November 06, 2010
May 26, 2010
Coming soon but not as soon as the other one i havent written yet.
H2H, Trott - I know youre the only two reading this but Im a bit busy at work and this is a long flash-back sequence of all the stuff Mandraxe has drunkenly forgotten but gets little jolts of memory breaking through eg The Burslem Klondyke Cowboys, Mandraxe's nemesis' synthetic life experiments, the Martian Nazis and Mandraxe's Alien hand Syndrome will be in there somewhere as will be a visit to is alcoholic priests incomprehensible sermon piped through a sound system that makes him sound like a Dalek delivered to Mandaxe, asleep, the mad wish-I-was in Pink Floyd organist and the little old lady with a fat grandson eating a cheeseburger and the yappy dog which shits on the church floor. If I can get someone jumping on a bouncy castle in running spikes I definitely will.
May 23, 2010
The author ish finilishing experrimmenttttttttttttttttal teshtink of a reeel world simulant of this fictional shtimulat what was i sayink? (by god i think this one works uuuurrgggggggg -you're my best mate you are!!!!........uuuuuurrrrrghhhhhh)
May 22, 2010
There's 46 more chapters to come after this one. No one will read them but when I'm dead some nob in a silver costume will say wtf! how did we miss that picaresque masterpiece of 21st century literature?
Mandraxe the Magician could hear the unmistakeable 1980s electrosynth pop ringtone* of George's phone inside his flat. In a daze of confusion he wandered from room to room. His flat has three rooms, including the kitchen diner so the process of search and rescue did not take him long but it took him a great deal longer than it would have taken you. On the floor of his bedroom he inspected the "cushion" he had tripped over. Wrapped in a filthy flower-patterned sleepingbag, he uncovered the body of his dear friend and loyal sidekick, George, his face glazed with flaking-off dried-on blood.
Mandraxe was in a more than usually confused state of mind. He eventually to his great relief silenced the execrable ringtone but his friend George had also been silenced. Forever. Mandrake was feeling more desperate and more alone than he had ever felt in his desperate and lonely life.
Mandraxe unearthed his last three bottles of Deleter. He had hidden them from himself around the flat, for emergencies. It took him an hour to find them (there were five more he failed to uncover) but this was certainly an emergency.
When Mandraxe came round it was midnight. The racket of the day had died away. Occasionally the hysterical scream of a beaten wife, a barking dog or the plaintive wail of emergency response shredded the night's silence. The ominous night sky was heavy with negative expectancy.
Outside, the vandalised bus shelters, cut-in-half car tyre plant pots and a dismantled diesel engine in a shopping trolley glittered in the moonlight. Inside, the Magician stared out across the landscape of a room littered with discarded bottles of Deleter.The moonlike paper lampshade hung like a bright silver coin. The pattern of the sticky brown carpet resembled Buckinghamshire. On it, face down, lay the bloody corpse of George Wong. George was still wearing his daggy rhinestone Elvis jacket but George Wong, Chinese Elvis Impersonator extraordinaire, had emulated the Pelvis for the very last time. His noisy life had been silenced at last.
Who? Why? Mandraxe wept bitter tears and wondered how Exardnam had broken through his security to commit this atrocity.
What follows is what Deleter had deleted.The following events now effectively occurred outside of time. Mandraxe had, two weeks late and tired of missing Jeremy Kyle's informative live seances, tried to put forward to BST a stopped clock. The resulting space/time anomaly left Mandrake believing he lived in the future and was 212 years old, having been born in 1918.
His beloved Port Vale had, in 2011,turned into a gold mine. Literally. They had discovered gold beneath the pitch during re-surfacing and for a few years Burslem resembled the Klondyke. Knarled mule-mounted old men wearing underwear with a buttoned flap on the backside that only old blokes in Westerns wear, filled the taverns and ersatz bodega bars of Burslems Quartier Latin.
Now Port Vale Football Club, were World Cup holders, having been exceptionally admitted due to their dominance at club level. In 20 years only no team on earth had escaped a massive drubbing. The sky was not even a limit, as Robbie Williams had moved to Mars, struck up an uneasy alliance with the "Werewolf" Nazi Mars Colony and built a Death Ray targetted on Gary Barlowe and Old Trafford. One false move.....
But this is what had been deleted. What follows is what 8 didnt want you to hear. This is what there was before. George lay silenced and dead on the carpet, his life already largely a fading construct in the minds of those who knew him. And what follows now is what Deleter had deleted.
Ironically it was George Wong who came up with the idea of re-enacting the Great Train Robbery with Mandraxe's train set. He had watched Match of the Day's Alan Hansen and his sidekick “Lawro” perform their necromantic set piece Analysis. They drew red voodooo circles around players and cast spells on them to enhance their skills or end their career, as their whim and fancy took them.
Mandraxe had bought a crate of Deleter with the proceeds from a children's party. They had paid him off when to the distress of the watching 6 year olds, he had swallowed a baby dove. That night, to celebrate, Mandraxe and George had begun to reenact the famous Robbery.
It was one of Mandraxe's first missions and he had failed. He had been sent to disrupt Skorzeny's ratlines of escaping Nazis. The Robbery had been funded by Skorzeny as part of his plan to establish a 4th Reich in the jungles of Bolivia. Althugh this first stage of the plan had failed, ultimately they had succeeded in establishing the Martian Colony, "Werewolf".
The sense of failure hunted Mandraxe still. Through their re-enactment the two friends, like Hansen and Lawro, would subject to Anlysis what had gone wrong. They would draw red circles around things. And they would put it right.
“Kids” muttered Mandraxe, “you dont catch any escaping Nazis with kids.”
Mandraxe's Mamod steam engine puffed its lonely way around its small circle of track. The broken coffee table (Mandraxe had fallen into it face first after a skinful of Deleter) was an accurate imitation of the Bridego Bridge.
The Mamod steam engine itself was the prize remnant of a difficult childhood. In 1923, his evil twin Derek* (*Derek now wishes to be known as Exardnam) had shaken him awake with the whispered words “youve got a Mamod steam engine ive been playing with it for 3 hours”. Derek himslef had received a poison dart wrist watch. (Since that day, Mandraxe has many times tried to remove Derek's knowledge of magic through mental battles, although it has always been only a temporary solution.)
Soon after,Mandraxe had lost his left hand in a Mamod steam-related methylated spirits accident, which delayed his entrance to Theron's Collegium Magikos, somewhere in the Himalayas. The disappointment grew the following Xmas. He was hoping for a prosthetic hand from Santa. Instead he got a cowboy outfit.“Look at that kid”, the bigger boys would shout “he's got a cowboy hat for a hand. And he's got coalchute underwear. Ha ha. And he's got a steam-engine for a brain.”
“Toot toot,” they shouted, “toot toot.”
The bitterness lived on within him. Mandraxe, empowered with the magical properties of Deleter, grew agitated. The Glasgow train was due.
They had been playing Monopoly with real money when it all began to go wrong. George had lost heavily. They both ate too much cheese. And now the Glasgow train was approaching and they had to move quickly now, but an angry George insisted on a meeting to discuss Ronnie Biggs' cut. Mandraxe could now hear the Glasgow train
George dashed out to the fridge. George dashed in again shouting and gesticulating in a wild panic “We've run out of methylated spirits and we're down to our last bottle of Deleter.”
Mandraxe could see the Glasgow train in the near distance now.
That was it. He could take no more.
“Toot toot.” Louder now.
Mandraxe brought the stopped clock down heavily onto George's skull. Mandraxe laughed nervously and fingered the long mensur scar on his sunken cheek. Blood leaked from George's right ear into the carpet and his rhinestone jcket. His “special friend” Police Chief "Cutter"Bambury would be well cheesed off.
The body lay there for several hours. The corpse had been disrespected. Mandraxe had tripped over it twice on the way to the lav. Mandraxe had drawn a big red circle around it. And Mandraxe had shown no effort to dismember or otherwise dispose of the corpse, although he had given it a quick squirt with Fabreze. Mandraxe would live to regret this disrespect.
George's left eye, his good one, clicked open. It was red with tears and lit with vengeance.....and there was name on his lips.....listen carefully a whisper......it could still be heard if you listened carefully......"Exardnam"...
*George's ringtone was the Pet Shop Boys' 1985 Marxist pop/synth Class War megahit "West End Girls/East End Boys"
Mandraxe the Magician meant business alright. But first he made it back to bed and slept uneasily until early afternoon. He had the same dream again and again awoke to find himself bereft. It was like waking from a dream of togetherness to find himself alone.
This time, he made it to the kitchen and fixed himself a coffee. He held the square bottle in his palm - one of the last of a crate he had bought, cheap, no questions asked. His brain felt like the clapper of Big Ben striking midnight. The sound of the boiling kettle made him wince. The sluggish light seeping through the blind hurt his eyes.
He soaked a his filthy Port Vale scarf (Mandraxe is a massive fan of his local football club) with cold tapwater, wrung it damp and wrapped it around his temples for relief. Feeling himself fit to pass out he steadied himself on the kitchen worktop, where a beetle slept on a butter knife. The beetle could sleep there undisturbed until Friday, when Mandraxe would prepare his weekly meal of lentils, a welcome break from his staple diet of Deleter and Werthers Originals.
The great man sank cross legged to the floor. With his dark, sunken eyes and his football scarf turban, he looked like a fallen Sikh Guru, one subject to a complete set of the vices of Pride, Anger, Greed, Dependency and Lust.
A pair of stout legs clad in red tartan socks, gaiters and splatterdashes entered Mandraxe’s field of vision. Mandrake did not react. After a pregnant minute of inactivity, the owner of the waiting legs delivered a swift kick to Mandraxe’s ribs.
“Lazy degenerate. I,” he said, in a Scottish accent, “Major-General Sir Hector Archibald MacDonald, known to my men as Fighting Mac, have no time for the likes of YOU! I lived and died doing my duty! Fought for King and Country in a dozen wars. National hero. The King himself directed me to shoot myself. That stung I can tell you.”
Mandraxe drew himself up to his full gangling height. He could see now a fair chunk of the left side of the Gordon Highlander’s skull was missing. His own headache seemed suddenly less significant.
Sir Hector responded to Mandraxe’s gobsmacked gaze. “This?” he said, touching the space where his skull should be. “Bloody business. All lies I say. All lies. Can’t trust the word of a bloody boy. None of em! Had to do the right thing. 30,000 people at my secret funeral, don't ya know?”
“Why?" asked Mandraxe. "Why are you here?”
“Ah well now me boy,” a warmer tone infused the Major’s voice. He whipped his leg with his swagger stick. The Order has ordered me here, haw haw," the Major allowed himself a moment of amusement, Mandraxe shuffled his feet nervously.
“The Order?” croaked the hung - over Magician interrogatively.
"The Hermetic Order of the Angelic Keys. In their wisdom they have identified you as a conduit. The Order revealed to Newton the secrets of gravity; Einstein was a recipient of hermetic insights. The Order revealed even greater secrets to Einstein, but! Never trust Johnny Foreigner! The bloody fool absent mindedly flushed the secret of nuclar fusion down his water-closet. They stayed in the U-bend for a month. Thats why at the end he said he wished he had become a plumber instead of a physicist. Pragmatist.”
The prolix chicory sprite was in his stride now. “Werner von Braun stole the secret of interplanetary flight - several of the Order have holiday homes on Mars to my certain knowledge. Heinrich Müller has established a small colony of Nazis up there in the Amazonian Plain, which they call "Werewolf*". Their experiments on Martians are proving controversial. Nothing to do with us, the Bounders."
"No, the Order offers enlightenment. They taught the novice Blaine how to hover and from us the Master Magus Daniels learned his mesmeric power over women. Daniels like many of our most powerful magicians conceals his true identity by masquerading as a stage magician. Little do the audience realise that his tricks are for real!"
Mandraxe, whose secret identity was concealed by his dayjob as a chidren's party entertainer, twitched.
"I could go on,” said the Major. So he did.
“ The renegade Icke was on the World Control Panel for a time, until the..,” he paused to shape his moustache around an unfamiliar and distasteful word “....Americans put their foot down. Some of what he says is true, not the Lizard material though, he misread that secret Enochian text. It’s “Wizards” who are in charge not the lizards. We laugh at him for that error.”
“But the Order exact a terrible price for their secrets. You must think long and hard about what I have proposed to you. You may choose not to accept. If you do not, the earth itself is in peril.”
Mandraxe had stopped listening. He had become suspicious that this was the work of Exardnam but he was wrong.
The garrulous chicory coffee essence spirit continued. “But the dream scrying hasn’t been working with you. We’ve checked our equipment, there’s a bit of bent coathanger in the transmitter so lets hope that works. Maybe the problem is not on our end. Maybe it’s you, laddie. So they sent me here to make sure. Well I don’t mind telling you I was reluctant to agree at first. Anyway. There you have it. Job done!”
The Major walked towards the door, opened it smartly, turned, bowed a shallow bow to the pursuing Mandraxe who objected :
“But!, You haven’t told me anything!” but the Major had gone slamming the door shut with finality.
There came a military tattoo rapping on the door. Mandraxe opened it to the Major who tapped Mandraxe’s chest with his swagger stick and looked down at the Magician from a great height, although he was slightly shorter.
“I say... I did remember to tell you why I came?”The exposed left hemisphere of his brain peeking from beneath his cocked Humble bonnet pulsed and glistened in the afternoon sun.
“No,” said Mandraxe. “You did not.”
“The Major tapped the side of his nose. Keep it under your turban. Top secret.”
His hearing was never the best. He turned in the military manner, marched to the end of the walkway as though on a parade ground and performed a sharp 90 degree turn into the communal stairwell. Mandraxe could hear his boots descending the stairwell. He craned over the balcony rail to watch Fighting Mac march across the carpark courtyard through the loud gang of chavs torturing a cat. But he never reappeared.
Perhaps he had another call to make, thought our hero.
For Mandraxe, with his training, with his powers and with his special abilities, all things were possible if only he could be bothered. His life so far had been a litany of if onlys. No more, Mandraxe resolved. He knew he needed to re-appropriate his life and, if necessary, his death, to re-affirm the truth of his being. This was a truth which implied transcendence of the squalid place he found himself in.
If only he could work out what on earth was going on. He knew that trouble was afoot. And he knew he needed help to understand the realities whose plaything he had become.
He picked up the phone and speed-dialled the number of his good friend George** Wong. Mandaxe was worried about George who concealed his secret identity as sidekick to Mandraxe the Magnificent, Magician (available for children's parties, weddings, stag dos) by masquerading as an Elvis impersonator.
Mandraxe had not seen George for some considerable time. "Where've you gone, Wong?" he murmured as the phone began to ring.
*March 23, 1945, Joseph Goebbel's "Werewolf speech" urged every German to fight the Allied invaders to the death.
**This is George's given name. His true name is Wong Dong. In Chinese culture it is considered extremely ill-mannered to make fun of names.
In which our troubled hero is first alerted to his Destiny. Will he accept it? Or even remember where he put his car keys?
Mandraxe the Magician finally awoke, troubled by the fleeting shadow of the memory of a dream. Something to do with a Mission but all he could remember was the bit involving Sheryl Coke, media love-goddess, and a dog. The fatefully misfiring synapses of his mind had misplaced the all-important Mission and instead, the yearning for Deleter was early upon him.
The Mission was misfiled and the stabbing finger of recall could not place it but it could and did inflict intense pain on the left hemisphere of the Mandraxe brain. The right hemisphere meanwhile pulled up a stool, opened a newspaper and read the cartoon section waiting for the electrical storm next door to die down.
'Good morning to the day', he mumbled stumbling across the sticky curlicued carpet towards the shards of morning light emanating from the punctured brown curtains, 'but first, a drink. '
'What was it I needed to remember?' thought the tormented Magician 'I know it's important. The dream said so. No. It's gone. Ouch. O f***. O Deleter!! My one true love......'
The fragile Magician titubated towards the window sill where a not-quite-empty bottle of Deleter stood. He tripped over a stray cushion, stepped into a half full ashtray, cursed, hopped a yard forwards onto the sharp edge of a discarded can of strong lager, yelped, hopped from one foot to the other and fell heavily forward, head landing CLUNG! inside a stinking unemptied tin wastebin containing the remnants of a threeweek old tray of chicken chow mein takeaway, now Mandraxe’s white styrofoam crown. From beneath his crown out jutted rancid noodles like a greasy red fringe.
Just then, in his wife's dressingtable mirror, Mandraxe the Magnificent caught a fleeting sidewise glimpse of himself and a look of horror froze upon his reflection. And now the ginger noodles had cartoon faces on the ends and were now haranguing him in unison. They were shouting at him, telling him again the dream-truths he had forgotten in waking, but the cacophony of tiny anthropomorphic noodle voices was indecipherable to him. Only the pain inside his head told him he was really awake.
It was the final straw. His life like his curtains was in tatters. His arch enemy Exardnam was in the ascendency in their nightly psychic battles in the ethereal spectrasphere above Burslem. A three week old takeaway crowned his noble brow and was shouting at him in a strident chow mein accent. And his wife was gone. Her short note still clung by a curling corner to the door of the broken fridge, reviled and yet over time precious meyond measure to him, a Treskilling yellow of heartbreak.
'Sick and tyred (sic) of this shit. I fink youv gone mad. Goodbye.'
Quivering with delerium tremens, Mandraxe took his head into his hands and wept.
Fortunately he had not yet read the eviction notice which lay unopened beneath the sofa where he had inadvertently drop-kicked it.
Outside, above the grimy streets, the shabby Victorian terraces and the 1960s Modernist nightmare flats and crack piazzas of Burslem, a storm was brewing. Exardnam was growing stronger and Mandraxe seriously needed to get his act together. And quick.
The noodles fell silent. They knew he meant business.
May 19, 2010
Mandraxe the Magician awoke. He farted, turned over and went back to sleep.
End of Chapter 1.