By Miki de Goodaboom
Is anybody out there?
here is Miki… not sure if anybody is still around in our lovely Cyber Cafe “Cafe Crem”… probably not… except of course Kevin, who apparently comes here from time to time and tells the world about his music and the music he loves!
Well, I personally haven’t come for ages… there is nothing more depressing than an empty Café, and I had no idea how to try to bring it to life again. At the occasion, apart from Kevin, I would like to thank Shelley with all my heart, who has been so faithful and active all the time, from the very beginning…
Shelley… are YOU there?
I have a very special reason to come back today, but I hope I will come more often again. Since my last post, I have painted many new mugs, and I will gradually publish them here, together with their little story. But for now I want to present you the “Irina Bloom” Mug.
Irina Bloom is the heroine of the new book with the same name of Brazilian author Tamara Ramos. And is as well a painting by me. If you want to know how my girl landed on the cover of Tamara’s book, please go and read the story in my main blog. You can also read l’histoire d’Irina Bloom en français if you don’t understand English or find French language sexier! 🙂
Here is my original painting
As usual: mugs are a wonderful personalised gift, and Christmas is coming… does it ring a bell? So, if you want to purchase an Irina Bloom mug, please go to
So, this is it for today. Kevin and I would love to hear again from any of our Cafe Creamers if you are around. And if you have a new mug, with an interesting mug story, or anything else interesting in your life, just come to Cafe Crem and let us know!
SEE YOU SOON I HOPE!
I wrote a blog post on Red Room | Where the Writers Are and it is featured as the Blog Post of the Day! [Sunday August 29th, 2009].
Here it is posted from the Red Room to share with my friends:
August 27, 2009, 8:41 pm
Look! This is the most important thing writers must understand before they even write one word: Never take advice from anyone.
Alexander The Great had Aristotle as a teacher and a friend, but Aristotle did not teach Alexander The Great to become the greatest leader of men. He taught him knowledge because the worlds knowledge during Alexanders time was so small that one man like Aristotle knew it all. That was Aristotle’s passion: knowledge.
What made Alexander great was realizing that what life threw at him was what he had to deal with. To take action. To believe so much in himself and his abilities to get things done that he took action based on the knowledge he had learned from Aristotle himself.
I’m not sure there is any reference to this but I believe this to be true. So Alexander conquered all of the known world to him at such a young age nobody has ever repeated what he had done. Alexander did not bestow upon himself the crown Alexander The Great. The people did. History did. We did. And therein lies the writing tip from the life of Alexander the Great: Never take advice from anyone. What you can do is gain knowledge or expertise in what you think you like — and you will know what you like when you feel guilty not doing it. You can gain experience by going out into the world and trying something you never did before. Hunter S. Thompson infliltrated by gaining the trust of the Hells Angels to write the definitive work on that subject. Hemingway lived his life as he saw fit and wrote about it. Proust suffered all his life and wrote it all down and we marvel at such an accomplishment.
What will work for you won’t work for the next person. Will you ever get published? I don’t know. The only thing you have control over is you.
So the next time you think that what you call your writing life is in peril, don’t! I don’t even care if my spelling or grammer is write in this post. I don’t care that you care. I am having so much fun writing it that it makes my day. If it is never read nor commented on I don’t care. That’s the point. Nobody cares except the ones who are not writing and are frustrated and angry and feel they will never be a writer. Believe me there are many out there who will attack this post if they have the guts. I hope they do. I hope nobody agrees with me. I hope there is so much of a fuss over this post that something deep down inside of you — a gut wrenching response that you want to make but you hesitate because it is not politiacally correct. Who cares? You do! Don’t care! Just write what you really feel and forget spelling, grammer and hurting my fellings.
That is what Alexander The Great did I believe: he did not care what others thought. He just went and did it.
I hope you enjoy this!
You travel far
We travel further
You pay your money
Yet we pay none
Indeed, We’re paid to make this pilgrimage
To stages large and small
To stand before you, under lights
In every concert hall
You give, We give
Receive this gift of music
As we receive your cheers
That roll over the stage like waves
Year after loyal year
We never take for granted
The effort that you make
The hard-earned cash you’re spending
On the music we create
But I’ve seen the looks of happiness
That stretch into the distance
The glum into the glad profoundly rearranged
And I think it’s safe to say
The contract made, unspoken
Could be called a Fair Exchange.
© Kev Moore August 2009
I must confess this:
No haiku have I written
Till I wrote this one
WHAT WITCHES KNOW
© 2009 http://www.psychscribe.com
My grandmother, just before they burned her, said this to my mother: the only difference between them and us is they don’t know they have it. She gestured with her chin at the bonneted, jostling women, who far out numbered the men in the seething crowd around the stake. Her own unbound hair snapped in the wind as they lit her.
Afterwards my mother fled to this secret, wooded place that welcomes our kind. The curse they call a power spills like gentle sunlight upon the bears and other wild things that feed from our hands. The beasts of the forest are kin to us.
I had no father. She grew me, all on her own she liked to say. I never asked her for the truth. I knew he’d met the same terrible fate as all the others, the ones who came after.
We never knew how they found her here. They would just appear between the trees, squinting and searching, as if sucked from the great open spaces by a hungry wind. Raking her fingers through that thick, viney hair, she would sigh so deeply you could feel the cottage tremble. I trembled too. For them and for her. Go away, she would whisper. Not again, I would pray.
The gods did not answer. The men did not hear.
She tried to warn them. I’ll hurt you, she’d cry. Leave while you can. They never believed her. Princes and farmers, hunters and noblemen, even the friar thought he could save her. They never said from what.
Save yourself! she would shriek. They only chased her more.
She looked safe enough. Layers of violet gauze robes hung from a tall, fragile frame, concealing tiny breasts and skin so pale it seemed as if she might vanish at any moment. They must have thought they were chasing a fairy. How could they know what she was?
What they hunted, hell-bent, was their own annihilation. They would forget to eat and drink, or wash, or even sleep, and laugh in delight when she called it to their attention. See what you do to me, crooned the hunter to his prey. See what you do.
And each would whisper his dream of wholeness and nothingness, the dream we’ve been hearing since time began, the one that sends them from their churches and wives’ beds and into our damnation.
Did she love them? Almost, always almost, she once said. But as soon as I can smell the fear in them the feeling is replaced by something else, something I can’t name.
Sooner or later she would grow tired from the hunt. How long can you run from water when your throat is parched? But she never succumbed, not at once anyway. Breathless and laughing, she would toss the suitor her robes and the promise of tomorrow, disappearing into the cottage and bolting the door.
Witch! they would shout at her naked, fleeing form, angry yet smiling in a way I did not understand. Burn her! Burn her! the wives left behind cried out in their dreams.
In the morning, still naked, she would unbolt the door and open it wide, her dark hair coiling and writhing, lifting toward the sun. I could feel her heat from where I lay in my small bed. She would not close her eyes when she made what they called love . They liked that at first ( ah… spirit! ) arched triumphantly over her like bows and staring into the depths of what they fancied to be their souls. They always got to the point, of course, where they needed to close their eyes on what they saw. But by then it was too late.
We keep a little piece of them. Not because we are evil but because it is our nature. What we take are their shadows, their dark, howling secrets. If you’ve ever seen a squirrel skinned alive then you know what it is like.
They live through it. They go home to their wives, their hearths and their children. But a man without his shadow is never sure he’s really there. He looks at the ground and sees nothing beneath his feet.
The witch hunts come cyclically, just like the seasons. We know it is time long before we hear the pounding of hooves, the blood-thirsty cries.
The man who led the hunt for my mother was probably the most enamored of all her lovers. And the most tormented. He brought his wife, a small, plain woman with flat brown eyes. She’d known, of course. They always know. He’d offered her first torch when they found the witch.
There must have been forty men. You could smell the lust in the air when they stripped her. I sure would like a taste of this one before we cook her, one of them said as he grabbed at her breast.
Don’t touch her! I’ll kill the lot of you! screamed my mother’s lover, aiming his musket at all of them. The wife paled at his outburst. She swayed on her feet like a sapling in a winter wind. My mother reached out a hand to steady her.
A look passed between witch and wife that can hardly be described.. It flickered brighter than the torchlight in the air between them, a fusion of forces human shaped and witch radiant, so brilliant, so strong, that the men had to turn their faces from it.
She passed her torch to my mother, then gently wrapped her cloak around my mother’s bare shoulders. Piece by piece she flung the rest of her garments at the men, laughing and spinning herself into the frenzy that is older than time.
The men dared not say a word. The husband could not.
Embracing the stake like a lover, she wrapped her naked arms and legs around it as my mother lit the pyre. Not a hand was lifted to stop it.
Afterwards he carried my mother home, belly down on his horse. He married her and got his shadow back. It was said, for a time, that he’d never looked better. My mother, of course, died the death the wife had chosen for her. It was slow, and a terrible thing to see. First they bound her hair, then they put bonnets on her, and in time when he looked into her eyes he saw nothing. Nothing at all.
A witch without her magic is like a man without his shadow: useless both of them, and damned anyway.
Operational Headquarters, British Army Intelligence, Cheltenham
General Sir George Lacey drained the last vestiges of his innumerable cups of coffee and stared at the phone, willing it to ring. Where’s the sense of being sat at the heart of the intelligence community if I haven’t got a damned clue what’s going on? He thought bitterly. He ran through the events of the last few hours in his mind. At least the Stealth support for the team at Millau reported nothing untoward, so it would seem Tobias and his men had so far executed their plan to the letter. But what was going on in Ambialet? The loud, insistent buzzing of the phone abruptly dragged him from his introspective reverie.
“General Lacey.” The General listened impassively as he was fed the latest intel on the situation in Southern France. It seemed there had been reports of several large explosions in the town of Ambialet within the last hour.
He replaced the receiver. “Good luck, Ben” he said to himself, staring at a map of the town. He hardly had time to marshal his thoughts when his phone buzzed for a second time. It was General Alberstein.
“George? We got trouble.” He proceeded to brief Sir George on the suicide mission against Polyflex. By the end of the conversation Sir George had promised his opposite number a rigorous enquiry to try and route out any spy in their midst. It was unthinkable that they had been compromised so easily.
“They must have a sleeper, Thomas, it’s the only answer” said Lacey.
“It’s a damned scary one, George” said the General, “Let’s flush the bastard out” .
Main Entrance, Ambialet Monastery
Bakti and Iqbal were pressed hard against the rock, only ten meters from the Monastery doors. The great studded oak structures silently mocked them, daring them to enter. Anwar was some twenty meters further down, urging his comrade on. “Sunil, now! Join me on this side, there is cover!”
Sunil delayed, just a fraction of a second. Stephenson was lying uncomfortably high inside the facing wall above the main entrance, his Hauser falcon crossbow pointing through the ancient archers slit in the old stone wall. His target had hesitated. That moment was all he needed, the deadly steel bolt rocketed down, burying itself in the chest of the hapless invader, who fell in the dust at Anwar’s feet. Stephenson rolled away, just as a burst of machine gun fire blasted his position.
“Anwar, run!” yelled Bakti, breaking cover with Iqbal, their machine pistols jumping in their hands, directing fire above the great entrance. A stray round caught Stephenson in the leg, and he screamed in agony. The three Fundamentalists charged forward, nearly at the gates, when suddenly, from either side of them, emerging from hidden stairways that led into the crypt, the dust covered figures of Bryan and Thompson ran, machine pistols at their hips firing as they went. Bakti, Anwar and Iqbal seemed to go into a grotesque dance, riddled with hundreds of rounds that slammed into their bodies, and continued on, splintering the great oak doors behind them. Blood issued from their mouths as they fell, as one, in a bloody heap in front of the Monastery.
“Thompson, go check on Stephenson, I’ll recce the immediate area, see if there are any more of the buggers.” Said Bryan, slamming a fresh magazine in, wiping the dust from his eyes.
© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved
Next instalment: Sunday April 19th
The Presse shop, Ambialet
In the bedroom down in the village, Akbar was readying the fourth grenade. He had barely put his eye to the viewfinder when a single high velocity round exploded through the lens and buried itself in his brain, causing immediate and catastrophic damage before exiting in a pink cloud of matter and bone debris. Already dead, Akbar’s body crumpled to the floor, in a grotesque parody of a pilgrim at prayer.
Back in the devastated monastery, Ben Tobias was marshalling his men.
“Okay, the RPG’s neutralised, but we don’t have much time. A small task force has made cover beneath the Monastery and will be seeking incursion to mop up any survivors. There are at least five of them.” He turned to Henri, who had jumped down from the table and was shouldering his weapon.
“Henri, I think you should get your people out the way we came in. We’ve two inflatables hidden beyond the tree line by the river fifty meters upstream. You can use them to get out of the immediate area. My men and I will try and neutralise this invading force. You can’t be caught. You need to get out and regroup.”
“Non!” Henri was indignant. “We will not run and leave you to fight our battles, Lieutenant!”
“Henri!” said Ben desperately, “You have intel that these people will extract from you, one way or another. If we’re captured, we can’t tell what we don’t know. It’s better that way,” he said, his face an unreadable mask. Henri thought for a moment.
“An honour, Lieutenant” he said, extending his hand. The men held a firm grip for a few moments.
“Now go, Henri, get to safety, and send a transmission to British Army HQ when you’re secure.”
Henri ushered Marie-Christine and the others into the passageway Ben and his men had used earlier. He turned and called over his shoulder as he was disappearing into the darkness within the great stone fireplace.
“Live to fight another day, Englishman, and we will endeavour to do the same”. He raised his hand, and was gone.
Ben spun round, all business now. “Corporal Vann, take Bryan and Thompson with you and cover the lower levels. We need to try and contain them down there. We can’t be sure how many of them there are, and I don’t want them having the run of the place.”
“Sir” replied Vann, as the three men took off down the relatively undamaged staircase.
Bakti had watched the devastation wrought upon the Monastery with satisfaction. The incursion team were all pressed up against the face of the rock, covered in the dust and debris that had showered down following the attack. They prepared to crouch and run zigzag up the exposed path leading to the Monastery entrance. Bakti checked his watch. Why hadn’t Akbar fired the fourth grenade? He activated his comm. link. “Akbar? Come in. Fire the fourth grenade! Repeat, fire the fourth grenade!” Static was his only reply.
“The infidels have neutralised the RPG. There will be no cover fire for our assault on the entrance. Allah will protect us. Mustafa, return to the bridge and maintain position in case we need cover fire for our departure. Anwar, hold a position at the base of the path, count off thirty seconds then follow. We will zigzag in two pairs, thirty seconds apart. Iqbal, you’re with me, we’ll lead off. Go!”
Henri and his ragged band made their way slowly through the tunnel, reaching the steep gradient that would take them beneath the River Tarn to safety. The further they went, the more they could taste the dust in the air, irritating their eyes, sticking in their throats. Suddenly, in the darkness, they saw it. A huge rock fall had collapsed the tunnel dead ahead. There was nothing for it. They would have to dig through with their bare hands.
“The torches, Dryden, bring them here, we have work to do!”
© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved
Tiwoo was not at all happy with this decision, in fact she was very angry. Really, she thought, now that it was becoming fun, that little coward wanted to go back home! She started shouting at Bub, as loud as she ever could. But well, she certainly had not as frighteningly powerful a voice as Barbra and what she thought would sound scary to Bub sounded only like one more of her silly and boring tiwoos.
No, Bub was not impressed at all by her screams. But yes, he was scared, so scared, first by the skulls in the desert, and now by these horrible creatures, that he had only one thought: to run away as fast as possible and to hide in a safe place. Not that the castle was really a safe place, but well, he hadn’t really a choice, our poor boy, had he?
Tiwoo hesitated. She looked back with nostalgia to the wood. You must understand, this was the place where she was born, and she still felt her roots to be there… of course not roots like these big creatures called trees, but roots nevertheless! But then she thought of Barbra… yes, she was a tremendous little witch, but she had got used to her, and Tiwoo knew that deep in her heart, Barbra loved her.
What should I do now, she asked herself? The wood, yes it was her home, but to be fair, although there was a lot of creatures in the wood, she had always felt quite alone and cold among them. She thought a while longer, but in the end, she couldn’t really face the thought of being alone again, and chose Barbra and her castle!
She let a last deep sigh out, thinking “Why always me?”, and after a last sad glance back to the wood and waving goodbye with one of her big wings, she followed Bub. But she felt a deep weight on her owl’s soul. She comforted herself telling herself that in fact she could always revoke her decision and fly back to the wood if she needed to one day, she knew the way now. But deep inside she also knew that this was an irrevocable decision, that her real home now was in the castle, with the ugly, always angry and impatient little witch Barbra!
On the way back to the castle, Bub looked up to the sky, checking if the moon was back. But it was not there. not really, there was now just a very thin pale curved line where it used to be, and above all it no longer had any eyes. The sky was almost black and empty now, apart from tiny little yellow points which were nothing at all compared to the wonderful ball of light with the big round eyes. Bub felt very sad again, wondering if the moon was gone for ever, and somehow he couldn’t bear this thought. This is what happens when one loses friends, a normal thing, but Bub didn’t know anything about it and felt simply sad and alone.
Finally they arrived at the castle…
… and he ran and ran until most of that oppressive, so unpleasant feeling had vanished. And when he couldn’t run anymore, he stopped and fell asleep on the ground.
But not long after that, he suddenly woke up, even more scared than before. He had had a horrible nightmare: Barbra had appeared to him as a gigantic, naked skeleton who tried to bury him alive into the sand! It’s no wonder that Bub awoke in such a mess, isn’t it?
Scared to death, he rummaged around in his pocket to check if the bottle was still there and the tiny creature still inside of it. Of course the bottle was still there, and Barbra was still a tiny little Witch in her purple gown and green hat! Our Bub had no idea that nightmares are not real, and often only the mirror of our most terrible fears. But well, real or not, the fact is that they can scare the pants off us!
As Bub took the bottle out of his pocket, he was stunned to see that Barbra was really still inside of it, still as tiny and fleshy and clothed as before, and apparently sleeping, He had no idea what it was all about, understood though that things around him seemed to be different when his eyes were closed or open. But he was too exhausted to think further and tried to sleep again.
But he couldn’t anymore… I suppose he was much too scared to meet the giant skeleton again! So he got up and walked all the way back to the crossing.
In the distance he could already see Tiwoo sitting on the pole. She had been so terrified by the bones and the skull in the desert that she had flown directly back to the crossing, without even casting a glance behind her and noticing that Bub had fallen asleep to the ground! But as she saw Bub now, she flew to meet him with hysterical screams of happiness
Bub was quite surprised about such a friendly reception. It was the first time in his life that somebody seemed to enjoy his presence and a warm feeling for the owl invaded his heart.
Well, judging by her reaction to the skull in the desert, I suspect that Tiwoo too had had these kind of bad dreams which scare the pants off one -even though an owl doesn’t wear pants, the feeling is surely all the same- and was simply overjoyed not to be alone anymore!
Now there was only one direction left. This meant that theoretically Bub would find at the end what he was searching for all the time… supposing of course that there was something to find! And what if there was not? This question slowly and painfully entered his mind, and the feeling connected with it seemed to live very close to all the other feelings of hope and nostalgia he had experienced since he went on this way through Barbra’s Land..
He was struggling in his mind with these kind of thoughts as he noticed, that the air went darker and darker, Not like in all the 3 other directions, where at least some nice light had arisen from behind the horizon or some pleasant smell was hanging around,. Not even the pale moon was to be seen up there in the sky! To tell the truth it had become in the meantime total darkness around him! He started worrying, and feeling very uncomfortable, as he suddenly heard a scream in the distance:
WOO OOH WOOH WOOH TI WOOH!
A scream which quite sounded like the ones of the owl, but much more mysterious, and somehow they were sounding as if thousands of owls were screaming at the same time!
Bub thought that he couldn’t be right here. More than that: he had the feeling to go always further away from what he was searching for. But he knew too that he had no more choices, now, and well, sometimes in life appearances are misleading, aren’t they? Anyway, Bub decided to go further, somehow he could not accept, or didn’t want to accept, that he had gone all these ways for nothing, and even worse, that this something he was searching for didn’t exist and was only something like the apparition of the giant skeleton, not really real!
Tiwoo in the meanwhile had become very cheerful and was flying big circles above his head, often flying a big distance away, then flying back, screaming impatiently all the time as if she wanted to tell him he should hurry up!
But Bub was really not impressed, and in fact he went slower and slower as the screams from the East came closer and closer until he finally stopped. It was not even that he wanted to stop, he just couldn’t go on anymore, as if a mysterious, invisible force was retaining him.
The thing was that horrible figures were standing in front of him, much uglier than the Witch Barbra as she was angry and full of hate. Figures as big and scary as the skeleton of his dream, but these were really there! And they stared at him with so much more hate than even Barbra did as he locked her up into the poison bottle… surely you understand what I mean!
This is why he decided to run back to the castle as fast as possible and never to leave it again!
Polyflex Industries Biomolecular Culture Shed Number 1
The security team that were just about to override the security lockdown outside the airlock were only afforded the privilege of hearing the first enormous explosion, the first of six beats of a terrible tattoo, that obliterated Culture shed number one. It incinerated the building, anyone nearby, and the strangely calm occupant, head bowed, within. An incandescent fireball shot into the night, accompanied by the last of the tremendous explosions, and if Bert Dwyer hadn’t already been on the phone, red-faced with anger receiving news of the sabotage, then it surely would have woken him.
The Bridge at Ambialet
The black Humvee was parked behind a stand of trees. The six men were already out of the vehicle and busy. Bakti and his number two had taken up position by the old stone bridge across the River Tarn. Two men were unloading equipment from the rear of the Humvee, and two were stealthily approaching the Presse at the end of the village.
With practiced ease, the first to the front door produced a small diamond cutter and created a hole in the glass, pulled free with a suction cup. He reached in and undid the deadbolt from the inside. The pair ran inside, and in doing so, activated the old-fashioned tinkling bell above the door.
“The bedroom! Now!” barked the first intruder. The murderous pair rushed through the Paper shop, all caution abandoned, sending racks of magazines and sweets flying. They were halfway up the stairs when the owner appeared on the landing, half-asleep and confused. A small whup sound emanated from the silenced machine pistol, set to single shot, and almost immediately a tiny dark red hole appeared in the forehead of the shopkeeper, his eyes briefly registering surprise before the light faded from them and he fell to the floor. The two men were instantly leaping over his body into the modest bedroom above the shop. The shopkeepers wife, covers pulled up to her chin, gasped in shock as the men appeared. She leapt out of the bed towards the bathroom, taking a single step before three red flowers blossomed in her back.
“Take the bodies to the cellar” said the first intruder. He raised his communicator. “Commander Bakti, RPG position established, send in the hardware.”
“Godammit! I’ve given you my security clearance code, now get Alberstein on the line NOW!!” Bert Dwyer was shaking with rage. What the hell was happening in this country? You couldn’t even take a leak without some goddamn towelhead trying to blow your ass to kingdom come.
“General? Some wiseass has just reduced my Number One Culture shed to ashes. This is gonna seriously impede the project, but you know what? That’s the least of our worries. How the hell did they get wind of this?”
The General let out a long sigh. “Casualties, Ben?”
“Five. All security, and good loyal men, all blown to pieces, except the gate guard, Ted Akerson, he’d been with the company twenty years, Thomas, they shot him in the head.”
“Jesus.” Alberstein ran his hand across his buzz-cut. This was a major worry. Someone close to the project was leaking like an old fishing boat.
“There’s a containment team on the way. I’ve got local law enforcement to cordon the area, but I guess they’re long gone.”
“I’m gonna need protection down at the works, General, I have to build a new shed, we can’t work with less, and if we lose another, we’re in real trouble.”
“Bert, whatever you need, it’s yours. I’ll put Ed Newsome on it right away, he can liase with your people. In the meantime, I need to find out who the hell is blabbing. If we can’t plug this leak, the project’s dead in the water.”
“I’m not sure I like your choice of metaphor, Thomas” replied Dwyer bitterly. “I know I wasn’t the biggest fan of this project and the whole limey co-operation thing, but I gotta tell ya, Thomas, nobody puts Bert Dwyer out of business. Get Newsome to call me at the works. I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”
Alberstein was left holding the receiver, lost in thought. Where to start? Career histories. Everyone that worked in the immediate loop. He needed to go through them with a fine toothcomb. He called his secretary at home.
“Donna? Sorry to wake you. I need you to get on to night shift in personnel. I need classified background files on everyone associated with the Unity Project, and I need it yesterday. Also, when you get into the office, put a request in to the British Government, we’re going to need the same from them.” He replaced the receiver, turned to the red phone that sat on the right of his desk. The Presidential hotline. He envisaged a sleepless night. He picked up the phone. “Mr.President, we have a situation…..”
© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved