I don’t like eating on the veranda but all those midges and flies and thingies, I can blame them for the spots and zits and besides, our backs are turned to the dorms, so those Peeping Toms can’t see me here, God love a duck. Get lost, Cat! I want to use the new moisturiser this morning but I can’t get the top off and Michael Michael won’t stick his arm over his shoulder to even take it from me, he’s too busy sneaking bacon to Doggie-Doos and he didn’t even hear what I said anyway about the sun drying out the pores and de-molecularising the skin through over-exposition to heat waves. That award, God love a duck. Since the college gave him that honour for his plan to improve the male showers with those new transparent communal partition doo-dahs, he’s talked about nothing for weeks on end. ‘Those showers, by golly, you should feel the force of those nozzles!’ ‘Having glass walls in the showers and changing rooms makes it easier for the cleaners . . . makes the lads visible from the halls to prevent horseplay or accidents.’ He spends more time in those changing rooms than he does here, lord love a duckie-poo! But he doesn’t understand how my pores stretch in the heat, how I need to get those skin grafts on my cheeks before I get too old. I need a greater sense of evenness in the fat chubby cheeks on my fat chubby face to prevent my nose twisting when I hit thirty, God forbid I turn out like Mummy, old crooked beak, little parrot face that she is, though I do love her dearly. I don’t think Michael Michael said good morning to me this morning. Or yesterday for that matter. That award.
So good so good so good . . . love you Daddy, love you Daddy, love you Daddy! More more more! Mmmmmmmmmmmmm wumumumummumumum! Love you love you! Oww oww oww! Daddy Daddy Daddy pet me pet me pet me, tickle me tickle me tickle me more more more so good so good so good mmmmmmmm Daddy Daddy Daddy. Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Love you love you love you love you daddy! Tickle me tickle me tickle me more more more!
He’s not an archduke God love him but he won’t keep quiet about this award from the college! Well I have a little surprise for him: I paid for his entire blazer collection to be starched and polished while he’s off doing his donning duties in the changing rooms. Plus, I plan to bake him the largest triple swan meat burger he has ever seen. Old archduke Michael Michael. Honest to God that man is a wag and a tale-teller: He has no more royal blood in him than Cousin Michael and they can’t make you an honorary archduke! His ermine blazer arrived the other day along with his archduke’s sceptre and throne — ‘where I sit to archduke’ — honestly the man is taking this too far! Oh but he’s harmless really, and he’s getting better as he gets older, he’s getting milder, it’s true. She doesn’t believe me, old Mummypoos, but he’s stopped that thing where he whacks me on the thigh with his cane, golly that was sore, and all because I told him this archduke business was such a silly business! ‘You are a frivolous woman,’ he says. Well, so what if I am? These old Eton dons: stern on the outside, dafter than a box of clowns on the inside, lord love a goose. Shoo, Cat! I hope that new cleaner turns up later. There’s something about that woman I like, I can’t quite say. She has gorgeous green eyes, raven hair: a real fiery character, Polish so they tell me, but aren’t they all these days? Never a quiet moment in this house, what with Girl moaning about her cheeks and Boy fighting to stop the bourgeois super-structural elite enslaving politics through privilege. Honestly, they’re all as bad as their father. Right, time to get that swan meat out the fridge. God, him and that dog! Never keeps his hands off him!
Buzz buzz buzz missed me missed me missed me ha ha ha ha cake cake cake cake cake buzz buzz buzz missed me missed me missed me ha ha ha ha too slow too slow cake cake cake cake cake cake too slow too slow ha ha ha buzz buzz buzz buzz missed me ha ha ha OOOOWWWWWCCCCH
Michael Michael Michael
Tonight. Tonight tonight tonight. I will. I will do it. Tonight. If he turns up unreliable sod he’d better turn up. Two sticks in the rear two in the front and five in the middle and kaboom. God I hope he hasn’t sold me that cheap stuff from Poland bloody rip off if you ask me, bloody scoundrels they are. New cleaner’s one as well . . . little chancer but a cracking arse, my God . . . focus focus focus. Motive? To stop the . . . “financial elite from strangling the oppressed masses through siphoning public monies into super schools for the rich.” This new department of a private college was partly funded by the taxpayer and the average man on the street: me, him — well, not me, but certainly him — doesn’t want this government training school for rich Tory toffs, no sirree! God I love blowing things up I hope it makes a big enough bang to wake him from his bed tonight I hope he sees the good work we’re doing . . . what’s he saying? Oh he’s banging on about this scholarship to Oxford he’s got me. I don’t want to go there, I’d rather stay here with the group, blow up some buildings but . . . well, I am his son after all, don’t want to let the old man down. He did buy me that yacht last week. I want to tell him how he should stuff all these rich pigs but I feel stupid, like a little boy, so I have to do right by him. I’ll tell him I’ll get the driver to take me to Oxford later on, check out the student house and see if it suits me. I wonder if I should blow that up too . . . no no, got to respect his gesture. He is my daddy, and for better or worse, I love him. Right. better get those detonators rigged up before I summon the driver. Beat it, Cat!
Meow. Hungry. Food? Please?
Summer — Balcony at Summer House, Tuscany
I wish he’d turn around and tell me about this skin cream. I mean he did teach chemistry his whole life, you’d think he knows about these things, God it’s hot here, duck duck duck. I don’t think I can go out this week until I know this stuff is safe, what if those boys at the beach see the zits and spots, and my God, that huge one with the hair coming out oh God, they’d think I’m such a hag. I should stay inside but he won’t get me that fan it’s impossible out here, I can’t think in this heat. I would keep nagging at him but he’s doing his archduke thing over the townsfolk. I hope that throne is safe like that, mounted onto the balcony ledge, his legs dangling over the edge while he waggles his stick thing around. He wouldn’t answer me if I spoke, he’s too into his archduke thing. Well, he wouldn’t answer me anyway. I prefer that cardboard dad I made years ago, at least he spoke to me. Maybe I can get onto the chatroom out here, there’s got to be an internet café somewhere. Last time I left him, Dave231, he was going to make instant noodles, I wonder how that went. What are instant noodles anyway? God, there’s more midges and flies and thingies here than on the veranda, it’s probably them that makes me so ugly, nipping at my face all the time. Oh, what if it is? Oh ducknips, Mum wants me to go into town with her . . . what about the zits and zits with hairs . . . but I’m going to go, don’t want to let down Mummie-Poos. I suppose I could hide in the back seat, put my head down by the air con . . .
Hot! Hot! Hot! Mummy mummy mummy, cuddles cuddles cuddles! Go to beach, go to beach, go to beach, go to beach! Roll around roll around sand sand sand splash splash splash! Hot hot hot! Mummy mummy mummy, love you love you love you love you! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Go to beach go to beach go to beach please please please! Cuddles cuddles cuddles! Daddy! Daddy! Daddy?
Well, what a glorious morning this is. I could sit in this deck chair staring at the Pitti Palace forever. In fact, I probably will, there isn’t much to do here except stare at all the buildings. I think in future I should bring a Scrabble board or something! I shall get a sunburned neck again! Oh really . . . what is he doing the silly mallard? I tried to talk him out of getting that throne mounted to the balcony, it’s patently unsafe. What if he falls asleep and slips off down below? He won’t look so regal then, though I confess the thought does amuse me. His head mashed against — oh, I mustn’t! I mustn’t! I daren’t go near him when he’s waggling that sceptre around. I felt the brunt of it last time when he gave me a beating on the bottom for starching his blazers. Honestly, how was I to know they’d go all stiff like cardboard? I could use a second cushion, as a matter of fact, those bruises are still smarting. Couldn’t sit for a week, God pluck a goose! Oh what’s that he’s doing now? His Italian is terrible, he’s calling them little gerbil pizzamakers. There’s no telling him. Last night he shouted something about gorgeous cheeses and violet umbrellas . . . we had a good laugh at that, God bless the goose. I think I’ll slink off to that beach along the Arno River, get through that paperback I brought. Jeremy Clarkson — very witty! I’d better bring Girl or she’ll start moping about being bored again. Can’t win with that little porker. Maybe I’ll sit for a few more minutes . . . oh, it’s so so hot. Not sure I’ll last three weeks . . .
Bzzz . . . ohhh. Bzzz . . ohh. Can’t. Can’t. Ohh . . . cake? Ohh. Can’t. Ohh, can’t, can’t, caaaa . . .
Michael Michael Michael
Push him! Push him! That’s what Chesser and Pikey would say, little rascals. Can you imagine? Me pushing my own father from our pied-à-terre halfway up a cliff in Florence! Does make me laugh, though. I love the old coot, but he is one of those fathers you can imagine pushing off a cliff in Florence. Maybe I will. Just to see the look on his face. Nah . . . wouldn’t want to, not after what the dude’s done for me. I could have been in so much trouble for blowing up that college building. For him to write the cheque like that, right on the spot . . . genius! Must’ve set him back a shilling or two. I guess I ought to stop blowing up colleges. Fight the bourgeois oppressors some other way, whatever. This vacation is for lying low. Might cruise the clubs, pick up a few chicks. I feel bad about doing it with Chesser’s squeeze but that’s the problem with anarchist systems, the formlessness crosses over into romantic life. If I had a steady, I’d let him . . . no, I wouldn’t. He doesn’t wash. I’ve never understood that about proletariat crusaders . . . poor or not, they must have access to soap, no? Strange world, strange world. All right. Got to hit the dust. The old dude’s archduking at the locals again. Ought to get himself a microphone or something. Better go before the women drag me to the beach. Did I say anything to the sister this morning? Maybe . . . ah, who cares, we’re on vacation! Look out Florence, here I come!
Meow. Where go? Where go? Food? Please?
Autumn — Kitchen of Vesperus House, Eton
Summer gone summer come, summer gone summer come. God this is depressing I mean I was here last year, in this same room thinking the same thing. What’s wrong with me? Is he ever going to get me the chin sculpt? He gets the brother whatever he wants, what’s he doing? I mean, why does he need a ten-foot wax replica of his naked body in the garden? He’s going to flush all his money down the lavatory and have none left to get me the nose scrape. Doesn’t he realise I can’t go out looking like this? What if those urchins from the college, with their big nasty telescopes, spy on me again and see me . . . like that again? I have half a mind to . . . to tell him these things out loud, see how he’d like that! His quiet little daughter suddenly opens her mouth and says she’d rather not look at a huge replica of her father’s . . . thing. He might use the sceptre on me, like he does on Mummy, golly I wish he wouldn’t do that. Dave231 told me he’d love to meet me. Perhaps I should. I could wear a bag over my head or put a mask on or something. He can’t see me like this, he’ll think I’m Little Miss Piggy. Oh God, what I am going to do? I’m twenty-six, it’s time I started to — Oh forget it. I need to do something before next year. What’s an acceptable achievement for the last five months of the year, something where people would say oh yeah, that’s very impressive, Michaela? What to do what to do. I really have no idea what to do.
Oooooowwww . . . that’s so good so good. Lower, lower, lower. Harder harder harder. Ooooowwwww yeah yeah yeah, oh Daddy Daddy Daddy that’s so good, so good, oh yeah . . . that feels so good. More! More! More! Oh Daddy Daddy Daddy, faster faster faster! More! Mooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwww! Oh yeah, Daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy. BACON!
Well now, that was an interesting evening . . . oh what’s he up to this morning? Oh he actually got the huge wax Michael Michael, Lord have duckies! Well, I should have guessed. Oh I don’t mind. If only I knew what I was letting myself in for when I got married! Hedgefunds in the attic, marsupials under the floorboards . . . such a character, my husband! But last night, well . . . who would have thought? Me and the polish housekeeper — k-i-s-s-i-n-g! I feel so naughty! Well, Michael hasn’t touched me for ten years. That Polish firecracker! Her lips tasted of orange squash. I’ll never take breakfast in the same way ever again. Golly, I hope we can do more today. I’ve never felt so, what’s the word? Alive? No, we’re always alive — don’t be a kookycock as my Old Grammy would say. Aroused is the word. I like saying it: ar-oww-sed. Perhaps I’ll say it out loud, very quietly. No, Girl might hear. Don’t want her getting ideas at her age. We can do it in the linen closet . . . oh my, what if I made a move to, to . . . touch her? Oh calm yourself, Mrs Michaela! Yes, I could touch her on the on the on the, oh my . . . the bottom! Oh, I think I’m going to faint. It’s like I’m thirty-two all over again! Must get some orange squash!
Bald spot! Bald spot! Bald spot! Aaaahhhh . . . mumunmunumunum . . . dandruff . . . mumnumnumunum.
Michael Michael Michael
I suppose it could have been worse. I mean the girl did she was clean but man oh man was her dad pissed! What was a Spanish guy doing in Italy anyway? Doesn’t he have his own country or something? So glad Dad settled out of court. Imagine if that got on campus . . . son of Sir Archduke Lord Michael Michael Esquire has relations with a girl on Florence beach ten metres from her father. God that replica Dad is so cool. I could totally smoke weed in there at night. You could have a party in that thing. Imagine, one big party in my Daddy’s bottom. Ha ha! Well, guess I’d better go back to college, got to get to at least one lecture this year. I wonder if I should save Chesser from the nick, say it was me that planted the bombs not him . . . nah, he’s a proletariat crusader, I’m working within the bourgeois establishment to destabilise things. I need to be out there. I’m sure he’ll do okay in prison I mean, they don’t bum anyone anyway, that’s a myth. Plus he’s a prole so he’s used to that environment. To Oxford, driver!
Winter — Various, Vesperus House
I don’t know what to do. I want to write this note but I can’t think of enough good reasons I mean, I’m ugly, I’m fat, I’m lonely . . . isn’t that enough? People aren’t going to care about me if I do it now, are they? Michael Michael would say I didn’t have enough backbone, that I wasn’t fit to be a Michael if I wasn’t willing to stay the distance. But what distance? What is there? I have been humiliated. I won’t ever trust anyone ever again. I speak to him online for all these months and when I show him my picture he logs off and blocks me from all his accounts . . . bastard. That was my good photo, too. What can I do? I’m hideous. There’s nothing left for me to do, so here I am. I don’t know how I’ll do it. Maybe I won’t. I could become an old spinster like Auntie Michael and write harlequin romances under a pen name then top myself in the south of France. There’s something tragic and chic about that: I mean, at least she did something before she did it. I’ve done nothing. God I hate being rich. I mean why should anyone be born rich? What is there to do all day except sit around a big house, being polite to the servants, riding a horse around, buying things you don’t need and getting old and fat. Well, fuck it. Yes, not love a duckie-poo, but fucking fuck it. I know what I have to do. Leave. I have to make it on my own. I could buy a flat in London and do something there. Do what? I don’t have any skills, I couldn’t work anywhere. Maybe I need to go straight to the bottom. Like all my cellulite. Straight to the bottom. One day I’ll get up and leave this place, one day, but not today, I’m not strong enough today.
Love love love love happy happy happy happy love love love love happy happy happy happy love love love love happy happy happy happy love love love love happy happy happy happy love love BALL!
Well now, decisions decisions! Kasia is right, there’s no point hanging around here while Michael Michael gets madder and madder. I mean, last week he drove around Norfolk in his limo throwing walnuts at people and was arrested for stomping on a blind man’s toes! I mean, all very well on the streets, but in the House of Lords! Honestly. Oh, he is a ditzy duck, but there is a line between ditzy and, well . . . clinically insane. Kasia is a ray of light. Last night’s session was fabulous. She has a wicked tongue, that Pole! I suppose it is time to make decision, to grab the owl by its horns, as my old Grampy-Poos would say, old nutty-nut. Michael will need someone to look after him. He wiped his bottie down the banister again last night. Golly, I couldn’t bring myself to ask Kasia to clean it up. We’ll need to get him a nurse and a new cleaner. The only problem is, he spent almost all our money on that zeppelin last week. Bloody thing’s still flying over Margate with that slogan: MICHAEL MICHAEL WILL ARCHDUKE YOU SENSELESS! I suppose the police will shoot it down, good chaps. In a way, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome: Now Kasia and I can head off to Poland. She says she’s got a family there she’d like me to meet, apparently they work for some secret underclass and they need my financial assistance. Well, I’ll go, but I think I’ll tell Kasia I’m bankrupt later on, don’t want her running off on me now! Things will be fine. Kids are grown-up, and with some luck Michael will fling himself off that bridge very soon. It’s what all the Michael men do when they hit fifty, duck bless them.
Poo rail! Pool rail! Cat! Cat! Cat! Cat!
Michael Michael Michael
I love being rich. It was a shame to sell Chesser and Pikey out like that, good chaps, but the bourgeois superstructure really is essential for the safe running of society. I mean, we couldn’t have the working classes in charge now could we? There’d be anarchy! Every last one of them getting into Oxford and smelling up the lecture halls! Mustn’t be a bigot. But they do stink. Oh well. I love my dad. He gets crazier by the minute, old coot. He’s out there now, in his purple nightgown chasing the crows. I’m a little worried about this court case thing. Dad said he’d make the call to the Supreme Justice asking him to let me off with the arson, but he doesn’t seem to have done it yet. Maybe me going into court is a formality — I mean, everyone’s got to at least show their face, right? Still, it’s going to be embarrassing with a crowd. I want this to be over. When it ends I’ll knuckle down, get through that broadcast media degree, get into producing. I have some great ideas for films. Like that one about the arsonists who stick it to the bourgeois superstructure, become Che Guevaras in their own time. Awesome. Oh look, Daddy’s dangling over the bridge. He’d better watch himself the silly turkey, don’t want him falling in.
By M.J. NichollsM.J. Nicholls is a firm believer in the brief bio. He lives in Glasgow and writes fiction and its opposite.