Tales From The Town #142:

The fog was so thick even from the beach you couldn’t see the sea. You could hear it though, every wave, every seething sigh.

The end of the year, the end of the world. A perfect time to disappear.

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Notes:

1. Written on 27th December, 2023

A List Of 21 Possible Apocalypses For 2024

1. Drought
2. Famine
3. Disease
4. War
5. Radiation
6. Irradiation
7. Irrationality/psychosis
8. End of oil
9. End of electricity
10. Reality collapse
11. Clocks no longer tell the correct time
12. Hot
13. Cold
14. Wet
15. Mould
16. Usurped by cats
17. Enslaved by cats
18. Abandoned by cats
19. Ignored by cats
20. Enslaved/usurped by aliens
21. Ignored by aliens (and cats)

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Notes:

1. Written on August 7, 2023

Tales From The Town #141: Christmas Eve Eve

Father Christmas, an angel, a reindeer, and Claire were sat at the kitchen table.

“Who wants christmas pudding?” Agnes asked.

“No thanks, Mum,” said Father Christmas.

“Not for me,” said the angel.

“Blurgh!” said the reindeer. “Christmas pudding is disgusting!

“Yes, please,” said Claire eagerly. “I would love some christmas pudding please Mum.”

“But you don’t even like christmas pudding,” said Father Christmas.

“No one likes christmas pudding,” said the angel.

“Christmas pudding is made from mud,” said the reindeer. “And worms!

“So?” Claire said, shrugging her shoulders and smiling in a faintly unsettling way. There was nothing more frightening than a happy Claire.

“And who wants custard?” asked Agnes’s mum.

“No thanks, Nanny,” said Father Christmas.

“Not for me,” said the angel.

“BLURGH!” said the reindeer, shaking his head and closing his eyes and miming throwing up. “Custard is disgusting times ten. And a half!

“Yes please, nanny,” said Claire, with a grin as wide as several wolves’s smiles put together all at once.

“But you dont even like custard,” said Father Christmas. “You’re always saying how much you hate it.”

“We all hate it,” said the angel. “Every one hates it.”

“Because it’s yellow,” said the reindeer. “Yellow foods are the worst!”

“What about ice cream?” Claire said.

“Ice cream doesn’t count because it’s cold,” said the reindeer.

“What about cold custard?” said Claire.

The reindeer shook his head and looked a bit ill.

“Anyway shut up I can eat what I want,” said Claire, as her Mum put down a bowl of christmas pudding and custard in front of her. “Even custard!”

“Be careful Claire, it’s hot,” Agnes said. “I don’t want you burning your mouth again.”

“And do you want anything to go on your custard, Claire?’ Nanny asked.

“Can I have some chocolate spread?” Claire said. “And a spoon.”

“What size spoon?” Agnes asked, as she retrieved the chocolate spread from its hiding place in the cupboard under the sink that would now have to be changed because Claire had seen exactly where it was being kept.

“A big one,” Claire said.

“For Claire’s big mouth,” said the angel.

“Don’t upset your sister,” Agnes said, as she put the chocolate spread and a collection of spoons on the table in front of Claire. “Not while Nanny’s here. We all promised to be nice for Christmas, remember?”

“She couldn’t upset me if she tried,” Claire said. “I’m too grown up to get upset any more.”

She reached forward and very carefully selected a spoon. It was a spoon so big she didn’t evem know what it was called. There were teaspoons, and tablespoons, and dessert spoons, and soup spoons, but this was way beyond any of those. This was a spoon so big Claire couldn’t help but hold it up and admire it.

“Are you going to eat any of that?” Father Christmas asked.

“Or are you just going to stare at your stupid big head in that stupid big spoon all day?” the angel asked.

“BLURGH BLURGH BLURGH BLURGH BLURGH” the reindeer said, before explaining that custard was 90% vomit and 10% sick and if you ate it you’d become 90% vomit and 10% sick yourself. Forever.

Claire ignored all this. She simply smiled, turned round to check that Agnes and Agnes’s mum weren’t looking, then quickly stuck her huge spoon in the chocolate spread, scooped out half the jar, ate it in one delicious mouthful, then dumped the spoon in the custard to hide any evidence of her crimes.

“Finished!” Claire said, looking so pleased with herself it was kind of surprising she hadn’t turned into a cat.

“But you haven’t eaten any on it,” Agnes said, as Claire marched triumphantly out of the room. “What a waste.”

“I’ll have it!” Father Christmas, the angel and the reindeer all said at once, together, searching through the spoons to see if there were any more of the really big ones.

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Notes:

1. Written on December 2nd, 2023

The Infinite 8-Bit Computer Game Character Archive

The Infinite 8-Bit Computer Game Character Archive (available here and here) generates character histories for an infinite amount of imaginary 8-Bit computer game characters from an infinite amount of imaginary 8-Bit computer games.

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Notes:

1. Made on the 18th and 19th December, 2023

2. I decided to make this when I started playing Earthbound the other day, and liking the bit at the start where you can have it randomly choose names for all your characters if you can’t be bothered to name them yourself.

3. I made the sprites in Pulp, the Playdate game maker machine, largely because I couldn’t actually find any straight pixel art editor that worked properly. Anyway, that’s why these are all tiny little 8×8 monochrome animations rather than anything more lavish and/or system accurate.

4. The list of originating systems was aided by the use of this marvellous wikipedia page. I hope they’re all genuine, but who can ever truly know.

5. Also merry christmas everyone, in case I forget to say next week when it’s actually christmas.

Tales From The Town #140: A Cast Of Christmas Creatures

Cats

Asleep by the fire, they purred and purred. No one knew where the second one had come from, or where it would go to once the flames turned to smoke.

Crabs

They emerged from Antoine’s cave, their claws wrapped in tinsel, Christmas cheer curiously absent from their crustaceous minds. It would be cruel if it wasn’t surprisingly cute.

Dogs

The indignity of Christmas jumpers outweighed by the unexplained proliferation of treats. They horde their bones and know not why.

Robins

Belligerent little bastards given infinite leeway due to their beauty.

Whale

The whale cares not for Christmas. It dreams of summer, and the stars.

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Notes

1. Written on December 16th, 2023