Friday, 1 February 2013

A One Pronged Attack

Alex Baldwin, no relation, woke up one morning as usual, yawned as usual, got out of bed as usual, and saw a unicorn at the end of his bed not as usual.

The unicorn, if that was what it was, and it was, didn’t look like normal pictures of unicorns.  It was brown, for a start, and quite dirty, like it had been rolling around in the bins, which it had.

It was small - about four feet high, though it didn’t look young. The horn was about a foot long, and appeared to have bloodstains on it.  They weren’t bloodstains by the way. It was ketchup from the bin rolling I referred to earlier. It’s legs were short and fat, it’s eyes were large and grey, and its tail seemed matted and filthy.

It was also smoking. Indoors, if you can imagine such a thing. 

Nevertheless, it was a unicorn.  It was at the foot of Alex Baldwin’s bed, and that was definitely a thing.

Alex stepped back into his bed and crawled towards the foot of it, towards the unicorn.  The unicorn didn’t move, or flinch, but simply stared at him disconsolately.  It struck me while writing that that sounds like the unicorn no longer had a consulate.  Meaning that it didn’t have ‘a building where a consul’s duties are carried out’ on it.  Which it didn’t, so I suppose it’s accurate. And would be a problem if you decided to go for a holiday on that unicorn, then got into trouble, and need to contact the consul about getting home etc.  I suppose the moral is - if someone looks at you disconsolately, don’t immediately go on holiday on them, just in case. I say immediately because as time passes they might have had a consulate built on them, in which case they will start to look at you consulately. I hope all this has helped. It’s just a shame that the holiday programme isn’t on any more, or I could get a job as a correspondent.

Anyway.  The unicorn stared at him, and didn’t move.  He reached out and patted it, and it didn’t move. It didn’t look like it liked it, and it didn’t look like it hated it. It just chewed a little and gazed with glassy eyes like the guests on Saturday kitchen.

Alex stared at the unicorn, and both of them did nothing.  After a minute or two, the unicorn let the cigarette drop out of it’s mouth, and it crushed it out with its hoof. On the carpet, if you can imagine.  

Then, all of a sudden, the unicorn started braying. Incredibly loudly. A rasping honking sound, that left the emotional footprint of an argument about directions in a car.

Alex panicked. His initial reaction was that no one must know that he has a unicorn in his house. Something special had happened to him.  Something magical, and it must be kept a secret.  If people found out about it then... then... who knows what might happen. The government probably.  But more than that.  

A unicorn had arrived in his bedroom.  That had happened for a reason.  Something special was happening to him.  All that time you spend growing up and learning that magic isn’t real had suddenly turned out to be a lesson not worth learning.  And the reason that everyone still thinks that magic isn’t real is because people who know about it keep it secret.  It’s like that argument you hear about time travel.  Of course time travel will never be invented, because if it ever were, we would have been visited by time travellers.  Well duh. Maybe we have and they have been keeping it secret?  Eh?  Ever thought of that?  Ever seen Back To The Future Part 2 where Hill Valley goes all nasty because Biff finds out about the time machine built into a Delorean and buys the sports almanac and gives it to his younger self, and Hill Valley goes all nasty and even loses its consulate as a result.  Well - time travellers have seen it and they know not to tell anyone about it.  They make them watch Back To The Future part two at the time travel depot.  It may not be a depot. Time travellers can only be spotted because they can’t operate simple things like the oyster card barriers because in the future they control barriers with their minds and also the oyster reader is on the other side and pockets are different.

Anyway.  The point of all that is that Alex knew he had to keep the unicorn a secret, or it would be taken away from him before whatever magic it was going to impart was imparted. And if he was going to keep it secret, he needed to to keep it quiet, and he didn’t know quite how to keep it quiet, but he thought maybe it was hungry, so he ran downstairs, and grabbed some boxes of breakfast cereal.  For those of you who enjoy details, the cereals he brought up were Special K, Grape Nuts, and Weetos.  The unicorn ate the Grape Nuts first, then it ate the Special K and finally the Weetos.  From this we can ascertain that Unicorns like Grape Nuts best and Weetos least unless it was saving the best for last in which case reverse the order and that’s your fact.  Of course it could have eaten the number two cereal first, and then finished with worst and then next or vice versa.  I assume this has helped.

The Unicorn ate the cereal and stopped braying as a result.  Alex then didn’t know what to do. Unicorns, like babies and pencils don’t come with instruction manuals.  Actually - I was discussing this with my wife the other day. She made the observation that babies come with so many instruction manuals.  Amazon lists 111 882 titles.  But not one Unicorn manual.

Actually, that's a lie, the first result for Unicorns under 'books' is called 'Raising Unicorns - Your Step by Step guide to starting and running a successful - and Magical - Unicorn Farm'.
But on further inspection it is ‘satire’ or ‘fun’, and can be discounted, as this story is about a real unicorn, as you can tell because all my descriptions are so gritty.

I’ve forgotten where I am.  So, Alex Baldwin worked as an engineer for British Telecom, but this isn’t what he wanted to do.  He wanted to be a movie star, and appear in such films as  ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ or ‘The Hunt for Red October’ or to a lesser extent ‘Thomas and the Magic Railroad’.  And then when his movie career dried up, Alex had always dreamed about starring in a sitcom about making a TV show where everyone would suddenly discover that it is comedy and not action that was his strength.  But none of that had so far happened.  But perhaps this unicorn was there to change all that.

Perhaps this unicorn was his ticket out of here.  He just had to figure out how to make it work.

First of all - keep it secret.  Tick.  He was already having a good go at that.  

Now what?

Over the next few weeks, Alex Baldwin changed completely. He kept everyone out of his house, which meant that his relationship suffered and eventually twinkled out of existence.  He stopped going to work, because he decided that he needed to be at home and near his magical gift from heaven in case he missed whatever it was he was supposed to do to make the magic happen.

Because he stopped going to work, he soon lost his job, but of course that didn’t matter, because everything would soon be changing.

If Alex Baldwin could see things from the outside he would surely have noticed that he was spending an awful lot of time shovelling unicorn shit out of his bedroom, which it turned out wasn’t as rare as funny phrases try to make out, but doing very little else.  He was showing very few signs of having wishes granted.

What he was doing  was becoming a weird unwashed loner. And throughout this whole time, the unicorn did nothing but stare, smoke and eat.

But soon, he told himself.  Soon it would all change.

Without anyone to talk to, Alex Baldwin started creating his own rules, that he somehow pretended were rules made up by the unicorn. Don’t eat meat - the unicorn is an animal and might not like it, and the magic might not happen. Don’t use electricity, the unicorn is an ancient creature who doesn’t understand such things, he might not like it, and the magic might not happen. Don’t dance on a Wednesday the unicorn might not like it, and the magic might not happen.

The list of superstitions he created became so immense and complicated that Alex had trouble remembering it, and would have written it down, but he decided that the Unicorn didn’t like seeing things written down due to it’s lack of opposable thumbs.  And fingers.  And penmanship.

And one day the unicorn made a different sound.  A sudden, beautiful cooing and calling, like the voices of a thousand ages joining in celebration.

Alex decided it was because he had drawn squares all over his face in biro.  He had finally stumbled on the trigger to make the magic happen.

The unicorn looked at him with it’s watery grey eyes, and stopped making the noise.  It blinked twice, and seemed to smile.  Then it died, doing one last shit as it did so.

And then it was all over.

Alex’s disappointment was extraordinary.

And the next day he started to put his life back together, beginning by burying the unicorn under the flourishing rose beds.

He started applying for jobs, and trying to patch things up with his ex, and, being a resourceful fellow, outside of the madness, he started to get back on his feet again in a matter of weeks.

That was when he received a phone call.  Would he like to fly out to Hollywood to star in a remake of ‘Beetlejuice’?  Would he ever?!  This was the best thing that had ever happened to him. He was about to make it big. 

Touch wood.

1 comment:

Julian said...

Beautiful. Thank you.