aside to the audience.

What we can see, the external evidence, is often not as important as what we can’t see. The tiny secrets revealed only by a microscope or chemical test.”

The process is long, drawn out. There is impatient muttering among the audience.

Not boring you, am I?”

He reaches his hands into the corpse’s chest and forces open the ribs with an audible crack.

You close your eyes but the room swirls all the same. It is not so much the sight of the examination as the accompanying sounds. Tearing of flesh, like a butcher yanking meat from a flank. Bubbling liquids. The soft rasping of the cutting tools. Not just the sounds but the smell, too. The unmistakable aroma of raw meat, clinging to the nostrils, filling the lungs, catching at the back of the throat and clinging there, the tang in the mouth you can actually taste.

The abdominal organs – stomach, liver, intestines – are all removed and taken to a clean slab. Seth washes them down with more spiced wine before transporting them to their waiting jars.

As he washes down the cadaver’s hollowed out insides Dr. Benway presents the subject’s heart to the audience, waving it aloft in one hand whilst prodding it with the tip of his scalpel. It is around the size of a clenched fist, tubes flapping like pieces of rubber.

The average human heart weighs in at around 11ozs, although of course it may feel subjectively heavier or lighter depending on our emotions. We see here significant hardening of external tissues, whilst these valves here, dealing with the flow of empathy and love for other human beings, have completely sealed over. Burroughs himself insisted that nobody ever loved him during his life apart from his cats.”

Benway returns the heart to its original place within the hollowed out cavity of Burrough’s chest.

Electric buzzing and the scraping of metal against bone as Benway’s circular saw cuts around Burrough’s skull. The job is soon done, but not before several more of the audience have fainted.

He takes hold of the top of the head with both hands and pulls. The whole room holds its breath.

There is a sickening shclupping sound.

The cranium in Benway’s hands looks like a bad toupee of thin grey hair. He places it upside down on the slab and stubs out his Camel in the empty bone bowl. He next turns his attention to the open head, digging his fingers into either side. There is a faint popping as he removes the brain. He holds it triumphantly aloft before the audience. It looks like a giant walnut made of grey and white jelly.

Ladies, gentlemen. The moment you’ve all been waiting for. William Burrough’s soft machine.”

Gasps, vomiting, more fainting.

Same size overall as any normal brain, weighing in at around 3lbs, despite having been pickled with every drug known to mankind. The hippocampus here at the back is shrivelled to almost nothing. It is often enlarged in sexual deviants but he put a lot of stress on himself, mentally and physically. The hippocampus also plays a role in immune system function. When its efficiency is compromised, so too is the immune system.”

He flips the brain into the air, spinning it like a basketball before catching it again.

Also significant reduction in this area of the frontal cortex dealing with ethics, responsibility and conscience. Proportional increase in these right brain areas dealing with creativity, imagination and hustling. We can also see a huge capacity for delusion and self deceit. Again, no surprise considering his obsessions with magick and his well documented involvement with kooky secret societies like the Illuminates of Thanateros.”

Seth proffers a large lidless jar of clear fluid. Benway dumps the brain with a splosh.

The cranium is returned to its rightful place and the whole body covered with natron salt. After that it is stuffed with linen, giving it a fuller look, and wrapped in bandages.

Dr. Benway concludes with a sonorous recitation from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Something about the scales of Maat, whatever that is, and the weighing of hearts against a feather. It is long, boring and ludicrously pretentious. Everyone is glad when it is over.

The room is left in silent introspection. Each of us present is made of the same stuff as William Burroughs and now we stand, momentarily stripped of our individual personalities. We are all bodies, animals, collections of viscera. The only real difference between any of us and Burroughs is that our hearts still pump blood. But one day soon all of our hearts will have stopped and that will be the end of it, save for a visit to the mortuary and, if our hearts are not too heavy, our journey to the Western Lands.

Ex Nihilo

Last one for this year. Written in response to the suggestion my work is irresponsible, nihilistic and likely to provoke youth violence. NM.



You always wondered why it made that noise in movies but not in real life. When someone throws a right hook. It doesn’t sound like that to anyone else. No-one else hears it, same as no-one else feels it. Just you. So now you know.

You have no idea what you might have done or said, or to whom. You’re pretty sure you’ve never even seen him before. You would definitely have noticed that mohawk and all those tattoos, EX NIHILO across his forehead, NULL and VOID across his knuckles. You were just going about your daily business when he came out of nowhere. You stagger, raising your hands in self defence and mouthing, “Why?”

And then..


That’s how it sounds inside your own head when someone smacks you one with theirs. Your nose being driven into your face. The little bone inside. It’s like the sound of a 7” single snapping, some pop-piss you regretted buying and threw in the bin, or the Kit-Kat advert. Take a break. And then..


That was the sound of your jaw dislocating, the tendons snapping under the impact. Hanging there unable to close. You can’t speak. Can’t beg for mercy. It’ll be a long time before you can chew food. A back tooth is out. Iron taste of blood.


Doc Martins. Steelies. You bend double, clutching your busted testicles. They have been shoved so far inside your body they may as well be ovaries. Fuck that hurts.


One to the guts. You struggle to breath but your lungs disobey.


Hollow resonating sound as your head hits the concrete. Like something out of a cartoon.

He laughs. Says your name. Definitely not a case of mistaken identity, then. Tells you to, “Say goodbye, cunt.”


Relentless skull booting like the drums to a hard core thrash band. Big. Loud.


And that.. That was the sound it makes when someone stamps on your head. KkRaAcK! Again. KkRaAcK! And again.

And you know when your old TV finally gave out and the sound went all fuzzy as the picture kind of shrank into the centre of the screen, finally leaving only blackness? That’s what it’s like to get booted unconscious, except that the blackness is much.. blacker. More absolute.

All the pain is gone. You can’t feel anything. Not even fear or anxiety. All gone.


It’s like you’re flying along this tunnel. You realize you’re having an out of body experience. Consciousness beyond the physical. Like in those stories you read in magazines. The ones where people are in hospital and get brought back from the edge of death. You always wondered if those stories were true.


A single most perfect note sung endlessly by an infinite chorus. Ahead, getting bigger and brighter, the purest light. And then..


From nowhere to nothing. Less than even the idea of nothing. Freedom beyond the confines of time and space. A return to that nothingness beyond nothing that is the source of everything. So now you know. And then..

A Grim & Unfairy Story




Snow White scraped two fat lines of fairy dust across the ornate mirror.

I still have trouble sleeping. The idea terrifies me.”

I know what you mean. Supposing we never wake up again?” said Beauty.

You would wither on your bones, slowly dying of dehydration and starvation,” said the mirror.

Snow rolled her eyes.

Nobody asked you.”

Beauty grinned, once porcelain perfect teeth as decayed as her castles and destitute kingdom.

This’ll keep us awake. Rumpelstilskin always scores the best. Is it pure enough to shoot?”

Snow’s gloved hands rolled a Note of the Realm into a tube.

You and needles. Don’t you ever learn?”

I haven’t pricked myself in aeons, you know that. Not since our princes ran off with each other.”

We should have guessed by the tights.”

Did you hear about what happened with Cinderella, poor cow? And in her shoes, too..”

Snow wiped her nose on the hem of her dress.

Life goes on. The only difference between a happy ending and a tragedy is where you stop telling the story.”