Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Revelation Of Simon Wendlestorm: Short Sci Fi Story

The Revelation Of Simon Wendlestorm

The nitty gritty of spaceflight has often been recorded on the planet Earth, where on other planets the like of such is often taken for granted depending, of course, on the planeside spiritual ‘state of the art’, so to speak.  As an example I could quote the Mars of Heinlein’s “Stranger In A Strange Land”.  Heinlein’s tale involved something of the cultural differences between the two planets, Mars and Earth, and the notion of planets habouring secret aliens, in either Martian or human guise, was thus introduced.  (It also introduced the idea of Editor's demanding two-cents worth before publication!)Screen movies such as “Starman” and “The Man Who Fell To Earth” have reinforced this notion.  Further examples may be found on television, such an “Alf” or “Doctor Who”.  Indeed, so advanced is the notion that recent excursions into the realm of interplanetary cognito such as “ET” or “Alien Nation” have almost negated the need for secrecy at all.

Simon Windlestraw was all of these things, and none.  Simon wass a short-order cook who served up meals for a select band of misfits, second-rate musicians, brick-brains, potato hats and straight-forward-of-late hippie dropouts.  He did this day by day, for he lived, in essence, day by day.  His ‘clients would call, for a meal, and leave perhaps a few crumbs of their passing, which, as Simon Wintlestraw loved his chance clients very much, was a perfectly satisfactory arrangement.

Simon Windlestraw knew he was an alien from another planet, but not in a month of stellar Sundays would he try to prove it.  The planet Earth held itself as far too beautiful a place to ever want to leave.  And besides he was deliriously happy being a short-order cook for his clients.  The concept of being a ‘starman’ was thus delegated to but a forlorn desire hidden darkly in his stove-coloured complexions, and only occasionally would this desire surface to ripple the his skins as an almost visable blue-tinge.  

Mind you, Simon Windlestraw also thought of himself as a temporarily displaced dolphin.  Simon Windlestraw tended to think exist at temperatures below those of normal human beings.

Simon Windlestraw was not without resources however.  He had a secret profound effect talent for the meticulous care of all his thought processes which he kept hidden in his blinding memories, only to be revealed on Saturday nights when he found occasion to party, either with his clients or, more often, with a desire to be with his clients.  Then, of course, he babbled incoherently, and the elusive, illogical and yet topical flow of his thoughts  (for he often reminded himself of only slightly relevant ‘items’ when speaking of ‘subjects’), which caused others to think of him as a little ‘loose-minded’.  Simon’s more academic clients, of course, merely thought him loopy.

Simon’s cuisine however, was excellent.

Simon Windlestraw also possessed an almost galactic hope that one day the United Federation of Cosmic Entities (his ignoble personal description of the automobile industry, often stressing the omnipotent nature of the last two syllables in reference to planetary resources) would one day truly unite, that is, including the planet he now served upon.  Not that he was want to complain.  Simon’s delusions also harbored a secret conceit that he was, in fact, a time-traveller.  Although he defined this imaginary situation as the Universe time-travelling within, rather than
he, the time-traveller, time-travelling without.

But that would be so much galactic smelly.

Simon Windlestraw had a minor car accident one day whilst trying to wipe a client’s windscreen.  He was, at the time, chauffeuring his client through a stormy winter’s day cross-town traffic in his client’s excessively expensive limonene, and personally wiping the windscreen, rather than the expensive wiper, which was typical.  The accident changed his whole perspective on life.  This is how it happened.

Simon Windlestraw had a revelation.  There on the third wipe it dawned upon him that he was not Simon Windlestraw at all.  He was, in fact, Whistlebred The Intergalactic Gardener, a very, very cosmic metamorph from the planet Whistlethorn.

Simon’s client, of course, was totally unaware of this sudden revelation.  How could the client possibly be aware of the sudden blistering visits of serene lineation of ancient galactic vegetable matter that swept across Simon’s brow and then on through his mind as if the planet had personally passed through his head!!

Imagine if everybody’s head was a planet, he thought.

The vision was only momentary, of course, but very very real to Simon.  We all visualize, but this phenomenon was involuntary, and sufficiently and plausibly striking for Simon to realize that he was at least akin to this wonderful new vegetable planet...the wonderful remarkable planet Whistlethorn!  And that is how he knew for certain that he was now Whistlebred, the very very cosmic metamorph.

Simon was a smart cookie however, and kept his cool.  He continued to wipe the windscreen.  Simon (now Whistlebred) notices a ‘machine’ on his client’s arm.

“What’s the time?” he asked, “Please?”
“About 9.15 by my watch, “ was the client’s reply, “If we hurry we’ll make the ferry  with about half an hour to spare.”

Simon Windlestraw was escorting his client via a ferry to a golf range situated on one of the city’s offshore islands.  Simon had agreed to buggy, or rather, Simon’s client had agreed to let him buggy, provided he paid his own fare, and, later, after the client had been driven home, and Simon had found his own way home (having cooked a three-course evening meal of course) Simon hoped to gain some time of his own during the day, possibly when his client retired to the clubhouse for refreshments, to collect a few seashells from the island’s many beaches, and these he would use to decorate his short-order cookery.  Simon had brought a bucket and wore a coat from Germany in case it rained, which, of course, it was bound to do all day.  Simon's head easily became an expandable umbrella on command you see. In fact the rain had already started, and, that was why he was wiping the windscreen.

Simon’s client was younger than Simon, and very rich. Simon’s client would rather of attended the links with anyone but Simon, but his sense of luxury had insisted upon this day, and noone else had been available.  In order that Simon should therefore appreciate the privilege, Simon’s client had insisted that Simon provide a short-order lunch, lovingly prepared the night before.  Simon’s client made sure Simon understood what a great honour it was to buggy for him.  Very few of Simon’s clients preferred to see Simon beyond the realm of the kitchen.  None, in fact.  Simon was a bit of a Cinderella.  Simon’s client was a bit of a pop star.  Isn’t that modern!

That be as it may.  Simon Windlestraw had an accident upon one of his final wipes (just as the windscreen cleared) and never made the ferry.  He hit an unfortunate unforeseen speed hump at about 30 mph and hit his head on the very same windscreen that he had been cleaning.  This collision temporarily confused him.  Simon yelled and sprang back clutching his forehead, temporarily forgetting all about steering the car.  Simon’s client, quickly and accurately assessing the situation, rapidly leant over from the passenger side to the wheel to take temporary control.  Unfortunately Simon’s client failed to take proper account of the car’s power steering and accidentally swung the vehicle into a lamp-pole, severely denting the bumper, and causing poor Simon to again strike his forehead on the windscreen.  Lucky for Simon’s client Simon had applied the brakes shortly after striking the speedhump, so the damage was relatively minimal.  It all happened very fast.

This time it was his client’s turn to yelp!

“Crackers!” he cried.  (The actual language was a tad harsher!)

And, as it was noone’s fault in particular, Simon quickly took the blame, and issued a rapid spiel of apologies.

“Goodness gracious!  No intent!  Terribly sorry sir!  Damned rain!  That’s no excuse of course!  I really am so very very sorry sir!  Entirely my fault!  Goodness gracious!  Most anything I swear I didn’t mean to do that!  My intention, wrong as it was, was to make it to the ferry in the peace you deserve sir!  I’m so so terribly terribly sorry sir!”

This was uttered as a chorus of traffic banking up behind them began conveying its disapproval with loud toots and horns.

“Oh nuts,” said the poor client.

Simon’s client’s name was Junior Walker.  He is a complete exaggeration of a pop star.  Which is good.  Twat is good in some industries.  He sings about all the right things that he doesn’t personally believe in himself and makes outrageous amounts of money.  He also claims to be a long-term fan of Jimi Hendrix.  (As if anyone could be!)  He claims Jimi always reviewed his work, selecting and refining before release, and it is up to his disciples to make this discipline their own.  It is why the work, Jimi’s and the Junior's, is so worthy.  What a great guy eh!!

“Chestnuts,” said Junior Walker, promising himself not to ever blow his cool again by inviting Simon Windlestraw anywhere beyond the realm of the kitchen.

“Well,” said Simon, feeling absolutely miserable and wishing he was dead.

Both characters stared resolutely at the lamp-pole each contemplating their mega tonnage misfortune.  The beeping horns became relentless.  An irate Italian was banging at Simon’s window, whilst outside Junior’s window a Polish banshee blanketed the Universe with assorted European slang.  Junior waved, awkwardly.  Neither Junior nor Simon had any intention at this point of time of addressing the situation by winding down their windows, one of which was adamantly stiff anyhow.  It was all too distressing in a Galactic Star Wars kind of way.

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave,” said Simon, very slowly and carefully.

Junior turned to him, somewhat in awe of what his ears had just witnessed, and said:

“What?  Now?”

“Yes,” said Simon, feeling really really guilty,  “You see I’ve just had a revelation.”

Junior was aghast.  He couldn’t believe this was happening to him.  To HIM!  He sat rigidly, fuming.  Whatever happens, he told himself,  I must not lose my cool.

There was a loud bang.  A tyre exploded.  The hiss of the deflation was clearly audible.

“Revelation!” spat Junior Walker, gritting his teeth and hoping to God his hair looked alright with all these people around. 

“Yes,” said Simon, “I don’t possess a driver’s license.”

This statement almost tore Simon’s soul.  He was genuinely very very sorry. 

Junior, had he not have been such a pop star, would probably of thought this funny.  As it was he groaned and sank his head between his knees.  Simon Windlestraw got out and began pushing his way through the crowd.  He was very angry with himself, and it showed, as he sparked blue-green and barked at the maddening crowd.

“Yeah yeah!  All’s fair in love and war! Yeah yeah!  Do your own navigating next time!  And a cherry on top mate!  Yeah yeah!  And I’m Henry Kissinger!  Kiss my fat one you cheap dime-store perverts!”

It really wasn’t like Simon Windlestraw at all!!

Whistlebred proceeded up the street at a quick pace.

The street was called King.  It ran cross-town from Main to High, with several intersections along the way.  It was still raining.  Whistlebred paused about halfway.  There was commotion at the Northern end.  This was the end to which Whistlebred was travelling.  An expensive automobile had collided with a lamp-pole, severely denting the front bumper.  An irate businessman, the apparent owner, was lamenting the failings of modern driving practice in a loud voice.  Melees of obstructed vehicles were adding their own comments with tools and horns, whilst a number of onlookers milled about.  Several teenagers, true to the day and in colourful garb, were also looking on, jostling and laughing.

Out of this commotion strode one Whistleborn.

Whistleborn looked almost the mirror image of Whistlebred, except that he sported a beard and was possibly a little older.  Both wore the same unfashionable jackets from Germany and equally unfashionable Ug boots.  Both carried buckets.  The inhabitants of the planet Whistleborn are easily the worst dressed creatures in the entire Universe.  And both, of course, were disgustingly ugly.  It was a hideous rendezvous.  And that was no excuse.  Practicality, let alone physical beauty, has never been an excuse for poor fashions, and that is true of the entire Galaxy, as many a freezing model would testify.

“Clothes maketh the man;” said Whistleborn, his hand held out in a Star Trek greeting.

“New planets maketh the alien,” replied Whistlebred, “How are you.”

“Miserable now I’ve dented my client’s automobile.  What’s the problem?”
“Fire away.”
“Machines.  Parking metres tick, and traffic lights tick very fast.  Like a rap.  Multiriders also tick, but very very fast, like a crunch.”
“Inventry."  Also referred to as M.E.R.L.I.N.  Mechanical Engineering Requiring Lines In Networks.  Quite special.”
“My client sings of nuclear weapons.”
“Nuclear weapons are the beginning of the end of war on this planet.”
“Direct descendants from the invention of the wheel.  If you don’t agree with it catch buses or walk or bicycle.”
“The secret of Life?”
“I feel better now.”
“You are welcome.”

Bye, they both said together.

Meanwhile Junior had explained the Universe to the crowd in terms of The Gospel According To Jimi Hendrix and thus won their hearts forever.  Simon returned for long enough to replace and fit a new tyre, at his own expense of course, before being told his services were probably no longer required.  Junior dropped a malignant tit-bit or two of gossip about Simon that he always had up his sleeve, and the crowd then savaged him, forcing him to flee. Junior contracted the Italian man as his personal driver and proceeded to seduce the Polish woman in the back seat.

“Being a pop star is great,” he explained, “But the food tends to lack inspiration.”

Simon Windlestraw returned home through several dangerous neighbourhoods and the pouring rain to prepare a cute little evening meal.

Robert Ellery Phillips

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